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  • Writer's pictureDanTO

2012 - The first of many...

At the conclusion of the 2011 event, Arc40k was the undisputed largest Warhammer 40,000 Tournament, and the only event to hit 200 players in Australia. It’s reputation of great hobby, brought along by great guys, to spend a summer weekend enjoying the hobby they love dominated the community.


Twelve months earlier Mark Morrison handed the event to me. No pressure. I’d run big Warhammer events before during my time working at Games Workshop as well as resurrecting Eastcon for the Ringwood Wargames Club. All those events were very influenced by what was happening at Arc40k.


The advice that was given to me was very clear, that the event was handed over and could be run however the new TO team saw fit. That a handshake, a box of papers and I was on my way.

Custom Dice for 2012
Custom Dice for 2012

Do with it what you want.

The advice that was given to me was very clear, that the event was handed over and could be run however the new TO team saw fit. That a handshake, a box of papers and I was on my way. So many thoughts went through my head. The most prevailing one was where to start? What did I want it to be? What did the community want it to be? Even how to find out the answers to these questions was a big question that I had. I had more questions than answers.


Answering the Questions.

After much deliberation I decided the best place to start was to list what I loved and enjoyed about my Arc experiences. I realised that when I was asked to run the event, that a part of me was a little sad at the end of an era. On the other hand I was very excited to forge a path for the event I loved into the future. To take all the best parts, and push the boundaries on everything else. Player’s Choice, mystery missions, small points, sportsmanship and battle being worth the same, Veteran Players, the countdown of every place at the end of the event. These all focused on the player experience, or recognising the effort players are putting in the lead up to the event. I didn’t just want to rehash what had come before, I wanted to add our touch. This is when the Arc40k Hall of Fame was founded, to recognise those that had not only contributed to Arc40k, but also the wider 40k community.


On the other hand I was very excited to forge a path for the event I loved into the future. To take all the best parts, and push the boundaries on everything else.

Assembling the Team.

It soon became apparent to me that Mark Morrison had WATT (War All The Time) to help him keep things on track. If I wanted to maintain what was already in place I had to put a team of people together to help me run Arc40k for the first time. At the time I asked a couple of guys from my gaming group to help out. At the time I probably didn’t appreciate them as much as I do in hindsight. The contribution from Craig Laird was immense that first year, he wanted to do full online scoring, a full 3 years before we rolled out ArcScore. The other significant help, came from an unexpected place, and didn’t become apparent until the Friday before. Derek was a customer in the store I worked in, and just came along to check it out… 10 years laters he is a staple on the organising team. The late Craig Clark joined the group in the role of Head Paint judge, and things started to look achievable. John Beswick, Andrew Cassidy, & PERSON X rounded out the team.


Would anyone show up?

The team was assembled. The Player Pack was written. We had some plans. The biggest question leading up to the big weekend was, would anyone show up? Would the community give Arc40k with a different Tournament Organiser a go? Back then the event was pay on the day, so knowing numbers final numbers was limited to just expressions of interest to attend. It wasn’t until the Saturday morning that we would know for sure.


The crowd that showed up in 2012
The crowd that showed up in 2012

The Big Weekend.

January 2012. I remember it vividly. We set up tables of terrain in classrooms, hall ways, and the gymnasium of Collingwood College. The PA and DJ, the stage was 2 sheets of plywood on milk crates. Players arrived Saturday morning, 150 all told. We kicked off with the PA booming Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. The players gathered just as they always had, to begin the weekend of games with great mates. During the first briefing, we made the players pledge to the Codex Fez. To vow to Play for fun, that they would be good winners, that they painted their damn armies, and lastly that they were not pricks…. Yet. These quotes were written on big signs that we held up and pointed to whilst encouraging players to yell them out. These same cards were used to announce the next mission so all could see, and also more yelling as the details were revealed. It was a fun time.



My fondest memory.

We did a lot that weekend. As if the players buying into the event with renewed confidence wasn’t enough, their effort to bring the same calibre of army, or to play in the spirit that which the event had been played years prior. From embracing our first attempt at a full prize ceremony, inducting our Hall of Famers, to Damien kissing the skull of the perpetual skull of the time. These were all very humbling. However, I can pinpoint the time I knew, with all certainty that the players were truly enjoying what we were doing. At the start of day 2, right before we were about to kick off, we put on some music. Tribute by Tenacious D was on. The TO group were out the back getting ready to present, normally we do a quick review of what needs to be said, and briefly how the announcement will go. Just before we left the room, we realised that the players were singing along, unprompted.


I learned a lot about event organisation from that first Arc40k, and it wasn’t without its hitches. It taught me some very valuable lessons. Particularly in showing appreciation to those that helped me out putting the event together. In one instance I didn’t thank Craig who had put in so much effort in the lead up building a computer input scoring system, and being in charge of data entry. Back then it was paper score cards manually entered into the scoring system. Each game has 3 score cards, 1 Battle and 2 sportsmanship. 75 Games per round. That’s 225 pieces of paper per round that he entered. An amazing effort. One that truly made the event a raging success, and one i am extremely grateful for.


Leigh and Damien face off to be Champion
Leigh and Damien face off to be Champion

Overall, 2012 was 2 years in the making. It was a nerve wracking ride into the unknown. One that I genuinely felt we could improve on for the next year. The ideas were flowing better than ever, challenges I had a year to review and find solutions for. All in All it is still one of my favourite Arc events,


If you have memories from 2012 or any Arc you have been to, please email me, I’d love to compile your experiences for all to read.

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