Well, it has been a few days since the fall of 'Ard Boyz and now that I have had a few days to think about it I wanted to get my $.02 out there. Let's talk about the tournament that was and perhaps look to the future, come along with me on this magic carpet ride.
In the beginning there were only Battle Point events that included paint scores and sportsmanship. All was well in the kingdom, but there were many that complained "There should be an event that is ONLY about generalship." Then we began seeing posters of Orks rushing headlong into frays of enemies and talk of free 2500 point armies, all you had to do was win!!! The Kingdom rejoiced at the prospect of being an 'Ard Boy.
Now the people rejoice in the loss of 'Ard Boyz because of the 'horrible WAAC players,' that attended or the lack of pretty armies. They cried when it wasn't here and they cry when it is here... it's just as if the community wants what isn't there, no matter what. That said, let's get into my personal feelings on 'Ard Boyz.
All in all I am torn on the subject:
As a player:
I am saddened to see any event go, even if I didn't want to play in it. One thing we have to remember is that every player has 'their hobby,' and we should respect that. My buddy Jon Willingham said it well here (Comments link). To paraphrase...
"...There is a spectrum from Painters to Players. Some people ONLY paint models and never play, but we don’t harass them and call them “painter-fags” or something like that. At the opposite end are people who just want to play the game, they get the ridicule, kind of a double standard. Either way they are enjoying the game in there own ways, which is whats great about 40k, you can enjoy it in some many different ways. This gave them a tournament where they could do that, enjoy the game in there own way..."
I really think that Jon hit the nail on the head,"Different strokes for different folks." So you didn't like 'Ard Boyz? That is ok, don't go. Nobody held a laspistol to your head and forced you to play. Over the last few years I haven't played in 'Ard Boyz because I wanted a tournament that at least encouraged painting and sportsmanship, but I didn't hate on my friends that did play (unless the missed a FOB terrain day because they were playing, lol). 'Ard Boyz also gave us permission to be competitive players more than ever, so thank you for that.
As the Feast of Blades TO:
As sad as I am to see 'Ard Boyz go I am hopeful that Feast of Blades can be a 'new and improved,' qualifier system of stores nation-wide. 'Ard Boyz was the trailblazer in this area and showed us that the system could work, but it also showed us what players really want in a system like this. Hopefully Feast of Blades learned the lessons 'Ard Boyz taught us and will improve to make it something really exciting!
That said, 'Ard Boyz was a direct competitor of format (Qualifiers and finals based on local store champions). As any business usually is, I am happy to take the market share my competitor previously had. Though I do encourage people to attend EVERY event they can, at my heart I of course want the event I put my blood and sweat into to be successful, and in that light I am kind of hopeful that Feast can step-up and be the event that I (and the community) want(s) it to be.
As a business person:
In the past GW has been very reluctant to bring back things that they discontinue. They won't outright banish it from the realm, but it is highly unlikely that 'Ard Boyz will be replaced by something as grand in scope. That is the true loss, we had a national event that we could all rally (positively or negatively) around and now that is gone, with nothing to replace it. The business person in me hopes that they will allocate those resources to the Independent circuit and provide better support there, or that they will make Throne of Skulls to be a better event than it is now, but as been our previous experience it is unlikely. /sad panda.
Well, those are my thoughts. In some ways I am sad to see it go, in others I am happy; but all in all what gets me the most is that it is just one more nail in the coffin of GW stepping away from organizing player events, but who knows, this could be good for the Independent Circuit. Only time will tell.