Hey all, today I have a guest post by Mitch on the amazing and truly unique WaaaghPaca 2019. WaaaghPaca is an annual Warhammer event held in the frozen north of Waupaca, Wisconsin. Its known for its strong emphasis on enjoyment, collegial atmosphere amongst Midwest gaming clubs, and multiple side events (beer pint hold, feats of strength, moustache content). It is probably best summarised by its motto: “We play. We lose. We play again“.
For more WaaaghPaca coverage, check out Chuck Moore’s blog and reports – including his battles with the “worse-than-the-Arctic” weather.
And, as always, check out Dark Fantastic Mills for great 3D printed terrain perfect for wargaming. Its super versatile and light so worldwide shipping is inexpensive. Use the “aos shorts” discount code for a further 10% off the already decent prices.
WaaaghPaca 2019 Overview
Tucked away in the frostbitten cold of the northern Midwest, USA is the town of Waupaca, Wisconsin and a convention that’s brought tabletop gamers gleefully coming back for the last ten years. Waaaghpaca! is a tabletop gaming tournament held at the end of January each year, originally focusing on Warhammer Fantasy Battle and now is solely centered around Age of Sigmar. Paca, as it is known by tournament-goers, brings in both casual gamers and tournament-ready players from all over the region.
The eccentricities of the tournament don’t stop with the remote location. Clubs travel from all directions to compete in team-centric challenges and the spirit of the event thrives off light-hearted competition. This year’s Waaaghpaca featured 60 players competing in a five-game tournament setting, windchill temperatures below -20 degrees, and even a wedding proposal between two attendees.
A well-organized event can make all the difference between players having a disappointing experience and walking out of the event glowing about the weekend regardless of their army’s placement in the standings. Waaaghpaca most certainly falls in the latter category.
For Paca, the event places players having a good time over cut-throat competition, and this is set forward clearly by how the scoring is broken down. First and foremost, you do not need to win all five games to come out on top of the pack. The scoring is broken into quarters: 25% is games won, 25% is attending, 25% painting and the final 25% is sportsmanship.
Soft scores weigh heavily into your final placement at the event, and it is difficult for players to achieve maximum points in both painting and sports categories.
With soft scores such as these weighing so heavily into your final placement at the event, players place more of a premium on having a good time rolling dice than maxing out on competitive point scoring.
Scoring (Team Event)
Leaving out the team aspect of Paca would sorely short change what makes the event something that has become special to those who attend each year. Several Midwest Warhammer clubs traveled to Waaaghpaca to compete together in a separate team event. The scoring for teams begins with a median player score determining initial standings and this year, culminated with the event’s signature beer pint holding competition to determine the champion between the top two clubs. The team with the higher score is allowed a time handicap equal to their score difference – a whopping 36 seconds this year.
Clubs featured over the weekend were the Detroit Warhammers (eventual first place finishers), the Guys from Milwaukee (2nd) as well as Screw City Gamers, Barroom Heroes, Skull Bros and Twisted Troop. Altogether, gaming clubs made up roughly 50% of all tournament attendees and are a large part of why Paca-goers credit the event for having such a friendly atmosphere. As opposed to many gaming events, winning is hardly the spirit of Waaaghpaca.
Most attendees credit the friendly environment and tournament organizer Rodge’s thoughtful and well-executed vision of the event for its continued success and what keeps players coming year after year in harsh winter conditions to Paca. On top of Rodge’s effort, at Paca’s core for its entire existence has been an enigmatic figure known simply as “The Bear,” who, alongside his wife contributes a large portion of the terrain and to the Paca charity raffle to boot. The terrain is always among the top mentioned highlights of Waaaghpaca, and when you see the quality of the two-foot-high dwarven hall or working water wheel feature, it is easy to see why. If that weren’t enough “the Bear” also contributes the tournament’s striking prizes, one year winners took home life size Chaos shields for their efforts. All from scratch and his pure giving nature.
The heart of Paca is perhaps most notably exemplified in the way the congregation brings in players who are unable to attend the event. Regular Paca attendee and founder of the Detroit Warhammer Club, Brad Schwandt (@Rhellion) was memorialized by fellow Waaaghpaca attendees with this image, which presided over the top table all weekend.
Like many others Schwandt was Skyped in for award ceremonies. Others were represented as best as the assembly could muster, like first place winner Ryan Nicol whose stand in was simply a nickel from someone’s pocket change (ED: don’t leave early, unless there is a snowstorm…). Truly, a podium ceremony unlike any other in Warhammer.
Waaghpaca 2019 Awards and Synopsis
Top three placements went to Ryan Nicol and his Khorne army for Best Overall. The Silver Pumpkin (or “The Bridemaids Award”) for Second Place to Donnie Goerlitz running Tzeentch, and Best General (most battle points) to Jake L’Ecuyer with his Legions of Nagash list.
- Best Overall – Ryan Nicol
- Best General – Jake L’Ecuyer
- Silver Pumpkin – Donnie Goerlitz
- Best Appearance – Domus
- Best Sportsman – Broeska
- Best Single Model – Butcher
- Best Objective – Donnie Goerlitz
All in all, Waaaghpaca receives glowing reviews from all involved for its player-first structure, all encompassing location (it helps not to have to leave the hotel venue when it’s below freezing outside), and good-natured play environment.
Next year’s Waaaghpaca plans have already begun and if the last week of January 2020 is free on your calendars, the frigid Wisconsin town of Waupaca would love to have you. Registration starts September 1st, 2019 over at the Waaaghpaca site.