For the past couple of weeks I've hit up Game Kastle in Santa Clara on Thursday night. There seemed to be some interest in WFB on their forum now that the new edition was out. The first time I went, I was hoping to bump into someone who was looking for a game. It turned out that finding a person wasn't the problem, but finding an open table was. There were three different WFB games going on and a couple of games of 40k and a few other people hanging out that would have played if there was room. I didn't get to play that night, but for what I consider a great reason. I'll take 'we didn't reserve enough tables' over 'there's no one to play with' any day.
This past Thursday I set up a game in advance and we made sure to up the number of tables reserved for WFB. I played against a very nicely painted High Elf army at 1500 points. After this one experience, I feel like Game Kastle is going to work out nicely. The game room is a bit cramped, but that didn't bother me so much. I kind of like the crowded 'club house' feel. The people seemed pretty cool. The store itself has a couple of very nice advantages. First, terrain. There is a huge collection of pretty decent terrain available to everyone. And when I say huge, I mean there were ... I think 5 games going on and there was at least enough terrain for another 5 tables. And not just forests and foam hills. They have a nice variety of buildings, obstacles, monuments, etc. The second big advantage is that the gaming area is a separate room from the store, with it's own external door. That means that when it's time for the store to close.... wait for it.... they close the store and let the gamers keep playing. Apparently they trust their community enough to let the gamers clean up the area when they are done and lock up behind themselves. This is a big deal in my opinion. You don't have to worry about rushing out of work and fighting traffic so you can get your game in and over with before 9 pm.
The actual game itself was good. We were both still getting our heads around the new rules, so there were some occasional pauses to look things up, but I think we did everything pretty close to right. I would have won the game except for two things. First, I brought an Assassin built to kill characters (Killing Blow) instead of to kill monsters (Manbane) and he ended up in combat with a Dragon. Even needing 6's to wound, he still managed to put a wound on the Dragon. With Manbane for poison he would have ripped it apart easily since it was already down a couple of wounds from shooting. Second, my Hydra had his level 3 caster / general in one-on-one combat after breathing on and killing the remainder of his bodyguard unit the previous turn .... but didn't kill him. The mage has cast a couple of buffs on himself, one that caused any enemy unit in base contact to take 2d6 strength 4 hits at the end of every magic phase and another buff that raised the first buff to strength 6. I had forgotten about those and didn't dispell them during my magic phase. So, just as the Hydra's many heads were about to start arguing over which of them got to eat the tenderest bits of the mage, it took more than enough strength 6 hits to kill it and I managed to only save 1. Instead of a dead enemy general I had a dead Hydra. Those two things swung the game in his favor, but they happened late in the game and it was still a good time.
There is now some discussion of trying to do an escalation league at Game Kastle as well. I should check back by Legends and see how their plans are coming along....