While piecing together our convention calendar last week we were contacted by a handful of shows we missed. We were happy to add the shows to our listing, and encourage readers to take a look still to see if they are aware of a show somewhere we might still be missing.
Anyhow, one of the emails that came in was from Rich Courtney, asking us if we might include a two-day tournament event in Wace, TX that was entering its second year. When I learned the story behind the convention, I knew Bring Your A-Game had to do an interview with Mr. Courtney to help spread the word about his convention, Clash for a Cure.
I feel pretty confident when I say there’s not many, if indeed any, gamers out there who have not been affected directly or a had a close friend or loved one that has faced a difficult or losing fight with cancer. This show is for a great cause and when players win or lose, the real winner is the battle against cancer. Please, get involved. At the end of this interview Mr. Courtney tells how you can be a part of Clash for a Cure, no matter where you live.
Bring Your A-Game: Clash for a Cure is entering its second year. Can you tell us how this convention came about?
Rich Courtney: The Warmachine/Hordes community is very proactive with doing charity work. Over the years I have seen lots of Foodmachine and Breast Cancer Brawls. There are others that have popped up as well. I was looking for a way to put my own personal mark on it due to several in my family having either passed away or suffered from one form or another of cancer. I attended a small event a few years ago and I knew I had found the vehicle I wanted. Clash for a Cure was born.
BYAG: How was the turnout last year? What games were featured?
RC: Last year, I was told by several that getting more than 24-30 in Texas would be almost impossible, especially in Waco Texas. The games that were played were all Warmachine and Hordes from Privateer Press. So, against conventional wisdom, I set my limit at 48. Due to space considerations, towards the end I curbed back to 42. I am glad I did, because even though my venue was a good sized store…it was tight! Definitely a fun time, and I learned quite a bit from the event.
BYAG: You have quite a few sponsors. It seems like having a show for such a great cause probably makes gathering sponsors to you a little easier. Is that true?
RC: You know, I think it does to a certain extent. I think that if you can get your foot in the door, the charity aspect gives you another minute to talk before the door gets slammed. And I say that, because I do have a lot of great sponsors. However, my sponsor list is probably only about a 10 percent success rate, which I am totally ecstatic with! I was able to draw on some of last year’s sponsors again, but I added quite a few new ones. Clash 2011 had about $1,800 in support; Clash 2012 has smashed the $5000 mark!
BYAG: Some of your prizes are professionally painted figures. How did that come about?
RC: Actually, all of the professionally painted models are in a totally different category. One of the big draws to Clash 2011 was the Charity Raffle. I managed to talk a few very talented artists to contribute their time to paint up a model to be used in the Raffle. I think I had maybe 12 different groups of models plus a few hard to get or expensive items in the Raffle last year. Well, this year because of its success, we really wanted to play up that aspect of it. So, at last count, I think we had 25 model entries into the Raffle (plus a few other items) this year. At $2 a ticket…who doesn’t want a chance at something like a professionally painted single model or even an entire army?
BYAG: Tells us a little about each of the tournaments? Why were the games that were chosen picked?
RC: I personally have the typical pedigree of different game systems. I started out with FASA all those years ago with Battletech, then I moved to Games Workshop. I spent quite a bit of time there with several of their games. I was running a LGS, and one of my employees was just bugging me about getting in the starter boxes in for Warmachine from Privateer Press. So, I took the bait…well that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I slowly started diversifying my gaming. I had a guy ask me recently why I turned away from Games Workshop. The answer I gave was that, “It’s not that I dislike the game, I just hit a fork in the road and decided to travel the Privateer Press one. I still look over at the GW one occasionally; I just haven’t seen a reason to go back.”
There are five different Warmachine/Hordes events planned over the weekend. There are two Qualifying events on Saturday which culminate in an overall event on Sunday (all are set at 50 pts using the SR2012 rules) along with a Mangled Metal/Tooth and Claw and Highlander event as well on Sunday. Saturday night also has a 30SS Malifaux event and a 300 pt Dust Warfare Event as well. I added those two because I wanted to start spreading out what Clash for a Cure had in store for people.
BYAG: Your web site mentions Dust Warfare event. Are there plans to grow the show to feature other games?
RC: Absolutely! We did add the Malifaux and Dust Warfare. Slowly we would like to integrate some more systems into Clash.
BYAG: You have Warmachine and Malifaux. How about Dark Age, or the new Soda Pop game coming out in March, Relic Knights? Of course, there’s also the very popular Flames of War.
RC: Dark Age! Oh yeah! Actually Dark Age just doesn’t have a lot of exposure in my local area, but due to one of my sponsors being Cool Mini Or Not, they are sending a couple of guys to do demos on Sunday. I am not opposed to other games, and I would like to include more…but again like I said earlier, it will have to be slowly. We’ll see what is happening when planning starts for next year.
BYAG: Did you approach the American Cancer Association, or vice versa? How has the reception been, this isn’t the typical type of event they have experience with?
RC: You are so right! Actually I contacted them myself. When I did, as you can imagine there was a lot of dead silence on the phone as I could tell they were trying to figure out “What the heck is this guy talking about?” When I told them this year I was going to do it again, I think I can say that they were pleased. I have an awesome local representative that has been super helpful when I needed anything. Hi Megan!
BYAG: Is there anything else about Clash for a Cure we didn’t ask you about you like to add?
RC: First and foremost, I have to thank all of the players from last year. They are what made Clash what it was coming out of the gate. Of course that leaves me with some pretty big shoes to fill this year.
Last year I had an “idea” of what I wanted Clash for a Cure to be, and I ran with it. I had some help, but I pretty much kept things pretty close to my chest when it came to planning and administrative stuff. It was rough, but like I said, I had my “idea” of what I wanted it to be, and I was trying to keep things going exactly that way. All I can say about that is that it was a grueling six months! This year, I have learned from things last year, and I immediately asked a like-minded friend to jump in and be a co-organizer. If it wasn’t for Jimmy Gollihar…I know I couldn’t have done it this year! What was I thinking last year?
Another learning experience was the venue last year. The LGS owner was great, but when I packed in that many people, it was just too small! This year we hopefully fixed that problem by renting out a convention hall at a local hotel. More space, catering provided, strong Wi-Fi signal…. And also scenarios, I attempted to go out on a limb and make my own. There were some than needed a little more play testing obviously, so this year we just kept it to published scenarios.
Along with all of the events this year, we also added “The Cog.” The Cog is a painting competition with several categories in it, and we wanted to do something a little different than most places. We have a few judges with a checklist that will be making a score and limiting entries down to the top four in each category. Then the plans are that we are going to post up the pictures on our Facebook page with a poll. We will leave it up for the entire night Saturday and through most of the day on Sunday. We will then take the number of votes from the poll and add them onto the checklist score to determine a winner. Like I said, it’s a little off the beaten path, but it gives a lot of my Facebook “likes” a chance to be involved, even if they live in New York or California!
Please visit the Facebook page and give us your support! And…vote on some of the painted minis during the tournament!
Mike, thanks so much for the interview!