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Twelve Kingdoms in Twelve Months
Event One: Spring War 12

[03/17/2003] [Michael]

As a brief introduction, I am planning to travel to 12 kingdom or interkingdom events this year hosted by each of the twelve kingdoms in Amtgard. After each visit I will write a brief recap for the Electric Samurai. Going to the events should be fun for me and maybe some consistent reviews will help you figure out which kingdoms really know how to throw a great event.

Event Name: Spring War X
Host Kingdom: Celestial Kingdom
Location: Outside Austin, TX

I knew Spring War would be great. It is after all an event I founded held in the kingdom that I started Amtgard in. From the moment I pulled into the site I had friends to see and fun to have. On Thursday afternoon when I pulled in from the airport, I jumped right in to experience the activities of Spring War. The Royal Rumble battle was sparsely attended (being on Thursday) but it was a fun and quick little game. After that it went to night ditching and fire hopping and no real planned activities. I met lots of people from EH I never knew and got to hang with guys from Annihilus who helped found the kingdom.

The night ditching area was way too small. This was particularly bad because it became the daytime ditching area. Hemmed in by cactus, cars, trees and roads, it could barely hold 40 fighters comfortably. We had way more than that, albeit uncomfortably, most of the time. Also, I want to take time to thank the providers of the lights for the ditch battle. On the first night the lights were at eye level and very hard to stare into so in addition I want to thank Lief of the IM and Everlast and Logan of the EH for getting poles to mount the lights on.

I had a share in a cabin to sleep in and let me tell you that is so much the way to go if you come by plane. I recommend it to everyone. Our cabin was hell and gone from everyone though and that kinda sucked. Stil, everyone I talked to thought the cabins were a huge plus. Showers were sometimes cold but all the amenities of a hotel room were provided without even leaving camp.

Friday’s scheduled activities went off well. I skipped some of the morning fun to go eat massive BBQ with a band of EHers. I came back just short of a food coma and got to run my Olympiad Warm-Up tourney. I admit I was testing the tourney system before Olympiad as well as providing a tournament but I think it came out all right. We had between 50 and 64 fighters in each event. Sir Clalibus of the CK took first place with Weasel of the CK and Sir Logan of the EH tied for second. The tourney went well enough although I think we confused some of the fighters with the system. All in all, the longest part of the process was randomizing and bracketing. Hopefully the use of computers will speed that part up at Rakis.

Next was the spellball-chucking contest. It looked fun from afar and the people I talked to liked it. Friday night was more of the same in terms of fire hopping, making new friends, seeing old friends and having fun. I stayed off the ditch field most of Friday because my elbow has been acting up so someone else will have to speak to the quality of Friday’s ditches but they looked fun. That was the night that the lights went up.

Also Friday night brought Vigus’ knightly vigil. I am from a kingdom that favors surprise in knighting over vigils and planning but I have to say I like vigils a lot. In keeping with Vigus’ own character his vigil was pretty informal but it was nice to hear some other knights come and offer him some advice and it was particularly important to hear what Vigus was thinking about knighthood on the eve of his own belting. After all that I got to sit on the porch of our cabin and drink while shooting the shit. That really made me feel like I was back in Texas.

Saturday had lots of ditching. I decided that since it was the last day of the event for me I would ditch hard and screw my elbow if I had to. I ditched for a couple of hours in the morning and it was great. Then it was time for the war. I watched the War because I wanted to save my health and body. The War was actually pretty fun to watch. The people I talked to who played seemed to be evenly divided between those who loved it and those who liked it OK but found it too complex. Actually archers and pole men seemed to love it and melee fighters seemed to hate it. Still, it seemed pretty cool. The only real negative in the War was the use of equipment that was beyond illegal. The abusers were only a very tiny minority but the equipment was so egregiously dangerous and illegal that it made the whole thing bad. Specifically there were two rotten technologies going on. There were arrows made of a flimsy nerf ball over a shaft with the only hard item other than the shaft being a little nodule of spray foam. Spray foam becomes brittle when it hardens and it provided no protection. Shady took one just below the eye and several other showed small cuts and bruises from those arrows. Also there were spell balls made of sand, rice, and even some weighted with lead shot. Honestly, what kind of psychos would do that crap? Lead shot can’t be an accident in my mind. The reeves handled the problem well, though.

Feast and court were cool. Using the hay bales as festival style seating shows creativity in stretching the budget and in making a great feasting environment. Kudos to the Autocrats on that. The Dragon dance team went a long way toward reminding everyone that Kasuke is a Shogun and not just a king. The feast menu was good though not unbelievable. As usual Brother Stephon stepped up big time. Court was short and to the point with some announcements and the knighting and little else. This is a good thing. The fireworks were a very good touch and I think Vigus deserved them. Honestly the CK still understands that Knighthood should be a big deal. This may be ironic to some since they have a reputation for giving too many belts. I did not like the three-hour separation between feast and court or the fact that court was poorly lighted and impossible to see. Still these are minor things. Saturday night I didn’t do anything but sit around the fire with a pretty girl so I can’t really comment about the event but I liked my part.

Grades (my choice of 8 broad categories)
Site location and air travel friendliness: A (Close to Austin with a major airport and good directions make this a high grade. Lots of amenities nearby.)
Site itself: A- (Very good site with tree cover and cabins. Lack of good fighting space and overall long and stretched nature of the site kept it from being an A+.)
Feast: B+ (Food was not too inspired and the noodles ran out early but the festival seating was very good and the feast entertainment rocked.)
Court: A (Short, sweet, a great knighting, and fireworks. Only the poor lighting kept this from being an A+.)
Ditching: C+ (The actual ditching was great because there were lots of hardcore fighters. However, the space was way too small and the fighters themselves had to fix the lighting problem.)
Battle games: B (The War was great to watch and many participants seemed to enjoy it. The fact that equipment of great danger was out there keeps the grade from being higher.)
Other planned activities: B- (There were several other items on the schedule but they were sparsely attended and unevenly promoted. They were still fun but having less of them and having them better publicized would have been better)
People and attitudes: A (Despite the CK’s reputation as a den of foulness, things went very well and tempers stayed pretty cool. Combined with huge attendance gets this areas a high grade.)

Best Thing
The Bells and Whistles at Spring War X rocked. From the Dragon Dancers to the processional, to the fireworks, the CK set a new standard for look and feel of an event. The rest of Amtgard will need to elevate to keep up.

Worst thing
The dangerous equipment in the war. While there is little the Reeves and Autocrats could have done to fix this but it was the worst thing to my mind.

Next event: WL Midreign

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