Interview with a Chapter Master
One of the taglines of the DDM Guild is community-driven. We couldn’t do it without the help of all those volunteers who love the game. Sometimes that work has gone unnoticed, but that is going to change. We’re going to do some interviews with various DDM Guild members. We’re going to start off with Manuel “Manny” Dennis, one of the top DDM skirmish players and DDM Guild Chapter Master for the greater New Orleans area.
DDM Guild: When did you start playing D&D Miniatures?
Manny: First, thank you and I am pleased to be selected as the first DDM Guild Chapter Master to be interviewed by the DDM Guild. I started playing D&D Miniatures Skirmish in tournaments in early 2004. Most of the tournaments were unsanctioned until about June 2004. Since then I have helped organize and participated in almost 400 tournaments.
Wow, that’s a lot! Why did you start playing the D&D miniatures skirmish game back in 2004?
I began using D&D Miniatures at a game convention in 2004 for the RPG. I had been playing D&D since 1978, but I really liked using the miniatures and tiles. I started looking around the Internet and gradually started collecting through eBay or other stores. I started with at least one of each of the first 4 sets, eventually trading online and then locally with new players.
Eventually we wanted to use the miniatures for other purposes so we looked into the skirmish game. It was a new game and most of the people at the stores in the area didn’t know about it, but we found enough players. At first I always borrowed warbands and typically lost, until I started building my own warbands. After a while I started teaching the game and lending my warbands out to players. I recall one time where I brought 12 warbands to a tournament and I let everyone pick before I was left with the last warband in the box. I didn’t win that day, but it was a very successful tournament.
That does sound like a good tournament. Where do you usually play D&D miniatures?
I typically play in the Greater New Orleans area, but I drive to many DDM tournaments within a two-hour radius. We currently have between 4 and 10 players at weekly tournaments at Galactic Goods in Kenner, LA, but our potential player base is much larger.
Can you tell us a little bit about your life as a DDM Guild Chapter Master.
I applied for Gulf Coast area DDM Guild Chapter Master in December 2008. As Chapter Master I have helped organize DDM tournaments in about a dozen stores or at numerous local gaming conventions. I have had players attend tournaments from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. In fact, our Constructed Qualifier in 2009 was the largest in the US with 12 players participating. This year I hope to have even more players attend the qualifier on June 12.
I typically like to play, but as Chapter Master I am often tasked with being the judge or tournament organizer. During tournaments I bring and provide over 50 laminated maps for players to use. I usually bring extra warbands, dice, strings, markers, and sleeves. In addition, I often provide miniatures from my grab bag as prizes when stores can’t afford them. I encourage players to try new warbands and try to teach players after matches to better utilize their individual pieces and to look for synergies.
I currently run a monthly triple DDM tournament event at the Gulf Coast Gamers Club in Gautier, MS. We typically hold a 200 point standard, 200 point sealed limited, and finish up with a 500 point or 100 point standard assault tournament. Also, I try to work with as many local stores as possible to provide prizes and encourage them to support local gaming conventions.
Finally, I try to participate in discussion threads when I can on Hordelings, Maxminis, and on Wizards of the Coast as “md3”. I also visit and promote the use of multiple sites such as D&D Shoebox, DDM Spoilers, and the DDM Guild website.
Can you tell us about some of your great D&D Miniatures achievements/moments?
I have played in over 200 tournaments and in something over 600 skirmish games. I am ranked 1st in all DDM formats in Louisiana and 2nd worldwide, as you can see on my DCI rankings page.
For a short time (2007 – 2008) I was a Wizards delegate for D&D Miniatures. During that time I ran 50+ four hour demos (skirmish and RPG) and gave away over 500 D&D Miniature boosters from Wizards of the Coast as prize support or delegate program demo support.
One of my proudest achievements was, after hurricane Katrina, organizing a DDM support program to get fellow gamers to donate extra miniatures to some of the unfortunate local players who lost cards and miniatures as a result of flooding in the Gulf Coast area. We provided miniatures to about six members of our local gaming group who experienced losses from hurricane Katrina.
Can you tell us about your favorite warband / faction / or pieces you like to play?
I don’t really run the same warband more than once or twice at events, as I enjoy building warbands with great synergy and trying them out. I especially like lending powerful warbands to new players and seeing them finish a tournament undefeated or even with one loss. I do not have any pieces that are my favorites, but I really like the Skullcleave Warrior and the Demonic Gnoll Archer. I don’t really have a preferred faction, but as I said I really like building warbands with great synergy. And as for maps, I really don’t have a favorite map because we often play with random maps to level the playing field; yes sometimes you get a good map, other times you get a bad map.
I completely understand… Let me rephrase that question: What warband would you run at your local qualifier (if you had to choose now)?
If I were able to play in the LA Qualifier, here is the warband I would use. Either way I will build this warband and most likely lend it to someone at the Qualifier.
Demonic Gnoll Archer x3, Demonic Gnoll Priestess x1, Gnoll Marauder x2, Wild Elf Warsinger x1, Gnoll Archer x1, 200 Points, 8 Acts, Champ 0, Wild, Evil
Are you going to try to attend GenCon this year?
I have never had the opportunity to visit GenCon although one year I came real close to attending. I have no plans to attend this year as it is really at a bad time of the year for me.
Thank you for taking the time to provide us with all this wonderful information Manny. It is fantastic to see a DDM Guild chapter growing and thriving in the face of adversity (i.e. Katrina). Likewise, all of the hard work you are putting in is paying off and your Chapter is doing well. You are a great asset to the DDM Guild and we look forward to many more years of Chapter leadership from you. Good luck with your Qualifier this year and in future tournaments. May you roll a 20 when needed.
Do you have someone who you think we can interview in the future? Let us know!