The Modano Quandary

Mike Modano's future in hockey has taken a new turn with reported comments in the last week, and created what local sports enthusiasts are calling 'the Modano Quandary' for his lifelong team, the Dallas Stars.

Let me help clarify. There is no 'quandary.' There's options 1a or 1b, which are unfortunately mutually exclusive due to NHL rules but which either one offers some positives going forward; there's option 2 which will be initially disappointing but is Mike's call and will be just fine, down the line; and there is *any other effing thing*, all of which will make the Stars, manager Joe Niuwendyk, coach Mark Crawford, owner Tom Hicks and anyone else associated with it irremediably hated men in North Texas. For life. Figure that on struggling ticket sales, Stars management.

Option 1a is, Mike decides to play for the Stars another year, affording him and his fans a farewell-tour year something like those final two storybook games of last year's otherwise disappointing season.

Option 1b is, Mike becomes part of a new ownership team of the Stars (which has the ancillary enormous benefit of seeing off the horrific blight upon North Texas that is the Hicks Sports Group).

Option 2 is, Mike retires. We who believe (unlike some other sports icons like the often-compared Emmit Smith) that Mike has proven he can still play as a contributing 3rd or 4th line center, will be saddened...but last year ended so magically for him, and us, and we know he will become a future enormous part of the franchise going forward if it ends happily like this, so we can live with it.

Any other option--and we. will. hate. the. Stars. He goes to another team and plays, and some part of our relationship with Mike will be damaged, as well--but Mike won't be paying for it in lost revenue and ticket sales and skate fees at StarCenters and whatever else.

A Stars team minus Modano, and Marty Turco, and maybe Jere Lehtinen, had better win quickly because the remaining other draws are known for their appeal mostly only to we hockey faithful who are coming anyway. They *cannot* afford to actively piss off the fanbase.

Mike wants to play, we want him back. In black, green and gold. Period.

Screw this up at your *enormous* peril, Stars.


FFG's Free RPG Day offering was 'Final Sanction,' debuting the next (and most anticipated) offering in their 40K roleplaying line, Deathwatch (allowing play as Space Marines, finally). Though I missed getting by my local game stockist for the day because of Astronomi-Con Dallas (a trade I will happily make any day), I've finally gotten to pick through a friend's copy of 'Final Sanction,' and I like it. The system mechanics are what they are (I am not especially a fan, having dealt already with these rules via Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader), but like those previous offerings the art and production values are up to GW standard, as (most importantly) is the embrace of the Intellectual Property: this *feels* like the 40Kverse.

Using the Deathwatch as an rpg paradigm is an outstanding way to get Space Marines into play (and should allow easy cross-integration with RT and especially DH); the only thing I noticed is that the module clearly genericizes the Deathwatch into servants of any and all Ordos of the Inquisition (rather than the pure alien hunters they've always been). Wonder if this presages any changes for 40K, come the new Inquisition codex?

'Final Sanction' has me jazzed to run a session of Space Marine role-playing; if anyone has a friendly gaming store with a copy left, please let me know (and you get dibs on the first slot in the Kill Team!).

Thank You, Astro Dallas Sponsors

The inaugural Astronomi-Con Dallas would not have been the runaway success it was without:

  • HobbytownUSA Dallas: HTUD donated the table and city ruins for 'Urban Sprawl,' and were the *only* North Texas retailer to take advantage of Astro's unique sponsor a player' program of sending one of their staff 40K experts to participate; anyone who got to play Jeff and his Howling Griffons space marines, thank HTUD! The Post-Astro Apocalypse Megabattle reward for Astro attendees will also be hosted by HTUD, as will the summer-long North Texas 40K Playoffs, beginning with Bracket One this Sunday!
  • Reaper: In addition to prizes, Reaper gave *every* Astro Dallas participant a limited-edition three-pack of their quality paints (I used one of their blues as an accent colour for my Iron Hands to make them notably different from Ultras or Crimson Fists in traditional Citadel blues, and I think it worked nicely). We are fortunate to have Reaper as so supportive a North Texas-local manufacturer.
  • Warlord Games: The full-colour box set of multipart plastic Roman Legion and limited resin Testudo formation donated by Warlord as prize support were admired all weekend; if such quality 28mm historical gaming pieces are something you would like to add to your miniatures-wargaming hobby, let your local retailer know: they will gladly stock what you will buy!
  • Battlefront: Manufacturers of the great Flames of War WWII game, Battlefront contributed the terrain which became 'Truck Stop' and free posters which were eagerly snapped up by Astro Dallas attendees. If you would like to play Flames of War, let your local retailer know!
  • Gale Force 9: GF9 is already wellknown in the hobby for their lines of game accessories and assembly/painting/basing product; they've now added top-quality pre-painted terrain, which covered the GF9-sponsored, classic-Astro 'Sink The Baneblade!' table.
  • Adeptus North Texas provided pre-Astro Dallas promotion, including run-up events, and prizes for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40K to reinforce it's role as a central clearing house for information regarding all aspects of the Games Workshop hobby in North Texas, as well as the awesome Cybo-Skull accessory and a free ticket toward winning it for the first 25 Astro registerees; if your hobby friends are not on the Adeptus emailing list, get them hooked up for the latest locally.
  • Games Workshop: In addition to a wealth of coveted prize support product (including rare Forge World kit!), GW contributed tickets to GamesDay, the premiere celebration of the Hobby, and by making the Astro circuit part of the official Indy GT lineup, admission to two finishers for next year's tourney final in Las Vegas!
  • The Gamers Realm: In addition to their regular beautiful tables and plentiful terrain, TGR built tables exclusively to debut at Astro Dallas, provided prize support, and most importantly, *made* Astro Dallas happen by hosting the event and doing all the ferrying and logistic duty such an undertaking required. Matt, Jack and the TGR staff, there aren't sufficient thanks; hopefully, current and future purchases from TGR will convey the community's appreciation.

To all 38 players who came out--you've proven yourselves hobby champions. Though we drew from extremities of North Texas--west beyond Ft Worth and east as far as Tyler--in the end, Astro Dallas was an *all North Texas* event. That should send a message to GW about how ready the Metroplex is for future major organized hobby celebrations (GamesDay Dallas, anyone)...and bodes well for the attendance at future Astro Dallases, once attendees begin coming in from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Lubbock and out-of-state--including, perhaps especially, the great veteran gaming community of other Astronomi-Cons. If Astro Dallas 1 was the first Astro to ever turn profit in it's inaugural iteration, the sky's the limit, going forward--thanks to the support of and confidence in it, sight-unseen, by this community.

And, most importantly, thanks to Christian Augst, Mike Major and (labouring behind the scenes and across the border--this time) Keith Grant, for the best time it is possible to have playing 40K.

Watch for information on how to participate in the circuit's remaining 2010 tournaments in Winnipeg and Vancouver, Canada (you *know* you want to) and for word on the latest hobby activities in North Texas...and on Astronomi-Con Dallas 2011!