Monday, July 28, 2014

30 Days to NOVA #5

Have you registered yet? WHY NOT?

Have you finished all the things you have to do to get ready for the biggest and bestest NOVA Open yet, Mike? WHY NOT?

There's a million things to do for us getting ready, and a million things for you to do in registering (PS did you know all swag bags get a pint glass this year?!)

 - 40K GT -- bigger and better than ever, sweet missions, awesome swag, custom-designed pairing processes to give you better, more fun games
 - DC Narrative -- More attendees than ever before, one of the most innovative, unique 40K events on the planet
 - 40K Trios -- Half Unbound, Half AdeptiTeam reminiscent, all awesome ... and on Thursday before the main events start!

 - 40 Seminars ... I mean, every subject under the sun, at all times on the schedule
 - Charity Lounge ... low price awesome high craft cocktails and craft beer all weekend along with major guests face to face, all in support of charity
 - Vendor Hall ... more vendors than before, carefully selected to offer a really comprehensive vending experience with great deals and awesome stock
 - Frontline Gaming Mats for sale ahead of time via the NOVA Open Store, save close to 20% by not having to pay shipping, and pick them up from Reece and the boys at NOVA
 - Corvus Belli special guest Gutier on site! Awesome seminars and world first reveals that you won't hear at GenCon
 - Malifaux's two lead designers - Mack Martin and Justin Gibbs - both on site! Awesome seminars with insights into how the game was designed. Also, we'll have some things you can ONLY find earlier at GenCon from the Wyrd booth proper!

 - Fantasy HEAVILY Revised and greatly improved, from terrain and guidebook to leadership and structure. Also, already sold out past 32 and racing to 64 again!

 - Warmachine/Hordes is a Warmachine Weekend Qualifier, and the schedule is more awesome than before ... with the event already crushing past sales records and nearly sold out for the second time on Full Warmachine All Passes

 - Blood Bowl night and day events, apparently to be attended by a gaggle of gamers form our very own home state capital to boot

 - X-Wing all weekend long, with the 501st in attendance!

I mean, there's just a lot ... I'm missing 50% at least of all the awesome going on

Plus, in addition to the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation armies being raffled to the global community of gamers, a compassionate force that's raising huge quantities of money with raffle sales (go spend $10 if you haven't, give back a little, you can do without that one blister pack for a week ... help out the Docs Without Borders who are busy risking Ebola infection and/or worse in the places worldwide we ourselves won't or don't go), there will also be a TON of one-off items for silent auction, ranging from radical dragons to entire Battlefleet Gothic fleets. You won't want to miss these at the Con.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Your Way 40k" @ NOVA - Constructed, Battle-Forged, Unbound

Quick series of little primers and reminders:

The GT/Invitational for 40K this year use, in brief, army constructed guidelines of a single CAD and another Detachment of choice, with self-allying permitted to account for the limit.

The Narrative event (Which you can do as a full 7-game GT level event or just 4 night games in conjunction with the GT or other day activities) uses Battle-Forged Army Construction, w/ Forgeworld legal, and almost all the Lords of War legal (list forthcoming).

The Trios event's singles games uses fully open army construction, inclusive of Unbound and all Forgeworld / Lords of War, and also can be done in conjunction with either the Narrative and/or the GT.

SO ... the long and short is ... there's something for almost every preference of 40K player from the present environment as folks adjust to what they like best about 7th Edition.

FYI also - there are only a handful of spots left in the Narrative full-7-game event (Warlords track), and the GT is continuing to wane in terms of spots available.

 - Mike

Updated Stuff Coming Soon

Hey all,

We're crashing hard on a variety of fronts for NOVA deadlines to get our guidebooks out and other things. There've been some questions and there's been some confusion regarding the final packet, army construction rules, etc., and we'll have a clear and polished doc ready with all comprehensive information shortly.

 - Mike

In the meantime, check out all the crazy good stuff going on at the NOVA Foundation, and drop a $10 spot for causes greater than any individual problem of our own ...

http://novaopenfoundation.org/


Thursday, July 17, 2014

NOVA Open "Final" Terrain Day Call-Out - Sunday, July 27

Hello All,

The 5th Annual NOVA Open is fast approaching, and we're closing in on the final stretches of what's been an incredible terrain sprint this year.

We've innovated, cut, assembled, primed, and mostly airbrushed more than 1,500 pieces of terrain, more than 100 tables, and a whole lot more this year, and the final few days are upon us.

The NOVA Open's staff surges as high as nearly 100 unique individuals over the course of the year, but not everyone can make every build. Regardless of the # of our regular staff that show up on Sunday, July 27, for a terrain build, we need all willing hands on deck to polish and finalize every single terrain piece left at varying states of completion.

This is where ya'll come in!

What - "Final" NOVA Open Terrain Day for 2014
When - July 27, 9:30AM - 4:30PM (come for all or a portion as you are able)
Where - 9033 Westerholme Way, Vienna, VA 22182; Park only on the 9033 side of the street, but there's tons and tons of street parking - it's a lovely residential neighborhood, at the home I grew up in ... NOVA HQ
Who - You and a bunch of the NOVA Open staff, including some really cool people like Neil Gilstrap of the 11th Company Podcast

What you get - 

  • Free food (and I mean GOOD food, not peanut butter sandwhiches and chips), including Breakfast and Lunch
  • Free beverages (and I mean GOOD beverages), including a huge variety of craft beer, and a near-endless supply of bottled water
  • A really nice pool available to any family or kids who you need to bring along in order to get a hall pass (Food and beverages for them as well, as long as you include them in the RSVP).
  • Terrain lessons in a B.D.H. - While the focus of this build will be on flocking, drybrushing, and finalizing, it's a great opportunity to learn some nuances about how to quickly work with an airbrush, how to design award-winning terrain on a budget, and more
  • Oodles of wargaming chatter - Not only do you get to meet new friends and have a great time, you get to pick the brain of some of the best local players, painters, and more on whatever subject suits you
  • A firsthand sneak peak at some of the awesome prizes, swag, terrain, and more that you'll see at the NOVA Open this year. If you're good, I'll even share you a point blank up close and personal look of the incredible NOVA Open Charitable Foundation armies present at HQ right now!
  • A heartfelt dose of appreciation from the staff of the NOVA Open, and from me very personally; it's difficult to budget time and days to finish up terrain, and I can't tell you the countless hours our staff puts into running this event year after year ... we're running out of weekends, and really need all local hands on deck to wrap things up.


......


SO, if you will attend, I thank you. I'd also appreciate you posting here and/or e-mailing me at mvbrandt@gmail.com that you'll be able to make it.

IT's not often (actually it's almost never) that I make a call out like this, but we have more terrain this year than ANY YEAR BEFORE (I have no idea how this happened), and I want to make sure we have enough hands to put the proper polish on every last bit of it. IT's all primed, it's all built, it's all ready for the final steps, and all but one of the dozens of boxes of it are already airbrushed, but one big terrain day with the heart of the DC Area's wargaming population lending a hand will make for light work to many hands and a really fantastic, social, party-like time (which the atmosphere always is!).

Thank you, in advance,
 - Mike

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Charity Raffle Tickets - You Need Them - Check This Freakin' Awesome Video

So, why haven't you bought some raffle tickets for charity to try and win the Battle for Macragge - Blood and Honor Ultramarine/Knight army?

Because IT'S AWESOME

Also, the entire army comes in a custom, one-of-a-kind KR Multicase
Also, the entire army is based on one-of-a-kind bases (which you can get more of just for this army from Secret Weapon Miniatures, who also provided the awesome snow effects)
Also, the army is a ton of models painted by a collaboration of artists from all over the world

Also, there's a Tyranid force of equal epic value to match it

Go to the Vimeo link for high def
(Video and editing courtsey of http://www.ethanhansenphoto.com/)

http://vimeo.com/100257819

video


Go here, spend $10 on raffle tix, get a chance to win an awesome army and contribute to the cause of helping doctors all over the world provide health care to children and refugees ... win/win

Seriously, I want to see 400 follower names on the next report comin' out of the foundation! If you each spend just $10, the followers of this blog alone could make a $3,500 difference!

Also, please share this post and repeat it on all your own blogs, no matter how small. It really can matter ... gamers have tons of disposable income that we waste on all kinds of BS ... which is what inspired me to spend all these years building up the reach of NOVA to try and raise some good money for good causes. That's the whole darn point of the thousands of hours volunteers have put in over the years. Lend a hand ... take 5 minutes ... and hey, you could win something super epic.

PLEASE NOTE - YOU DON'T NEED TO GO TO NOVA TO WIN THIS. WE SENT ONE OF LAST YEAR'S ARMIES ALL THE WAY TO THE WINNER IN TASMANIA!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Outdoor Charity Tournament Redux - Interest Gauge - July 19

Quick gauge on interest - e-mail me (or post here) at mvbrandt@gmail.com

Charity outdoor barbecue tournament redux on July 19, same location as last year.

For those who are new followers, we hosted a NOVA prep tourney with an Invitational ticket attached, raising money for the good causes supported by the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation (501c(3)). Ticket price was a donation to charity, and included burger/dog/2xWater/2xBeerOrSoda, with additional beer, soda, and water purchasable on-site. It happened with music and a really fun time in a gorgeous area, with canopies over the tables to help with the sun.

We'd have a strict limit of 30 spots, and only radical awesome folks allowed :-)

We're working to ramp this up and execute, but please let me know in some capacity if you'd be down. It's a great way to raise money for charity, have a really fun time, and get ready for the NOVA!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Updated Draft Missions, Updated Draft FAQ, and an AWESOME DEAL on Gaming Mats

So some really cool news, first off:

If you go here -
http://register.novaopen2014.com/add-ons/

You'll find you can pre-purchase Frontline Gaming Mega Mats for pick-up at the NOVA Open.

These are for pre-purchase only; we won't offer any for sale at the show proper. The sale ends on August 17. It is a sweet deal for one big reason - no shipping. Reece and Co will be bringing the mats with them to the NOVA. Furthermore, we're working out a % of profit to donate to the charities supported by the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation.

By not paying shipping, you save literally 15-20% per mat, depending on whether you want a 6x4 or 4x4. All the various patterns they have are available, selectable during the check-out process.


This is a cobblestone Mega Mat in use testing out the layout of our Malifaux Cobblestone/"Urban" board layout for the Malifaux events at the NOVA Open this year.

These things are super rad, and acquiring them does a few things - saves you money vs. ordering them direct due to shipping (shipping is $17 per mat), helps the NOVA Open out a bit, and helps out charity a bit. Plus, you know, you get a sweet gaming surface to play on.

To the meat of things, as promised, our draft missions and FAQ by July 1!

The Draft Missions:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XJ20WB96DzRE635aokDX3XbhOHzw4Xt0UobUZ5j56JM/pub

There are some tweaks and things that need to be made that have been caught already. Playtest, provide feedback, help us catch little draft edits, and get yourself ready for the NOVA Open. The Indie Mission Catalog incorporates many of the game-play effects and concepts behind both the Eternal War and Maelstrom Missions while putting game control back in player hands and allowing more flexibility in army list construction by letting missions be semi-tailorable to your particular army strengths. By not having to play a fixed mission that may or may not be terrible for your particular army, the game is less dependent on match-up and less dependent on trying to net-list your way to that perfect army for all the missions at an event. Instead, build and optimize the list YOU want to play, and then tweak your mission choices to suit your capabilities (while knowing your opponent will be doing the same!). Instead of having to take down the dreaded 2+ Re-Roll stars on their own terms, you compete to see if your army can accomplish its terms better than they can accomplish theirs.

The Draft FAQ is out, and also has some edits that are already being caught as far as carry-over rules tweaks and what-not; please provide your feedback and discussion here as well!
https://docs.google.com/document/d/13mcnnnPW_nDoAKsWMDOQVnUi3hIizsVrNzppGggzEVs/pub

Finally, just a source of pride, we started finishing our Malifaux boards. Here's our December Board layout. Malifaux at NOVA has room for 54 players, and is being attended by Justin Gibbs and Mack Martin - the two guys who wrote the game. Talk about a high caliber rules judge to reference ;) ... furthermore, they've both been involved in looking over and a-ok'ing the terrain layouts we've built, to the point that I think the word "Amazing" came up from Justin :)

Come play some of this amazing game (it really is, the only other game I'm hooked on after 40k!) and hang out with the very creators (plus players from as far away as Australia already!) at NOVA this year. There'll be sweet swag as well, stuff that you can normally only get at GENCON from Wyrd!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

FAQ, Updated Mission Catalog, Further Lords of War Considerations

So still pondering a restricted Lords of War allowance, as I think GW is going to continue to push them on us regardless (i.e., nerfing Ghazkull yet still making him a Lord of War).

I hope it is something we can all understand is meant to push Lords of War, but they are the designers of the game, and it's their game we play. Recognize that due to the bonus points due to wounds dealt / steal the initiative bonus for facing Lords of War, and the fact he lost an invul and gained ... nothing (he already had Eternal Warrior, for those who erroneously posted initial reactions commenting that he gained it), Ghazkull is substantially worse than he was before (and he was already a poor choice).

So taking a model, nerfing it, and making it a Lord of War, is sort of silly.

Regardless, the notion of allowing at least some Lords of War has been nagging at us, and we're still considering it.

We're working hard on the draft FAQ. We're also working hard to finalize the revised mission catalog ... updates to the missions in short-hand change notes ....

Mission #1 - Deployment Zone objectives only accumulate points (in the accumulation choice) on turns 3-5. Other objectives accumulate 2-6. There are now 6 objectives, in a hexagonal shape (2 in dep zones 24" in from short edges, 2 in midfield 12" in from short edges).

Mission #2 - Major changes; 5 objectives in play; center of table and center of each quarter. Center objective is the Relic. Goal 1 - Relic is now worth 5 points if held at end of the game, each objective is worth 2 points, max of 9 points as usual for the primary. Goal 2 - Points accumulation as per Mission #1, except the Relic (which, if you choose Goal 2, you cannot move) is worth 2 points/turn accumulated instead of 1. Still cannot accumulate homefield objectives except for Turns 3-5.

Mission #3 - Simplified wording of MKP, roughly the same mission; should be much easier to read and play.

Mission #4 - No major changes, aligned with others for the revised catalog to address "All score" / etc.

Mission #5 - Major changes for simplification and quality. Goal 1 - Points Superiority table quarters at end game; objective secured units are always worth full points.Units must be able to Score to count (thus no zooming / swooping / etc.). Goal 2 - Control Markers your units place down in table quarters, maxing at 2 per quarter.

We've also added a lot of language to make it easier to understand Mission #5, and make it much clearer how to play.

These will be updated ASAP. We are working hard and burning the midnight oil to get all this stuff codified and published for the July 1 newsletter; if for any reason that's delayed, we'll release a news splash very shortly thereafter.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Maelstrom Missions are Good and Bad

This should be a somewhat shorter post than normal.

So Maelstrom Missions add a couple of things to the game that are generally good, but they execute it in a way that is generally not so hot, at least in this gamer's opinion (after all, this IS a blog!).

Progressive / mid-game scoring requirements are good. They require you to proactively solve problems on the board throughout the game, instead of focusing on simply structuring late-game grabs. This diversifies list design in a positive way.

Additionally, this encourages engagement and CAN (if executed correctly) broaden the value of more units ... after all, if the game is something other than "camp wherever you need with super unit, then snag late with hidden throwaways" that's probably a good thing for those units that don't fill one of those two categories.

Several folks have been modifying Maelstrom also in some basic ways to get rid of the rando d3 value components, and to allow for immediate discard of impossible objectives, etc. etc. This helps as well.

BUT it's not all good, unfortunately ...
Where I struggle with Maelstrom, both conceptually and from having played with them, is that they turn the "Maelstrom" component of the game into the picture that started this article.

They basically give you an assignment, and tell you to go accomplish it as efficiently as you possibly can, so as to continue drawing new assignments. It's like power questing in MMOs, written into 40K. There's a certain element of flexibility required in accomplishing them, and you need to optimize your list for the many variables for accomplishment that are involved. That said, it doesn't make accomplishing them a tactically or strategically meaningful accomplishment. At least personally, I find it diminishes the feel of the game when the game itself says "immediately go do this thing, right now."

Let's compare this to a situation where you have multiple fashions in which to progressively score points during a game (i.e., objectives across the board are worth points if held). In a situation like that, the game is still telling you "collect points during play!" but it is not telling you "collect points during play by going to this exact coordinate on the board as quickly as you can."

To help draw the comparison, imagine if instead of Kill Points or Points Destroyed, you randomized your opponent's army into #'s based upon each unit, wrote those numbers sequentially on a deck, shuffled it, and then drew randomly from the top. You would only gain points by killing the current kill-assignment. Now, instead of figuring out the target priority and risks that will best win you the game, you literally just do what the cards tell you in each and every moment. It's like the game of 40k is playing your models for you.

The difference is perhaps subtle, but it's enormous. In the case of Maelstrom, the game is basically telling you what your tactics and strategy are. In the case of more player-choice progressive scoring, you're selecting from the myriad of possible strategic courses which one you think will best accomplish a net win in the end. Both approaches impact list design in very similar ways, and both of them are better than a simple "grab points at the end and who cares what you do until then" environment. By being random, specific, and force-targeted, however, Maelstrom still pales next to the gaming situation created by more player-choice multi-route progressive-scoring mission design.

So we're halfway there. We'll see if we can't get all the way there while echoing some of the soul of the Maelstrom with our heavily revised mission packet, due out by July 1 along with the FAQ.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

GT-Level Organized Play Army Construction Guidelines for Early 7th Edition - Joint NOVA Open / Bay Area Open Format Announcement


The NOVA Open (NOVA) and the Bay Area Open (BAO) spent the past several weeks in close communication over the challenges and nuances of how to structure Organized Play army list constructionin the setting of a newly-released 7th Edition (7th) of Warhammer 40,000 (40K). This article was jointly written by Mike Brandt and Reece Robbins – heads of the NOVA and BAO respectively.