Friday, December 19, 2014

NOVA 2015 at an Early Glance
2015 sees the 6th Annual NOVA Open in Washington, DC.

Held in Crystal City, next to Washington Reagan National Airport and on the DC Metro Rail, the NOVA Open consists of four fantastic days of gaming, shopping, seminars, and miniature figure art at one of the United States' largest tabletop wargaming conventions.

What began as a large pair of 40K and Fantasy tournaments in 2010 has blossomed into a diverse, genre-wide event with an increasing emphasis on charity, hobby, fun, and fair play with international attendance across numerous organized play and hobby-centric event formats and offerings.

Registration opens on February 1, and our newsletter (chock full of information!) goes out on the 1st and 15th of every month. If you'd like to receive the most up-to-date information on the NOVA Open, sign up for the newsletter by e-mailing

Here's the early [sorta] quick and dirty on an event by event basis ... keep in mind this is by no means comprehensive:
*Please note - as of 12/17, our Website is under revision to update in preparation for 2015. Most information on the site includes primers, info, schedules, etc., from the 2014 event. This can be useful in planning your 2015 slate of activities, but should not be considered final or indicative of precisely how 2015 will occur.

The NOVA Open 2014 hosted 33 distinct seminars, with more slated for 2015 and beginning on Thursday of the convention (9/3). These range from free "lounge talks" hosted in the Charitable Foundation's Bar & Lounge to designer/developer talks (i.e., Justin Gibbs of Wyrd Miniatures, who designed Malifaux ... or Gutier Losquinos of Corvus Belli) to art/hobby lectures and instructional seminars. We are proud to note that 2014's highly acclaimed instructors will be back, such as Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures and Caleb Wissenback. We are also extremely excited to be joined in 2015 by Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca of Massive Voodoo, who will teach a large # of seminars over the course of the weekend.

Warhammer 40,000
The NOVA Open, over the years, has been an influential and high-profile event in terms of its impact on the tournament world of Warhammer 40,000. This stems from a desire, year after year, to apply reasoned modifications to our formats in order to present the most fun, fair opportunities possible for attendees of all interest and skill levels to find their fit within a combined attendance of nearly 300 40K players. The highlight of our 40K offerings is our 256-slot Grand Tournament, held over 8 rounds (with free option to drop after 6 built into both the format and schedule) from Friday through Sunday. This 1850-point tournament innovatively combines several "styles" of 40K event (Win-Loss, Battle Point, and Overall / "Classic" GT Soft Score Heavy) in parallel tracks within the one large tournament to allow players of all skill and style to fairly compete for awards, recognition, and fun [b]deep[/b] into the tournament, rather than just until their first loss or if they failed to accrue large enough victories. Players are even bracketed out into sub-brackets composed of their competitive peers after Round 4, locking players into peer-levels who've experienced a similar beginning to the tournament experience in pursuit of facing similar list styles, playstyles, and attitudes.

While the GT was originally our "big" 40K event, it is now rivaled by something altogether unique within the 40K Organized Event world - the Narrative. Most places you go, Narratives consist of hackneyed storyboards of "one more forgeworld or hive city" that secretly harbors an artefact of incredible significance to every race, while conveniently being right in the path of the nearest handy Hive Fleet, all happening above a newly-awakening Necron tomb complex, and ... for good measure ... right in the path of the next big Tau expansion. Proudly entering its fourth consecutive year, the NOVA Narrative takes a different approach. Players partciipate in one of two event tracks - Warlords and Nightfighters - to leverage the game of Warhammer 40K toward driving and telling the story of the NOVA Open's own unique sci-fi universe. Centered around culture-shattering conflicts between nascently space-faring Humanity and the questionably benevolent, star-spanning Virtue, players representatively participate as one of these two factions through the use of their favorite Warhammer 40,000 forces. No common fan-fiction here, the Narrative's creative team spend every year crafting intricate details and developing spine-chillingly epic briefings and story primers to draw participants into this world - a world of their own creation. You've never seen a collection of over 60 gamers go so completely silent as when Commander Beste is artfully providing his nightly introductory briefings and projected high-detail presentations on the current and future status of this ongoing conflict. Functionally, the Narrative provides two tracks leveraging more relaxed and diverse gameplay (complete with Heresy Era armies being legal, and everything Forgeworld has to offer). The Warlords track includes strategic planning sessions where participants directly impact the larger nighttime gaming events (who plays where, environmental effects, strategic and tactical injects, the works!), as well as additional games. Warlords players participate in 7 games stretched from Thursday evening through Sunday. Nightfighters, on the other hand, are players who wish to enjoy the Narrative while also participating in some of the NOVA Open's other day-long activities (such as other game systems or the 40K GT). Nightfighter games occur at carefully-scheduled times on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, providing a laid back opportunity to get that extra gaming fix while helping drive and get deeply involved in something you truly own yourselves. The names of past famous and infamous (two titles you can actively seek that have very little to do with simply winning or losing games) players adorn even the little details of our narrative terrain (terrain which includes a fully-lit 6 foot tall replica of the Washington Monument ... wouldn't be a DC convention without such things!).

The NOVA Open also sees the fifth consecutive year of its Trios Team Tournament, a unique Team event happening on Thursday of the con where 3-player teams face other 3-player teams in pairs of 2v2 and 1v1 games. Each player gets the opportunity to play a 1v1 game and 2 x 2v2 games over the course of the day in very relaxed fashion with longer round times. It's a great way to kick off the con, and is a true legacy event for NOVA ... usually with smaller, more intimate attendance and a more laid-back feel.

New this year for 40K, we're adding a series of events that you sign up for at the con called Highlander: Quickenings. These events are 8-player, 3-round "sign-up and go" events that begin at predetermined, scheduled times so long as 8 players have signed up. They're more relaxed in terms of model representation to enable easier prep for traveling attendees, and follow the NOVA Open's version of the Highlander rules, keying around the concept that there can "Be Only One" (of any unit type!). These harken back to another time in 40K, before battle brothers and the craziest of spam. Coincident with Sunday's opt-out day for the GT (you need only participate in the Final 2 rounds of the GT if you are still competing to win your personal bracket; nothing prevents all players from finishing Rounds 7-8, but it's not mandatory if folks want to see the city or shop or try other games), we're also adding a pre-registration-enabled event called The Gathering (fitting, right?). The Gathering will be a larger-slot Highlander event at an affordable rate with laid back feel, simplified missions, and straightforward presentation.

It's going to be the biggest, most epic year yet to play Warhammer 40K at NOVA. We're also exploring concepts for a Heresy Era event (event lead wanted!).

Warhammer Fantasy
This year will see the 6th consecutive Warhammer Fantasy GT at the NOVA Open. The past two years have both sold out at 64 players, with substantial potential to grow in 2015. The 2013 event encountered a few bumps and bruises along the way, leading to a dramatic revitalization under strengthened leadership in 2014. Organizer Steve Gant is returning to bring it back even better! The Fantasy GT occurs on Saturday and Sunday of the con, and is supplemented by a Friday event with a more laid back tone and flavor. 2014 consisted of a Doubles Tournament, though we're discussing everything from smaller games to End Times focused gaming to Narrative play for Friday at present. More info on this to come!

Malifaux was present at the NOVA Open in 2011, but vanished from our radar for a couple of years as the game went through its development into M2E. Heralded by many as one of the most aesthetically memorable, yet competitively balanced games on the market today, M2E gamers quickly recognize that many of the "competitive vs. casual" intonations that are so divisive within some TT wargaming communities simply vanish when playing Malifaux - everyone is casual, and everyone is competitive, and everyone can be both while playing exactly what they want to play! Malifaux returned to the NOVA Open in 2014 in a big way, with world-class terrain co-designed using the input of the game's designers and even direct attendance and participation from those designers - Justin Gibbs and Mack Martin, lead developers of Malifaux, spent their 2014 Labor Day with us at the NOVA Open.

Wyrd is back in a very big way for 2015, so big in fact that it's a first for them! The First Wyrd Malifaux National Championships for North America are being hosted at the NOVA Open in 2015, in part due to its timing within the calendar year relative to many other events that are now qualifiers. Don't hesitate at the word "Qualifier," however - the National Championship is an open registration event, and all are welcome, with space for up to 3-figures' worth of Malifaux gamers. This event is being hosted and sponsored directly by Wyrd with NOVA support, and the prizes and recognition are off the hook! Simultaneously, we'll be hosting a number of other Malifaux events all weekend long, including a participation-focused Achievement League, an in-depth Story event, Hardcore and Enforcer mode rapid fire events, and more! Some of Malifaux's best Henchmen will be in attendance and support, including Crissy of A Wyrd Place and "The Ma(h)(t)ts," Matt Stanley and Maht Crestborn, who are the official leads for Malifaux events at NOVA. To make everything *just* right, Justin Gibbs - design lead for Malifaux - will once again attend, taking a larger role in coordinating, organizing, and ensuring events run precisely as they should in representing Wyrd for their first National Championship. Can you tell we're excited?

WM/H events at NOVA have been growing year after year, and they absolutely exploded in 2014. Nearly 100 WM/H players showed up from all over the country, and we had sell-out organized play rolling from the very beginning of the con on. This year, the NOVA is set to once again be a Warmachine Weekend Qualifier, and is also an official Iron Gauntlet event. Space is limited (to a point, we're still able to field over a hundred WM/H gamers quite easily!), and last year many locals assumed they'd have space only to not quite find it when they showed up the day of! The schedule will once again be chock full of organized play, iron arena, and more. Don't miss this! Along with TempleCon, the NOVA has risen to be one of Warmachine's premier events on the East Coast.

X-Wing showed up at NOVA for the first time in 2014, and promptly sold out. Sold out so dramatically, in fact, that we twice increased our event size at the con in order to allow more players in (thank goodness for planning ahead on board prep and a game that doesn't require much in the way of terrain!). Roy Scales and Kris S., who run the very popular X-Wing website, A Few Maneuvers, are excitedly planning on hosting over 100 X-Wing attendees in 2015. Furthermore, they've added a new Narrative track of events modeled after the wildly successful NOVA 40K Narrative, with players able to make their mark on a slightly alternate Star Wars Universe through annual player driving of the story. I even hear tell of design work begun on an 11 foot replica scale (to the "big ships") star destroyer around which many epic starfighter battles are to take place ...

Charitable Foundation
The precursor to the NOVA Open was a small outdoor 40K tournament held on picnic tables in August, 2009. The first NOVA Open wasn't held until a year later, but this original event was spawned purely from a desire by the organizers to raise funds in support of the fight against Breast Cancer. Today, the NOVA Open partners with a sister organization - the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation, a formal 501(c)(3), to leverage the global community of gamers as a compassionate force to raise funds, awareness, and support for critical causes worldwide. Though we support many worthy charities, our efforts focus on Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontiers), the Fisher House Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Last year, the Foundation more than doubled its inaugural 2013 campaign by raising nearly $20,000 for charity! The highlight of these efforts are studio-caliber armies painted by a global consortium of figure artists, led by Foundation Board Member Dave Taylor. These armies are designed by top tier innovators and competitors from within their game systems, painted by world class artists, boxed in limited edition KR MultiCases, based on custom Secret Weapon Miniatures bases, and shipped to raffle winners anywhere on Earth (we've shipped armies to Tasmania!). Raffle tickets go up for sale in early 2015 for a wide variety of offerings, and are only $1/each. The NOCF proudly contributes more than $.96 on the directly to the charities it supports, with any excess purely being spent on administrative expense and web hosting fees (no member of the foundation or NOVA Open, LLC collects a salary or compensation of any kind for anything the NOVA Open does). Both the LLC and NOCF are entirely volunteer organizations, inclusive of gamers and non-gamers ranging from senior military officers and career professionals to stay-at-home moms and college students.

Foundation Lounge
The NOVA Open's organizers may or may not admit to really enjoying a good beer with their gaming pretzels. Or a good glass of wine. Or a good cocktail. Or a good glass of scotch. Or simply a good can of soda/pop/cola. Well, heck with it, we openly admit these things. So it stands to reason why we have the Foundation Lounge. Every year, the NOVA Open rents out premier Hyatt Regency suites and converts them into an incredibly epic Bar and Lounge, with everything from coffee and donuts in the morning to bloody mary and mimosa offerings in the ... well ... the morning ... to craft beers and cocktails (and non-alcoholic offerings) throughout the day (all the way until 1:30AM VA last call!). This non-profit event occurs thanks to a VA license for the Foundation ... granted because the Foundation Lounge's revenues are entirely donated to charity (the same charities supported by the Foundation's army raffles and other activities)! Not only is all the booze you buy in support of good causes, it's pretty cheap too! We offer rock bottom rates for the area on cocktails, beer, shots, coffee, donuts, whatever. Plus, the Lounge hosts rolling free lounge talks given by everyone from our esteemed seminar instructors to industry professionals, game designers, and more. IT's a great way to cozy up next to some of the most creative people in the tabletop gaming world with their favorite drink (which are, conveniently, discounted while each lecturer is talking). The Lounge is free to enter for any and all NOVA Open attendees all weekend long.

Capital Palette
Capital Palette returns to NOVA this year as one of the DC area's premier miniature figure art competitions. This juried exhibition takes an enormous leap up in prestige and quality this year with the addition of Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca from Massive Voodoo as head judges, along with Justin McCoy. With one of the swankiest display areas out there and a great deal of organizational support from the NOVA, the Capital Palette is a fantastic way to show off your miniatures' best stuff, have them judged by world class and world-renowned miniature figure artists, (and receive input on them from) , and win awesome prize support thanks to enormously generous partnership by companies like Grex Airbrush (category winners take home a brand spankin' new, top of the line airbrush!). Additions of higher experience level seminars, speed-painting/speed-airbrushing competitions, and more make the Capital Palette and NOVA in general more appealing than ever for the talented (and even only sorta talented!) miniature figure artist out there.

One of the things we want to advance at the NOVA is the notion that what we do with our figure painting hobby is more than just slopping pigments on toys. Art is a diverse term, and nothing should prevent that term being rightly and fairly applied to what many figure painters do - some of it is pretty awesome! Roman and Raffa are poster children for advancing the cause of miniature figure artists by connecting them more closely to fine artists at a whole, and we share with them a desire to leverage NOVA as a mechanism for further perspective change in this regard. Stay tuned to the NOVA Open and Capital Palette for more on this in the future, as we seek to both expose figure artists to a broader audience, and bring a broader range of artists (Beyond just figures) to the NOVA Open proper.

Infinity is why the NOVA Open's dedicated terrain staff considers the word "More" to be a 4-letter word! If you haven't played it before, Infinity battles occur on some of the most epic battle boards you've ever seen in a miniatures game, and 2014 was no different for the NOVA Open. Event lead Craig further supports this by hosting terrain competitions among attendees to see who can bring the best tables (there were LEDs and epic buildings aplenty in 2014!). Infinity is set to once again grow leading into next year, spurred on by the fact we hosted Corvus Belli designer Gutier Losquinos all the way from Spain. Corvus is set to once again attend, bringing with them - as in 2014 - first-time-ever looks at their newest studio painted minis and seminar-based reveals of the newest Infinity news, rules, and information (even stuff they don't share at GenCon!).

Blood Bowl
It is a little known fact that Blood Bowl, in a sense, started the NOVA Open, as its organizer began by hosting local DC area Blood Bowl Leagues. It was thus with great pleasure that we brought Blood Bowl to NOVA for the first time on its 5th Anniversary in 2014. Once established, never abandoned, the pitches will return to the NOVA in 2015 for a larger and more concrete offering of Blood Bowl events. We're also working to make sure the rates are affordable, the pitches are gorgeous, and the events are fully certified with the NAF across all activities. Don't miss your chance to break some heads! It's also more than just a rumor that late night Blood Bowl may be one of your only places to challenge NOVA staff to open gaming ... so don't forget to bring your team with you even if you plan on participating primarily in other genres and games.

Vendor Hall
A Con is not a Con without sweet shopping. The NOVA Open is attended by an increasingly diverse array of industry vendors, including niche suppliers like Greenman Designs and Tectonic Craft Studios, and broad-band discount retailers like Atlantis Comics & Games and the Toledo Games Room (the Bits Guy from outside the AdeptiCon 40K hall). We proudly partner with our vendors and sponsors to provide the epic quantity of swag given away through awards packages and the [in]famous lemonade raffle (any time you lose a game in any game system at NOVA, you get a raffle ticket in a Lemonade Raffle (get it, making lemons out of ... you get it) that includes everything from simple bits bags all the way to vacation getaways) at NOVA, and they also take pains to provide rock bottom discounts throughout the convention. We also - after popular demand - were able to partner with UK-based major NOVA sponsor KR MultiCase to bring their diverse array of army protection products to NOVA this past year, at a discount! The NOVA Open's vendors offer additional discounts on Thursday evening as the con kicks off, and we're working to see what we can do to keep them open just a bit longer after the award ceremony on Sunday evening this year (the better to go and spend your gift certs and winnings with the providing vendor).

The SuperNOVA Program
Speaking of KR MultiCase, the NOVA Open has - hands-down - the best "VIP/G" style gamer bags on the planet. This is, primarily, because they are KR MultiCases. Not ones to provide our "SuperNOVAs" with throwaway plastic bags into which their epic VIP-style swag has been placed, the NOVA includes (thanks to KR) free KR MultiCase bags with every SuperNOVA pass. In your first year, you get a free $85 KR BackPack2. In your second year, you can get another of those, or a Kaiser2 instead. In your third year, you can get a Kaiser3 instead. We're still trying to figure out how awesome it's going to get for the fourth year guys. Either way, the other thing you get - that's not to be overlooked - is that those who buy a SuperNOVA bag and return in a future year to NOVA (whether or not they  SuperNOVA again) receive a free BOGO for KR $65 custom-foam Card Cases to fill their bags with (and you can redeem these at the NOVA's KR vendor booth). Beyond this, SuperNOVA's get convenient in-con storage for their armies/bags, awesome T-Shirts, beer mugs, and several hundred dollars of custom swag (i.e., Greenman Designs will do you up a custom measuring device suited to your game system of choice with both your game system faction and name incorporated on the device ... imagine getting a multi-measure tool in Ultramarines Blue with your name inscribed under the logo). Last year, our 80 SuperNOVA bags sold out in a few hours ... we're offering more this year, but they won't last the weekend after reg opens on Feb 1.

SO MUCH MORE TO COME, AND WE'RE EXCITED! Who is coming to the NOVA in 2015? What are you most looking forward to?

Monday, December 8, 2014

When There's So Much to Talk About - Quickening and Gathering at NOVA 2015

So I fell behind on blogging. Little bit of life, little bit of love.

What I find is ... when you do fall behind, you quickly find yourself with so many things to talk about, you can't quite decide which one to write first, which can be its own form of writer's block.


So NOVA Open 2015 ... it's a huge work in progress right from the end of the prior year to plan the thing out.

There's a lot going on and going about with it.

We're hosting the first ever National Championships for Malifaux. We're talking about bringing a DZC tournament to the field. We're talking about how to handle as many as 100+ people for WM/H, Mali, X-Wing each respectively.

But the elephant in the room still has to be, in a lot of ways, Warhammer 40K, and what to set as the format for the various events we're hosting in it.

The Narrative has been enormously successful, increasingly so. We're doing the Narrative yet one better this coming year, and I trust the guys at the helm of it.

Trios Team Tournament has been a good warm-up for 30-40 people each year ... should we stick with it as it is? Remains a question to be finalized.

The Invitational is back (really, by popular demand). Maybe one of these years we'll divorce it from the con altogether and hold it at a different time during the year, but not for 2015.

A common discussion lately has been about Highlander as a 40K Format. This also coincides with a quite common discussion about creating a dynamic gaming component to the NOVA (that is - less structured from a schedule perspective).

Following the "Highlander" theme, Quickenings at NOVA 2015 will be quick-turn, smaller points value, winner-take-all cash return 8-player "Booster style" events running continuously on the side throughout the con weekend, and beginning possibly as early as Wednesday night.

One thing led to another, and so what we've done is added a dynamic Highlander-inclusive concept to the NOVA for next year. Going on throughout the con will be kick-off moments at which a hypothetical Highlander "Quickening" event can fire (or multiple ones). Any time leading up to each firepoint, people can sign up to participate in the next Quickening. As long as at least 8 players have signed up, a Quickening will begin. These events will be lower points value, with more flexible army rules to enable those who attended for the GT/Narrative to easily drop in, and will field much more streamlined and quick-playing mission formats. Prize payout will be a % of registration cash for the 3-0 winner, and the 0-3 lowest.

Then, a common thing that happens on Sundays is 40K GT players who are not in the "Final Four" for their Bracket choose to drop and participate in other things (which we actually encourage and Torrent of Fire built into their software, cool guys that they are). To support that and provide a different pace of 40K activity, we'll host a larger Highlander tournament on Sunday (The Gathering, natch).

Details are still forthcoming on a lot of this, but we're pacing - as ever - yet another "biggest and best NOVA yet." It's also exciting that GenCon is more than a month separate from us this time around. GenCon always siphons some attendance from an attendee perspective *and* a Vendor perspective. There are some fantastic bits of waterfall from that which will contribute to making NOVA even more awesome.

Would you participate in short-turn (think 4-6 hour blocks) Quickening events at NOVA in your off hours / evenings? Would you be interested in participating in a Gathering event on Sunday if you aren't in your GT bracket? Would you attend just for these things if you aren't really the GT type?

Additionally, what kinds of things would you like to see a little different in the main GT format this year? We received a lot of excellent feedback on the survey, and we're working hard. Missions will probably be in some ways similar, but they've been heavily revised based upon feedback (the missions received enormously high-% praise, but we took the small # of critiques to heart in an effort to make them even better, and that was reflected in the 11th Company GT missions this year).

Much to come, much to discuss. I'll see what I can do to get fully back on track here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maelstrom - RPG Questing in the Modern Wargame

So Maelstrom Missions are one of the mission option sets within the 7th Edition 40K Rulebook.

I won't rehash the overall discussion about what constitutes 7th Edition as a whole here ... it's really hard to accurately / adequately answer. I stand well into the camp of 7th Edition being the DIY Edition - it's really about setting your preferred parameters and making sure you find people to play with who follow similar ones themselves.

There are definitely purists who will argue that Maelstrom Missions should be included in a Tournament Packet "Because it's part of the game." Most of those same purists will argue AGAINST the inclusion of some part of the rest of the game anyway, so it's hard to give that argument any meaningful credence.

Instead of digging into whether or not it should or should not be included, I thought it a worthwhile endeavor to articulate why I'm not a huge fan of them.

So, the rest of this is quite opinionated!

First off - stop calling it a sign of a good tactician that you can handle Maelstrom. It isn't (which isn't to say there are 0 skills involved, stay with me). Building your list as capable of reacting in the moment to an objective being randomly determined that says "go do this thing, right now, go go go" isn't the same as being a good tactician. There's very little tactics involved with Maelstrom. They tell you to do something, immediately, and even in modified versions of the Maelstrom you have almost no control over what it is you're being told to do, and what your opponent is being told to do. Following / executing Maelstrom missions is equivalent to fulfilling "collect X of Y" quests in Role Playing Games. The equivalent of an NPC generates them, and you have no real say in what they are.

Even in highly modified Maelstrom missions like those seen in some of the major tournament packets, oftentimes it simply is a matter of "did I pull a Maelstrom that is easy to accomplish, difficult to accomplish, impossible (or effectively impossible) to accomplish, or automatic to accomplish?" Games are routinely won and lost on the random pull of Maelstrom missions. Even in situations where they take a secondary role, getting dumb luck on Maelstrom early on and gaining an insurmountable lead gives the person who got lucky in such a way great incentive to simply push for a tie on the superseding Primary.

It's hard to say that Maelstrom missions represent "bad" mission design. It's hard to say this because you don't know what the intent of the designers was. If the intent was to have tactically demanding, interesting missions, they are objectively abject failures. If the intent was to have zany things happen and the outcome of a game be often irrelevant when playing by-the-book Maelstrom ... well, great success!

There are less ad-hominemy ways to refer to them, especially when talking about modified Maelstrom missions such as those seen in ETC and Frontline mission formats. I'm still not a huge fan personally - I've seen too many playtest games and live tournament games using them determined by randomization, which is something I'm not a big fan of. That said, they are undoubtedly MILES ahead of what GW put out in terms of being reasonable for tournament play, and they largely (and rightly) take a backseat to more tactically challenging / strategically-demanding primaries (so Kudos on those guys who designed the modified ones!).

There's no major point to this - just thought it might be valuable to share my personal feelings about Maelstrom. Fortunately, one of the nice things about the game is that it really lends itself to a wide variety of playstyles, missions, point levels, regulations, etc. - by virtue of the fact there really isn't one "way" to play the game. Fortunate for me, as I prefer the missions in my strategy games to be strategic ones :) ... where the ultimate path to completing a meta-objective or set of objectives is up to your careful plans and execution ... as opposed to not really having any idea what the meta-objective is until PRIVATE, GO CAPTURE THAT, RIGHT NOW! Hence my feeling that it's more of an RPG or even "action adventure" element to an otherwise-strategic/tactical wargame. Not my personal best fun, but not to say it can't be fun for others :) ... there's a reason there are plenty of folks who enjoy RPGs and action adventure games. They're just not my personal fave.

On Maelstrom thoughts, /fin ...

This is one of the interesting subjects related to 7th Edition Warhammer 40,000 and what the game is today. It's almost as if GW took one step further on the road they were on and said "screw it all, we're just going to release rules and we'll see where everything drops ... just don't use what you don't like." The proof is, as always, in the pudding with this as well. Zero events use the fully unbridled event rules, even an event like Mechanicon that claimed to be the only "true" 7th Edition Tournament refused to use Unbound army construction rules (thereby instantly becoming no more "true" 7th Edition than any other event).

To be a true 7th Edition Warhammer 40,000 event, frankly, you'd have to simply allow players to randomly determine a mission and a play format at their tables through discussion (which would, of course, end really badly). The "unbound" (pun intended) game is entirely impractical at a tournament level by simple virtue of the fact it's so very irregular.

The flipside and upside of all this is that GW has produced a game which is no good for random player encounters out in the wilderness of local game shops ... but which is fantastic for Organized Play and established gaming groups. If you have either an organizer who can establish the ground rules for what "style" of 40k you'll play or an agreed-upon format within your social grouping, you've got a game that everyone participating is more or less cool with, and that everyone can participate in with less confusion and concern about what they're exactly getting themselves into.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Malifaux's First National Championship @ NOVA 2015

From the Wyrd Website:

Wyrd is proud to announce that the Malifaux tournament hosted at the NOVA Open in 2015 will be the first annual National Malifaux Championship!

Anyone is welcome to participate, however some players will be invited and receive a free entry. Players who do well in other large Malifaux events throughout the year will be eligible to win a spot in the Championship, and the winner will get an exclusive feature in the Wyrd Chronicles, fun prizes, and bragging rights for the rest of the year! Grab your Crew, 2015 is the year to show that you can rule the blood-soaked streets of Malifaux! If you are running a Malifaux tournament in 2015 and would be interested in making it a Championship Qualifier, please email

Like many other tournaments, the NOVA Open has the terrain and space required to make this an amazing event, however it has the unique advantage of being hosted late in the year, allowing us to invite players from all of the other major tournaments.The dates of the NOVA Open are September 3-6 2015 (Thursday - Sunday), and the Championships (Singles Event) will be Saturday/Sunday. The event is held in Washington DC, just a 5 minute shuttle ride from the Reagan National Airport. It is set along the Metro for quick access to all of DC.This pairs with highly affordable $91/night room rates at a 4-star hotel in the heart of the DC Metro area. Hope to see you there!

Huge amount of work going on getting set for the sweetest NOVA Open ever in 2015. I mean, there's a TON of radical stuff. There may be 11 foot star destroyers involved.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

NOVA and BFS and Life

It's been way too long since posting!

Here's a little short-hand ...

NOVA Open was incredible. Our fifth anniversary represented our best event yet. I have a lot of download and discussion I need to start having about it.

I'm excited about some of the new 40K stuff on the horizon, and I'm excited to have a full year and no new editions (presumably) to ruin plans of properly getting set for the next GT and other events.

We also have a really exciting possible attendance presence next year from overseas. I can say no more.

For any that didn't know, I'm gettin' hitched next year. I definitely have spent some more time post-NOVA focusing on that and the little lady who I'm lookin' to settle down with.

I'm going to the Battle for Salvation again this year, my fifth year in a row to this great event. I'm doing something different, however.

In year 1, I went undefeated and took Tournament Champion, and 2nd place in Renaissance Man.
In year 2, I made it to the top table and took 2nd-to-One, losing to Neil Gilstrap, and won Renaissance MAn.
In year 3, I lost my bracket-breaker round to Matt DeFranza's seercouncil (old edition) with my nids, but rallied to go 6-1 on the tournament and take Silver Champ with a high placing in army appearance and Ren Man.
In year 4, I made it again to the top table and took 2nd-to-One and Battlemaster, losing to Matt again (with the newer seer council, arrrgh) off a pair of failed 3+ rolls on the bottom of 5 in an epic awesome game of matched wits and killer play.

So it's been a really awesome run there at BFS every year. In the time I've attended, I've gone 23-5 and won a major award each year.

So I'm trying something different. 40K is still my primary game, and I still play it nearly weekly. BUT I'm going to try out a Malifaux tournament as a change of pace, and since BFS has one this year hosted by the eminent Bob Roda, I just have to give it a try. A bunch of the Monday Night Malifaux group from the DC area are going, so should be a fun time. It'll no doubt be a smaller than the 40K event, but honestly that's OK.

One of the main reasons to go to a Con or a GT is the social aspect, connecting with all the great folks who attend. Fortunately, the Mali schedule is perfectly synched with the 40K GT schedule, so I'll be able to spend all the same lunch / after-day breaks and social outings and boozey nights with the same group. Awesome.

Oh and on the flipside, the entirety of the model range I need for Malifaux at the event this year fits on a little bayou tray. Since I'm playing a bunch of hillbilly moonshining gremlins, including the Brewmaster (gosh I can't wait for the ACTUAL models), I'm also bringing moonshine to share with my opponents.

So I'll see you there ... and I'll be posting my recaps of  NOVA and look-aheads for the future in the days and weeks to follow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tickets for Charity - NOVACF Final Push - Odds Good, Tickets Cheap, All Money to Charity (Doctors Without Borders, Fisher House Foundation, etc.)

So the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation raffle drawings are Sunday.


Also, these are some of the sweetest armies you've ever laid eyes on.

You get the raffle tickets here:

We raise the big monies for the charities.
Everybody is le happy.

There are more nids than in this picture, it was a halfway there shot, you'll see them in the (bad) photos below

So they also all come in sweet-ass KR Multicases that are one of the kind with custom art army logos on each:


And we had some fun setting up a scene from the Battle for Maccragge on a table with these before we put them in their case for good:

Yup, they come with sweet custom templates (and blast markers)

The armies will be on display at NOVA, where you can buy more tickets in person.
There's an incredible array of silent auction stuff as well.
There's also more armies at the site, go check 'em out.
Also, these are camera photos, so ...

Scythes of Behemoth Tyranid Force:
Walking Hive Tyrant
Flyrant w/ Double Devs (standard popular layout)
3 Hive Guard
Custom Tyranid Prime w/ Norn Crown
40 Termagants
20 Gargoyles
8 Genestealers
3 Lictors
2 Trygons
2 Hive Crones
6 Tyranid Warriors

Blood and Honor Ultramarines Force:
Marneus Calgar (Terminator version)
4 Honor Guard
Dave Taylor's famous (literally) Tyranid Hunters Land Raider w/ Carnifex Trophy
3 Thunderfire Cannons w/ Techmarine
3 Storm Talons (skyhammer, fully LED LIT)
10 Scouts + Telion (5 sniper, 5 ccw/bp)
10 Tyranid Veterans / Sternguard
30 Tactical Marines
Drop Pod
3 Grav Cents
Devastators and various other heavy weapon marines

and probably more that I'm forgetting

Plus, again, each army comes with custom templates/blast markers, KR Multicases, etc.

Dude, stop reading now and give a little to charity while giving yourself a shot at a win. You can buy as few as 10 raffle tickets for $10, or as many as

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick Hitter - Online Registration Closes Tomorrow for NOVA

There are only about 25 unsold GT tickets.
There are only a couple of unsold Warlords Narrative tickets.
Warmachine has maybe one all event pass? Otherwise sold out.
X-Wing singles championship sold out, not much left in the rest.
Fantasy has only one ticket of 64 left.
Infinity and Malifaux have room left, but not infinite (heh).
Blood Bowl has some room left.
Flames of War has some room left.
Many of the Seminars are nearly sold out.
There are no more swag bags left.

What's the point here? Signing up day of is risky business.

Can't wait for the fifth annual NOVA Open!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hitchhiker's Guide to a Successful GT Experience (And Other Seminars)

So there are a bunch of Seminars at the NOVA Open this year, as has been increasingly the case.

To be honest, I think there are 33 distinct ones, ranging from building and lighting your own terrain and building and lighting your own display board before the events start, to how to get your army from primer to tabletop quality in the best way possible.

One course I wanted to call out to attendees, especially those experiencing their first "big" tournament, is the Hitchhiker's Guide to a Successful GT Experience. This course will be in our awesome small auditorium seminar room, where most of the courses are taught, and will include about 45 minutes to an hour of "lecture" on some highlights and key points of what to expect from a GT, and how to get the most out of it, followed by the remainder of the time in panel and informal discussion.

The folks who will be lecturing are myself in a moderating role, and guests like Andrew Gonyo (Captain of Team America and an extremely well-vetted tournament player) and Reece Robbins (successful West Coast player, tournament organizer, and owner of Frontline Gaming retail store, podcast, and website). Chip Boyd of Torrent of Fire will also give some time on how to get the most out of the Torrent of Fire app, how to use it properly for reporting your games, how to use it to check on other games, etc.

There aren't TOO many spots left in this class, and it's capped at 20, but if you haven't registered yet and will be there on Thursday evening, the class is from 5:30-7:30 and we'd love to have you, so sign on up!

Check out all the NOVA seminars here:

These classes are - in many cases - scheduled to allow those participating in various tournaments and game systems to ALSO attend seminars, so don't feel you shouldn't go look and see just because you're in the 40K GT or similar. Additionally, please note several courses are sold out or nearly so, our first year with broad sell-out issues in Seminars. Of special note as nearly gone is From Primer to Tabletop, which is an excellent beginner/intermediate army-level-painting course, taught by award winning artist Caleb Wissenback.

NOVA Open Fantasy, Warmachine/Hordes, X-Wing Tickets - Do NOT Wait Until Day Of, Nearly Sold Out

This is just a quick PSA, as I know in the area each year some people have shown up the day of to play in events within Fantasy and WM/H, and may think to do the same for X-Wing this year.

X-Wing has plenty of all pass room left, but the Singles event is NEARLY sold out (counting all passes as reg'ed for it, + singles-only registration), which is the Saturday event.

WM/H has nearly 70 unique registrants (all passes + a la carte event purchasers), and is nearly sold out for the main Steamroller and the event in general. This is after selling out previously and us opening more spots up. If you are a local WM/H or traveling player and assuming you'll be able to show up and play in all events, please please please correct your thinking and reg in advance. Nobody wants to turn you away or say you can only hope to get in here or there.

Warhammer Fantasy is in the same boat, nearing 60 registrations and with only 64 spots, and that's a HARD CAP THIS YEAR. We started with only 32, and doubled down when it sold out way early. But we cannot make more room.

9 Days to NOVA.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

One Spot in the $2,000 Cash Prize NOVA Invitational

Hello all,

Just a quick hitter here. We have *one* spot open in the NOVA Invitational, as well as a couple of alt spots in case of last second drops. Think you have what it takes to go up against some of the best in the world (this year's Invitational includes 5 international competitors)? Email your interest and the list you'd take to post-haste.

 - Mike