Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NOVA Charity Army Raffle is LIVE! Most Gorgeous Forces Yet, from Two of the Newest Codices!

The global consortium of miniature figure artists who work on the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation armies each year outdid themselves. I'll let Dave Taylor and the rest say it themselves best with this little link:

http://novacf.blogspot.com/2015/07/nocf-2015-charity-army-raffles-are-now.html



Go support the awesome cause of Doctors Without Borders by buying raffle tickets today.

We draw the winners at the NOVA Open every year, this time on Sunday at the Awards Ceremony on September 6. That said, you don't need to be at NOVA to win - a fact I fear always gets overlooked by a handful. Our first year saw us ship an army all the way to Tasmania, for instance.

These armies don't come just "As is," though you'd think that'd be enough. They also come in custom KR MultiCase with limited edition tagging, bagging, and badging ... one of a kind cases to go with one of a kind armies. Plus - who doesn't want new figures for the super sweet new Marine or Eldar codices?




Monday, June 22, 2015

40K GT / Invitational Final Primer -- Same as Charity Tourney Missions/Format

http://www.novaopen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-40K-GT-Invitational-June-22-Primer.pdf


After a lot of work, getting married, going on a honeymoon, etc., and with a lot of help from 40K GT/Invitational leads Neil and Phil, we've got this thing ready to go for helping people make final prep.

The final mission packet in the guidebook will pull missions from the 4 rounds (repeating each twice). These will also be from where the missions are pulled for the Charity Tournament on July 18. Sign up for it, spots are running out!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

JULY 18 Charity BBQ Registration Open - Details and How To Register - Also, LIVE MUSIC!

32 x 40K spots (missions and format pulled from http://www.novaopen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-40K-GT-Invitational-June-22-Primer.pdf)
16 x Malifaux spots

Several of these are already gone, these events will both sell out very fast

$30 will get you just entry
$40 will get you food, bev, and entry (much cheaper than procuring it solely on-site)

Do the $40

This is done as a donation to the NOCF for its supported charities. You make the donation, we welcome you!

Address will be provided to attendees in our packet once finalized, as this is a Backyard BBQ Tournament. It will be in McLean, VA, just off 123 in McLean proper.

Schedule:
8AM - 9AM check-in
9AM - 12PM Round 1 (Both 40K and Malifaux)
12PM - 1PM Lunch
1PM - 4PM Round 2 (Both 40K and Malifaux)
4PM - 430PM Break
430PM - 730PM Final Round (Both 40K and Malifaux)
730PM - 800PM Clean-Up
800PM - 830PM Awards/Thanks

We'll probably designate an after party bar in the Tyson's or similar area nearby, but this will be informal

HOW TO REGISTER
The NOCF site is a bit under construction in advance of their coming Army Raffles, which are gonna be super awesome this year.

http://novaopenfoundation.org/?tcp_product_category=event

You can see the events there

Until account creation is fixed, you'll want to send money via paypal to novacharities@gmail.com
Please indicate in notes whether you are sending your reg fee for 40K or Malifaux

It is highly likely there will be some form of live music at least during game breaks. We'll probably have things like cornhole, ladder ball, and bocce as space permits. Bring your significant others and what-not!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

NOVA Quick Hit Updates - Show Mini Pre-Orders Up; 2 Weeks Until Pass Early Bird Price Goes Away; 40K Army Construction Changes

First, the really badass NOVA Open Official Show Miniature is now up for pre-sale on the site. We'll close down pre-sale on July 1, so get it while you can. We'll have a few for sale at the show, but supplies will be strictly limited. Pre-ordering is the only way to guarantee getting them. You can order as many as you want, if you want to get some for your friends / etc., so long as you make your pre-order on or before July 1. The detail came out SUPER awesome on these guys, as we've got a few early casts in hand from Prodos. A few of the more talented local painters are working up a few to help show off the deets with a good paint job.

You can pre-order them from this link, picking them up at the NOVA Open proper.


Second, the Convention Access Pass that is the primary attendance item for the NOVA remains at the $40 early bird rate ONLY UNTIL JUNE 15. You must acquire it on or before that date in order to avoid a $10 higher rate. There are also a shrinking number of Swag Bags left, which are one of the cooler things at NOVA, and they go first come first serve to CAP purchases.

Finally, army construction amendments are finalized. The primer will update very soon (being worked by Neil Gilstrap and the rest of us 40K guys presently), but this is pulled from the Newlsetter that went out yesterday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Terrain Day Saturday 5/23 - Come Have Some Fun!

We're drawing ever closer to this year's  NOVA Open. 

In doing so, we always have at least monthly terrain days that carry with them a lot of perks for all involved, including (but not limited to) free beverages (alcoholic and non), food (breakfast snacks/coffee and lunch), good company (but for seriously), and a lot of opportunities to learn a wide range of hobby skills and techniques (gleaned through years of trial, error, and learning ourselves from others).

This particular weekend, we'll be enjoying hopefully great weather while painting terrain, finishing some other terrain production, and having a generally great time.

We have a big ole evite list of people who attend these things regularly, but routinely have new folks interested and need a way to get them on the evite list ... ipso facto, e-mail me at mvbrandt@gmail.com and I'll get you invited :)

If you can't make this one, we have at least 2 more before the year's terrain production efforts are done.

video

In other news, for the sake of sharing w/ the community, I got hitched last week! Apologies for any delays in e-mail / blogging that have been going on as a result of that whole thang :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Charity BBQ Backyard Tourney - 40K and Malifaux - July 18, 2015

Hello all!

Back in 2009, the NOVA Open got its start with a 40k tournament in a park, hosting 32 players across 4 rounds. Two years ago, we hosted another one of these in a backyard in Vienna, hosting 32 players in a more laid back 3-round setting.

We'll be bringing it back again this year, on July 18. So, clear your calendars! The event will be hosted in McLean, VA.

There'll be grilled vittles, tasty beverages, and plenty of games and gamers. Cover will be planned and provided in case of rain, and details for price (in the form of a donation to your charity of choice via the NOCF) are still to come.

For an idea of what to expect, check out coverage of the last one by Bob Roda, who drove down from CT to attend.
http://bloodskullsfire.blogspot.com/2013/07/omg-what-awesome-weekend.html

You can help us out by e-mailing mvbrandt@gmail.com or posting here if you're interested in attending!

Here's a photo from the last one of Andrew "Captain America" Gonyo facing off against Nick "AdeptiCon ThreePeat" Nanavati!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Adding the Total Wow Factor to the NOVA Open 2015 - What a Con Should Be and Have

6 years ago now, I walked into the main 40K hall of my first AdeptiCon.

Right smack dab in the middle of things near the registration desk, I saw Sabol Designs' incredible display done just to be cool ... http://thepaintingcorps.blogspot.com/2010/03/adepticon-2010-sabol-diorama.html

So ... over the years, all I've really, really wanted was to be able to do some of the same kinds of OMG WOW stuff at NOVA. We've done it on occasion - i.e., our 6 foot tall scale Washington Monument for the 40K Narrative events.

This year, we're taking it to a whole new level across a bunch of our different events and activities.

First off, a badass sneak peak at this year's [and our first ever] official NOVA Open Show Miniature:


The attendees of the NOVA Open over the past several years have helped us design and innovate our very own background universe, in which reside the awe-inspiring galactic "peackeepers" self-titled as The Virtue. Destined to be over the size of a Tyranid Warrior, this incredible showpiece will be available at the NOVA, and will be in every SuperNOVA's bag. Far more details to come, as well as some awesome paint jobs by some true area pros.

Second off, we're super excited to be hosting a ton of Malifaux events this year, with vetted and awesome leads Matt Stanley and Maht Crestborn, who are joined (quite excitingly) by a new co-TO, the very designer of Malifaux, Justin Gibbs. We're also excited this year's event suite includes the first ever Malifaux National Championships (an open invitation event). In support of that, we've been fortunate enough to gain the services of Wright War Game Terrain ... whose work should speak for itself (especially that awesome Laketown!). Their first project for us this year is a massive, fully scenic and fully tournament playable Gremlin superdistillery and bayou town. The first video of this epic board after its first day of production can be seen HERE.

Finally, we're super excited about X-Wing at NOVA this year, with the event on its way to 100 unique attendees ALREADY. It already sold out and had to double down on the Narrative Event. What's doubly cool is the Narrative Event will be battled out around the most epic piece of terrain ever made for NOVA ... and perhaps one of the most nerdgasming Star Wars items ever. Many Bothans died to bring us even this little bit of a sneak peak at the plans to our forthcoming scale replica Avenger class Star Destroyer. Holy Canolies.




Monday, May 4, 2015

Advancing Conclusions - GT/Invitational Changes Due to Game Changes

So, we're getting there. Feedback continues to roll in on blog posts, e-mail chains, and the like. Please keep in mind that all of the following are just continuations of the current discussions, not finalized rulings, and we're still fielding enormous discussion and feedback here.

We have survey results from last year's NOVA and community surveys like LVOs to help us with some of our decision making. We're not there yet, but we're working to get there as quickly as possible.

The motivations here are developing as simplistic a set of changes and army construction rules as possible, and also developing a set that anticipates FUTURE releases by GW to better handle them (and avoid being so specific or now-focused that we have to make more changes in another month or two).

For example, one of the proposed concepts below targets both the Guardian Warhost and Decurion Formations. The Guardian Warhost is a slightly larger motivator here, but we can all anticipate similar Detachments comprised of tons of detachments in the future (e.g., w/ Adeptus Astartes in June).

Based upon survey results from NOVA, feedback, and other public polling, there are a few things that stand out as being problematic in the game, many of which were "straw that broke the camel's back" with the new Eldex.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1) "Invinsible" Units - Units that either have 2+/3+ type re-rollable invul/cover/armor saves or units that have strong saves/t/wounds and are very easily rendered Invisible. Examples include Screamer Stars and Seer Councils in the case of the former (less durable by model but great saves that are re-rollable), and Centurion Stars or Flesh Hound Stars in the case of the latter (usually do not have re-rollable saves but are more durable / have more wounds, and hard to hit in the first place).

2) Super Heavy / Gargantuan units - Between Stomp and a variety of long range attacks with the "D" rule or high strength / ignores cover, use of these units requires a variety of modifications to the game, as seen in the events that use them. Legalization requires an extensive ban list, though banning comes with a downside of complaint from players that want to see them in the game. The big issue with these units, between Thunderblitz, Stomp, and D, is the extremely negative reaction from the "Average" player to what happens when their opponent rolls a "6" (either from very long range, or from a Stomp that they aren't even in combat with, etc.) and tells them to just pick all their models up off the board. Nowhere was it more evident that "average" players can't stand this than in last year's NOVA Open Narrative, where feedback from a casual /  theme-heavy event was, in the case of one quote, something like this: "Why are we allowing Super Heavies and Gargantuans in the Narrative? I thought this was supposed to be a fun event and not one with a bunch of WAAC big units and competitiveness?!"

3) D Weapons [on Eldar basic units] - It would be folly to presume Eldar are the last codex you'll see receiving D weapons on non-SH/GC units. Whether it's the vinDicator or something else, expect to see this start to repeat itself elsewhere. GW really likes abilities that completely eliminate things when you get lucky and roll a 6.

4) Summoning. This is more mission specific, but most missions start to break down when players can add scoring units wholesale to the game, especially late when opponents cannot do anything to counter.


So what do we do to address these things in the simplest way possible, while changing as little of the core game as possible?

First off, army construction:
Detachments
It is looking more and more likely that we will move to a 3 Detachment limit. IN doing so, we will likely make the third Detachment "limited." So you'd have 2 Open Detachment Choices and one Limited Detachment Choice. Limited would most likely just eliminate the selection of a potential third CAD or CAD-like detachment (i.e. the codex-specific CAD-like choice in the SW dex). Additionally, we're considering making "Guardian Warhost" and "Decurion" style detachments take up both Open Detachment Choices (or all 3).

What's the point here? First off, based upon public polling done by the LVO, a higher % of players prefer 3 or more detachments to 2 or fewer. The ITC is going to 3 detachments generally as a result. This doesn't directly impact us, but it's a fool who fails to listen to the largest majority when two groups are at odds.

Secondly, allowing a third detachment dramatically increases the freedom of players - including Xenos - to select Culexus Assassins. This increases the risk in building a psychic-power-based deathstar with super saves (see #1 above) without changing game rules for things like Invisibility, Fortune, etc. We don't like rules changes, and there are good reasons for this. I.E. if you change Invisibility so that it allows units to be hit by Templates and Blasts, the release of Wraithguard with D-Scythes is suddenly WAY scarier to the game as a whole, because they have no direct counters - units that can survive them or prevent their use, for instance.

Super Heavy Vehicles and Gargantuan Creatures
We need to get the Knight Dex in hand, but rumors appear to show images of the new Knight standard detachment being comprised of 1-3 Super Heavy Lords of War. This would imply the new Knights are all SH Lords of War and not just Super Heavies. If that is the case, they would become illegal under NOVA's current rules the moment they are released. Wraithknights experienced this same "fate." So, what do we do about these units? People own AdLance Knight armies and trios of Wraithknights. If we allow all SH/GC LoW to be 0-1, people can bring an iKnight or a Wraithknight. If we allow iKnights to be the exception to the rule, we certainly continue to persist with our double standard. If we changed all our rules to allow Wraithknights, we'd be making a change to something our players wanted and that we decided on just to make Wraithknights happy.

There are a LARGE # of units that are unplayable as a direct result of SH/GC being in the game. The advantage to these models is that Stomp scares Deathstars. Nevertheless, the increased ability to MSU by 3 detachments and the dramatic increase in Culexus likelihood (inclusive of Culexus riding around in Vendettas) does a lot to make Deathstars a riskier buy to begin with.So ... the current lean is increasingly to simply leave SH/GC out. Adding them in mandates a ban list of SH/GC that we do not want (i.e. ones with massive cover ignoring attacks, etc., as per the way LVO/ITC does it) and also blatantly changes an existing GT/Invitational ruling in direct response to Eldar players wanting to be able to field their Wraithknights. This also would mean Eldar players wanting to field D Scythes with WWP or Raider transports or similar would have to field them as Elite selections in Eldar CADs (the formation w/in Warhost that lets them run 6" and shoot all the time requires a Wraithknight), limiting them under the proposed Detachment change above to only 6 units ... and still able to use their Allied Detach to snag a WWP delivery system in there. I know some Eldar players will be unhappy that they cannot field D-Scythe units that no-scatter deep strike out of LOS of interceptors before auto-running 6" and killing w/e they like, but they still just received one of the most powerful codices released since ... well, Eldar, and still will be able to pull off this and many other shenanigans.

Now, onto rules ...
D Weapons
The only thing we're considering changing rules wise in the game is the use of D Weapons. Based upon LVO polling data and survey feedback from our various events, the biggest complaint is about people vaporizing things from across the board with template/blast D weapons and rolling 6's. Easy references are Eldar Lynxes sitting on Skyshields.

The new offenders are Hemlock Wraithfighters, Wraithguard w/ Wraithcannons, Wraithguard w/ D-Scythes, and Distort Platform Artillery.
Wraithguard w/ Wraithcannons are not major concerns; they are single shot units ... and so, as they used to with their previous guns, will tend to kill single model units they shoot at and do very little to any kind of higher model count unit. They are also still Wraithguard, and without flame weapons cannot reliably overwatch to stop even marginal units from pinning them and/or killing them in combat (or simply with shooting).
Hemlock Wraithfighters *do* drop D small blasts, but they are affected by the D-Scythe rule. Thus, they fail to wound 1/3 the time and can never ignore cover/invulnerable saves.
Distort Artillery is a bit problematic, as once you are within 24" you risk them rolling 6's on stacked blast attacks. That said, they are also largely instantly dead once engaged in combat. They are at their most game affecting in a bad way when we talk about their max range, more so than their existence as a fact.
Wraithguard w/ D-Scythes are also a bit problematic, sitting between Wraithfighters and the Artillery. They are quite short-ranged, but they are somewhat more difficult to pin in combat (Requiring a sac unit or LOS blockage to force all the overwatch wounds onto a single model). They are no more difficult to simply shoot to death than Wraithguard have always been. They hit extremely hard against basic units and multi-wound units without strong invulnerable saves, but they also fail to wound 1/3 the time and cannot ignore invul saves.

So what is our thought? We're talking a lot with Reece of LVO/ITC, we're also talking with a lot of players. We're fielding a lot of feedback. The prevailing through right now is to simply rule as follows:
D shots originating from greater than 12" away treat all "6" results as "5" results instead.
D weapons always inflict only D3 Wounds or Hull Points (even on a "6" result)

That would be it. So close range and close combat D would remain as it is, helping moderate Deathstars somewhat (less so with the removal of SH/GC if we go that route). Rolling a "6" at closer range would not be quite the 7+ wound/hull point hit it currently is, but would still ignore invul/cover. Units wishing to ignore invul/cover with their D shots would require being danger close to the enemy to do so (i.e. Distort Artillery is far better moderated, as units can stop 13" away from a potential charge and remain safe from their "6" results).

Missions
There are 2 changes being considered for our Mission layout in order to address some of the concerns above. One would be to make units that Summoned or were Summoned be unable to count toward Mission Points until the next Game Turn. This reduces some of the problems with the missions (both accrual and late game choices) with regard to the Summoning Mechanic. It's a pretty minor change otherwise.

The other would be to add a new Secondary available that awards points for completely eliminating an enemy Detachment. This helps balance some of the issue with people broadly selecting minimal detachments just to add key buffs (i.e. Culexus, WWP DE, Tiggy/5Scouts, etc.) by giving opponents this enables them to outmatch the ability to score an easier 2 points back by targeting their tiny detachment add.



So how does this affect our 4 big player concerns while minimizing the impact on players who like to play those very concerns?
1) Invinsible Units (typo intentional) - We do nothing to change the rules here. These units remain powerfully durable and excellent counters to a number of things. On the other hand, we've increased the risk of relying entirely upon these super units to play by making it much easier for players to tack Culexus Assassins and other tweaks on to the armies they wish to run.

2) Super Heavy / Gargantuan Units - This one might cause the biggest sticking point. The right call *Feels* like sticking to our guns and the broadest player feedback and not making a change to our rules to compensate for GW changes that affect the fieldability of WK and iK within this year's format. Furthermore, Admantine Lance / Knight Primary armies are statistically one of the biggest problems in the game from a parity perspective, holding somewhere around a 65% win-rate in all Torrent recorded games ... this compares to a 45-55% win rate for most of the rest of the field (coincidentally, Eldar are at the top of that higher #). It is a fact that AdLance/Knight spam armies tend to run rampant over average players in the middle tables, despite not winning much on the GT/top table front. There's been a lot of commentary over not allowing people to play with the models they own, but that's a difficult subject to sell in any direction. No matter what your format is, a certain spectrum of owned models will be unplayable within it (either because it isn't legal or because it isn't worth taking). Furthermore, most complaints orient around wanting to take units that people believe they will win with. Those who want to take their Wraithknights typically do not, when told they cannot, take some fancy Eldar models sitting on their shelves that they don't think are any good competitively. Similarly, there'd be almost no complaining or even notice if we banned Pyorovres or Hormagaunts. By leaving SH/GC banned for the NOVA this year, we avoid the major complaints against them from last year while reducing the concern regarding "I rolled a 6 and you picked your models up off the table." The lack of player engagement here and the feel of the game moving away from company-level wargame to more of a skirmish-with-big-bots game is one of the most often-cited complaints we receive from players today.

3) D Weapons - Reducing longer ranged D shots and the massive 7+ damage impact of 6's is our path of least resistance right now. It is also closely aligned with what the ITC is discussing. It would also constitute one of our only changes to the actual rules of the game. Furthermore, it helps address potential future D weapons releases more elegantly than targeting specific units for tweaks one at a time as they come out. If suddenly every Space Marine Lascannon is a D shot, this rule would address it in advance instead of requiring us to specifically rule on each thing as it releases.

4) Summoning - Summoning is less complained about than many things - this isn't an issue with the mechanic in the eyes of the average player. The major issue was the interface of our existing missions with the summoning mechanic. By making our tweak to the missions, we correct for an over-balance problem from last year. Simple.


Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Continued Thought Refinement

Here's what's currently being pondered. Keep in mind these changes are not oriented entirely around "what about these new Eldar zomg!?" They are oriented around trying to minimize changes to the game, while enacting changes with a shelf life greater than 1 week (which a change to JUST Eldar would have in the era of constantly changing rules / detachment rules / etc. that we find ourselves in).

0-1 Super Heavy / Gargantuan of any kind (inclusive of iKnights)
Decurion / Guardian Warhost style Detachments, if selected, take up *all* your Detachment Limits
Stomp results of "6" hitting models that are not engaged with the Stomping model are treated as "5"
D results of "6" originating further than 12" away from the affected model(s) are treated as "5"


As an aside, I am beginning to find myself curious - Apocalypse was not a wildly successful selling item for Games Workshop. It was UNIVERSALLY stated that folks "wouldn't want to play it at a tournament or anything, but maybe for a pickup game if done right." Nevertheless, they have slowly pushed the game into being identical to original Apocalypse. When talking about toads (vs. human beings or some other more advanced animals), if you drop them into a boiling pot of water, they will freak out and depart it. If you put them in a lukewarm pot of water, then slowly turn the heat up to boiling, they will quietly perish.

It surprises me, in hearing the outcry for open battle-forged 0-restriction warhammer 40k from some quarters, how many toads are out there in our hobby.

Monday, April 27, 2015

DC Area Road to the NOVA League!

Original post and link: http://www.elphilo.com/2015/04/huzzah-hobbies-road-to-nova-open-2015.html

Pulled from the blog:



Who? All 40k players in the DC Metro area!
What? An 8ish week League
When? May 18th- July 11th
Where? Anywhere! But you’re encouraged to game on Monday and Friday nights at Huzzah Hobbies located at 44927 George Washington Blvd, Suite 165 Ashburn, VA  20147
Why? Because who doesn’t want their chance to win a NOVA Invitational invite, give money to charity AND play their favorite table top game?

More after the break!





Schedule:
Signups
Now until May 16th
Mission:
Game 1
May 18th - June 1st
Crusade – Dawn of War
Game 2
May 25th - June 8th
The Scouring
Game 3
June 1st - June 15th
The Relic – Vanguard

Game 4


June 8th – June 22nd

Points and Regions – Dawn of War

Game 5
June 15th – June 29th
Crusade - Vanguard
FINALS
July 11th



Buy In - $20. You can sign up at Huzzah Hobbies located at 44927 George Washington Blvd, Suite 165 Ashburn, VA  20147. Or online, please email me for directions elphilo40k at gmail dot com. Signups will be from now until May 16th.

Charity – A portion of the buy in will be given to Wounded Warriorshttp://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

Rules – We’ll be using NOVA Open Rules, Army Construction, Missions and FAQ. Rules, Army Construction and Missions can be found here: http://www.novaopen.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-40K-GT-Invitational-Draft-Primer.pdf

League Format – While we’ll be using NOVA Open rules for the most part there was one thing that I wanted to change. For your first two games you’re not locked into a list, the only thing you have to choose when signing up is your Faction(s). That’s the only thing you’re locked into for games 1 and 2. At game 3 I will require you to send me a copy of your list so I can make it available to all league participants and from then on you are locked into your list, EVEN FOR THE FINALS!!!!

Brackets – All players will be placed into regional brackets. Hopefully this will cut down on travel time and distance to get your games in.

Information I need from you when signing up – I need your name, email address, a gaming club if you’re in it, your primary and secondary (if you have a secondary) faction(s), and finally the city and state you’re coming from. That way I can make the brackets on region. Just an FYI you will be setting up your games through EMAIL! If you don’t feel comfortable giving out your primary email address please sign up with a secondary one you don’t care about and that you check frequently!

Games – You have 2 weeks to complete your games please see the schedule above for when your two weeks start. If you do not complete them in the 2 week period you will be marked down as a forfeit. As a note you are able to complete your games earlier if your opponent is up for it. For example its week 2 and I want to try to get in my game with my week 4 opponent. They agree to play me at Huzzah Hobbies on May 25th; you’re allowed to do that! But remember your opponent must agree with this as well!

Prizes – Depending on how many sign up. The idea is to have at least the 1st and 2nd of each bracket get a gift certificate to Huzzah Hobbies. Then the top 8 of the league will come into Huzzah Hobbies on July 11th for a 1 day 3 round tournament to fight for the NOVA Invitational invite!