I thought I'd give you all a sneak peak of the things we're working on.
Also, several Tyranid players e-mailed me during my injury time-out, and I am struggling to catch up; if you don't mind re-emailing me your questions, I really would like to answer them!
I also guest-hosted the 11th Company Podast this past Monday night. I think it was Episode 138 or so (?), so anyone interested in hearing me blather on probably too much should check them out. Further, Neil Gilstrap of 11th Co, Tony Kopach and I are probably going to team up at AdeptiCon's 2013 Team Tournament (one of the premier and definitely the largest 40k event in the world, with 500 players in one tournament). Fourth teammate TBD.
Changes Being Early Worked:
A big push for next year will be the incorporation of a wider variety of Goals, and a wider set of permutations on our traditional goals. Expect to have far less redundancy mission to mission, while still maintaining full commitment to creating a rotation of primaries/secondaries/tertiaries that forces players to bring lists able to compete across the board.
One of the things we've always sought to do is create a mission format that prevents people from "gaming" one or two of three goals. We don't want, for instance, a player to over-weigh kill points and thus only have to work hard at completing 1 other goal each round, seeking 2:1 type wins in "all goals equivalent" formats.
That said, the combination of 6th Edition and the passage of time, plus the presence of great inputs to be gleaned from other awesome events worldwide, means there's nothing wrong with working on the goals we present and thus the final presentation of missions.
Based on survey feedback, we may do a couple of things with the schedule and # of games all players are able to participate in. I think in 3 years of the NOVA, we've seen one year where all 8 rounds were played by all players, and two years where some # of the final rounds were participated in only by the final fours in each of the many brackets. I think we'll move back toward the former in 2013, with all players being guaranteed 8 rounds, and Best Overall determined by 8 rounds as well (which will push the ability to lose a game or three more into the spotlight, when competing for Best Overall). As tournament theory and software improves, we're also better able to handle the spattering of late drops you always get as people get exhausted or have to head home, making this less of an issue.
We'll also be making the Narrative more robust, and possibly dropping the Trios (in lieu of other events, perhaps a fixed-list Warhammer 30,000 type event).
Overall, the three-day format for the GT was well-received. Considering the fact that people who can attend on Friday ... can attend on Friday, we're considering easing up the strain of any given day by moving to more of a 3/3/2 schedule. We'll see how that pans out in discussions moving forward.
For better or worse, we're also looking at Labor Day again. While we haven't settled on this yet, you may want to mark your calendars - the difference going a week forward or backward is literally thousands of dollars for us AND for attendees, and thousands less square feet ... whereas remaining in Labor Day gives us access to an additional foyer, an additional main ballroom, a theater, and maintenance or improvement of the hotel's awesome rate improvements for 2012 attendees (half price parking, $85/night rooms, etc.).
Progression of the Narrative, and the NOVA's Unique Storyverse
The Narrative this year set the initial stage for a thematic universe in which NOVA Open unique events and even potentially games will be set. We're working as a large group with our best creative minds to craft and publish the story advanced by this year's Narrative participants. Additionally, the participants in the Narrative gave it the highest net reviews of any NOVA Open event (which is saying a lot - survey results showed the NOVA had even higher attendee scores than last year).
In addition to the return of the 40k-component of the Narrative, we'll be expanding the field so that other game systems can participate in parallel, and through their participation also drive the story. So, the 2013 Defenders of Earth will likely include Warmachine, Flames, Fantasy, Infinity and other players right alongside their 40k teammates.
Finally, the Narrative in 40k will feature the inclusion of a rapid-fire NOVA Open-brewed skirmish game, permitting the use of models from all the ranges potential participants may already own, and focusing on the efforts of 2012 High Scoring Protagonist Jeremy Chamblee (Chumbalaya) to right a great wrong committed by the commander of the Invaders' fleet, and potentially save the misunderstood people of Earth.
We're busily building the rulesets and playtesting for this game, and it will not be a Warhammer 40,000 spin-off. It will be a unique game in which participants can use models they own to represent the units available for use (or, creative participants can vie for prizes and recognition by converting up a squad to match the evolving character of the narrative!).
Army Appearance Scoring
Army appearance scoring has been inconsistent for a couple of years now, as it tends to be in such a large event. Our appearance chief and our appearance judges have all worked their tails off to nail it, and while they've largely gotten it right, there's always a couple of outliers who are incorrectly judged. We're committed to fixing it this year, and we'll have some blog posts to field discussion about the direction of appearance judging for ARMIES in the future.
Our Appearance Competition will build on this year's inaugural successes and lessons learned, and will be as polished and professional an event as attendees have come to expect from the NOVA Open in 2013 and into the future.
Club/Team Convention-Wide Competition
Start looking to your buddies to register for the NOVA Open as a group, team, or club. We'll be instituting a new convention-wide competition this year, whereby participation in any and all events earns points for your club/teammates, with bonus points for high placings, artistic recognition, etc. Expect there to be a nation-touring award upon which each year's winning Club/Team will be inscribed annually, as they maintain control of the award until returning it each following year. There may also be some financial incentives for coming as part of a "full" team (current estimate is a full team will be 20 attendees from the same club/team), cutting rates off each attendee, or even possibly giving a member of the team a free hotel stay!
There's more to come on this and more, suffice to say we're working on a number of things to solidify the NOVA Open for 2013 ... we'll be focusing less on dramatic expansion of attendee size, and more on fleshing out all of the other events and structures we began in the last couple of years ... better and more polished GT missions and presentation ... bigger and better Narrative and side 40k events ... bigger and better Warmachine, Fantasy, Infinity, and Flames events ... and a wider presentation of Seminars and convention-wide connectors to bring players from ALL game systems into closer concert and contact, and into mutual competition across multiple event styles and systems.
I'm excited about it already, and can't wait to see everyone at NOVA 2013. We'll be pushing registration start date back a little bit this year; anticipate February 1. We will also have primer missions, finalized schedules, full event rules and FAQ docs, and all sorts of other things all finalized BEFORE registration starts, so you'll know exactly what you can purchase, when it will happen, and what's going on before investing your money and committing to your travel plans.
Final note - anyone who is interested in volunteering for all or a portion of the NOVA Open, for things ranging from making movies to playtesting game systems and missions to judging events ... let us know! Volunteers will have the opportunity to help us raise thousands of dollars for charitable causes, and local volunteers will be given the opportunity to visit such charities and share our time and our hobby with those in need.