Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Running Your Own "NOVA" - Why Battle Points and Single Undefeated Winners Aren't Necessarily Good Things


So I'm going to write a series of articles for the number of people out there who've asked about running their own NOVA at RTTs and major GTs, but who have questions about various things ... some of these come up more often, so sharing my thoughts on it might be helpful to all.

First off, for this article, a couple of what I consider myths ...

1) Battle Points (BP) and Swiss Pairing (SP) are superior to Opposite Seed (within w/l bracket) Pairing (OSP) and Rating Points (RP). Let's screw with you guys and use acronyms from here on out.

There's a phenomenon that in an open invite tournament you cannot address effectively - Baby Seals.

In the first rounds of a tournament, depending on the size, the odds are high that a couple of things will happen across a number of players:

A) Skilled players will randomly draw Unskilled players (aka Baby Seals) and score very powerful wins off them. In either the NOVA's RP system or the standard BP system, this invariably results in them being a high seed in Round 2.

B) Skilled players will randomly draw other Skilled players and while one will win, both will score very low in the RP or BP approaches.

The unavoidable nature of these issues brings about the question of what you want your tournament to achieve. Do you want it to advance the largest number of skilled players as far as possible, or do you want it to have players bludgeon each other every step along the way?

Also, how much do you value a loss vs. scale of wins?

Some people, those who propose the "traditional" BP and SP approaches, suggest that quality of win is far more important than simply "barely winning" a bunch of games that go to tiebreaker. The NOVA system advocates undefeated as the "best" unbiased determiner. Why do these conflict and where should the emphasis lie?

Let's look at things for a second here;

Presuming A and B above are true, which system is fairest?

For a system that rewards you for SCALE of victory, A and B yield two results:
A - The player who drew the "baby seal" is greatly rewarded for his large win.
B - The player who drew the tough first rounder is greatly punished for his marginal win.

Does this make any sense?

For a system that rewards you for simple victory, A and B yield two results:
A - The player who drew the "baby seal" advances
B - The player who drew the tough first rounder advances

Hrm, this seems to be an easy one ... win/loss should trump scale of win, b/c scale of win places instant long-term value on how easy your first draw was or wasn't, and that's entirely random.

What about pairing, then?
In the NOVA system, the person who clubbed the baby seal gets a high seed, and plays someone with a much lower seed ... which could be B in the example above, but could also be someone weak who simply barely beat another weak player. In that latter example, the person who clubbed the Baby Seal gets by rule ... ANOTHER BABY SEAL.

What about the traditional swiss approach, where the baby seal clubber in the above example plays the person just below him in rating? Is that superior? Doesn't it prevent the baby seal clubber from being rewarded too greatly for his big win?

Well, maybe. Let's talk this one out a little.

If the person who wins against a weak opponent in Round 1 faces another weak opponent, and crushes him (again), is your system failing? Someone who can beat 2 baby seals advances (we haven't proven he can beat a tough opponent yet, but we haven't proven he can't either), and 2 baby seals are now knocked down to the win/loss brackets they'll be more comfortable in.

What happens if someone at the bottom of the rankings who faces the baby seal clubber actually is there b/c of situation B from a while ago above (he faced another tough opponent and barely won)? Well, the baby seal clubber now gets his litmus test, doesn't he? Either he "belongs" at a high seed / in the winners' bracket, or he doesn't.

The catch-all here is that in a w/l situation (no ties) where you pare it down to a single undefeated finisher, invariably anyone who drew lucky rounds earlier on will face a tough opponent and be knocked out. Until then, he'll at the WORST provide you the service of knocking unworthy winners out of the winners' bracket to the spots they belong in. If you go with traditional swiss pairing, the LOWEST RATED winners constantly face each other (as well as the highest). While the worst result of OSP is someone who drew lucky early getting a couple of easy rounds and knocking weak players out, the worst result of traditional swiss is that numerous weak players CONTINUE TO ADVANCE by beating other weak players. Ooops.

This is one that can be argued both ways ... but the fact remains that any argument oriented around "luck" pairings applies to any system equivalently, and I would contest to the NOVA's approach LESS materially ... simply b/c it does it is designed to limit the risk (as much as it can) of high seeds knocking each other out or down early on.

Now we get to the point and purpose of a tournament system ...
Is it to have "balanced" matches in every round? Well, if you've been following along, you can't really accomplish that ... any number of variables early on WILL cause unfair matches in the first couple of rounds NO MATTER WHAT SYSTEM YOU USE. This is amplified when the field grows larger. No matter your system, your first couple of rounds should always be considered a "weeding out" process, where people firmly establish themselves in the brackets to which they belong. This is why for the NOVA Open next year, we'll be clearing w/l records and maintaining seeds for the 2nd day of games, giving people a fresh start within their "proper" division.

So, what should be the purpose then? The later you get in a tournament, the more ACCURATE your seedings are. This is practically a fact ... the more games people have won, the more likely they each are to be talented. As a result, your goal should be to keep the highest seeds away from each other AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, b/c people who maintain their high seeds through multiple rounds generally tend to be the better players. Those who drew unluckily against them earlier may indeed have been just below them or near them in skill, but it's irrelevant ... they will be to a degree vindicated when they personally go through only losing once or so, and when their conquerors go on to the very final top table matches.

Any tournament should seek to pit the VERY BEST players in each w/l bracket against each other only in the FINAL round. OSP tends to accomplish this BETTER than traditional swiss, and that is why numerous events use it. It is true that you should ideally have a comparable statistical set to go off, and should seed people properly from the first round, but barring that it is never "ideal" to pair the higher rankings against each other early, b/c it emphasizes the flaws of early random pairing, instead of ignoring them (you can't effectively "de-emphasize" them).

Rambled a bit ... next important subject ... "How do I do this in a tournament locally when I don't have the time and resources for enough rounds to pare it down to one????"

This answer is much simpler - reward all your undefeated players equally as Tournament Aces or Best Generals.

STOP. Why not? Why is it so critical to have only ONE competitive "best" when numerous candidates have yet to be beaten? This is where traditional BP systems are the worst. This is where those lucky early seal clubbings come into their own. Now among, say, 4 undefeated players ... the people who CRUSHED THEIR ENEMIES ZEE WORST are the ones who actually win. Uh oh. What does this do?

A) It discourages close games
B) It encourages "cheating" the scores and giving opponents you "like" max points, especially late, in order to advance them over people you don't like
C) It encourages tanking people on soft scores when those are components of it
D) It encourages beating the snot out of people mercilessly, even when you already know that you've got them "beat" (and this is probably the worst part - it encourages over the top power gaming instead of tight competitive friendly gaming to win, and no more)

This is what a Best Overall is for, my friends. This is why we have Renaissance Man. Best Overall and Best General become contentious because they are just de facto #1 and #2 in a system that includes soft scores as part of it, and rewards people for massacring opponents to score maximum points instead of simply winning out.

Simplify it, actually prove your "equal love for all in the hobby" statements aren't just bs lip service. You will know based upon attendance how many undefeated finishers you'll have ... it's not complicated at all.

Let's pick a random number ... 20 over 3 rounds, let's say

20 ---> 10 ---> 5 ---> 2-3 (#1 vs. #4, #2 vs #3, #5 2-0 vs. #6 1-1) undefeated after 3 rounds; have prize support for 3 "Tournament Aces" or Best Generals ready and if you only get 2, either give the guy who beat #5 a prize also, or split #3's prize among #'s 1 and 2 or the Best Overall/Renaissance Man.

It's not complicated, all it takes is a little forethought and a little respect for your players. Do not be a shallow tard and hand your Best General prize to ONE PERSON who numerous other undefeated players have to sit there angrily gnashing their teeth that they didn't get easier draws on the way up or slaughter their foes more mercilessly.

Next, give your Best Overall far more emphasis on appearance and sportsmanship. Why is this important? If the Best Overall is MOSTLY comprised of competitive score, it will almost invariably go to ONE OF THOSE UNDEFEATED PLAYERS. You fall right back into the same problem - the other ones feel punished b/c they didn't have "prettier" armies or because their opponents tanked their sports score. By making competitive finish only ~33% of the composition of the Renaissance Man / Best Overall score, you firmly separate it from Best Generals finishers, and ensure that none of them will feel "gypped" by the result. It's true that one could still win Best Overall, but only by virtue of a truly gorgeous army and phenomenal sports scores. The award itself is mathematically divorced enough that it prevents that rightly angry feeling of being gypped by simply not having enough games to go after each other player.

So reward all. This should be inclusive, all-rewarding, all-fair as a hobby anyway. If you as a TO cannot provide an event that will give them a clear Best General, do not invest all of your prize support into a single Best General award. Fair, simple, etc.

Think outside the box, on everything ... it'll get you somewhere. The number of times I've had people go "WELL WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ROUNDS" is huge. The number of times when I've replied with "Um, give multiple best generals?" and been answered with "Oh ... duh." Is almost equal.


Monday, August 30, 2010

It's here! - Pumpkin Beer! But not just any kind ... THIS ONE IS THE CHUCK NORRIS OF SEASONALS

Ladies and gents,

I introduce to you Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale. ("IPA" ... heh)

First, let me tell you about Weyerbacher Brewery. Wait, I won't, the link I provided can do that.

BUT EASTON, PA, NOW! That's where Weyerbacher is from, and truly it is fitting that the king of pumpkin brews comes from a town made famous for its complete and total disregard for Prohibition (being well-known and regarded for the ease with which one could find brothels and booze during that darkest of times in our nation's history).

Onto the beer. The first time I encountered Weyerbacher "IPA" was last year, when I came upon it in a dark alley beating the crap out of 5 muggers while simultaneously satiating the thirst of the poor old woman they'd been assailing. The wonderful goodness of pumpkin, cardamom, and nutmeg not only revived her, but gave her the power of flight. Off she went into the night sky, and off I went to Norm's Beer and Wine, to acquire some of this potent brew myself.

Have you looked at the label? No, my friend, you aren't high off the fumes from that last bit of gas you passed. It is indeed an angry pumpkin in an imperial cape with his mighty royal mace of righteousness raised high above his head in anticipation of a strike against evil and injustice. Drink some Weyerbacher "IPA" and that hallucination-inducing flatulence of yours will instantly take on the bouquet of cinnamon and alcoholic amazingness.

Enough over-emphasized hyperbole, however, let's talk brass tacks.

It is potent, approx 8.0% ABV. Hence the Imperial.

It is tasty, like ... I don't know, you have to try it kind of tasty. Hence the AWESOME AMAZING WONDERFULNESS listed in size 1 font under the label (a truly great brew must be modest).

It is rare, like ... you only have a couple of months in which to try it before it is gone for another year.

Go find some. For serious. If you're in the DC area, let me know you want some, show up to the next Whiskey40k night with cash, and I will bring it to you ... I like having it in my car anyway, as it renders my vehicle as impervious to harm as it if were covered in sheets of buckypaper.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Whiskey40k Night 8-27, with Schlafly Brews

Tonight I'll be demo'ing to folks at Whiskey 40k night the Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, which is some amazing stuff ... stands well above most run of the mill pumpkin brews.

It's that season, with Oktoberfest seasonals in full swing and Pumpkin seasonals beginning to show up on the shelves.

Get Schlafly this year; it's exceptional.

Tonight's Whiskey40k night includes socializin', Joe O's awesome BBQ, cigars (Monte Christo's, Baccarats, CAO Flavoreds and w/e the heck those massive ones Joe smokes are), and a variety of seasonal brews I'm bringing over ... plus Malifaux, 40k, and possibly Risk.

40k will see some 1k+1k vs 1k+1k 2v2 action, regular 2k games, etc., and Malifaux will be 25-35 ss scraps on a Malifaux Battle Board that Geoff's been working on (Geoff is the mastermind behind all our gorgeous top table terrain for Fantasy and 40k at this year's Open). Curious to see what he's come up w/ for a battle board ... he says it's unfinished, but for him that usually means what the rest of us would consider 99.5% done ... he usually won't show unpolished work.

So off we go ... big crowd tonight, about 15 gamers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NOVACALYPSE at the 2011 NOVA Open - Feedback Requested

Guys, this is a thread for input ... I'll try to in-depth go over the basics of what this is shaping up as ... and then hit up some key questions I have at the moment. Though any input is welcome, anything that directly addresses the actual questions is of more interest to me at first.

Basically, here's the plan ...

1) It'll be a pay-for event, so people who want to play in it actually want to be there; it'll be fairly nominal (thinking ~$20 at present) and if all goes as planned, will include free beer from a brewery sponsor. The key part here is that people playing it will want to be there, and will be 21+ in age.

2) The event will focus on "apocalyptic" ancillary events that affect all tables in some capacity, but otherwise "team 40k" at each individual table.

3) The tables will all be linked, and kept close together in probably a circular type formation. Each table will represent a sector of an planetary war. Each table will have a variable number of objectives to capture, whose capture will influence the entire event.

4) The planned numbers for this are 52 --> 26 teams of 2; players will sign up as a team, as a club to be randomly divided into teams, or as free agents to be paired up with people as a team.

5) The event will run from 8PM - 11:59PM on Friday and Saturday nights, as a casual unwind after a day of gaming / seminars / etc.

6) Overall Commanders (an earned position based upon your performance during the day's events) will begin the event by accessing a large graphic map with the various sectors(tables) laid out on it, and with a "game piece" for each of their teams. They will take turns in a mini-strategy game applying apocalyptic effects (such as orbital bombardments) to each sector, and assigning their teams to fight in each sector.

7) Once assigned, teams will head to their assigned sector for 2v2 40k games, using 1000 points per player. The individual sectors will not be APOC battles. Players may bring Superheavies, but they will be used by the Overall Commanders in ancillary action either with each other, or by targeting the board with "markers." More on markers next.

8) Apocalyptic effects applied to tables, D or apocalyptic blast/template shots sent at tables by Superheavies under the control of Overall Commanders, and similar things will never be resolved the moment they are applied, and will never be able to affect a small radius around sector objectives. Basically, imagine you are playing your 2v2 game in Sector 1 --> the Overall Commander has assigned an Orbital Bombardment to the board; at the beginning of the game, it is centered on the table, and scattered a random distance (avoiding objective radii), upon which will be placed a series of markers. Each of these markers will be hit with an Orbital Bombardment at the END OF THE GAME (or at a predetermined mid-point / turn). The same will happen with D Weapons or super-heavy mega blasts/templates fired at any given sector by superheavies under the control of the Overall Commanders. The point of this is to ensure that people have fun and fair games ... and avoid the "suck factor" of a random massive attack coming from somewhere else in the room / battle in the middle of their assault phase or turn, and annihilating their units with no recourse (in other words: stuff that sucks to have happen). The effect will be both marginally influential, and comic in intent - units racing to get away from targeted sections of the game board before their timer ticks off and a D blast or orbital bombardment blasts it.

9) The intent is to complete a specified # of turns and then resolve whether or not objectives have been accomplished in each sector, which will influence the overall narrative of the event. On the 2nd day, teams will be reassigned to new sectors and the battle will recommence.


1) It's important to establish the fashion in which people can/should build their armies, whether any special rules will apply to make peoples' armies all fight more heroically as imagined centerpieces of each sector's conflicts, exactly how many points and what FOC will be in use, etc.

2) re: #6) above, who should be the Overall Commanders (high competitive performers for the day, high narrative performers for the day, random draws, special guests, etc.?)

3) Should it be two nights of full games (4 hours per game) or much longer and more relaxed game turns of only 3-4 per night, with it being one connected battle.

4) Who will have time every now and again to help playtest and brainstorm? :)

The overarching goal here is to have an apocalyptic feel but avoid a few key things that make "mega battles" and apoc games suck.

1) Points overload on a given table
2) People with big superheavies ruling the day with D weapon spam
3) Everyone fighting in one connected game and so waiting forever to resolve each phase, and generally just dealing with a ton of screaming and yelling across tables and weapons being fired across absurd distances, etc.
4) Mega slow, crappy feelings
5) Apocalyptic events, formations, strategic assets and such "ruining" the game for individuals who are unfortunate enough to bear the brunt of their impact

This should in practice be a series of team small 40k games (2k points per side) played over 12-14 tables (14 if everyone is simply assigned, 12 if each overall commander gets a team to hold in reserve and "reinforce" a beleaguered table), with apocalyptic events being overarching and slow-developing (i.e. the timed arrival of marked orbital bombardments, d blasts, etc.) so as to influence the feel of things, but not - again- "ruin" peoples' nights.

Input, or just thoughts/initial reactions, all welcome :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Call Outs - Help and Players Needed

Ok folks, so there's a few things in the mix


1) My blog and the NOVA website could use some sprucing up. Are there any web-tastic folks out there in the listenersphere who might be interested in helpin' a brother out? mvbrandt@gmail.com

For serious. I think that was like the only negative thing I heard at Games Day this year haha

2) LEAGUE AND MINI-TOURNEY PLAY - We're tentatively planning on running a few 40k leagues, and a few 16-man 40k "mini tourneys" in the coming months; locals especially who want to participate, but also anyone in the wider area that wants to help co-run one of these in their locality, should contact me ... it'll be limited participation to a degree, and either free or very low cost. Prizes and such for the winners, natch. The point of these things is going to be test drilling new concepts and refinements for the NOVA Format and missions getting ready for next year ... competitive and fun play for you guys, powerful feedback for us.

3) NOVAcalypse planning and designing - this will be our evening narrative / campaigny / mega-battley thing, but it's so much more intricate than that also. It's going to take some playtesting to get it right, and there will be beer (the plan is free beer) as part of the NOVACALYPSE fee. Just getting it out there early.

The next NOVA is going full convention ... we'll have seminars, hobby events, team and club events, a full on massive painting competition, expanded narrative and competitive tracks for both Fantasy and 40k, etc. Gonna be rocking.

We'll also be doing discounts for earlier sign-ups, with scaling costs as we get closer - so, keep posted, and let me know ASAP if you plan on attending next year; it'll help us plan and save you some cash! Right now we're looking at August again, but a little later in the month than it was this year (to put some space between us and a couple of other early August / late July events).

- Mike

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catching Lightning in a Bottle - Positivity and Goodwill at the NOVA Open

So this is a discussion topic; my "followership" (I hate that) has increased by like 17 in the last week, I guess that happens when you run an event and the general feedback is widely popular.

So what I want is ... opinion on why exactly there was so much extreme positivity, goodwill and happiness all over the floor at the Open this year.

There were certainly arguments and discussions of depth, and one person left to avoid (in his words) passing on his bad mood to others in any kind of negative way after starting 0-2.

So ... what did it? What can be done to further improve it? What should we be "repeating?" I've never seen such camaraderie, interaction between strangers, and general happiness at an event of this size or style before ... and I'm really interested in more than just my own closed view of the "why." So, fire away; I'll share my own thoughts independently within the comments or in another blog post in general.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Final Results - All Players - Warhammer Fantasy Spreadsheets

Fantasy Final Results ...



Competitive final between Mark Aksel and Nicholas Walters went to Mark Aksel

Final Results - All Players - Warhammer 40k Spreadsheets - NOVA Open

Fantasy results coming soon


To make sense of things ...

First, competitive score = 10xWinRate + Goal1Rate + Goal2Rate + Goal3Rate
Second, appearance score = ((Army At a Glance Judging #1 + Army At a Glance Judging #2)/200 + .3((Single Mini #1 + Single Mini#2)/200) + .3((Single Converted #1 + Single Converted #2)/200))
Third, sports score = Cumulative Scoring by Opponents / 16

Ren Man = (Competitive Score / 13) + Appearance Score + Sports Score (equal weight to each)

These are the rankings at the end of day 1. I've created a file sorted by Tournament Champion, and a file sorted by Renaissance (Overall). So the first file is Best General sorted, and the second is Best Overall sorted, for those who haven't kept up with our terminology.

Competitive Sort

Renaissance Sort

On Day 2, the top 8 competitive players were all participant, with the exception that Chris Shriner declined to compete, resulting in Nick Nanavati (#9 competitive) advancing.

The final results at the end of Day 2 resorted the Top 8 to:
Tony Kopach (6-0) - SW
Mark Ferek (5-1) - BA
Andrew Sutton (5-1) - SW
Justin Hilderbrandt (6-1) - Ork
Samuel Penson (5-2) - SW
Jeremy Chamblee (4-2) - SW
Joe Trueblood (4-2) - BA
Nick Nanavati (3-3) - DoC

For posterity's sake, Chris Shriner was playing mono-Nurgle CSM

For the number crunching types in terms of Day 1 Results ...

Short-hand, organized alphabetically

Black Templars: 1-3
Blood Angels: 29-27
Chaos Space Marines: 11-21
Daemons of Chaos: 9-3
Dark Angels: 3-5
Daemon HunterS: 0-4
Eldar: 13-15
Imperial Guard: 25-23
Necron: 1-3
Orks: 16-12
Space Wolves: 32-12
Tau: 7-9
Vanilla Marines: 22-22
Witch Hunters: 4-4

Black Templars went 1-3, 1 army

14 Blood Angels went a combined 29-27, with a single 4-0, 5 x 3-1, 3 x 2-2, 4 x 1-3, 1 x 0-4

8 Chaos Space Marines went a combined 11-21, with a single 3-1, 3 x 2-2, 2 x 1-3, 2 x 0-4

3 Daemons of Chaos went a combined 9-3, with all three going 3-1

2 Dark Angels went a combined 3-5, with a 2-2 and a 1-3

1 Daemon Hunter went 0-4

7 Eldar went a combined 13-15, with a single 3-1, 4 x 2-2, and 2 x 1-3

12 Imperial Guard (originally miscounted as 11) went a combined 25-23, with 4 x 3-1, 5 x 2-2, 3 x 1-3

1 Necron went 1-3

7 Orks went a combined 16-12, with 1 x 4-0, 2 x 3-1, 2 x 2-2, 2 x 1-3

11 Space Wolves went a combined 32-12, with 3 x 4-0, 4 x 3-1, 4 x 2-2

4 Tau went a combined 7-9, with 3 x 2-2 and 1 x 1-3

3 Tyranid went a combined 3-9, with 1 each at 2-2, 1-3, 0-4

12 Vanilla Marines went a combined 22-22, with 2 x 3-1, 7 x 2-2, 2 x 1-3, 1 x 0-4

2 Witch Hunters went 3-1 and 1-3 respectively

Sunday, August 15, 2010

NOVA Open Results - 40k

Tons of detail results to come but ...

Renaissance Man - Best Overall - D. Matulich (Danny Internets)

Tournament Champion - Best General / Solo Undefeated - T. Kopach

Tournament Aces - Undefeated First Day (arranged by seed)
- M. Ferek (Blood Angels)
- A. Sutton (Stelek) (Space Wolves)
- T. Kopach (Space Wolves)
- S. Penson (Space Wolves)
- J. Hilderbrandt (Dash of Pepper) (Orks)

Heart of Gold - Best Sportsmanship - S. Chase (Tie for 15/16 with Danny Internets)

Greater Than the Sum - Best Army Appearance - E. Furman

Well Beyond Crayon - Best Single Mini - T. Williamson (Old Shatter Hands)

A Miniature Frankenstein - Best Converted Mini - D. Brown

3-1's to advance to 2nd day 3rd-place-bracket
- J. Trueblood
- J. Chamblee
- N. Nanavati

Finals Matches (Undefeated / Tournament Champion Track) ...

Round 5 - (5) J. Hilderbrandt over (4) S. Penson

Round 6
- (1) M. Ferek over (5) J. Hilderbrandt
- (3) T. Kopach over (2) A. Sutton

Round 7
- (3) T. Kopach over (1) M. Ferek

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Note Before the NOVA Weekend

I'm going to be largely out of pocket all weekend, for understandable reasons.

Something that has occurred more and more to me over time is this:

Our hobby is small.

There are not that many 40k and Fantasy gamers. There are even less on the internet. There are even less that travel around to tournaments.

Arguments and absurd levels of negativity nonetheless arise frequently between bloggers, forum posters, and even players in games.

To you all I make this appeal - stop subdividing further the hobby that we love.

Those of you who target competitive/WAAC gamers - stop. Those of you who target "fluff bunnies" - stop. You all have a place in our hobby, our tournaments, our games ... you all are peers, whether you want to be or not.

The more negativity and vitriol that is added to the pot, the worse and smaller our hobby becomes for all of us.

I absolutely cannot tolerate it, it frustrates me. AS much as I will tirelessly pursue trying to improve what a tournament format is, and provide a roadmap for others to run their own tournaments from the ground up ... I'll do the same on this subject. I've simply had it with cross-blog sniping, forum flame war haterade, etc.

"Why can't we all just get along" has never been more appropriate to me, b/c I've never seen such hate flow so freely as sometimes these days.

I'm stoked about this weekend. I'll see ya'll on the flipside, with I'm sure tons of follow-up/feedback/after-action reports/etc.

- Mike

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Final Mission Packet, NOVA FAQ v2

For ya'll to look through, use, whatevs ...

NOVA Open Final Mission Packet - 40k
NOVA Open Final Mission Packet - Fantasy ... hang on, gettin' the file

NOVA FAQ (40k)
NOVA FAQ v2 Main Body

The first NOVA Open is only a couple of days away and I'm busy finishing prep ...

For all you also getting ready, follow the advice of a hallowed tome ...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The NOVA Invitational - Notional Moments


Next year we're talking about doing a basic quals system for any tournament in the country to fill independently (and for any of the bigger tourneys to auto-qual for), where certain performance variables will render you eligible for the "NOVA Invitational," held during the NOVA weekend in 2011. This idea is still in its nascent stages, but the top finishers at this year's Open will get the first "Conditional" Invitations to next year's event.

If it happens / when it happens, it will likely bracket the actual Open, so that attendees can still participate in the big event, but with a qualification-oriented side event on Fri/Sun that nets a pretty sizeable prize (possible just a boatload o' cash).

Forgetting the idea of doing it or not, the question that is in my mind is how to format it if we were to do it, and I think the community could offer some solid feedback. Well, whatever community actually reads this site!

Things to ponder ...
1) Do you qualify "best generals," "best overalls," or both? I'm inclined to think high levels of sportsmanship and basic appearance fulfillment might be required to ensure players don't behave poorly when competing for a major cash prize (we're thinking thousands here). More to the point - how to ensure that the invitees are not just sterling awesome players, but reliably awesome people. The bigger the prize, the higher the risk of a heated competition.
1a) If we did this, tables would all be refereed ... so arguments / issues / possible cheating would be moderated actively by exterior observers. That's another thing to structure and think about.

2) Do you do it as a raw singles event, or do you do it as a "team" style event ---> i.e., have each tournament's top qualifiers be a loose team in a score sense, or just a focus on the individual?

3) What kinds of standards do you implement in the first year, and what tournaments are large enough to deserve exemption? My thought is simply to encourage transparency, fairness, openness ... releasing scenarios early enough, keeping your player base informed about all the details, etc. I don't want to make people pick up the NOVA format, or dance to my tune. I just don't want to reward a shot at thousands in cash / prizes to players who earn their quals via shady or collusive methods.

A casual note - this is a thought exercise at present - one I want you all to help me work through. We aren't committed to doing this, and more importantly - it's too soon to be committed.

We have a major tournament coming up in a few days, and our primary focus and job is to EXECUTE it ... but I figured I'd drop a light in on one of the MANY things we're planning for next year in order to let ya'll work through some of it with me.

- Mike

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finalized Appearance Scorecards - NOVA Open

This is what happens when you give someone with great artistic talent in the hobby - and a passion for it - plus a super organized / focused mind the task of managing appearance scoring for your event ....

Compare to my original sheet ;)
Never have an ego when running these things; stick to what you're good at, and let those who are great at something do this:

NOVA Open Final Appearance Scorecard

I'm actually pretty happy with it. I hope ya'll are too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Whiskey Challenge - Friday Night "Exhibition" Matches

These 8 folks are playing in the Friday Night "Whiskey Challenge" matches, along with all the other open gamers ... can you guess who is playing who?

Hulksmash from Dakkadakka

Dashofpepper from Dakkadakka

Danny Internets



The Tau of War



NOVA Open - Appearance Scoring Revamp

Hey all,

My good buddy Geoff is a longtime expert when it comes to creativity and ... well, everything in life. He'll be at the Open, directing our appearance judging teams. All of our regular gaming terrain is built and painted by Geoff, and his own minis are works of art ... especially in the hand-crafting department.

His credits are long and I won't belabor them, suffice to say he's far more qualified in the appearance department than I am. That said, he'll be revising our score components (but not the heart of what's rewarded and why) and the scoring sheet, and taking ownership of it and those who will be judging it.

Geoff's a stickler for all the fine details, so his position probably will ensure the scores are as close to accurate as possible ... he's also passionate about the hobby component of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k ... a lot of his hand-crafted terrain will be on some of the tables at the Open, and it's bound to get some OOOO's and AAAAAA's. It always does :)

In any event, just a heads up that for the 40k players who received the final mission packet draft, and the appearance scoring draft, to expect the heart of the scoring to stay the same, but the points to "normalize" more around common numbers, and the sensibility of the judging to clarify and become overall a little better.

- Mike

Monday, August 2, 2010

Swag Preview - NOVA Open ... T-Minus 11 Days

Here are a few of the things we'll have for you at the NOVA Open ...

VIP Tickets to Games Day 2010
Tickets to Adepticon 2011
Tickets to The Colonial GT 2011

Over 60 boxes of assorted Games Workshop "stuff" ranging from bits packs to superheavies

Kits, goods, and paraphernalia from Battle Foam, Crusader Miniatures, Gale Force 9, Soda Pop Miniatures, Kraftmark and more
Gift Certificates from Back 2 Base-ix, The Warstore and more

Over a dozen "goodies" in every attendee's swag bag, including components from the 11th Company Podcast and The Warstore.


I'll be spending my evenings over the next week and a half organizing and putting it all together as I receive the last accumulations of it.

I'm getting STOKED about the tournament guys ... lots left to do for me, hopefully not too much for any of ya'll. 11 Days.