Monday, December 27, 2010

DRAFT 40k Schedule - NOVA Open 2011

Well, this is a little crazy :)

And definitely still up for revision; but it's where things are leaning ...

4:00 - 6:00PM -           Inaugural Happy "Hour"
6:00 - 7:00PM -           Earlybird registration, Whiskey Challenge and Live Podcasting Set-Up
7:00 - 10:00PM -         Whiskey Challenge Matches, Open Gaming, Live Podcasting and Socializing
10:00PM - 6:00AM -   Open Gaming - Yup, 24 hours/day

Friday - Invitational
6:30 - 8:00AM -           Registration & Sign-In
8:00 - 10:00AM -         Round 1
10:30AM - 12:30PM - Round 2
12:30 - 1:30PM -         Lunch
1:30 - 3:30PM -           Round 3
4:00 - 6:00PM -           Round 4
6:30 - 8:30PM -           Round 5
8:30 - 9:00PM -           Awards

Friday - Team Tournament
6:30 - 8:00AM -           Registration & Sign-In
8:00 - 11:00AM -         Round 1 (1k+1k vs 1k+1k; 1.5k vs 1.5k)
11:00AM - 12:30PM - Lunch
12:30 - 3:30PM -         Round 2 (2k vs 2k; 2k vs 2k; 2k vs 2k)
4:00 - 7:00PM -           Round 3 (1k+1k vs 1k+1k; 1.5k vs 1.5k)

Saturday - Main Event Day 1 - NOVA Open Warhammer 40,000 GT
6:30 - 8:00AM -           Registration & Sign-In
8:00 - 10:15AM -         Round 1
10:45AM - 1PM -        Round 2
1:00 - 2:00PM -           Lunch
2:00 - 4:15PM -           Round 3
4:45 - 7:00PM -           Round 4
7:00PM - 12:00AM -   Open Gaming, Socializing, Pub Quizzes, Additional Activities - Open time at present

Sunday - Main Event Day 2-  Final Heats - NOVA Open Warhammer 40,000 GT
6:30 - 8:00AM -           Sign-In and Drops
8:00 - 10:15AM -         Round 1
10:45AM - 1PM -        Round 2
1:00 - 2:00PM -           Lunch
2:00 - 4:15PM -           Round 3
4:45 - 7:00PM -           Round 4
7:30 - 8:15PM -           Awards and So Longs

The above is a draft, of course - there's more that can be changed and finagled; your input is welcome, of course; it's a crazy exciting weekend of 40k is what it is - a lot of it, with a lot of good solid gaming.

To explain the meaning of "Sign-In and Drops" on Day 2; while we're structuring our Incidental Comp style to ensure that even the 16 people who go 0-4 on Day 1 will have 4 close games and one will be guaranteed a 4-0 Day 2 with an accompanying Best Generalship prize ... we recognize that not everyone is up for that in light of the opportunity to get out of town sooner.  So, we'll have optional outs at the BEGINNING of Sunday.  There will be a variety of non-gaming events going on Sunday as well, or casual gaming events, so players will have the opportunity to withdraw from their additional rounds and participate in some of that without having to leave "super late" on Sunday evening.  I actually anticipate most players will want to play on Sunday - it promises 4 very close games with the bracketing style, but there's no reason for us to force people who are 0-4 or 1-3 or 2-2 to endure at cost to their "real lives."

Thoughts and input are welcome; I'd also be curious who would be interested in the TT of those who troll here regularly.  We'll probably encourage 3-man teams signing up already formed, but offer a pairing service for people who'd like to play in it but aren't bringing a ready to go team with them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

And a Happy Holidays to all the atheists, Muslims, Jews, Pastafarians and everyone else.  May you all have a wonderful time this time of year.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Discussion Subject from the WhiskeyNOVA Forums - Team Tournament Notional, Variable Matching Format

I will reiterate encouragement to head over to the forums and participate in some of the discussions already starting to bud over there.  OR, play around in the arcade.

For the blog, I'll post my own stuff, like here ... I'll also occasionally post for blog consumption some good topics brought about by posters; already a couple are eligible there now.


So, question at play - Variable Matching TT

Here's the fundamental goal:

3 Player Teams, 3 Rounds for the Event - oriented around fun / casual play, but still competitive and formulaic results ... probable for Friday play at the Open Convention

Each player brings the following:

1 x 1,000 Point List, 1 HQ, 0-1 Fast, 0-1 Heavy, 0-1 Elite, 1-3 Troop
1 x 1,500 Point List, Full Force Org
1 x 2,000 Point List, Full Force Org
All lists must be from the same CODEX, but do not need to be built off the same building blocks

Captains would pre-assign their players to the team rounds BEFORE the day began

Round 1, Split Play:

2 x 1,000 Point Lists vs. 2 x 1,000 Point Lists
1 x 1,500 Point List vs. 1 x 1,500 Point List

Round 2, Split Play:

2 x 1,000 Point Lists vs. 2 x 1,000 Point Lists (Must be a different combination of 2 than Round 1)
1 x 1,500 Point List vs. 1 x 1,500 Point List (Must be different, naturally, from Round 1)

Round 3, Match Play:

3 x Singles 2,000 Point List vs 2,000 Point List

So your team would participate in 7 "games" over 3 rounds. Obviously one person who not have to bring a 1,500 point list in the above scenario, b/c one person would play in both 1,000 point team games, and in the 2,000 point final round.

There's flexibility here, I'm not set on this, but I think it would be interesting, and give people an opportunity to try their codices out at very different levels of play. Lots to develop, comment away.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WhiskeyNOVA Forums - Soft Opening

Well, we've populated and put up zee forums.

The link will be updated sooner than later to something along the lines of

For now, it is

Trying to keep the forum count and focus low and sharp for now; I ask that you head over there and participate in or start up intelligent discussion on a subject of choice.

There's also a very nice shoutbox ... lots of functionality and readability; and there's an arcade with over I think 500 games in it ... and a tournament feature for the games, so you can actually run and participate in arcade tournaments.

The purpose of the forum besides updating information on the NOVA Open, and creating a better article reference / repository for this blog, is to focus on tournament theory and analysis, as well as event posting and critique.  I'd like to see event organizers that post their events there to include rationale and function behind the choices they've made for format, size, venue, etc. - it does attendees good to know these things were well thought out, and not simply hijacked or (even worse) ill-thought out.

I'm not trying to revolutionize the forumsphere here - I'd rather see intelligent conversation move to the forums, and if enough of it goes there, great :) ... if not, no sweat; we already have Dakka, Heresy, Bolter and Warseer, and I'm really not interested in recreating that.

Depending on the kind of turnout we get, we may work on a membership feature as well, creating high level discussion forums for deep argument / discussion, between forum posters who've "earned their stripes" via enough constructive contribution.  I can also to a limited degree create subforums for other tournaments and the like who wish to have a forum central point to go to and talk about their event - this offer especially extends to tournaments on the NOVA Invitational track who don't have forums of their own or have ill-visited forums of their own.

Anyway, so there you have it!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Exchange w/ a Friend ... Thoughts and Analysis of "Competitive" Player Development

We see the following happen in 40k clubs, buddy groups and communities across the country ...

From Anonymous ...
Here's how it goes down. They get beat on a bunch by better players who also take better lists. They think the lists are the devil. But finally, guiltily they steal a "net list" thinking that now, in some sort of Faustian exchange, once he has the power list he will auto win. But they still lose. So they get frustrated and swear up and down they are just not "competitive" and go back to aiming for best painted. It's the way it always goes. And when you try to help them, they get upset, and say that they know how to play, they just refuse to use the "cheese." And I feel bad. Because I see this cycle clearly, and these are my friends. And I would love for them to be able to participate in the WHOLE hobby Gameplay, Modelling, Painting. But they choose to opt out of gameplay.
So, what's the problem here?  Are these players just not "competitive?"  Are they brilliantly good gamers who simply refuse to use the "cheese?"

No, in fact, while not necessarily full of shit, they're very wrong about themselves.

Anonymous largely hits on it in the first sentence - they get beat on a bunch by better players who also take better lists.

So what's the solution?  Should these player types - and it's really the majority of the country I think - quit game playing at 40k?  Should they accept that some people are just going to always whoop their butts and take weaker lists as excuses?  Should they focus on painting only?  Are they actually not competitive?  NO to all of the above.

This is actually going to tie a little in with the Incidental Comp bracketing format for the NOVA Open GT next year, where people with same records and very similar battle point accurals will play only amongst each other through the 4 rounds of Day 2.  The most important thing in the game of 40k is not so much to be humble, but to certainly not be too proud.  Like all activities in life, we all possess differing aptitudes for different things.  Believe it or not, when you blame someone's victories over you on their cheesy tactics and powergaming lists, you're actually competing to win still - you're trying to win off the table, in a different fashion, by sniping at the person's integrity and the fairness of the playing field.  You might even win, if the person in frustration actually decides that's a fight worth participating in.  You're actually being cheesier than your referenced opponent, in fact, by competing entirely outside the rules of the game and the boundaries of the codices.

Regardless, the solution here is to be honest about your own capacity with the game.  If you can't grasp the intricacies of the movement phase and the intricacies of thinking ahead on missions ... you need to do one of two things.  1) Compete with people who are the same rough skill and list level as you, or 2) Honestly admit that the people beating you are currently BETTER THAN YOU, and even though you know "how to play," you don't know it as well, you don't take advantage of it as well, and you could get better ... and then, get better.  This game isn't rocket science.  The "average" intellect of a human being can attain a level of competitiveness with a strong list that he's fluid with ... that will enable him to compete on the dice and the razor's edge with most people - especially outside of national tournaments with a high concentration of 40k geniuses.

This ties in with so many other articles I've written, about assessing your own needs and personally seeing them fulfilled, about how to treat others within the same very small hobby ... it bears repeating and it bears belaboring.  Everyone plays the game at a different level; everyone is possessed of a different aptitude level for the game.  It doesn't speak to your quality as a person that you aren't as good at it as someone else.

BUT, it does speak to your quality as a person when you brand the superior painting, or gaming, or whatever skills of someone else with extremely negative connotations and terms ... just to feel better about your own limitations.  In fact, it speaks very poorly about your quality as a person.  Honest self-evaluation is a difficult thing ... it can lead to ego, to bragging ... lord knows we all can struggle with that in fields we excel in.  Regardless, it is just as much a struggle to admit your limitations, but speaks so much more about you, and can lead to so much more happiness and a much stronger ability to co-exist with those around you.

Truth of the matter is, less than 1% of us 40k gamers aren't competitive.  Put any of us in a dogfight with an opponent of similar skill and list, and you won't see ANY players who literally don't care and are trying to lose.  EVERYONE enjoys a close, fun, competitive game.  That's where the fun is at, right?  Not blasting someone vastly inferior off the table,  but tangling to the bottom of 7 with a peer.  If you're in a gaming club, play with people who are your peers, and RESPECT (don't insult, disrespect, classify as "cheesy," etc.) the people who aren't your peers.  You wouldn't compare your excellent pro painting skills with a brand new painter, proclaiming your awesomeness and his weakness, and a brand new painter wouldn't look at your excellent pro skills and call you a cheesy powerpainter.  Why would you do this with the gaming component of the same hobby?  If you want to play with a wider group of people, IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS BY HONESTLY ADMITTING THEY AREN'T "FINE."  It's easy to play down to someone's level by taking a weaker list, or playing more casually, and still netting competitive games.  It's impossible to play up unless you're willing to flex that amazing human brain of yours and pick up your game.  Same applies to painting, converting, and everything else in the hobby.

Our hobby will benefit from more people treating others as peers by attaining similar levels of play, painting, etc.; our hobby will benefit even more if those who are not at the same level as others are honest enough to simply admit that, and not attach branding, criticism and intense negativity to the difference.  Partisanship was opposed by George Washington for our country, and we see where it gets us all the time.  It's an inevitability, often, that people will create and choose sides ... but can we knock it off a little?  Our hobby is too small to suffer it, but small enough to actually do something about avoiding it.

Prospero Burns


I picked up and completely read Prospero Burns during a couple of fleetingly free hours yesterday, amidst a lot of driving around and a big holiday party.

I'm kinda disappointed.  The main character of the book is a conservator (historian, basically) who is sort of adopted by the Space Wolves.  His story is well enough told, but the connection of the pups to things and any real deepening of the mysteries is NOT well told.  I actually think it would be better if you read Prospero Burns first, and A Thousand Sons second ... the story comes off better that way.

Either way, it's ~400 pages of Dan Abnett waxing Dan Abnett (good writing by the sentence), but without a really fantastic story.  You do learn about the Space Wolves ... and heroes of the Imperium or not these days (M.41), people certainly didn't like them one bit back in the Great Crusade.  They do explain well how the pups aren't just frenzied killing beasts ... in fact, there's nothing Khornate about them, as people often surmise.  Their susceptibility to Chaos is extremely minimal, with even those corrupted or falling largely being anomalies.  The fact that so many have the Canis Helix or even go were kinda just reflects that their extreme internal discipline as a group, as a whole, prevents even major mutation from "turning" them.  Anyway, I don't want to spoil it, it's worth reading, but it's VERY far from my fave HH book.

I give it a 3/5.

Friday, December 17, 2010

NOVA Open 2011Registration Incoming

Ladies and gents, it's getting close to that time.

NOVA Open 2011 Early Bird Registration for those who pre-registered for the 40k GT will begin soon, and full / open registration for all events will follow relatively soon thereafter.

If you haven't pre-registered yet, you should -

We're still nailing down the budget's details and trying to cut the cost down as much as possible, but anticipate something along the following:

$35 weekend badge for ThursdayPM --> Sunday PM convention access, including all the open gaming and ancillary events (evening events, bar/restaurant deals, etc.), and your swag bag (last year's swag bags contained about $35 in product in each).

Somewhere in the range of $65 GT cost for the 40k GT.  With 256 competitors, many more prizes, and 8 rounds guaranteed for every player, this compares favorably to the $50/4 guaranteed round rate from last year.  The total combination of $100 for badge + GT will yield the same size or larger swag bag (probably larger in value), and the same $/round cost as last year ($12.50/round).  This is still subject to change, but probably not in the upward direction.

There will likely be a match-play-oriented 40k Team Tournament on Friday - while working on the idea, it may involve something along the lines of 3-player teams where each player brings a 1500-2000 point army, and a 1000 point limited FOC army, and certain rounds will involve team vs. play, while others involve singles match play between the teams.

There's also a Malifaux Tournament in the works, a series of Warmahordes events, and a Fantasy tournament being produced.  We'll have a "Golden NOVA" golden-demon style painting competition across the weekend, and an Iron Painters speed painting competition, both of which are being hammered out as you read this.  More information on these and everything else incoming.

I've mentioned this before, but if you have pre-registered or intend to register with a large number of compatriots / clubmates / local types - discounts or swag bag perks or general perks can always be discussed for groups bringing a lot of people.

We're a little over 8 months out still, but we're stoked here :)

 - Mike

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Forums Part 2 - Testers

So I'd like a couple of people, especially those who posted so much yesterday, to contact me over gmail/gchat, and help me test a couple of forum features out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Forums ...

Well, I have access to a pretty robust vb forum, and have made a clone of it to build into some tournament/whiskey40k related forums.

I want to keep it simple, and minimalized.  It has a really nice shoutbox, and a 1000+ game arcade as well.

What are the KEY things a forum MUST have?  Input please :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eldar Study-Dex ... Codex "Balance" Series

More for digestion!

Remember the initial purpose of this, and feedback please.

Remember, sample list builds are great for supporting arguments against certain components.

Furthermore, Chaos retool is undergoing revisions, and your feedback WAS well appreciated and will be represented in v3.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creative and Incidental ... COMP?! ... at the NOVA Open

Ok, so I've hit on this before, but input is welcome and I think it's something of a fascinating after-effect.

Our planned total # of attendees to next year's NOVA Open 40k GT is ... 256.

The GT will encompass, therefore, 8 total rounds.  Unlike our space restricted "elimination" of last year, everyone will be participating in all 8 rounds.  Here's how it will work:

Day 1 will yield a breakdown of these records:

16 x 4-0
64 x 3-1
96 x 2-2
64 x 1-3
16 x 0-4

Here's the catch and comparison of what normally would happen on the next day for this set of players.

With "standard" seeding continuing all rounds, it becomes suffocatingly difficult for the bottom bracket players to creep back up the standings; similarly, it becomes easier for single lossers to stay high in standings, or wind up "lucky" in a bracket.  Here's what I'm getting at.

Player #240 plays against player #256 in Round 5, the first of Day 2.  The bottom seed manages to pull off the win, improving to 1-4.  The top player in the 1-3 set, player #176, loses his game ... dropping also to 1-4.  In theory, the #256 who after a rough day finally got a win, now has to play the #176.

Right back into the rough.  But what about a different approach ....

What if the 0-4's only played within their own bracket on Day 2?  What if there was a guarantee, therefore, that one of the 0-4 players was going to finish the 8th round 4-4, recovered from his crushing first day playing exclusively among players who performed very similarly (and therefore most likely had fairly comparable lists and skill levels)?

Our totals from above break down rather nicely into 16 same record brackets of 16.

Bracket 1: 16 x 4-0
Brackets 2-5: 16 x 3-1
Brackets 6-11: 16 x 2-2
Brackets 12-15: 16 x 1-3
Bracket 16: 16 x 0-4

So, here's where what I'll generally refer to as Incidental Composition comes into play.  It's biasless, and ... well, accurate. 

We'll be treating the 2nd day as 16 unique 4-round tournaments, where the 4-0 finisher in EACH bracket earns a generalship award, and where obviously the single 8-0 wins Tournament Champion, to go alongside the Renaissance Man, or our BEST OVERALL.  Herein lies the catch :)

As those who've followed the format know, the Renaissance Man is our TOP prize, and is comprised of equal parts sportsmanship, appearance and competitiveness.  While this may change to 40% competition/40% apperance/20% sports for 2011, the fact remains that people with gorgeous, well-prepared armies and great attitudes compete for Best Overall, Renaissance Man, even with one-win/two-win/three-win/four-win equivalent records.  They don't need to ace all their games to have a shot at it, at all.

So suppose you're a casual player with GORGEOUS painting skills and an awesome, fluffy army ... you're a strong tactician, as strong as the next guy, but you're unwilling to run super powerful min-maxed armies of doom ... even if you get slaughtered on Day 1, you could recover against like-minded and like-listed people through ALL of Day 2.  Even if you don't, even if you're the one unlucky fellow who goes 0-8, you'll be playing on Day 2 exclusively against the closest we can get (without subjective input) to like-minded and like-skilled opponents, all of whom had as rough a time on Day 1 as you did.

Plus, even if you DO go 0-4 on Day 2, it's GUARANTEED that one of those 4-0's, and 4 of those 3-1's ... are ALSO going to go 0-4 on Day 2.  In fact, 16 different people will, only one of whom went 0-4 on Day 1.  We'll definitely be giving that solo 0-8 a prize of some sort, probably an epic one.

More importantly, this enables people to much more reliably and competitively climb back into the Renaissance Man competition by the end of the Second Day of the GT, because you'll be doing it against a uniform and even playing field.  Instead of the event encouraging players to either bring the most powerful list possible or be out of it by the end, it encourages you to do the best you can on Day 1, and then be the most skilled, best looking, and best BEHAVED within a properly bracketed set on the second day ... instead of laboring out of a set only to be smashed back down every time you get up into a bracket you simply can't compete with.

I hope this makes some sense ... it's a further attempt at innovation on our part, at trying to work things in a way that appeals to and rewards all player types.  It also is an attempt at coming up with a "comp" (not "true" comp, but play-field-leveling if you will) that's not unfair to the best competitors, nor broken in terms of the softer ones (the guys who walk into a "Comp" tournament expecting equivalent lists everywhere, only to get slaughtered by people who ignore the restrictions, or who break them by studying them extensively).  Players are all guaranteed 4 rounds against the 15 other players who are CLOSEST to them in both record and rating (battle points ish) on Day 2.

Food for thought and, as always, input :)