Monday, January 31, 2011

Invitational Points Size - Discussion Topic - 1500? 2000? 1850? 1750?

So, here's what's going on ... I received an e-mail from one of the invitational attendees, and allow me to share it in shortform:

Hi, Mike.

Just noticed from an earlier mail from you that you have not yet gone firm on the points for the invitational. I'd like to put forward the case for using 1,500 pts, a' la the UK GT circuit. I'll keep it simple since this is a subjective matter and just about every point has a very valid counterpoint to it.

In a nutshell I think there are 2 main reasons for using 1,500. The first is logistical and the second is psychological/tactical.

1. Logistics wise its going to be easier to finish 1,500 point games within the time duration even if someone does try the slow setup / slow play routine...

2. Psych/tactics wise is that the game is different at 1,500 than 1,750 and 1,850 because 1,500 points makes players make sacrifices about their army selection. Guard is a great case in point - at the lower level people just can't have everything they want and have to decide if the manticores are worth more than the vendettas or hydras or if the psykers are worth more than taking Al-rahem... 1,500 will also get people out of their comfort level a little which I think makes for a challenging event.

In case you think I'm pitching 1,500 because thats what I play at I've not played at this level since 2009 and all the events I play here are 1,750 and up :)

Anyway, my two cents...

So, here are some "counterpoints" in broad reply (I don't have too strong a feeling on this yet)

1) 2,000 points is too large one way or another, I think; not everyone is qualifying at that level, and frankly that's pushing it for 5 games in one day

2) Less than 1,500 and higher than 2,000 are both impossible levels, and outside of the recommendations for a balanced game from the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook.  It actually suggests 1500 or 2000, but contextually, you can presume they mean "anywhere between those ranges."

3) 1,850 is my most firm thought at present; it gives you flexibility, room, but is a tad smaller and more restrictive than 2,000, plus it's at about the sweet spot medium between the various qual events, that range in size from 1750-2000.

4) 1,750 and 1,500 are pretty "small" in terms of army build flexibility; certain lists certainly come "more" into their own at these various ranges, though I think the codices themselves all remain fairly competitive (or, at least, in about the same spot on the curve)

Popular opinion is less important to me here than cogent, meaningful, constructive commentary ... also, negativity?  Well, hopefully by now it's known how I feel about THAT.

Keep it constructive, and comment away; remember, the Invitational will be an extremely competitive field by nature, and the Renaissance Man and Tournament Champion each take home $1,000 cash.

 - Mike

Friday, January 21, 2011

What Is the Perfect Game of 40k? Also - Sisters of Battle to Buy!

So I was chatting over on 3++ Is the New Black earlier, and shared in conversation what I saw as the perfect game (at a tournament, or anywhere) ...

Bottom of turn 7, game about to be decided by a single dice roll on a single dude on a single objective.

Two players started the game not really knowing each other, and are now talking to each other like old friends.

Lists are strong, but instead of "cookie cutter" are custom tailored to each player's strengths and preferences.

Both players are using ALL components of their rules affably, but to the max ... movement shenanigans, perfect model placement, ANY LOS = LOS, even interleaving models for cover before that was changed.  No avoiding rules of the game, but no belaboring them either, with no antagonistic view of them from either direction - simply playing the game.

Both armies are fully painted to the best of their operator's ability (if he's a crappy painter, they look crappy, but they're still fully painted).

The majority of the game is the two players speaking together, laughing, joking, talking, etc. ... not silent-pants angrypants "super serious" pants 40k.

This is my perfect 40k.  What's more, if it's a tournament, the VERY NARROWEST of victories does nothing to harm the winner's chances of advancing, and the loser isn't all upset or pissed off about it.

In my opinion, tournaments that encourage and reward mismatches, massacring people, etc., DISCOURAGE the above game from occurring (they don't prevent it from happening, mind you, they simply discourage it).  Same can be said for checklist sportsmanship, where players are simply trying to "game" the system to guarantee the checkboxes are filled out instead of actually trying to be good, affable, memorable human beings.

A lot of the NOVA, at present and in the future, is designed toward achieving games like the above ... not achieving seal-beating massacre-oriented activities ... not checking boxes and moving along ... but encouraging close, tactically deep games where even when it's not "super" close players are able to force ties down to tiebreakers and have "closer" results ... and where friendship and camaraderie and experiencing all of the hobby takes precedence over sullenly pursuing one component.

Hobbyists who only want to game, and don't even try to paint their models?  This is a hobby, not just a game.  Don't play 40k, play a computer game or Risk or Magic.  that said, it's your right to consider the painting/modeling not a mandatory part of the hobby ... just respect and appreciate that NOBODY has to agree with you.

Hobbyists who only want to paint, and like to belabor people that bring strong lists?  This is a hobby, not just artistic expression.  Don't participate in 40k, just paint 40k miniatures if you really like them. That said, it's your right to consider the gaming not a mandatory part of the hobby ... just respect and appreciate that NOBODY has to agree with you.

Hobbyists who are incapable of appreciating and respecting those who enjoy the hobby in different ways, who can't treat their opponents with respect and the consideration you would show a peer ... you don't belong in the hobby at all.  Seek a social life that will teach you the skills you require to properly interact with others.

Everybody gets into the hobby in their own way ... but seek to advance your skills and love of the hobby to an embracing of ALL of it ... that's what 40k is ... it's not JUST a game; it's not JUST a painting/modeling activity, and it's above all a SOCIAL experience.  You can play computer games facelessly over the internet.  You can paint in the privacy of your own home not talking to anyone.  You can't really participate fully in 40k if you only participate in tiny components of it, or if you eschew the social component.

Food for thought, I suppose.

In other news, my buddy John who also is my floor boss for the Open (and one loud, big dude) is selling his large Sisters of Battle army.  It's a fair bit off the going rate for this much pewter; take a gander, if you're of a mind or happen to be looking:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Next NOVA Invitational Spot - SPRUE POSSE GRAND PRIX

Good luck to all the high cal participants attending the Sprue Posse Grand Prix this weekend, out in California.

Information about the event can be found here, and the blog linked (Chaos Wins!) will probably be the first place to find updates.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NOVA Open 40k Registration Open; Team Tournament and Open GT

Copied from forum announce post:
The NOVA Open is back for 2011, bigger and better than last year, expanded and better suited to cover and cater to EVERY PLAYER TYPE.  If you are just a painter and converter, we'll have competitions and events for you.  If you're a casual gamer, our GT's and TT will fit you just right.  If you're a hardcore competitor, this is the place for you.  If you just want to hang out, get some swag, meet some great gamers, and have a great weekend, this is the place for you.

Registration is now fully open for the Warhammer 40,000 Elements of the 2011 NOVA Open.  Weekend Badge purchase is now fully open for all attendees of the 2011 NOVA Open.

Go to and click on "Registration" to purchase your tickets.

Venue and Dates
The NOVA Open begins with a social in one of the hotel bars at 4:00PM on Thursday, August 25, 2011.
Open gaming (which will be 24 hours a day throughout the weekend) begins along with our traditional Whiskey Challenges and live podcasting at 6:00PM Thursday.

The NOVA Open will occur entirely within the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, in Arlington, VA, deep in the heart of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.
Rooms at the Hyatt Regency in our block are locked in at a HIGHLY affordable $109/night.  The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from Reagan National Airport (DCA) and the DC Metro System.  Attendees whose name is locked in past the cancellation deadline will be entered into a raffle for FREE hotel accommodation over the weekend.
Rooms can be reserved at: THIS LINK

Warhammer 40,000
Warhammer 40,000 is our headline event, after the success of last year's inaugural tournament.  We updated our formats and missions, and added a Team Tournament and Invitational.  There is a HARD CAP of 256 tickets for the NOVA Open GT.  More than HALF of these sold by 1/18/11, within 2 weeks of opening registration to pre-registrants.  Purchase a ticket now, if you are certain you will be attending.  Our format and space considerations will not permit us to open any spots beyond the 256 offered for the 40k GT.  Additionally, the first 400 Weekend Badge purchases are guaranteed a full Swag Bag, each of which contained over $35 in products in our first year alone.

Warhammer 40,000 Events and Initial Schedule
Thursday, August 25, 2011
6:00 - 10:00PM: Whiskey Challenges (Celebrity Deathmatch, Open Game Pairing Service ... small prizes for all), Earlybird Registration

Friday, August 26, 2011
Registration for the Team Tournament and Invitational begins at 6:30AM, with first rounds kicking off at 8:00AM
Schedules thereafter diverge ...
Invitational - 5 Rounds running from 8:00AM - 8:30PM, with a 1 hour break for lunch and 30 minutes between rounds; 2 x $1,000 cash prizes for the Best Overall and Best General finishers; live feed video casting of the final Best General match

Team Tournament - 3 Rounds, 7 Games per Team, 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Time intentionally left to relax before the GT, head out on the town in Washington, DC, open game with people from around the world, or watch the Invitational finals

Saturday, August 27 - Sunday, August 28, 2011
8 Round, 256 Player NOVA Open GT
Unique bracketing system on Day 2 structures it so that ALL PLAYER SKILL LEVELS are rewarded and have a shot at an undefeated second day with a best general prize and reward.  More information on this can be found here:
Relevant Article 1:
Relevant Article 2:

Warhammer Fantasy GT
Saturday and Sunday, with possible events for Friday
96 Player Warhammer Fantasy GT
Details still in works, to ensure the best possible product - brought to you from the Inner Circle Gaming Club.  Registration soon.

Warmachine / Hordes
There will be Warmachine and Hordes competitive and casual events all weekend long, starting on Thursday night.  Brought to you by Pressgangers from the DC region, final details are being organized and registration will begin soon.

32 Player Malifaux Tournament on Friday, August 26.  Possibly more events forthcoming.  Registration soon.

Golden NOVA Painting Competition, and Iron Painters Speed Painting Competition for the artistically minded out there.  Our appearance crew are hard at work preparing the details of these, and working on more terrain for main and special events, including a scale battlefield-ready replica of the National Mall in Washington, DC!

The NOVA Open is a player-driven event, whose formats and styles are all derived from the input of a global player base.  In response to global input and review, our 40k format (for example) has undergone extensive revision and improvement to its missions, scoring, and pairing systems.  You are ALL peers, and your input and constructive criticism is always welcome.  Post it here, on the Whiskey 40k blog in relevant articles, on our WhiskeyNOVA forums (, or by e-mailing event staff at or

More information will be forthcoming regularly, so keep your eyes peeled here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

NOVA Open Site Back Up

May load slowly for a couple of hours.

NOVA Open Site Temporarily Down; Going Back Up Soon

Title says it all.

Technical error on our part; should be rapidly resolved.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good Luck to the Conflict GT Participants

People in New England will be competing in the Conflict GT's 40k event today.  It's a very strong crowd of competitors, and by the end of it we'll have 2 more additions to the NOVA Invitational's list of attendees.

I'll be at work all day, hooray!

Hiijacked from their website, here are the 40k names and lists competing .... including people who already have Invites, like Alex Fennell and Chris Dubuque, Dan Matulich and Simon Leen; the whole field is strong and tough.

Player Name

Alexander Fennell

Blood Angels
Andrew Blackwel

Andrew Gonyo

Imperial Guard
Bill McFadden

Blood Angels
Bill Ransdale

Bobby Sinnott

Space Marines
Bradley Nichols

Brendan Gallagher

Space Marines
Brian Fox

Brookie Andrews

Blood Angels
Charles Aviles

Black Templars
Chris Dubuque

Blood Angels
Chris Pelletier

Dan Gold

Dan Oppedisano

Imperial Guard
Daniel Drayer

Space Marines
Danny "Internets"

Imperial Guard
David Greenblatt

David Hoffman

Daviid Tepfer

Duncan Mcneil-Burton

Space Wolves
Ed Miller

Space Marines
Eddy Miller

Chaos Space Marines
Frank Dalykas

Fritz Feddeck

Gary Skinner

George Tsemberlis

Greg Sparks

Jack Mitchell

James Mahood

Jamie Hatcher

Jano Roze

Space Wolves
Jay Woodcock

Jeff Omundson

Blood Angels
Joe Johnson

Joseph Biasco

Imperial Guard
Joeseph Zipprich

Dark Eldar
John Bonham

Chaos Space Marines
John Suben

Dark Eldar
Jorge Ruiz

Blood Angels
Joseph Moreira

Kim Skov

Chaos Space Marines
Louis Branco

Matt McClanahan

Space Wolfs
Matt Wallach

Space Wolfs
Michael Durate

Mike Tasaro

Ned Merrick

Blood Angels
Pete de Florio

Ragnar Arneson

Chaos Space Marines
Rich Stein

Rich Therkorn

Space Marines
Sean Andrese

Blood Angels
Sean Nayden

Shaun Kemp

Simon Leen

Sisters of Battle
Stephen Walker

Thomas Lattanzio

Imperial Guard
Timothy Williamson

Tom Greene

Vincent Pau

Imperial Guard
Will Vieria

Friday, January 14, 2011

NOVA Open Registration Update - SIGN UP NOW

I'll send a "reminder" to pre-registrants independently, but - Open registration begins this upcoming Monday.

As soon as it opens, as soon as one person purchases a ticket, that inherently means someone who pre-registered will not be able to register, for the 40k GT.  So, those of you among pre-registrants that are sure you're going and haven't sign up yet - do so!

We've had a ton of registrations since opening it up among pre-registrants, and there's only so many spots total.  Best sign up while you can.

If you are a pre-registrant who cannot sign up yet for any reason, let me know.

We will also be opening Fantasy, Malifaux, Warmachine, Painting Stuff, etc., very soon (probable Monday).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Staff Call - NOVA Open 2011

So, I'm open to additional staff for the NOVA Open in 2011.

Here's various staff I could still use ...

1) Rules judges for 40k, both for the Invitational and the GT
2) Runners and Grunts - People who just want to participate on a day or two of the weekend
3) Appearance Scoring Judges

The qualifications for each should be obvious.  The perks so far are as follows:

1) Significant discounts or one-time use coupons for some of our big sponsors
2) Free weekend badge
3) Cool t-shirt (seriously, I work hard with the graphics designers at the company who provides our staff shirts to design reusable, fitted graphic jersey T's for Staff ... not just an oversized, ill-fitting and "I'll never wear this dorky thing again" type shirt)
4) Freedom to participate in events you wish to participate in ... volunteer for portions of the weekend, or for the whole thing.

We have a pretty healthy staff return from last year, but we'll need more this year ... I've fielded a lot of offers, but it's time to start bringing the team together more solidly.  E-Mail me on this one, please -

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The NOVA Open is Better for CASUAL GAMERS TOO - The 16 Best Generals

So, we all know that we at the NOVA have spent a TON of time on making a format that is competitively evaluative, and enables players who are hardcore competitive to compete for the Best General (aka Tournament Champion) spot as the sole undefeated at the end of the weekend.

What about players who don't consider themselves aces in the hole ... superior generals of the highest order ... but still consider themselves gamers (and not just "hobbyists" or "painters" or what-have-you)?  What's for them that don't think they can win 8 in a row to take home the gold?

Well, 15 other Best General awards.

You've heard me in my Incidental Comp post talk about this before, but I wanted to go into the benefits and purposes in explicit detail.

Let's say you attend the Open with a fluffy army, or a very laid back gaming attitude, and (heaven forbid) go 0-4 on your 1st day of the 2 day Tournament.

What do you do, then?  You don't have a gorgeous army, you don't think you'll win Renaissance Man (Best Overall), and you just lost 4 in a row ... do you go home, quit halfway, sullenly look forward to getting punked the next day for no reward?  NO.

We will be giving a Best General award to the winner of each Incidental Bracket on Day 2.  The way Incidental Brackets work is we simply rack and stack players by 16 brackets of 16 on the 2nd day, and you ONLY play amongst your bracket.  The way a 256 person w/l event works, everyone in each bracket will have the same record, and within groups of players that have many brackets at the same w/l, you'll have people stacked in brackets according to their seed.

What this means is that if you go 0-4, even if you win your 5th round to go 1-4, you don't get "stacked" with the people who were 1-3 on the first day and just lost (And are theoretically a bit above you skill OR list wise).  Instead, you play someone ELSE who was 0-4 on the 1st day.  Let's say you win that also, advancing to 2-4 ... you still subsequently play another person who was 0-4 on the first day.  No matter what happens, if you go 4-0 on the 2nd day, you'll win a plaque and a significant prize as a Best General, in the case of the 0-4 player you'll be a General of the 16th.

No matter what, you'll be playing with your skillset, not struggling to advance only to end up with your head under water in a pool of players who've dropped from 2-2 or 1-3 after punking your type to get there in the first place on Day 1.  More importantly, someone who went 4-0 on the first day can't lose one and find it easier to go from 4-1 to 5-1 ... no, they'll keep playing with the other 4-0's nonstop ... meaning that the 0-4's can take solace in the fact that someone who went 4-0 on Day 1 ... one of those 16 WILL go 0-4 on Day 2.

So what's the point here?  People in this hobby choose to critique tournaments or stack them as being one way or another ... competitive or casual ... hardcore or fun ... etc.  Doesn't have to be that way.  The NOVA will be fun by design for the artist, the competitor, the casual and the intense all at the same time, within the same event.  Those players, commentators and critics who believe this can't happen, open your eyes - it IS happening, and not just with the NOVA.  TO's are listening to the community at large, and providing innovative events that take everyone into account, instead of exacerbating divides or escalating conflicts.

Join the party.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ah, Questions of Relevance to a TO


A couple of things to bandy about through the intarwebs ....

1) Timing in a Tournament Setting for 40k
2) Daemonhunters vs. Grey Knights

First ...
You can't do timed turns flat out in 40k.  As soon as you do, people will game the combat phase ... what's that, you say?  I can keep my guardsmen stuck in combat with Mephiston if I but drag my feet until my turn's buzzer goes off?! HORRAY!

But what about the Movement and Shooting phases? Can someone "game" that to his favor, or would he only be hurt if he took too long?  I'm inclined to say the latter.  That said, is there any kind of a way to time these without it being a stress and burden to the players at a tournament, and in a way that is ACTUALLY FEASIBLE?

Good question, and right now it's just academic - I'm not planning on instituting timed phases at the NOVA just now ... but I'd like to hear some thoughts on the matter.

Second ...

Right now we have a Codex Daemonhunters.  They are releasing a Codex Grey Knights.  So, does that invalidate Codex Daemonhunters?  Can Imperial players everywhere of all colors continue to take Mystic Tarot combos, and Hooded Brother Captain combos, and the like?

This is all irrelevant if GW releases ANY kind of statement saying that Codex: DH is now superceded by Codex: GK ... but (gasp) what if they don't?  If you were a TO, how would you rule?

Friday, January 7, 2011

NOVA Open 40k GT Registration is Open - for Pre-Registrants

Also, you may purchase a Weekend Badge as of now, even if you did not pre-register (first 400 guarantee swag bags)

If you pre-registered, check your e-mail box for instructions on how to proceed.
Open registration will begin within the next 2 weeks.

 - Mike

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NOVA 40k GT Missions 2011 - Evolution or Revolution?

So, the question is begged:

Extensive change or simple improvement?

My current plan at the moment is to simply improve our goals for the 2011 GT.  Currently, I'm planning on the following goals "for sure"

1) Fixed 5 Objectives (same as 2010)
  • This slightly favors MSU or high quantity scoring unit armies, just as the natural book mission does.  Fixing the objectives in place prevents too many advantages for whoever places 3 instead of 2, and places first.  You could "remove" the center objective, but I think that punishes slower armies too much; you need to fix the # of objectives b/c you need the mission to be uniform across tables.
2) Quarters (same as 2010)
  • This slightly favors deathstar or higher value unit armies, and is slightly unfavorable to MSU ... the difference is marginal, but real; you play this mission best if you can live and breathe at midfield; despite the casual observer's opinion, analysis and playtest shows it plays DRAMATICALLY different from Fixed 5 Objectives, primarily because you want to be able to shuffle units to any quarter, and combat at the center of the board ... whereas in Fixed 5, you need scoring units in the center of each quarter to capture any of the objectives, AND the center

3) Some Version of Kill Points - Currently planning "Win By 3"
  • Win by 4 was a little bit TOO easy to draw, win by 2 was too similar to base, which is too difficult to actually plan and execute a tie on to fit into the mission approach of the NOVA Format -- an approach that focuses on tieable missions to enable unfavorable match-ups on primary to be force tied for a better win on 2ndary or 3rd.  This has been explained in other articles here in more depth.  Nominate 5 KP is not a mission we will do - in addition to being relatively panned at the BFS by a number of attendees, it's entirely too easy to game as a "game" of its own, outside of 40k ... and it is too favorable to MSU; which is exactly what the lovers of KP don't want to happen as a result of tampering with or removing the KP mission.  % KP is another option, though - but that in and of itself may favor MSU as well; hard to say.  Worth discussion and input here.
Final tiebreaker would be simple VP.

So that's where I'm at right now with development.  The question then becomes - what would you add, what would you do differently, and should there be more than 3 rotating goals?  IF so, what should the other goals be?  It's important to remember - the goal must be both tie-able, and not a major favor to any style or codex of army.

I.E. if you had a mission that involved having a unit at the very edge corner of each corner of the game board, that would far too strongly favor armies that can easily do that, like DE/Eldar/Etc.  Thought process and critical analysis please!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New NOVA Invitational Qualifying Spots

As those who follow know, the NOVA Invitational is a 5-round hardcore competitive 40k tournament happening on the Friday before the major NOVA Open 8-round 256 person GT, on August 26 of this year.

It'll be awarding a $1,000 cash prize to the 5-0 Best General (Tournament Champion) and a $1,000 cash prize to the 50% competitive / 50% appearance high scoring Best Overall (Renaissance Man).  Thirty Two spots, 5 rounds, one day, arguably will be the toughest competitive field in the country, followed of course by the even tougher, but much larger 40k GT.

We've added 3 Invitational spots to Mike Clark's upcoming year at Showcase Comics.  The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre will award its Best General and Best Overall an Invitational spot each ...

Additionally, I'll be personally running a NOVA primer at Showcase sometime in July (the month before the Open, and TBD) with 32 spots, at which the single 5-0 will get an Invite to the Invitational.

Sign up for the SVDM, folks - it's in Pennsylvania, and within easy reach of a variety of spots.  More importantly, Mike's a good guy - one of those fellas in the hobby who spends a lot of time running tournaments and improving his product, learning from what he's done wrong and right.

EDIT - The Conflict GT will also have 2 spots for its 40k event that will qualify people for the NOVA Invitational.

Happy New Year!
 - Mike