Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Authorage; Tourney Style: On Passive-Agressive Judging

Attention readers - I'm blessed by a large staff of fellow NOVA volunteers, and a large group of friends.  To a degree, I'll be hosting guest author writing from among that and other groups, to help enhance the quality and readability of the blog, and increase the amount of quality mateiral for you all to read on a daily basis.

A guest post by Morgim Dark of
There are two very broad stances when it comes to judging a gaming tournament, specifically when the game's mechanics and ruleset are somewhat loose (i.e. Warhammer 40k). At the NOVA Open this year we tried both differing styles of judging, and the results were interesting.

Active Refereeing
The first style is actively refereeing a game. This style is very uncommon on the tournament gaming scene as it does not lend itself to larger, Grand Tournament-style events. However, the NOVA Invitational offered us the perfect opportunity to engage in active judging given the small number of players involved and the amount of prize support on the line.

Simply put, active judging is where staff actually get involved in the game itself, closely monitoring the play and ensuring that each player plays as close to the rules as possible. This may include correcting over-movement, proactively clarifying a rule, or even determining movement itself as in the case of a multi-unit assault. 

Active judging is difficult as each table judge may have a slightly different take on the rules, have varying levels of experience, or even have a biased view of certain participants. NOVA staff did their best to level-set expectations through a comprehensive FAQ, well-informed judges and a strong, overall tournament judge. Still, even those measures can't guarantee the exact same experience with active judges across multiple tables.
You have a problem with my ruling?!
Passive Judging
The second style is passive judging. This style is far and away the most common and lends itself to a gaming system that is part hobby and part competitive. Passive judging relies largely on the players to know the mechanics of the game and be able to resolve issues at the table as they arise. It also assumes that when a player has a concern or question that cannot be readily resolved they will actively contact tournament staff for resolution. 

Passive judging does require active involvement from the tournament staff but not at the same intimate level as active judging. For example, if I overhear two players resolving an issue with a dice roll, I would not jump in to correct the situation. The players have decided on an amicable resolution with no need to pull in a judge - all the better within this style.  More importantly, if you only jump into the games you hear things from, the field is inherently unfairly judged as a result.
And everyone left happy!

Moreover, in a tournament of any real scale, judges cannot be everywhere at once and certainly do not have a full view of every game being played. For example, I overheard two players discussing Jaws of the World Wolf and one mentioned the power killed several Crisis Suits. Given that Crisis Suits are normally a subset of Jump Infantry this should not be possible. 

However, I held my tongue and approached his opponent (the Space Wolf player and a friend of mine) and asked whether he really used the power on Crisis Suits. In fact, the Crisis Suits referred to by the Tau player were XV88s (Broadside suits) which are not Jet Pack enabled. Had I said anything at the table, I would have blundered into a situation in which I had no prior knowledge (i.e. that Jaws had targetted Broadsides) and just confused the game for the players.

I have heard and do understand the frustration from GT tournament players who would like judges to take a more involved role. But at the level of the NOVA GT (200+ players), any more direct involvement in games would be ineffective at best and game changing at worst. That is not to say judges should not be accessible and there are certainly ways to ensure that tournament staff is approachable. 

In Summation
In the final analysis, 40k as a tournament game does rely on the social contract between players - judges are really there to ensure consistency across all the games being played and to monitor for any egregious abuses of said social contract.

For more insight on tournament style check out my other NOVA entries over at - Morgrim Dark

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Turn Purifier Charging Shenanigans

James asked this question in

James not Jim said...
Hi, I'm still pretty new to 40k and I'm curious about this part "purifier first turn charge shenanigans should I so choose / should I be going first and someone give me the chance (deploy rhino sideways, pivot and move 12" in scout move, disembark 2" from door to back of base, move 6 charge 6 ... 26" range from deployment edge" I thought the unit of scouts didnt pass that on to the vehicle they were in, and also I thought you couldent assault on the same turn you disembarked from a rhino?

Most of this question is answered by the rules, but I did some vassal graphics just to show how to do it for anyone who hasn't figured it out.  The notional is a squad of 10 purifiers in a dozer rhino in conjunction with a GM.  Purifiers are fearless, and will tend to be toting a hammer 2 psycannons and 2 incinerators ... this makes them a better unit for the task of first turn disruption if you're going to try it than most ... but, for the record, I think the times you should first turn charge like this are EXTREMELY RARE.  Your opponent almost always has to do something stupid with the way he deploys, b/c you can only reach about 4" into his deployment zone (in pitched battle) ... this is nice and all, but not perfect, and you're still shoving a unit (and possibly 2 independent characters) forward into your opponent's army ... so you'd better get a lot back for doing it, as they're presumably going to take a beating.

BUT, anyway ... a unit with the Scout USR confers it upon its transport, per the Scouts rule in the BRB USR section.  They also confer the ability to Outflank upon it, per the Outflanking rules in the BRB playing a battle section.  So that covers that.

While the Rhino counts as moving in the pre-game, and on turn 1 if going 2nd (For hitting it in CC, etc), you count as stationary once your turn starts, so you can disembark from the rhino, move 6", and assault.  You can always assault the turn you disembark if you disembark BEFORE the vehicle moves (or pivots).  So, since you do your move with the Scout, you are good to go for assaulting.

Here's a pictorial of how to go about it "best" ... I find that opponent's most often will deploy forward foolishly with a deathstar that's not transported, something they want to get across the table and threaten you with, i.e. Nob Bikers (and don't worry, I'm not saying Nob Bikers are a pain in the ass to deal with at all here).  Click to expand the size of each photo and see the writing in it:

The one funny thing worth mentioning is that the armies you most want to do this to are the ones who are most harmed by the actions required to avoid it.  A foot horde ork army does not want to jam all of its guys 5" back into its deployment zone ... nob bikers and thunderwolves don't want to start further back (though the TWC care less due to the nature of the army that usually surrounds them, and their role in it, plus their larger charge range).  Yadda yadda.
EDIT - As an addendum, it's also possible to advance only one model as far as possible, a 2nd model max back from him, and the rest of the swords 2" back off that one ... when you advance into combat, you'll have a ton of models that are much closer to midfield, and only 2 who are closer into your opponent's deployment zone, yet all your special weapons will still be engaged due to your opponent's combat reaction moves.  Coupled with a half decent consolidation back out of combat, you'll in many situations be able to basically sneak into your opponent's deployment zone, gank one of his [key] units, and consolidate right back out ... taking your 2 casualties in combat (and even hoping for them) on the only models that would have wound up close enough for him to counter-punch back at you with.

2nd Edit - You probably can't do the Coteaz force weapon activation and have it affect the unit; up for debate, but I think that part is a little off.

Welp, enjoy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Staying With Zee Guard? Continued BFS List Ponderations

I always ponder a lot of lists before an event, like most people do ...

Current guard list ponderation =

Straken + 2 Bodyguards + Medic + Carapace + Standard + Astropath + Chimera w/ Dozer, Hull Heavy Flamer - 355

Veterans w/ Harker, 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Dozer, Hull Heavy Flamer - 220
Veterans w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155
Veterans w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155
Veterans w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155
Veterans w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 155
Platoon Command Squad w/ Al'Rahem, 2 Meltas, 2 Flamers, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 185
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 115
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun, Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer - 115

Vendetta - 130
Vendetta - 130
Vendetta - 130

Harker gives added flexibility, both defensively (potential to infiltrate as scout prevention, scoring, stealth, heavy bolter to give some use in backfield, etc.) and offensively (highly reliable anti-armor / anti-infantry outflanking unit independent from Al'Rahem and still scoring, with good value in Quarters).

Dozers will be more useful in an event which will likely be [even] more terrain heavy than before.  I could alternately drop the dozers and the pair of flamers on al'rahem to pick up some sort of additional thing at 30 points (additional advisor in straken's squad for more wound allocation, demolitions for harker or another unit, power weapons in various places ... um ... RATLINGS!).

Like most lists I build, it's intended to compete, hang in there, and be involved in the late-game for the win in all occasions.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Upcoming Events - Battle for Blob's Park; Battle for Salvation list updates

So, a couple of events are on the near horizon ... this upcoming weekend is the

Battle for Blob's Park

It's run by the Inner Circle guys ... and it's basically a single day fun as hell GT in a biergarten.  Can't be beat.

Following, in the 2nd (formally) weekend of October, is the Battle for Salvation GT

I'll be attempting to head to both ... for sure attending the Battle for Salvation, with 3 boxes of our hills in tow.  I nominally have to defend my title from winning last year's BFS, but just like last year I have a hunch I'll get knocked out of a couple games.  I don't think people will be caught off guard again by what looks like a bizarre and/or esoteric list (i.e. charging veterans and straken).

More photos from the NOVA ... set-up, and trios and other sorts of things like Day 1 awards

Here's another list I'm looking at for BFS:

Grey Knights Grand Master - Nemesis Force Sword, Incinerator, Psychotroke Grenades - 195
Inquisitor Coteaz - 100

10 Grey Knight Purifiers - Nemesis Force Hammer, 5 x Nemesis Force Sword, 4 x Psycannon - 285
Rhino Dedicated Transport w/ Dozer Blade - 45

Venerable Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Psybolt Ammunition - 185
Venerable Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Psybolt Ammunition - 185

5 Grey Knight Terminators w/ 3 Nemesis Force Swords, 2 Nemesis Force Hammers, Psycannon - 225
5 Warrior Acolytes - 4 w/ Laspistol/CCW, 1 w/ Laspistol/CCW/Meltabombs - 25
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammunition - 50
5 Warrior Acolytes - 4 w/ Laspistol/CCW, 1 w/ Laspistol/CCW/Meltabombs - 25
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammunition - 50
5 Warrior Acolytes - 4 w/ Laspistol/CCW, 1 w/ Laspistol/CCW/Meltabombs - 25
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammunition - 50
5 Warrior Acolytes - 4 w/ Laspistol/CCW, 1 w/ Laspistol/CCW/Meltabombs - 25
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammunition - 50
5 Warrior Acolytes - 4 w/ Laspistol/CCW, 1 w/ Laspistol/CCW/Meltabombs - 25
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammunition - 50

Dreadnaught w/ 2 x Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition - 135
Dreadnaught w/ 2 x Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition - 135
Dreadnaught w/ 2 x Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition - 135

So, what have we here in the permutations department.
We have plenty of long range durable units to add fire support and take down transports / etc.  We have the ability to outflank a squad of 10 purifiers with proper kit (and a dozer so they don't get stuck on terrain outflanking).  We have the ability to render purifiers scoring, put them afoot, and attach coteaz and the GM.  If they are outflanking, or scouting forward, Coteaz and the GM have a Grey Knight Terminator unit they can join instead.

I have BS5 multi-meltas and a heavy psycannon squad to deal with land raiders in a pinch if I have to ... I also have a spread of hammers that can up to S10, including one master-crafted.  This helps with things like TWC stars that will also be torrented.

The acolyte squads are a little more durable, with meltabombs to make lazy players sweat and stop tank shocks on objectives.  Additionally, if I get into a combat pinch with a lot of threats in my lines, I can use the purifiers as one combat unit, the terminators as another, and the GM and Coteaz can attach to 5 acolytes ... much better than 3, b/c it lets me base power fists and the majority of enemy models with the acos.  If the acos survive being swung at, each is throwing 3 attacks up to S5 on the charge with double-hammer, and they are preventing any serious damage to Coteaz and the GM, who throw up to S10 and S6 power weapon attacks each respectively.

In scoring requirement situations, I can score up the Purifiers and possibly the Venerable Dreads, giving me a large variety of advancing, mobile, durable scoring units that are legitimate combat threats, and are extremely difficult to charge thanks to sanctuary and psychotroke grenades.  The venerable dreads are also excellent tanks for boyz mobs and the like, buying the purifiers and coteaz free time to eat through units at a time.

I have plenty of torrent, plenty of firepower, tons of scoring, maneuverability with outflank, and even purifier first turn charge shenanigans should I so choose / should I be going first and someone give me the chance (deploy rhino sideways, pivot and move 12" in scout move, disembark 2" from door to back of base, move 6 charge 6 ... 26" range from deployment edge).  This is especially useful against armies that have light mech, b/c you can carefully plan it so that you charge vehicles and the like with most of your purifiers, charge only one or two into an infantry unit demeched by psyfleman fire, and leave a combat-stuck threat in the middle of an opponent's army on Bottom 1.


Friday, September 16, 2011

What Does a Tournament Record Mean? Is it OK to Lose Due to Something Besides Dice? Propping Yourself Up on the Internets ... OH and some BFS Lists

So, here's a heck of an intro:

I've never lost a singles tournament game, anywhere, ever.

It's true.  SARCASM WARNING - By my stupendous awesomeness at 40k I've never lost a tournament game against another player.  At AdeptiCon Team 2010 my partner and I lost my 4th round team game.  That's my only loss of any sort at a tournament.

What does this mean?

Nothing.  I'm just lucky.  The law of averages says there are plenty of players out there as good as me, or better than me, and they all will beat me a good # of the times we play together.  WE haven't even all played together.

At the Battle for Salvation GT last year, I played Simon Leen, Jeff Frederickson, Bill McFadden, Alex Fennell, and Andrew Sutton (among others).  All of these players would independently qualify for the NOVA Invitational.  I beat them all.  Many of them I beat on lucky dice rolls or things going my way.  They were all my peers or perhaps better.

You will  NEVER hear me EVER claim to be a SUPERLATIVE at anything, b/c I'd be flat out wrong.  I'm a very good 40k player, I'm comfortable with that, and I don't really wish to be anything else.  I feel NO ONE ELSE should seek to be, either.

I see a  constantly increasing occurrence of a strange internet phenomenon ... or maybe not so strange ... of people propping themselves up as skilled / elite 40k players, sharing oodles of advice on how to play and what to do and what lists to bring ... and then when they lose, blowing up with excuses and perhaps less than cordial reasons why on the internet.

Here is all I kinda want to add as a thought ...
While Warhammer 40k does involve rolling dice to determine many of the outcomes, there are significant components of the game that are either not dice based, or involve mechanics that can mitigate the impact of dice.  If you choose to play a list that does not account for the mitigation of "bad luck," or that does not focus on components of the game OUTSIDE of the dice (i.e. using clever movement and pacing, avoiding overcommittal early on, taking advantage of LOS blockage with "survivors" or entire units, etc.), you are periodically going to face games against your peers where your dice absolutely blow.

Please, for the love of mary, stop blaming the dice.  We've all had crappy dice games aplenty, many of them playing the "usual suspects" at our local gaming stores or in our house-bound gaming groups.  The people we typically beat that lead to us having a "firm" self-opinion and posting on blogs about how great we are or trying to teach people ... well, we beat them with or without bad dice b/c they often aren't as good as us.  If they were, and beat you all the time, you'd think you weren't so hot comparatively.

Either way, the point here is - when you lose to bad dice, it is almost always still your fault, and your opponent's fault.  It's not the fault of Lady Luck.  Your opponent was in a position to beat you if your dice weren't "to the odds," or you took a list and/or played in a way that left you extremely vulnerable to poor odds, etc.

This also has relevance to HOW to build a list for tournament play ... taking a pure MSU list that presumes it will get even marginal odds over the course of a game is all well and good, but it is often the type of list that will win "unless my dice suck."  Well, that's a bad list in a lot of senses, for tournament play ... b/c in a longer-game-set tournament, chances are your luck is going to suck at some points and be great at some points (and thus we get the averages).  If your list can't survive through the crappy luck games ... well, that's not really luck's fault.

I know I'm rambling some here, but to bring it all home ... I'll be attending and competing at the Battle for Salvation GT again this year.  I think I'm bringing Grey Knights this time around, and my list will be or be based off one of the lists that follows.  Because this is a great, tough event ... I'm sure I'll face some peers while I'm there, and it's going to be anybody's game.  Best believe if I DO lose, even if it's to "a single roll of the dice," it's going to e credited to my opponent being a peer, or being superior.  I'll analyze any mistakes I make (And will do my best not to make any), I'll be sad for any bad dice rolls, but if a bad dice roll is all it takes to screw me, it's b/c my opponent was right there with me every step of the way.  If I'm counting on a single roll  of a 3+ to let me win by going to Turn 6 ... he's just as much counting on a single roll of a 1-2 to let him win by stopping at 5.

Be magnanimous in defeat, build your lists to be less susceptible to odds, and when you lose ... and you WILL lose ... for WHATEVER reason ... give credit for it where due, befriend your opponent (because that's all either of you will really deeply remember about the game), and try not to be a douchecanoe starting internet flamewars across the web over it after the fact.

Great example, btw, is Sandwyrm from The Back 40k.  He was caught off guard by the height and quantity of LOS blocking terrain at the NOVA, and had some games that came down to very close calls as he fought his way to 4-4.  That said, here's a perfect quote in light of all that from him:
"So all I did was trade a good list that I knew well for a mediocre one that I didn't because I was insecure. My fault."

His recent post with the Gonzo journalist image topper is full of a lot of commentary that acknowledges some of the WHY behind losses (i.e. terrain, self, dice, whatever), but doesn't take credit away from his opponents in the process, and doesn't defend inappropriate choices or actions as being flawless and only upended by bad dice or bad opponents.  Hell of a good man for the approach, and everyone still knows he's a well above competent gamer.

When some of the guys out there promote themselves too much, the ego burst on loss is catastrophic and visible ... and you can't deal with it but to make up excuses, insult people, etc., and everyone ELSE is ready to jump on you for being imperfect.

This is how you can see some people go like 10-3 over a weekend, yet still be "upset."  What the heck?

Can we point at Blackmoor as a paragon of bright here also?  I think 10-3 is precisely what he went at the NOVA this year over the Invitational and GT, losing in the final round of the GT, and you know - he seems by all accounts to be quite happy about what he did, as he should be.  Mad props.

Anyway, here are some list variants and rationales I'm looking at for BFS:

1. Purifier Spam + My Standard Coteaz Core

Grand Master w/ Psycannon - 220
Inquisitor Coteaz - 100

(1/3) Venerable Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Twin-Linked Autocannon w/ Psybolt Ammo - 185
(2/3) 10 Purifiers w/ 2 Psycannons, 2 Incinerators, Hammer - 265
Rhino w/ Psybolt Ammo - 40
(3/3) 10 Purifiers w/ 2 Psycannons, 2 Incinerators, Hammer - 265
Rhino w/ Psybolt Ammo - 40

(1/6) 3 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW - 12
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50
(2/6) 3 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW - 12
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50
(3/6) 3 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW - 12
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50
(4/6) 3 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW - 12
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50
(5/6) 3 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW - 12
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50
(6/6) 8 Acolytes w/ LP, CCW; 2 Acolytes w/ Meltagun, CCW; Death Cult Assassin - 75
Razorback w/ Psybolt Ammo - 50

(1/3) 5 Purgators w/ 2 Incinerators, 2 Psycannons - 140
Rhino w/ Psybolt Ammo - 40
(2/3) Dreadnaught w/ 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo - 135
(3/3) Dreadnaught w/ 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo - 135

In Kill Point missions, the Purifiers are going to probably stay together, and scout / outflank (optional)
In Objective Missions, they'll probably combat squad into 2 cannons / 3 swords in Rhino + 2 Incinerators / Hammer that can walk behind LOS terrain or hiijack a Psyback.

The Purgators are just an extra gunboat, and yet another unit that Coteaz or the Grand Master can "hop" to in order to give it just enough combat and LD boost to deal with any sort of MSU unit that gets close enough to eat up in combat.

Nominally, Coteaz and the Grand Master will deploy on foot with the 11 model Henchman squad of 8 acos, 2 acos with meltagun, and a death cult.  Together, this unit can expertly dissect most things for a couple of reasons; 1) the model count permits - even when charged - applying the independent characters to the enemy models I want to fight, instead of getting them based by high strength power weapons (though S7 and lower can be semi-tanked by the 3++ GM); 2) inherent casualties on the acos in combat + stubborn 10 leadership + ATKSNF will very often let me intentionally "draw" a combat on the turn I charge something scarier, and thus hide in combat until 2 full rounds are done; 3) double hammerhand turns S3 acos into S5 acos with 28 attacks on the charge, turns the deathcult into WS6 I6 S6, turns the GM into WS6 S6 I5, and turns Coteaz's hammer into master-crafted S10.

The Grand Master has a psycannon so that most/all of my units are still pumping out mobile firepower to help demech/mess with opponents.

The 3man acolyte squads are almost always going to be reserved and walking on ... their psybacks are there to provide fire support, and help move combat squadded purifiers around, and provide movement blocking against land raider lists, etc. etc.  They aren't there to explode with 3 hapless T3 5+ saving bodies inside.  I'm quite happy to Communion acos off the board even longer too.

Finally, the Psybolt Rhinos ... I could turn a couple of them into Psybacks, but this is bad for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I can't outflank 10 purifiers in a psyback ... but I can outflank them in a Rhino, and put 2 S5 shots into the side armor of chimeras, or into DE vehicles, or into trukks, or just into infantry ... and can also fire 4 psycannon shots out upon arrival (or fire 2 incinrators into a vehicle flank, or whatever).

The point of the Psybolt rhinos is to let me stay bunkered and firing as long as possible, and to scout or outflank full purifier squads, and keep them bunkered in KP missions ... these are all relevant, and it's trading a little bit of on-paper-optimization for a wider and more reliable series of choices in practice.

Ugh, this is a long post ... so more to come in time re: BFS list development.

Fantasy and Trios Results, Blogroll Update

Seriously, sorry about the delay!

I've also added all surveyed attendees of this year's NOVA who listed their blog when inquired about ... on the blogroll.  If your blog isn't up there and you'd like it to be, my bad!  Just tell me to!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Response to Tasty Taste at Blood of Kittens, Liars are Liars; Bring the Hobby as a Whole Together, do not Divide it Further

Tasty posted a large article that is primarily full of lies and false assertions about the NOVA.

While we take constructive criticism very seriously, and will spend a great deal of time addressing those concerns about the NOVA brought up, the facts do not lie about the real response and experience people had, or about how our format and system works.

As such, I've copy and pasted my reply here, because Tasty's own words cannot stand up to facts and reality, and I want to ensure they are properly read.

As a disclaimer, while I care little for Tasty or BOK, I care greatly about those who might read his blog and look no further, and thus not know any better.  This response was primarily for them.

Tasty's article:

My response:

Tasty is one of the largest fools on the planet, because he is incapable of admitting he was wrong, or is wrong.

The NOVA specifically caters to the “average” gamer … the format is designed for it, which is why our strongest responses came from our most average or below average players in the overall competitive/skill front.

You’re embarrassing yourself, Nick. The vast preponderance of facts all stand in stark contrast to your statements, and you’re not even good at spin. Constructive criticism arose, and a TINY fraction of attendees flat out didn’t enjoy themselves … better believe I’ll be spending a good portion of my life this year on addressing even those concerns, for nothing but the betterment of attendees … certainly not for profit or personal glory.

Brandon Vallee, of the White Scars blog, was one of only two people to give a below average rating to the NOVA on our survey, out of every single player surveyed. His close compatriot, blog-mate and co-attendee Eric (who Brandon stayed with in the DC area) had naught but fantastic things to say. That’s also where the strength of it all comes in – while you have a handful of bloggers to point at, or commiserates … I have a detailed survey done of the ENTIRE ATTENDEE BASE, to include now over 180 responses (204 40k GT players, to show you how comprehensive a response it is) and rising. You are a complete failure, while the NOVA will continue to succeed.

Why? Everything we do is geared, planned, constructed and driven toward the constant goal of improving the experience of *every single attendee,* while providing a FAIR environment in which competitors, hobbyists and simple attendees alike can win prizes, fun, and friendships. This is why people who went 0-4 on Day 1 won prizes for generalship. This is why a random attendee got lucky and won $1,000 cash. This is why attendees have said things about the NOVA such as:

“NOVA has set a new standard for the social aspect of the tabletop wargaming hobby.”

AND this is why the NOVA will continue to be a success, and leverage facts and a staff comprised of fundamentally good human beings toward the betterment of our hobby as a whole.

To those who would listen to Nick without investigating the facts or sharing your concerns with the actual organizers, feel free to post here or send me an e-mail – I’m happy to correct any  misconceptions, and will use only facts and data to do it … to show you a format designed better than almost any to reward and encourage participation in ALL style of hobbyist, and to show you a budget and plan oriented entirely around the joy and satisfaction of those people who bless us by attending. Do not buy lies, deception, and outright slander. For instance: his statement above that people left on Sunday after losing a game, b/c they had nothing left to play for. Nick has NO IDEA what our format is, our bracketing system on day 2, etc., and thus is completely unaware of the fact that everyone’s records were wiped clean on the 2nd day, and even the 0-4′s competed only against their peers for generalship prizes on Day 2, as well as constant raffles, etc.

Of our $30,000 in prize support (almost exclusively from sponsors), $2,500 went to the Invitational Tournament Champ (5-0), Invitational Renaissance Man (50% appearance, 50% competitive), GT Tournament Champ (8-0), and GT Renaissance Man (50% appearance, 50% competitive). The remaining prize support went exclusively to raffles (tickets awarded by LOSING games, presubmitting lists), cash raffle (tickets awarded by staying at the Hyatt), and all of the other events, including bracket winners within the 0-4, 1-3, 2-2, and 3-1 record sets on Day 2. The Invitational had 32 attendees, out of 400 total at the event. That’s 8%. It received 8% of the prize support. Tasty is a liar, or simply ignorant.

I care little for Nick, who I have e-mailed in the past to ask for a more positive relationship (to no reply). I do care greatly for those of you who read his posts and simply do not know any better … take a path of positivity and openness, and of connection in our hobby … not one of divisiveness and shitting upon the hard work of others.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Value of Surveys; Fantasy and 40k TT Results Incoming

I'll have formatted Fantasy and 40k TT results up later today.  Invitational results still incoming from the scoremaster.  Apologies for the delay here.

So, the survey we put out for the NOVA has a very high percentage response rate by now, and provides some very valuable input from the players themselves ...

Here are a few highlights, for your consumption

Several people are complaining about the terrain at various venues, loudly!  Let's look at what the participants as a whole thought:

Asked whether players would like to play with the same amount of LOS blocking terrain again? 93% said yes.

Asked opinion about the terrain as a whole?
87% said it was Good or Excellent; 95% said it was Average, Good, or Excellent

What about cheating / sportsmanship / slow play / etc?
Asked about their experiences regarding opponents compared to the norm at the NOVA,
77% said Above Average
98% said Average or Above Average

What about the Independence Center as the Game Hall?
81% Very Satisfied or Satisfied
94% Neutral, Satisfied, or Very Satisfied

Other than a few more complaining sorts, the response to terrain, game hall, and sportsmanship was overwhelmingly positive!

What about the Hyatt as a whole, though?
62% of those who stayed at the Hyatt were satisfied or very satisfied with their rooms / room rates for value ($109/night)
17% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied
The rest were "neutral"

What about the Hyatt food?
26% were satisfied with the food
42% were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied
The rest were "neutral"

So, this is more telling - not very high marks for the Hyatt for value ... over the comments you're able to sort of see that people felt it was a nice hotel, and a nice gaming venue, but too nickle-and-dime, and the food was either slow or expensive (or both).

When asked whether the NOVA was better than expected, as expected, or less than expected ...
77% said "Better Than Expected," and 97% said "As Expected" or "Better Than Expected."  Many of those 20% saying "as expected" also specifically stated thereafter in their comments that they expected it to be awesome.

What about value for cost?  99.3% said Fair, Neutral, Good, or Excellent.  96% said Neutral, Good, or Excellent. 85% said Good, or Excellent.

Demographics? 94% of our attendees are over 22 years old.  50% are over 30 years old.  Interesting.

How did we do in terms of keeping things organized?
87% said Excellent or Good
96% said Neutral, Excellent, or Good
100% said Fair, Neutral, Excellent, or Good
0% said "Poor"

Finally, when ranking the NOVA on a scale of 1-5, where a 1 was "Fair" and a 5 was "Off the Charts" ... 85% said 4 or 5; 97% said 3, 4, or 5.  Nearly half voted it a "5."

So are the handful of negative blog reviews reflective of the majority?   Not even in the slightest ways imaginable.

Do we have a lot to improve on?  Hell yes!  The best part of this review was the contribution of constructive suggestions for improvement.  Nothing beats a positive suggestion given by a guy who enjoyed himself, but wants to see it be even better next year.  My kind of comments.

A couple of choice "Single phrase summations" of the NOVA that tickled my fancy ...

Awesomefunweekend! (that's one word right? :))

Tough friendly opponents, Beautiful armies, unparalleled terrain, Competitive scoring, What all 40k Tournaments should be.

It was the best experience I could have had for my first GT. Thanks Mike and crew!!

 Captures the GW GT spirit with a modern competitive edge.

NOVA has set a new standard for the social aspect of the tabletop wargaming hobby.

The NOVA was the best tournament I have attended in twenty+ years of running and playing 40K events.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Volunteers and Key Personnel Sought - NOVA 2012

Interested in participating in the NOVA 2012 from the organizational and operational point of view?  Looking for comradeship with local gamers and peers?  Send an e-mail to and cc it to

We're processing the results of the surveys sent out, and have received a TON of responses so far already!  Overwhelmingly positive, constructive, and useful.

We'll be holding our staff appreciation meeting and kick-off for the 2012 planning year on September 18 - Staff, check your spam folders and e-mail in-boxes if you haven't received the evite and responded to it yet!

If you're interested in participation next year, attendance at the thanks and kick-off is extremely important (if not quite mandatory).  Let us know!  We have tons of sponsors hopping on board already, tons of feedback to process and improvements to make, plans to lay and events to flesh out ... it's a full year planning cycle this time around!  I might even wind up dropping the word "Forgeworld" upon you all.

Thanks again to all for this year's NOVA and all its successes and lessons learned.  Additional stats are forthcoming for Fantasy and the Invitational and Team Tournament, plus other side events.  Questions are being answered as fast as we can throw them out there.  Eventually we will return to your regularly scheduled Whiskey 40k blog programming, as well.

If you enjoyed the NOVA format, make sure to check out the Battle for Salvation coming up in about 4 weeks.  Much of the "Whiskey Crew" (my informal titling for the local crew of in and out gaming peers and buddies) will be in attendance, and I'll be up there either to help and support the BFS guys, or to defend my title from last year's BFS GT.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Photographs and Surveys

Attention NOVA attendees - we sent out a survey today; if you'll take a few minutes to fill it out, check your spam filter for it due to mass e-mailage, etc., we'd appreciate it - we take feedback VERY seriously, and will actively use it for next year.

To the people who have already filled it out - your OVERWHELMING positive response is extremely gratifying, and your HUGE contribution of constructive pointers and ideas for next year is extremely USEFUL.  Thank you all!

Our Sunday photographer Beth (also an excellent artist, check out her art), has started finalizing some shots ... and I've created some flickr galleries.  Some highlights included below in this post.

Fantasy Armies and Players

Army finalist photos and other sorts of things all incoming!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

NOVA Open Warhammer 40k GT Results! Appearance Mid-Awards Delay Explanation

Just a quick rundown, and then the all desired stats sheet.

Renaissance Man, Overall Track Winner - Gabe Dobkin
Tournament Champion, Generalship Track Winner - Tony Kopach

I'm identifying brackets by their Day 1 record, rather than numerically.  Generally, the later you received your losses, the higher your bracket was within same win-loss record.

4-0 Bracket Winner - Tony Kopach
3-1 Bracket Winners - Ray Tautic, Andrew Sutton, Alex Fennell
2-2 Bracket Winners - Jorge Ruiz, James Watkins, Simon Leen, Will Pauley
1-3 Bracket Winners - David Key, Daniel Pardo, Bill McFadden, Mark Ferek
0-4 Bracket Winner - Todd Cornell

Heart of Gold - Sportsmanship - Justin Hilderbrandt
Justin was chosen randomly from among the 16 or so tied for tops; I'll re-collate those names when I get an opportunity.  Random 2nd and Random 3rd among the best were Sean Nayden (who won the Heart of Gold in Justin's absence), and Stephen Chase (of the 11th Company Podcast)


In the middle of the awards, after giving Joe Johnson his award for Best Conversion for his Salamanders Commander, I paused the awards to confer with the Appearance Judges still there.  The Chief Appearance Judge, Geoff Redding, had to leave by that point to catch the last Metro out of dodge.

Gabe Dobkin rightly won Best Army Appearance, Chris Dubuque rightly won Best Single Mini, and Joe Johnson rightly won Best Converted Mini.  The problem was, I'd initially not planned on awarding major awards to the same person twice - since Dobkin won Renaissance Man after Appearance Winners were decided, I was trying to see if we should award "down" ... unfortunately doing so would also screw up Single Mini and Conversion, as Dubuque and Johnson were very close to the "best" choice in Overall Army Appearance.

We did NOT change any of the awards, in the end, because it was too late in the process and the winners really were the best of the bunch - the Appearance Judges took a great deal of time to select them, and the right thing to do was stick with the true winners, even though this meant Dobkin went home with a TON of swag :)

So, re-congratulations to the appearance winners ... we should have some stronger photos of each of these coming soon ...

Best Overall Army (Sum of All Parts) - Gabe Dobkin, for his Cobra Commander Army

Best Single Mini (Well Beyond Crayon) - Chris Dubuque, for his Sanguinor

Best Single Conversion (A Miniature Frankenstein) - Joe Johnson, for his Salamanders Commander

Finally, the results, with Codex Attached ...

In general, here is how each codex performed, pending one army I still need to fill in that I'm trying to track down the list for:

6 x Black Templars (26-30) 46.4%
22 x Blood Angels (97-79) 55.1%
6 x Chaos Daemons (16-32) 33.3%
6 x Chaos Space Marines (16-32) 33.3%
5 x Dark Angels (23-17) 57.5%
14 x Dark Eldar (58-54) 51.8%
6 x Eldar (21-27) 43.8%
32 x Grey Knights (140-116) 54.7%
21 x Imperial Guard (88-80) 52.4%
3 x Necron (11-13) 45.8%
10 x Ork (39-41) 48.8%
27 x Space Marines (96-120) 44.4%
25 x Space Wolves (106-94) 53%
6 x Tau (18-30) 37.5%
10 x Tyranids (34-46) 42.5%
4 x Witch Hunters (15-17) 46.9%

When using the excel sheet and sorting, your Overall Standing is found by sorting the Renaissance Man column.  Your Generalship Standing is found by sorting the Competitive column.  Obviously Appearance Standing is done by the same for the Appearance Column.  I've printed a few PDFs and linked those to make some of the sorting easier for those who don't want to fiddle around in excel.