Sunday, April 29, 2012

Preparing for New Editions - Possibility of 6th Ed for NOVA; Plus LOS Blocking Terrain

Alright, well word of 6th edition continues to build.

The timing is going to be interesting for purposes of the NOVA, for a couple of reasons, and I wanted to let ya'll know we're thinking about it.

The Invitational will remain a 5th edition event no matter what - everyone is qualifying in 5th, and it will be the last major relevant 5th edition event in the country. Final books will be written on the codices, as many fantastic players duke it out using theirs of choice in one of the known and heavily playtested tournament formats.

Unless it releases less than a month out, our NARRATIVE event and possibly Trios will actually be 6th edition. These are more casual events with 3 hour evening rounds, so they present the least issue in terms of adjusting armies in time.

First and foremost for the GT, possible release dates for 6th and associated general gameplan for how we'll handle them:

1) Late May / Early June ... if this is the release date, we'll definitely go with 6th Edition for the 40k GT.
2) Mid-Late June ... this is the trickiest date, though with over 2 months of release and more than a month prior of buzz and possible PDF leaks, it's HIGHLY likely (though not guaranteed) that we'll go with 6th Edition if the release date is more than 8 weeks prior to the NOVA Open, for the 40k GT. More on this later.
3) July - August ... if the release date is within 2 months of the convention, it's most likely we'll go with 5th edition for all except the Narrative/Trios evening events. If the release is within a month of the event, we'll stick with 5th edition for all.

Based on very early rumors, the things we'll have to contest with for any area of format prep are:

Force Organization / Army Build - If the FOC process changes, missions and model/WYSIWYG requirements will have to change somewhat for the first year also. Possible changes range from Troops no longer being the only scoring unit to complete removal of the FOC in favor of %-based army building.

Rules - If we go with 6th, we'll be playing the crap out of the game with all our judges leading up to it, aggressively predicting and working with FAQ issues, and preparing for all the crazy eventualities.

Paint Scoring / Modeling Requirements - This is a bit self-explanatory, in its relation to people having to make significant army changes within an 8-10 week window.

Relevant Issues with 6th Edition Shift.

1) Missions. Changes of all sorts are entirely possible here, including mission focus by GW (i.e. will Kill Points remain, will Victory Points as an optional tiebreaker remain, will Troops remain the only scoring units, etc.).

Invariably, there may be some mission changes as a result of the way they change the core rules of the game. We could go in numerous directions here, but it will be a tad wait and see. We will stick with the NOVA's format and scoring no matter what, but goals may change to mirror game changes and/or 6th edition mission releases.

2) Painting and Modeling. Normally, people have months to potentially paint their entire army and model extensively to meet a theme. While some players have such extensive collections that it's easy to be ready, not everyone can prep quite as extensively in time across every model in their army. So while a 6th edition early release and 6th edition GT won't lift our painting requirements, we may become more lenient on things like WYSIWYG and how we judge your army for appearance score.

An example of what I mean, so you don't overread into this, is as such:
Let's say "Meltaguns" become flamer templates, and Flamers become S8 AP1 guns (roll with me). Anyone who wants to subsequently count "every single Meltagun in my army" as a Flamer is more likely to be allowed to in a 6e NOVA. That said, it would still not be ok to say "well half my Meltaguns are Flamers, a quarter are Plasmaguns, and a quarter are still Flamers."

WYSIWYG violations that are extremely consistent and easy for an opponent to understand across an army are no problem. Trying to hide behind a new edition and run an intentionally confusing army set-up with tons of contradictory counts-as will NOT be allowed to slip through, however.

3) Rulings. Normally we have extensively rulings already in place for every possible scenario that may arise during gameplay. We have the NOVA FAQ, larger community FAQ's to fall back on, and extensive gameplay experience and GW FAQ's for many of the common eventualities. If we only have 8-10 weeks to prep, however, this won't be the case. That said, no matter how revolutionary the changes, our judges will be ready to go, and we've added more time to every round this year. Suffice to say, this is the easiest thing to manage by tournament time, and the most time-intensive leading up to it for us. Something to consider regardless.

The long and short here is we haven't formalized which edition we're going with, with the caveat that its presently 5th, because we have no formal confirmation of the release of 6th edition. That said, keep your ears peeled for incoming editions, and on the blog/newsletters/website for any changes. We don't want everyone to have to play a 2+ month old retired edition come NOVA 2012, and we think if it comes to that, we'll be ahead of and ready to deal with being both the last relevant 5th Edition event with the Invitational, and the first large 6th Edition event with the GT.

Have any thoughts? Share 'em! The NOVA is, has been, and will be built on player input ... yours is as welcome as ever.

Registrations are way up since AdeptiCon, btw - grab your ticket while you can!

Pretty things PS - We went to work on the last bit of our terrain project yesterday, our LOS blocking center pieces.

For those who haven't kept up, the boards at NOVA 2012 are like to have 2 LOS blocking area-terrain-counting hills (everyone's seen 'em by now) in diagonally opposed corners of the boards ... 2 partially LOS blocking area pieces 1'x1' each in the other diagonally opposed corners ... 2 roughly 1'x1' non-or-barely-blocking area pieces in the middle of the long table edges ... and a more attractive and/or intricate los blocking centerpiece that's not quite as large as some of last year's Figure 8 center hills were, in terms of how much blocked.

Many of the new ones of these can be seen below ... We have literally about 40 more LOS blocking center pieces to go, and the NOVA will be totally terrain self-sufficient. A summer full of painting and we'll be donezo in that department for the forseeable.
Pink Foam Building assembly line; making tons and tons of pink foam strips look like assembled building blocks/bricks.

A veritable city of LOS blocking terrain

Owen shared an unfinished marine he had sitting around to give some perspective to the terrain sizes

Stu makes some awesome pieces; this is a partial LOS blocking corner piece

Cool effects with pink foam, via cutters, knives, wood cutters, torches, etc.
Use low temp hot glue to attach little plastic things, or it takes forever for the tacky to set
Oh the wide uses of pink foam ... missing caps? NO problem!

Dewey put this rad piece together


  1. Dang man, that's a lot of high quality terrain! I'm lovin my Mighty Might, but I haven't done anything as elaborate as your guys. I'd love to see more pics so keep them coming!

    Man, my head hurts after cutting foam for 20 minutes by myself, I hope there's good air flow through that garage.

  2. Boards deployed and pictures posted.

    People are already skittish because of the terrain being uncertain, now you're throwing in the uncertainty of what rules we are using?

    Both serious mistakes. =|

  3. Hey Mike,

    This is Colm. I just have a small opinon here for you, as one of the people coming to the your event. If the Nova uses 5th edition rules and 6th edition comes out before the Nova, then that would seem to be bad because:

    1) you could not play the new edition, for fear of screwing up and confusing rules between the two
    2) you could not read the new book
    3) it would suck

    I would love it to be able to use the new edition if it comes out before hand, it would make it a lot more fun I think. Have a nice night.

  4. ps....

    I am sure you and Stelek already thought of this months ago, but I figured I would throw in my thoughs. :-)

  5. I personally think that 5th ed should stay simply because it's tried and tested. 2 months is simply not enough time for people to perfect the rulings, and this comes into play with Refs. Not only will refs be called over every 5 seconds, but the refs may also not know the exact rulings when new situations rise within a game. After all there is always something new which pops up in a game which isn't accounted for or hidden within the rule book.

    As for the terrain, love the LOS blocking pieces, glad to finnaly see a proper 40k board come into play at the Nova. I would still prefer more smaller pieces rather than just 6 larger pieces but I can see how this is the easiest option to go with :)

  6. Either way is fine with me Mike. I do believe a hard date on one way or the other is neccessary.

  7. Is that terrain a little tall? I can live with Land Raiders being totally hidden (well, actually, I disagree with that, but I digress) but Flyer models should assuredly never have cover? It's part of the trade-off - they deny cover to their targets and themselves equally.

  8. I think the trade is pretty clear, if 6th comes out with enough time for players to digest the rules, then it should be used. I think Mike is just trying to quantify the 'enough time' part of the equation.

  9. Thank god you've moved the hot wire foam cutters outside!

  10. Drath has it.

    The NOVA is not a test tube, whose sole existence is the fabrication of someone/anyone's ideal parameters. It's first and foremost a form of entertainment, one which does not function if it does not provide entertainment for the widest range of players possible.

    So, while there are trade-offs inherent to deciding which edition to go with, the long and short is as Drath hits upon - how much time is enough time for the vast majority ... and how long is too long to have 6th Edition out but still use 5th Edition for the event, in terms of entertainment/appeal, and selling remaining spots.

    I'm inclined to go with 2+ months as the breakpoint.

    The only thing that will dissuade me from that when we get closer is if 6th is such a ridiculously dramatic change that coming up with an appropriate tournament packet in that time period is unrealistic at best. Hence discussion point :)

    As far as terrain goes, it's not really able to give meaningful cover to flyers except from odd or very long angles, which a lot of terrain can tend to do. And the trade-off is covered either way TKE - if the Flyer has cover, most of the time the targets do also, as is the case with many vehicles, outside of idealized situations (i.e. rolling a Chimera up to a perfect hill ... when being too far back from it makes the cover part less relevant, etc.).

    Killswitch - 7 pieces per table, but aye ... it's unrealistic at best to produce and properly distribute enough pieces to have tiny bits scattered all about, so we go with 7 area pieces of roughly 1 square foot each (a couple being a tad smaller, to hover around 25-30% terrain coverage).

    Most of the design purpose of the large center pieces is the ability to shield a unit, or two smaller ones, so that opponents cannot simply torrent you through cover ...

    Average and above 40k Players tend to ALWAYS have cover one way or another, so designing terrain so that it only provides cover is a little silly. As the game itself calls for meaningful line of sight blockage, and does not permute that to mean "not vehicles/flyers/whatever, and only a few models in odd places of the board," there's no real purpose to having LOS blockage that's irrelevant or in the far corners only. The large centerhills were TOO big, so we've reduced the size of the center blockers while still keeping them relevant to gameplay, and the ability to build armies that aren't entirely naked redundancy (due to the fear of any more valuable unit simply being torrented down by an immobile firebase of dice-rollers regardless of cover).

  11. Hi

    Gut reaction - As one of those in the Invitational and the GT, the thought of having to know both 5th and 6th on the same weekend just gave me a headache.

    I would much rather just play one edition - I don't really care which one.