Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The NOVA Cometh - A True Wargaming CONVENTION, Not Just a Tournament - Prep Guide and Excitement

Well, the NOVA Open is 2 weeks away. Skip the next few paragraphs if you don't enjoy the idea of memory lane with me, and go down to the enumerated paragraphs.

In 14 days the staff and I will be waking up bright and early, and making our way to storage, where we'll meet the movers and transport an entire Wargaming Convention from a 20x10 climate controlled box over to the 30,000+ square feet of event space we're using at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City. This includes thousands of pieces of terrain, over 225 wargaming boards, and an equal number of sideboards (yup, everyone this year will have a sideboard, no matter what event they play in, to put their minis/dice/etc. on!).

It's amazing how much you can fit in a small space when you try ...

So, I did an interview over on the Independent Characters podcast the other day ... check it out here ... and it got me thinking about the NOVA in general and how far we've come the past few years thanks to the help of our staff.

The very first event we ran was back in 2009, with 32 people playing on park benches at an outdoor tournament. We raised a few bucks for Breast Cancer, and had a great time. In 2010, we hosted the first eponymous NOVA Open, and 128 people showed up. Last year, 450 or so people registered, and 400 of them showed up despite a Hurriquake (a Virginia earthquake and a Hurricane on the same week).

As we get ready for 2012, we've shattered another peak number, anticipating 500-550 total attendees.

What's cool about all this, however, is what we've become - not just the increase in people walking through our halls. We were at first just a 40k tournament, with a simple book-rolled format. We innovated and grew a year later, and now use a format used all over the world for 40k and referred to as "NOVA" style. Way cool, but ... we ALSO became more than a 40k tournament. In our past 2 years, we became a multi-event tournament ... heck we even picked up a few vendors and a ton of great sponsors.

What makes 2012 different, and so much more, is that we are now a CONVENTION. 10 Vendors; our own shop of limited and interesting stuff; a legitimate independent painting competition; 13 hobby seminars; open gaming galore; demos; amazing sponsorship; and more different games than ever before.

My reverie over, let's hit up the key points for this post. THIS IS THE PART YOU SHOULD READ IF YOU'RE ATTENDING!

1) Have you reserved your hotel room? Don't tell me yes if it ain't true! Some people forgot, and almost got screwed when the initial block restriction closed a couple days ago. We got them to open it, but only for SIX MORE DAYS. Click here, reserve your rooms. We've cleared our minimums by a LOT this year - more than last year by far; we'll be fine. You won't be if you get stuck paying way more than the ridiculously low $85 rate they've given us.

2) Have you signed up for something BESIDES the 40k GT, Fantasy GT, Flames of War GT, Infinity Tournament, or main Warmachine event? What am I talking about? Well, all of the following can be done along with one of those (or more than one). Use this schedule to help understand.

2a) The Narrative - Capitol First Contact. This will be the first of many years for our own unique NOVA Open-born-and-bred story. You'll participate in the defense or invasion of Washington, DC, as part of a wider global extraterrestrial invasion. This year, Warhammer 40k will be the game used to act it out. In future years, all our game systems will get involved. The participants will drive the story's development, and will themselves find roles in future stories (well, the Protagonists and Antagonists who distinguish themselves through famous and infamous acts, at any rate). We pair you competitively here; if you bring a hard list, you'll play other hard lists, every round. This is a great place for experience and fun games at 3 hour paces.
I recommend any GT players with the energy level for it sign up for the Narrative as well. You'll play solid games against solid opponents (or equivalent ones), and it's good practice/warm-up for the GT rounds, b/c you can use your same 2k force if you choose (or use one a little more fun or different if you still want to practice list variations this soon in 6th). The gorgeous LED-lit monuments you've seen on the blog all year were made for this event. You get to battle "in" Washington, DC, and "for" Washington, DC.
Narrative Teaser Newsletter
Narrative Teaser Intro Story
Narrative Mission Packet

2b) The Trios Team Tournament - Our 40k Team Tournament combines singles match play with doubles team play simultaneously, and it's very laid back. Check it out. Here's the packet.

2c) Hobby Seminars - These are provided by Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures. He gives seminars all over the country, including GenCon and AdeptiCon. People like his seminars a LOT. They're being taught all weekend long, there are 4 of them, and you can take all 4 if you want regardless of your primary event schedule. Check them out.

2d) The Painting Competition - The winner of this will receive airline tickets to AdeptiCon 2013, paid for by Cool Mini or Not. The winner of each of the 6 categories will win one of 6 Grex Tritium pistol grip top of the line airbrushes. All participants win extra raffle tickets.

2e) A sweet firearms course, the likes of which you can't get very many other places. Done by the guy who is up-armoring special KR Multicases for the NOVA Open.

John Perkins, President of BASICBLACK Will Teach Civilian Self-Defense Seminar
Seminar will include hands-on weapons training with laser-equipped Glock 17s. Learn to handle your Glock and incorporate Best of Breed Techniques. The quickest learner will take home bragging rights as a competition will be staged to find the best marksman in the class!
K-Rmored Multicases will be on display ~ including the “EXPENDED” Bag which was used on the BasicBlack proving grounds in the Premier of the Range Video of “The Shooting Attack on Mike Brandt’s Army!”

3) Have you purchased a Weekend Meal Deal (or individual tickets)? This will get you a GOOD, full-sized breakfast and lunch for Friday/Saturday/Sunday. We strongly recommend this.

4) Have you allocated your Vendor Budget? We have all kinds of Vendors this year to choose from, and here's what you'll find ...
Spikey Bits - Amazing bits, various gaming accessories and retail purchase-ables from most game systems
The Warstore - Full retail store will be set up at the NOVA, tons of things to purchase.
Five Hour Energy - Yup, one of the better known energy bursts will be there; keep you gaming all night long, and you may even be able to snag a free sample from these guys.
Games and Stuff - These guys are an awesome local area store, and there'll be there with a full vendor set-up, and a special focus on the kinds of things you won't find at the Warstore and Spikey stores, including things like Magic the Gathering cards and the like.
Larry's Legions - These guys are a unique company from the DC area, selling historical/historical wargaming and related publications. They should be especially interesting to most attendees, including the Flames of War crowd.
Tectonic Craft Studios - These guys are effectively "launching" at NOVA; check out their site - amazing laser cut terrain, display boards, bases, and more.
Grex Airbrush - These guys have amazing products, and are a newly venturing into the wargaming industry; you'll find them there with their products and demo'ing them at the NOVA.
Shadow Horse Studios - A DC Area local and excellent artist (with an interest in Fantasy and Digital Art) has created 4 unique, limited edition pieces for the NOVA Open this year. VIP bag owners get 2 prints of the 4, and all are available as prizes and can be won. They come in NOVA Open logo'ed posterized format, as fine art prints, and you can win or special order canvas sets (maybe one or two for sale). These are all for sale at the NOVA store, but the artist herself will be there as a vendor, selling her own work, and signing your prints and posters if you win or purchase them. These are WAY cool - you'll just have to see them in person to find out!

5) Have you checked out the final packets relevant to your event (just a reminder for 40k guys, here's your draft final packet, and final FAQ)

There's a TON of stuff incoming, and I'll be buried under it for the next couple of weeks bringing everything together, but the point is - the NOVA has "arrived" as a full blown wargaming convention, and we can't wait to see ya'll in a few weeks. Ask yourself the question if you're not attending - why not!?

A final note on something near and dear to my heart ... the 40k GT is something that more than ever before, I wish I could participate in.

It's a brand new edition. There's no metagame yet. There's no proven netlists. There are no proven PLAYERS even. This is an extremely rare opportunity where a major internationally-attended (Australia and Russia are the faraways this year) GT is happening relative moments after the release of a new edition. Here's your chance to help define what the new edition really is ... what armies are good (and bad!), and who really knows how to learn the new game. Why aren't YOU here?

The 40k GT has sold a little over 245 total tickets, but attrition due to everything from family circumstances to military deployments leaves us with plenty of spots left, and about 215 actual attendees right this moment (based on my best guess at day-of-no-shows). Join in the world's largest 40k event after AdeptiCon, and check out all the awesome stuff above while you're at it!

And for all of those of you who can't make it ... and want to follow along, well ... add this to yer followage:


  1. I need to find that Dead song...

    "What a long, strange trip it's been..."

    Fair winds for the NOVA this year!

  2. The NOVA is shaping up to be amazing this year! I wish I could attend.