Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wild Ideas - Tweaking D and Stomp

So, this is something we're NOT seriously considering yet, but I'd love to hear feedback as always, as it popped into my head.

What if, instead of banning or allowing lords of war through the creation of an exhaustive and potentially difficult-to-maintain or confusing-for-players list, we instead took a page from the Narrative in 2014 and tweaked certain D results and (optionally) stomps?

These would be two separate questions:

1) Adding a rule that simply prevents weapons with a hellstorm template or blast larger than 5" from reducing a cover or invulnerable save to worse than 5+

2) Adding a rule that allows models affected by a "6" on the Stomp Table to make an invulnerable save if they have one, at no better than 5+

I don't know that #2 is really necessary ... though Stomp certainly has its opponents (especially the large blast stomps of the Tranny C'Tan). The tweak to the Hellstorm Template and D-track of the C'Tan would still make him fairly preeminent at dissolving magic-powered deathstars, but might substantially reduce his ability to willy nilly remove entire squads of regular joes and other things.

Food for thought.

This is in contrast to a ban-list of certain Lords of War and/or Lords of War weaponry, should they be permitted in the Open.

Keep in mind these things are still being discussed and finalized, and you should offer your input freely, but without fretting that you need to bombastically prevent (or force) adoption of a rule that is not a rule yet (or really more than a pondering).

Edit - note, this would not be crafted, if ever done, in a fashion that would allow people to combo shrouding and/or stealth on top of the reduced save to kick it back up.

Monday, December 29, 2014

40K Player Feedback Wanted - NOVA Open Army Construction Rules for 2015

Questions for the 40K prospective attendee:

1) Should we allow Forgeworld in some capacity, given the variety of things now in the game anyway via all the datasheets/formations/white dwarves/etc.?

2) Would you like to see the detachment rules change from "max of one CAD" to simply "2 detachments" as the limit, in light of the fact many of the factions can now 'effectively' get 2 Combined Arms Detachments via their Codex-specific detachments anyway?

3) How do people feel right now about lords of war? They were widely reviled by casual players in our post-event survey. Should we allow a limited LOW list? Should we ban adlance or ban superheavies altogether while allowing Lords of War that are not superheavies/gargantuans?

Feedback is always welcome at NOVA, and we typically perform post-event and sometimes pre-registration surveys. We're contemplating a survey in January prior to registration opening.

Happy Holidays,
- Mike

Friday, December 19, 2014

NOVA 2015 at an Early Glance
2015 sees the 6th Annual NOVA Open in Washington, DC.

Held in Crystal City, next to Washington Reagan National Airport and on the DC Metro Rail, the NOVA Open consists of four fantastic days of gaming, shopping, seminars, and miniature figure art at one of the United States' largest tabletop wargaming conventions.

What began as a large pair of 40K and Fantasy tournaments in 2010 has blossomed into a diverse, genre-wide event with an increasing emphasis on charity, hobby, fun, and fair play with international attendance across numerous organized play and hobby-centric event formats and offerings.

Registration opens on February 1, and our newsletter (chock full of information!) goes out on the 1st and 15th of every month. If you'd like to receive the most up-to-date information on the NOVA Open, sign up for the newsletter by e-mailing

Here's the early [sorta] quick and dirty on an event by event basis ... keep in mind this is by no means comprehensive:
*Please note - as of 12/17, our Website is under revision to update in preparation for 2015. Most information on the site includes primers, info, schedules, etc., from the 2014 event. This can be useful in planning your 2015 slate of activities, but should not be considered final or indicative of precisely how 2015 will occur.

The NOVA Open 2014 hosted 33 distinct seminars, with more slated for 2015 and beginning on Thursday of the convention (9/3). These range from free "lounge talks" hosted in the Charitable Foundation's Bar & Lounge to designer/developer talks (i.e., Justin Gibbs of Wyrd Miniatures, who designed Malifaux ... or Gutier Losquinos of Corvus Belli) to art/hobby lectures and instructional seminars. We are proud to note that 2014's highly acclaimed instructors will be back, such as Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures and Caleb Wissenback. We are also extremely excited to be joined in 2015 by Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca of Massive Voodoo, who will teach a large # of seminars over the course of the weekend.

Warhammer 40,000
The NOVA Open, over the years, has been an influential and high-profile event in terms of its impact on the tournament world of Warhammer 40,000. This stems from a desire, year after year, to apply reasoned modifications to our formats in order to present the most fun, fair opportunities possible for attendees of all interest and skill levels to find their fit within a combined attendance of nearly 300 40K players. The highlight of our 40K offerings is our 256-slot Grand Tournament, held over 8 rounds (with free option to drop after 6 built into both the format and schedule) from Friday through Sunday. This 1850-point tournament innovatively combines several "styles" of 40K event (Win-Loss, Battle Point, and Overall / "Classic" GT Soft Score Heavy) in parallel tracks within the one large tournament to allow players of all skill and style to fairly compete for awards, recognition, and fun [b]deep[/b] into the tournament, rather than just until their first loss or if they failed to accrue large enough victories. Players are even bracketed out into sub-brackets composed of their competitive peers after Round 4, locking players into peer-levels who've experienced a similar beginning to the tournament experience in pursuit of facing similar list styles, playstyles, and attitudes.

While the GT was originally our "big" 40K event, it is now rivaled by something altogether unique within the 40K Organized Event world - the Narrative. Most places you go, Narratives consist of hackneyed storyboards of "one more forgeworld or hive city" that secretly harbors an artefact of incredible significance to every race, while conveniently being right in the path of the nearest handy Hive Fleet, all happening above a newly-awakening Necron tomb complex, and ... for good measure ... right in the path of the next big Tau expansion. Proudly entering its fourth consecutive year, the NOVA Narrative takes a different approach. Players partciipate in one of two event tracks - Warlords and Nightfighters - to leverage the game of Warhammer 40K toward driving and telling the story of the NOVA Open's own unique sci-fi universe. Centered around culture-shattering conflicts between nascently space-faring Humanity and the questionably benevolent, star-spanning Virtue, players representatively participate as one of these two factions through the use of their favorite Warhammer 40,000 forces. No common fan-fiction here, the Narrative's creative team spend every year crafting intricate details and developing spine-chillingly epic briefings and story primers to draw participants into this world - a world of their own creation. You've never seen a collection of over 60 gamers go so completely silent as when Commander Beste is artfully providing his nightly introductory briefings and projected high-detail presentations on the current and future status of this ongoing conflict. Functionally, the Narrative provides two tracks leveraging more relaxed and diverse gameplay (complete with Heresy Era armies being legal, and everything Forgeworld has to offer). The Warlords track includes strategic planning sessions where participants directly impact the larger nighttime gaming events (who plays where, environmental effects, strategic and tactical injects, the works!), as well as additional games. Warlords players participate in 7 games stretched from Thursday evening through Sunday. Nightfighters, on the other hand, are players who wish to enjoy the Narrative while also participating in some of the NOVA Open's other day-long activities (such as other game systems or the 40K GT). Nightfighter games occur at carefully-scheduled times on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, providing a laid back opportunity to get that extra gaming fix while helping drive and get deeply involved in something you truly own yourselves. The names of past famous and infamous (two titles you can actively seek that have very little to do with simply winning or losing games) players adorn even the little details of our narrative terrain (terrain which includes a fully-lit 6 foot tall replica of the Washington Monument ... wouldn't be a DC convention without such things!).

The NOVA Open also sees the fifth consecutive year of its Trios Team Tournament, a unique Team event happening on Thursday of the con where 3-player teams face other 3-player teams in pairs of 2v2 and 1v1 games. Each player gets the opportunity to play a 1v1 game and 2 x 2v2 games over the course of the day in very relaxed fashion with longer round times. It's a great way to kick off the con, and is a true legacy event for NOVA ... usually with smaller, more intimate attendance and a more laid-back feel.

New this year for 40K, we're adding a series of events that you sign up for at the con called Highlander: Quickenings. These events are 8-player, 3-round "sign-up and go" events that begin at predetermined, scheduled times so long as 8 players have signed up. They're more relaxed in terms of model representation to enable easier prep for traveling attendees, and follow the NOVA Open's version of the Highlander rules, keying around the concept that there can "Be Only One" (of any unit type!). These harken back to another time in 40K, before battle brothers and the craziest of spam. Coincident with Sunday's opt-out day for the GT (you need only participate in the Final 2 rounds of the GT if you are still competing to win your personal bracket; nothing prevents all players from finishing Rounds 7-8, but it's not mandatory if folks want to see the city or shop or try other games), we're also adding a pre-registration-enabled event called The Gathering (fitting, right?). The Gathering will be a larger-slot Highlander event at an affordable rate with laid back feel, simplified missions, and straightforward presentation.

It's going to be the biggest, most epic year yet to play Warhammer 40K at NOVA. We're also exploring concepts for a Heresy Era event (event lead wanted!).

Warhammer Fantasy
This year will see the 6th consecutive Warhammer Fantasy GT at the NOVA Open. The past two years have both sold out at 64 players, with substantial potential to grow in 2015. The 2013 event encountered a few bumps and bruises along the way, leading to a dramatic revitalization under strengthened leadership in 2014. Organizer Steve Gant is returning to bring it back even better! The Fantasy GT occurs on Saturday and Sunday of the con, and is supplemented by a Friday event with a more laid back tone and flavor. 2014 consisted of a Doubles Tournament, though we're discussing everything from smaller games to End Times focused gaming to Narrative play for Friday at present. More info on this to come!

Malifaux was present at the NOVA Open in 2011, but vanished from our radar for a couple of years as the game went through its development into M2E. Heralded by many as one of the most aesthetically memorable, yet competitively balanced games on the market today, M2E gamers quickly recognize that many of the "competitive vs. casual" intonations that are so divisive within some TT wargaming communities simply vanish when playing Malifaux - everyone is casual, and everyone is competitive, and everyone can be both while playing exactly what they want to play! Malifaux returned to the NOVA Open in 2014 in a big way, with world-class terrain co-designed using the input of the game's designers and even direct attendance and participation from those designers - Justin Gibbs and Mack Martin, lead developers of Malifaux, spent their 2014 Labor Day with us at the NOVA Open.

Wyrd is back in a very big way for 2015, so big in fact that it's a first for them! The First Wyrd Malifaux National Championships for North America are being hosted at the NOVA Open in 2015, in part due to its timing within the calendar year relative to many other events that are now qualifiers. Don't hesitate at the word "Qualifier," however - the National Championship is an open registration event, and all are welcome, with space for up to 3-figures' worth of Malifaux gamers. This event is being hosted and sponsored directly by Wyrd with NOVA support, and the prizes and recognition are off the hook! Simultaneously, we'll be hosting a number of other Malifaux events all weekend long, including a participation-focused Achievement League, an in-depth Story event, Hardcore and Enforcer mode rapid fire events, and more! Some of Malifaux's best Henchmen will be in attendance and support, including Crissy of A Wyrd Place and "The Ma(h)(t)ts," Matt Stanley and Maht Crestborn, who are the official leads for Malifaux events at NOVA. To make everything *just* right, Justin Gibbs - design lead for Malifaux - will once again attend, taking a larger role in coordinating, organizing, and ensuring events run precisely as they should in representing Wyrd for their first National Championship. Can you tell we're excited?

WM/H events at NOVA have been growing year after year, and they absolutely exploded in 2014. Nearly 100 WM/H players showed up from all over the country, and we had sell-out organized play rolling from the very beginning of the con on. This year, the NOVA is set to once again be a Warmachine Weekend Qualifier, and is also an official Iron Gauntlet event. Space is limited (to a point, we're still able to field over a hundred WM/H gamers quite easily!), and last year many locals assumed they'd have space only to not quite find it when they showed up the day of! The schedule will once again be chock full of organized play, iron arena, and more. Don't miss this! Along with TempleCon, the NOVA has risen to be one of Warmachine's premier events on the East Coast.

X-Wing showed up at NOVA for the first time in 2014, and promptly sold out. Sold out so dramatically, in fact, that we twice increased our event size at the con in order to allow more players in (thank goodness for planning ahead on board prep and a game that doesn't require much in the way of terrain!). Roy Scales and Kris S., who run the very popular X-Wing website, A Few Maneuvers, are excitedly planning on hosting over 100 X-Wing attendees in 2015. Furthermore, they've added a new Narrative track of events modeled after the wildly successful NOVA 40K Narrative, with players able to make their mark on a slightly alternate Star Wars Universe through annual player driving of the story. I even hear tell of design work begun on an 11 foot replica scale (to the "big ships") star destroyer around which many epic starfighter battles are to take place ...

Charitable Foundation
The precursor to the NOVA Open was a small outdoor 40K tournament held on picnic tables in August, 2009. The first NOVA Open wasn't held until a year later, but this original event was spawned purely from a desire by the organizers to raise funds in support of the fight against Breast Cancer. Today, the NOVA Open partners with a sister organization - the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation, a formal 501(c)(3), to leverage the global community of gamers as a compassionate force to raise funds, awareness, and support for critical causes worldwide. Though we support many worthy charities, our efforts focus on Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontiers), the Fisher House Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Last year, the Foundation more than doubled its inaugural 2013 campaign by raising nearly $20,000 for charity! The highlight of these efforts are studio-caliber armies painted by a global consortium of figure artists, led by Foundation Board Member Dave Taylor. These armies are designed by top tier innovators and competitors from within their game systems, painted by world class artists, boxed in limited edition KR MultiCases, based on custom Secret Weapon Miniatures bases, and shipped to raffle winners anywhere on Earth (we've shipped armies to Tasmania!). Raffle tickets go up for sale in early 2015 for a wide variety of offerings, and are only $1/each. The NOCF proudly contributes more than $.96 on the directly to the charities it supports, with any excess purely being spent on administrative expense and web hosting fees (no member of the foundation or NOVA Open, LLC collects a salary or compensation of any kind for anything the NOVA Open does). Both the LLC and NOCF are entirely volunteer organizations, inclusive of gamers and non-gamers ranging from senior military officers and career professionals to stay-at-home moms and college students.

Foundation Lounge
The NOVA Open's organizers may or may not admit to really enjoying a good beer with their gaming pretzels. Or a good glass of wine. Or a good cocktail. Or a good glass of scotch. Or simply a good can of soda/pop/cola. Well, heck with it, we openly admit these things. So it stands to reason why we have the Foundation Lounge. Every year, the NOVA Open rents out premier Hyatt Regency suites and converts them into an incredibly epic Bar and Lounge, with everything from coffee and donuts in the morning to bloody mary and mimosa offerings in the ... well ... the morning ... to craft beers and cocktails (and non-alcoholic offerings) throughout the day (all the way until 1:30AM VA last call!). This non-profit event occurs thanks to a VA license for the Foundation ... granted because the Foundation Lounge's revenues are entirely donated to charity (the same charities supported by the Foundation's army raffles and other activities)! Not only is all the booze you buy in support of good causes, it's pretty cheap too! We offer rock bottom rates for the area on cocktails, beer, shots, coffee, donuts, whatever. Plus, the Lounge hosts rolling free lounge talks given by everyone from our esteemed seminar instructors to industry professionals, game designers, and more. IT's a great way to cozy up next to some of the most creative people in the tabletop gaming world with their favorite drink (which are, conveniently, discounted while each lecturer is talking). The Lounge is free to enter for any and all NOVA Open attendees all weekend long.

Capital Palette
Capital Palette returns to NOVA this year as one of the DC area's premier miniature figure art competitions. This juried exhibition takes an enormous leap up in prestige and quality this year with the addition of Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca from Massive Voodoo as head judges, along with Justin McCoy. With one of the swankiest display areas out there and a great deal of organizational support from the NOVA, the Capital Palette is a fantastic way to show off your miniatures' best stuff, have them judged by world class and world-renowned miniature figure artists, (and receive input on them from) , and win awesome prize support thanks to enormously generous partnership by companies like Grex Airbrush (category winners take home a brand spankin' new, top of the line airbrush!). Additions of higher experience level seminars, speed-painting/speed-airbrushing competitions, and more make the Capital Palette and NOVA in general more appealing than ever for the talented (and even only sorta talented!) miniature figure artist out there.

One of the things we want to advance at the NOVA is the notion that what we do with our figure painting hobby is more than just slopping pigments on toys. Art is a diverse term, and nothing should prevent that term being rightly and fairly applied to what many figure painters do - some of it is pretty awesome! Roman and Raffa are poster children for advancing the cause of miniature figure artists by connecting them more closely to fine artists at a whole, and we share with them a desire to leverage NOVA as a mechanism for further perspective change in this regard. Stay tuned to the NOVA Open and Capital Palette for more on this in the future, as we seek to both expose figure artists to a broader audience, and bring a broader range of artists (Beyond just figures) to the NOVA Open proper.

Infinity is why the NOVA Open's dedicated terrain staff considers the word "More" to be a 4-letter word! If you haven't played it before, Infinity battles occur on some of the most epic battle boards you've ever seen in a miniatures game, and 2014 was no different for the NOVA Open. Event lead Craig further supports this by hosting terrain competitions among attendees to see who can bring the best tables (there were LEDs and epic buildings aplenty in 2014!). Infinity is set to once again grow leading into next year, spurred on by the fact we hosted Corvus Belli designer Gutier Losquinos all the way from Spain. Corvus is set to once again attend, bringing with them - as in 2014 - first-time-ever looks at their newest studio painted minis and seminar-based reveals of the newest Infinity news, rules, and information (even stuff they don't share at GenCon!).

Blood Bowl
It is a little known fact that Blood Bowl, in a sense, started the NOVA Open, as its organizer began by hosting local DC area Blood Bowl Leagues. It was thus with great pleasure that we brought Blood Bowl to NOVA for the first time on its 5th Anniversary in 2014. Once established, never abandoned, the pitches will return to the NOVA in 2015 for a larger and more concrete offering of Blood Bowl events. We're also working to make sure the rates are affordable, the pitches are gorgeous, and the events are fully certified with the NAF across all activities. Don't miss your chance to break some heads! It's also more than just a rumor that late night Blood Bowl may be one of your only places to challenge NOVA staff to open gaming ... so don't forget to bring your team with you even if you plan on participating primarily in other genres and games.

Vendor Hall
A Con is not a Con without sweet shopping. The NOVA Open is attended by an increasingly diverse array of industry vendors, including niche suppliers like Greenman Designs and Tectonic Craft Studios, and broad-band discount retailers like Atlantis Comics & Games and the Toledo Games Room (the Bits Guy from outside the AdeptiCon 40K hall). We proudly partner with our vendors and sponsors to provide the epic quantity of swag given away through awards packages and the [in]famous lemonade raffle (any time you lose a game in any game system at NOVA, you get a raffle ticket in a Lemonade Raffle (get it, making lemons out of ... you get it) that includes everything from simple bits bags all the way to vacation getaways) at NOVA, and they also take pains to provide rock bottom discounts throughout the convention. We also - after popular demand - were able to partner with UK-based major NOVA sponsor KR MultiCase to bring their diverse array of army protection products to NOVA this past year, at a discount! The NOVA Open's vendors offer additional discounts on Thursday evening as the con kicks off, and we're working to see what we can do to keep them open just a bit longer after the award ceremony on Sunday evening this year (the better to go and spend your gift certs and winnings with the providing vendor).

The SuperNOVA Program
Speaking of KR MultiCase, the NOVA Open has - hands-down - the best "VIP/G" style gamer bags on the planet. This is, primarily, because they are KR MultiCases. Not ones to provide our "SuperNOVAs" with throwaway plastic bags into which their epic VIP-style swag has been placed, the NOVA includes (thanks to KR) free KR MultiCase bags with every SuperNOVA pass. In your first year, you get a free $85 KR BackPack2. In your second year, you can get another of those, or a Kaiser2 instead. In your third year, you can get a Kaiser3 instead. We're still trying to figure out how awesome it's going to get for the fourth year guys. Either way, the other thing you get - that's not to be overlooked - is that those who buy a SuperNOVA bag and return in a future year to NOVA (whether or not they  SuperNOVA again) receive a free BOGO for KR $65 custom-foam Card Cases to fill their bags with (and you can redeem these at the NOVA's KR vendor booth). Beyond this, SuperNOVA's get convenient in-con storage for their armies/bags, awesome T-Shirts, beer mugs, and several hundred dollars of custom swag (i.e., Greenman Designs will do you up a custom measuring device suited to your game system of choice with both your game system faction and name incorporated on the device ... imagine getting a multi-measure tool in Ultramarines Blue with your name inscribed under the logo). Last year, our 80 SuperNOVA bags sold out in a few hours ... we're offering more this year, but they won't last the weekend after reg opens on Feb 1.

SO MUCH MORE TO COME, AND WE'RE EXCITED! Who is coming to the NOVA in 2015? What are you most looking forward to?

Monday, December 8, 2014

When There's So Much to Talk About - Quickening and Gathering at NOVA 2015

So I fell behind on blogging. Little bit of life, little bit of love.

What I find is ... when you do fall behind, you quickly find yourself with so many things to talk about, you can't quite decide which one to write first, which can be its own form of writer's block.


So NOVA Open 2015 ... it's a huge work in progress right from the end of the prior year to plan the thing out.

There's a lot going on and going about with it.

We're hosting the first ever National Championships for Malifaux. We're talking about bringing a DZC tournament to the field. We're talking about how to handle as many as 100+ people for WM/H, Mali, X-Wing each respectively.

But the elephant in the room still has to be, in a lot of ways, Warhammer 40K, and what to set as the format for the various events we're hosting in it.

The Narrative has been enormously successful, increasingly so. We're doing the Narrative yet one better this coming year, and I trust the guys at the helm of it.

Trios Team Tournament has been a good warm-up for 30-40 people each year ... should we stick with it as it is? Remains a question to be finalized.

The Invitational is back (really, by popular demand). Maybe one of these years we'll divorce it from the con altogether and hold it at a different time during the year, but not for 2015.

A common discussion lately has been about Highlander as a 40K Format. This also coincides with a quite common discussion about creating a dynamic gaming component to the NOVA (that is - less structured from a schedule perspective).

Following the "Highlander" theme, Quickenings at NOVA 2015 will be quick-turn, smaller points value, winner-take-all cash return 8-player "Booster style" events running continuously on the side throughout the con weekend, and beginning possibly as early as Wednesday night.

One thing led to another, and so what we've done is added a dynamic Highlander-inclusive concept to the NOVA for next year. Going on throughout the con will be kick-off moments at which a hypothetical Highlander "Quickening" event can fire (or multiple ones). Any time leading up to each firepoint, people can sign up to participate in the next Quickening. As long as at least 8 players have signed up, a Quickening will begin. These events will be lower points value, with more flexible army rules to enable those who attended for the GT/Narrative to easily drop in, and will field much more streamlined and quick-playing mission formats. Prize payout will be a % of registration cash for the 3-0 winner, and the 0-3 lowest.

Then, a common thing that happens on Sundays is 40K GT players who are not in the "Final Four" for their Bracket choose to drop and participate in other things (which we actually encourage and Torrent of Fire built into their software, cool guys that they are). To support that and provide a different pace of 40K activity, we'll host a larger Highlander tournament on Sunday (The Gathering, natch).

Details are still forthcoming on a lot of this, but we're pacing - as ever - yet another "biggest and best NOVA yet." It's also exciting that GenCon is more than a month separate from us this time around. GenCon always siphons some attendance from an attendee perspective *and* a Vendor perspective. There are some fantastic bits of waterfall from that which will contribute to making NOVA even more awesome.

Would you participate in short-turn (think 4-6 hour blocks) Quickening events at NOVA in your off hours / evenings? Would you be interested in participating in a Gathering event on Sunday if you aren't in your GT bracket? Would you attend just for these things if you aren't really the GT type?

Additionally, what kinds of things would you like to see a little different in the main GT format this year? We received a lot of excellent feedback on the survey, and we're working hard. Missions will probably be in some ways similar, but they've been heavily revised based upon feedback (the missions received enormously high-% praise, but we took the small # of critiques to heart in an effort to make them even better, and that was reflected in the 11th Company GT missions this year).

Much to come, much to discuss. I'll see what I can do to get fully back on track here.