Thursday, September 1, 2011

NOVA: Recap (part 1)

Well I'm back from NOVA, and had a great time!  I really wanted to try and live blog out at the event, but honestly I was exhausted each night trying to fit in 4 games each day.  It definitely was one of my worse showings at a tournament where I went 3-5 but I can't blame anything but not getting any practice games in and not really knowing the format!  All my games were close, and many came down to the second or third win condition.  I was happy with my cramming in my painting, and the display board was able to make it in once piece.  My army was one of the top 5 finalists for best painting, and I entered a terminator in which made one of the top 5 single miniatures.

The Imperial Suns made it without too much travel damage!
Probably my biggest disappointment of the event was the lighting at the hotel.  The room was extremely dark so I wasn't able to get a good look at the armies and  combined with the fact that I didn't have a tripod for my camera; I couldn't get good photos.  It really really bummed me out that because of that many of my pictures ended up blurry or too dark... and if I used the flash it would wash the detail out.  With that said, let me get to my positive and negative thoughts about NOVA.  I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow recap of each game like I was planning.  I'll spare you the boring details!

Typical NOVA terrain setup. Big LOS blocking in the middle and 6 pieces even on the outside.
Pros:  A very positive experience overall!

- I really liked the bracket style.  It meant that you went into the second day in a mini-tournament consisting of the same record of the previous day.  It kept things exciting and fair.  When I heard that Dash of Pepper just rolled off to see who won the last game since they were not in the running for overall, it made me sad.  Isn't the point of what we do to roll some dice and play some games?

- Plenty of space at the tables and between them.  I wasn't on-top of anyone.  This definitely is the case in certain venues. 

- LOS blocking terrain!  We just don't have much of it in the Chicago area which favors the shoot-em-up style army.  I felt like it made the game more exciting.

- Table Quarters: The way they run table quarters is awesome.  Just count up your victory points and troops count as full no matter how damaged they are.  Whoever has the most, wins!  This keeps from the last turn turbo boost of a 50 point model contesting 1500 points of the opponent.  This was very fun and I'm bringing this to our local area.

- Tournament Packet: I loved the tear out packet for results, and the main book had everything you needed to know about the tournament in one space.

- The organizers were honestly passionate about carrying how the event went and how people were doing.  I thought it was really nice that Mike went around and apologized when things were going late.  Huge gesture, and much appreciated.

- Raffle prizes and other fun things kept it fun for everyone.  The swag bag laser pointer was a huge hit, I actually used it during the tournament!  I think I'll sponsor some deodorant one year as a gag!

My vindicator was drooling on the shot!
Cons: Please don't judge this as harsh, they're just my thoughts!

- Hotel had a little left to be desired.  Was nice and close to the airport, but the lighting in the room was terrible and no food options for a quick bite to eat.  Luckily there was a great deli around the corner that we discovered.  I don't know how the judges were able to judge painting in this type of lighting.

- Fully painted armies was not enforced.  Maybe I'm a stickler for this, but if I'm going to spend a good amount of time and money I would like to play against fully painted armies.  They don't need to be pro painted, but I would like them finished.  Rant on: It's bad enough I had to play min/max Grey Knights, but not painted? Not acceptable. Rant off.

- Table assignments were hard to find.  Next year I hope they just alphabetize everyone's names.  Trying to find your name in a sea of 200+ players created a bit of a cluster.  Also there were no times posted for the next round or how much time was left in the round.  I had to constantly ask when we're starting next.  These are just growing pains of a new tournament, I'm sure they'll get ironed out.

- Winning by 3 kill points seemed a bit harsh.  Maybe it was just my luck that I played razorback spam and dark eldar in the objective games and lower KP armies in the others but winning by 3 is tough.  I guess I should have just counted on the second or third objective to win the game.  More practice in this type of format would have given me that experience.

- Nights went a little long.  I do appreciate 4 games a day, but the awards ceremony went for I think a couple of hours.  Long night, especially when you consider that there wasn't a dinner break and no food in the hotel for easy purchase.

- FAQ's and terrain definitely gave an advantage to the vets of the tournament.  There were some things that I felt directly contradicted the rules (not being able to combat squad from reserves).  Also since terrain was set and there as a huge LOS blocking piece in every table in the middle, there are some armies that could have taken advantage of this knowing what they were getting.  Honestly I think hoard orks would have had a field day on these tables.  Nobs on foot up the middle, big boys in the corners, lots of lootas, lobbas for indirect fire, and koptas to harass tanks.

My Ironclad racked up a sea of destroyed vehicles and units. Too bad it was one of the only things left alive!
With all that said, would I go again?  Definitely! We had a great time, and I think I'll be better prepared for next year.  I have 100% confidence that the tournament organizers are committed to making improvements and they had the passion to make it happen.  My next post will put up some of the cool armies I saw.


  1. Brian, glad you had a good time. As one of the organizers it is always a pleasure to read comments, positive and constructive, and we definitely factor those in for the next year.

    Your army was absolutely gorgeous and I very much enjoyed the Vostroyans you added in for flavor. Of course I may be a bit biased:

  2. Sounds like an excellent weekend. Your army looks very fine indeed....terrific base board and a really distinctive theme. Four games in a my head hurt just thinking of it!

  3. Brian, great pro/con list; one of the most honest and fair assessments from the GT I've read so far. Overall, the event was a very positive experience and I think the things they got right far outweighed the bad. But thank you for touching on the 'no combat squads from reserves' rules contradiction; I ran a bike army and love to reserve a full-sized squad for this exact tactic. I was totally fine with the terrain, but this ruling is what I was most disappointed by. I really hope they correct this one for next time.

  4. Sidney: Thanks, the event was a lot of fun. 8 games in 2 days was exhausting but well worth it.

    Joe: That combat squad thing really hurt some armies. I'm glad I didn't bring my Blood Angels jumper list. How did you do overall?

    Morgrim: Nice job on the Vostroyans! I love the blunderbuss conversion. Simple and effective.

  5. I went 2-6 but I'll take that for my first GT. I had a great time. Your army looks fantastic by the way!

  6. We used flashlights to review armies. We joked that we needed miner's hats to be spelunking in the Hyatt Caverns.

    We had six finalists this year, instead of just five. There were many good entries. And some that did not meet our minimum standards. But we don't expel those guys.

    Glad to hear you had a good time. r's hats to be spelunking in the Hyatt Caverns.

    We had six finalists this year, instead of just five. There were many good entries. And some that did not meet our minimum standards. But we don't expel those guys.

    Glad to hear you had a good time.


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