NoVA Open 2013 – 1 – Overview

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NoVA 2013 happened!

Preemptive tl;dr I had an excellent time, an unreasonable number of excellent games, went 4/4/0, performed unreasonably well where appearance is concerned, and am still sore.

  • I won Silver in the Historical – Small Capital Palette competition with my Captain Whistlelock figure (who’ll get a post of his own)!
  • I placed 3rd for Best Appearance in the 40K tournament, winning one of the Hobby Ace awards!

(I’d love to lead up to all of that, but no point in burying the lede, right?)

There’s a lot to cover here that’s all over the place, plus some relevant hobby posts that need to thrown up: expect things to be scatter shot and smeared across the next week or so.

No Fantasy this time around: I played 40K.  8 games across three days: 3, 3, and 2.

I’d had some concerns that the schedule would be too much for me: 8 games is a lot.  The ability to drop after Game 6 took a lot of pressure off, though, and not doing more than the three games in any one day made it a thing I could actually do.  I mean, three days have passed and I’m still sore.  Four games in a day would have ended with me balled up and crying under the game table.

The tournament went unbelievably smoothly.  Things might not have fired exactly on time, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect clockwork precision with a tournament this size.  We have a hard time getting 12-14 player events on schedule; adding another ~240 bodies isn’t going to help that.

There were two hiccups: At one point Torrent of Fire went down and we lost something like an hour while they tried to sort everything out.  (As someone who builds web applications for a living: that sucks but it happens. ) The other was Sunday morning, when roughly half the event dropped or no-showed on Tuesday and they had to sort out pairings the hard way.  Things were scheduled to start pretty early on Sunday (7:30 AM); that’s an hour more of fitful, poor sleep I could have had but didn’t get.

But yeah, overall: it went revoltingly smoothly.

Since I mentioned it: Torrent of Fire. I think it’s best to consider ToF in two parts: one is a tournament organization, pairing, and scoring tool, the other is this newsletter / strategy thing.

The latter is, at best not-for-me and at worse pretty risible. If I felt like being cruel, I’d scan in the flyer which was full of some fairly ridiculous marketing assertions.

The former, though: that’s got a lot of legs. People (who wanted to) got their pairings off of their phones: no crowding around tiny printouts or mobbing around a blurry projector. Pairing up went smooth.

Plus, at least one person I know had had his scores entered wrong and had a game marked as a L instead of a W: he was able to use ToF to notice the error and have the TOs correct it.

There’s a lot of work to be done with it, I think.  For example: you could submit your scores with it… but it couldn’t/wouldn’t capture sportsmanship (wha?), so there was no point. (Just as well: I feel like the score sheets were insufficiently useful for the complex scoring rules; I can’t imagine doing it with my big fingers on a tiny screen would help with that any.  It’s a great start, though.

The vendor room/floor was an improvement over last year. Bigger, with more vendors and more space. I bought some stuff from Games N Stuff (who had a great, helpful, nice staff), Powered Play, Game Room aka “The Bitz Guy,” and a Breast Cancer charity booth.


  • A Powered Play starter kit (with custom color loadout)
  • A Deep Wars Dark Mariners starter
  • A heap of old metal Empire minis (some Elector Counts, Engineers, and 1st run tiny Steam Tanks I have big plans for)

I did speak to Dan at Tectonic. I suspect that some of the NoVA organizers might have spoken to him, about me, before I got the opportunity to do so. Between that, my post last week, and being one of the squeakier wheels on the Kickstarter Page: he had my things ready for me.

He clearly feels emotions appropriate to the situation. I get and appreciate that. Folks who’ve worked more closely with him assert that he’s a really nice guy who’s just gotten in way over his head; I can believe that.

I’ve got my stuff now, and I’m glad I’ve got my stuff now. I’m not glad that I effectively had to shout and stamp my feet to get it, but it’s over. I’m moving on.

I only did one seminar this year: Working with LEDs, run by Chris MIchaels of Powered Play.  There was some overlap between it and the sales pitch he gave me the day before when I bought a Starter Kit, but it was a lot more in depth and hands-on.

I’m definitely inspired to do some things with these LEDs.  (On that note: if anyone has an unassembed Dreamforge Leviathan Crusader that they’d be interested in trading for an assembled & primed one: talk to me! I’ll make it worth your while.)

I won three raffles.  That might seem excessive, but since I don’t think I’ve ever won a raffle at NoVA before… that evens out to 1/year, which isn’t too crazy.

So, a lot of cool stuff that I wouldn’t have gone looking for, but am delighted to have.

One of the highlights of this sort of thing is getting to see (and if I’m lucky) chat with folks that I don’t otherwise have much of a chance to see.  There were definitely some absent faces that were missed, but it’s always a treat to sit down and talk with folks like Mike Schaefer and Bob Likins & son.  I Managed to mfinally meet Sean Parker in person, which was great, and (very) briefly got to chat with hobby hero Dave Taylor.  Of course, I spent most of my time hanging out with fellow CGL‘rs Casey, Ashley, Kevin, Bart, Phil, and Joe.  Briefly saw some IFL‘rs: Doug, Chris, and Jeff, but not much.

I feel like I didn’t spend as much time chatting with folks I only see annually as I’d have liked to, though.  I think that’s a combination of playing more games, needing to organize my day with the other folks in my group, and layering the various painting competition activities on top of all of that.

Should have packed some 5 Hour Energies, I guess.  Will try harder next year.

I’ll come back to the actual games and competitions and all that in another post in a day or two.

  • CaseyVa

    You’re being too modest, Richard. They said they couldn’t choose between second and third for Best Appearance for 40k army so you tied with another person for second. And it is well deserved!

    • Remember that “SP” column? That was for “Soft Points,” and I think that translates to appearance. If you sort by that, I come in 3rd.

      And what they did plugged in seamlessly with the published Awards scheme ( 1st is “Virtuoso” (not awarded), 2nd and 3rd are “Hobby Ace.” And I know that the guy who had #2 had a better looking army (he did!) that scored better than me (because two of the judges felt compelled to explain how close it was and why his army scored higher; as if I couldn’t see for myself. :) ).

      Also, and I’ll touch on this in a subsequent post: I don’t think my army is executed with a great deal of technical skill. I assert that my placing where I did is (and this is a pull-quote) a triumph of bombast over precision. I don’t assert that that’s either a good or bad thing; but it’s a thing.

      • MVBrandt

        We rejiggered the paint competition for two things
        1) Consistent scoring of every army
        2) Acknowledgment of the fact painting is not just a technical act, but an expression of art. Your army was perfectly fine, technically, but it was also a bonafide work of art. Your plus-ups reflect that, as does your final standing.

        • Bob filled me in on the new paint scheme; I’m on board. (I’m on board with any consistent scoring scheme, basically). I’m also on board with rolling Impact, etc, into the scoring

          I’ve got some pieces in the army that I think are very well executed: I entered my Flamers into the Golden Daemon last year, for example. Other things, like those Soul Grinders make me cringe. There are some especially shameful bits with those Plaguebearers (which I’ll touch on when I post about them).

          I’m pretty confident and comfortable that the armies that scored higher than me deserved to be scored higher than me… but yeah, I also feel pretty comfortable that I scored higher than some other extremely good armies that were, in several cases, executed with better technique than mine was because of the scoring changes.

          I don’t feel bad, or undeserving of it (I do feel very, very appreciative of it, though). As I said, it was a triumph of bombast over precision, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing… especially when my army is basically just me screaming CAN I TALK TO YOU ABOUT MY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOR BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD BLOOD.

          It’s fun.

        • Also, again, thank you! I had an excellent time!

        • Is there any hope of the results (including pictures of the Capital Palette winners) being posted to the NoVA site? Exhaustion + crappy memory is making it tough for me to write up the event. As far as I can remember, Dusty Rhodes won Best In Show (and that ain’t right).

      • Wait a minute, that SP column is for appearance!?

        Mine is “0”. :'(

        • I’m guessing it didn’t get entered into ToF correctly?

          0 = “unpainted beyond primer” You clearly did more than that.

  • G Red

    Congrats on the winnings. Will be interesting to see how you paint the Corvus Belli Minis. They are quite different from the, well, mostly crude, stuff from GW.

    • It’s funny you should mention that: especially as I’m digging more and more into this historical wargaming thing, I’d assert that GW’s minis are exquisite. Tercio Creativo, Asmodee, and Corvus Belli (to pull a few off the top of my head) might make minis that are overall nicer than most of GW’s, but it’s tough to flip through any Wargames Illustrated or even think “Mantic” and call GW’s product “crude.”

      But I’m looking forward to doing something with them.

      As to the delays: enh. Getting events like these to run on time is hard. The biggest event I’ve run has been on the scale of 12-14 players, and even then it’s like herding cats: preoccupied, hungover, over-caffeinated cats. Delays of some sort or another are endemic, and six of the eight rounds ran very, very smoothly.

      • G Red

        The scale & proportions are off, so crude, and to my eyes, ugly (see Centurions). I was referring to the 40k minis, BTW. Not sure if that was clear. Some of the GW Fantasy stuff is outstanding. But De gustibus… y’know the rest.

        You could play Infinity with them ;) Haqqislam is the faction I play. Loads of fun. In Va, Victory Comics has an Infinity night on Thursdays.

        • I actually like the Centurions; I think they fit well with the Rogue Trader aesthetic, but yeah: mileage, varying, etc.

          Victory’s a hike for me: I normally stomp around Game Parlor, but a friend’s going to start dragging me up to Huzzah. Still, who knows? It’s not like I work too far from Falls Church. :)

  • Sean Parker

    Nice to have finally met you as well. Hopefully we can get some games in this year sometime.

    • That’d be great! If only because it’d mean you’re getting in some games!