Another NOVA has come and gone and, of course, I had a great time.
I had what felt like a pretty aggressive schedule laid out (and man did I drop the ball on taking pictures).
Wednesday was a swing-by after work to check in, and attend the GW preview event. I could have skipped this, and ended up cutting out about 45 minutes into it. The acoustics were awful, and the presenters don’t know that during a Q&A you need to repeat the questions you’re being asked. The result was that I couldn’t hear most of the questions and couldn’t understand most of the answers. The answers I could hear tended strongly to smug noncommittal; I’m sure these guys get a lot of the same, stupid questions at these events, but I don’t have any patience for it from 45’s press briefings so I don’t know why I should have patience for it when only toy soldiers are on the line.
Necromunda looks cool, but Wednesday has nothing to do with that opinion.
Thursday was mostly open: I dropped off my entries for Capital Palette, did a little shopping, and had a Color Theory class with Roman.
This was a challenging class: the theory of mixing those base colors to achieve the spectrum wasn’t new to me, but the focus on it and approach was and was helpful. Unfortunately, the new technique + the limited time made it a real challenge to get the last assignment done. It’s something I’m going to have to practice more (obviously). Hopefully, I can get into more of his classes next year.
Afterwards, Bryant from Grex offered to let me do the airbrush speedpainting class, which I really appreciated. I had a blast doing it last year, and had been disappointed that scheduling kept me from being able to this year. Had a great time doing it again this year.
Friday was a three-round Infinity tournament. Saturday and Sunday were a five-round Infinity tournament. I’d committed to doing both… and then commenced kicking myself over signing up for just as many games as I’d be playing if I were doing 40K. But, honestly: I had a great time and it wasn’t that bad. Maybe this is some serious Dunning-Kruger effect at work, here, but those games of Infinity weren’t nearly as draining as an equivalent amount of time playing 40K would have been. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was constantly engaged in the play, or that the people were better, or what… but I’m pretty sure I could have done more. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do more next year. Hell, I’ve already signed up for the Baltimore Brawl.
My tournament weekend did start off very much on the wrong foot, though. I got down to the room early on Friday, opened up my bag to start unpacking my things an found this:
this bottle was full when I put it in the bag. Sitting in the car on Thursday, I think, the cork popped, and my bag was full of most of a bottle of whiskey. I had to run to the bathroom, bag all a-slosh with booze, to pour down the sink. Nothing was damaged (the cardboard KR case shows it, but is okay), but damn the bag stank all weekend. Only now, after washing it a couple of times and febreezing the heck out of it, does it smell OK.
I won’t get into the round-by round of the tournaments: I didn’t really take the necessary notes. I lost most of my games: one blowout win, one draw that was so hard-fought it felt like a win… but most were losses. All were really good games. All of them. Hell, I started the weekend playing Nick P. (an excellent player, an even better painter, and a great dude) and ended playing Jordan M. (one of my favorite local Infinity people). In every game, I walked away thinking about mistakes I could tell I’d made (as well as when the dice had clearly gone off the reservation). Infinity is a great fucking game, with a great fucking scene.
One sidebar: even though everyone I played was really cool… I did play against three unpainted armies. That, frankly, is bullshit. If you play at a big tournament like NOVA, your models should be painted. Period. If 40K players can do it, there is no excuse when it comes to Infinity: there are 15-20 models max. The lack of a painting requirement kept me from playing Infinity last year. I’m glad I didn’t let it keep me from playing it this year, but I remain deeply disappointed by it. Seriously: paint your shit. Paint your shit. Please paint your shit. Painted minis look great. Do it.
In a first, I didn’t stick around on Sunday for the closing ceremony. Even though I think I could have powered through more games of Infinity, as soon as I started thinking about going home, that was all I wanted to do. I think that, if I’d skipped Wednesday, I’d have been up to staying around. So, next year: that’ll definitely be my plan.
I’m glad they did the Capital Palette ceremony as its own thing again this year. I think that was a huge innovation in the overall convention and I’m glad they’re keeping it up. I’d have liked to see the models on a projector, as they did last year, though: every entry has a kind of arty name so I have no clue what’s winning what, just who won.
I did better than I’d hoped: I entered everything I entered at Historicon (save for the A7V, which was entered last year) and prefaced to my friends, “Look, yes, this model won Best in Show at Historicon, but it is not going to place here,” and was proven right: Rodrigo de Silva did not place… but he did make Final Cut, which is farther than I thought he’d do. I made Final Cut with my Frostgrave Barbarians, as well, and my Anaconda got a bronze (which is actually what I’d hoped it would get). It’s a great competition, but it’s also a tough competition. It’s also tough to admit to myself that this is probably as high as I will go in it: I like painting models I intend to play with, and don’t really do pure display pieces… and in this competition, “hope for a bronze” is probably about as far as my efforts will take me.
(Don’t read that as me being down on it; this is just me working on some self-knowledge and acceptance.)
This, BTW, is the Anaconda I painted. I’m very proud of it.
Other random thoughts:
- I absolutely did not get to spend as much time as I’d have liked with anyone. This is pretty disappointing, and possibly inevitable. I assure you: I didn’t get to hang out enough with you at NOVA.
- I’d hoped to play some 40K with John: even knocked together a 4E-style Dark Angels army, but the stars failed to align for it.
- I picked up some Dark Age models, to play with Mike. I’m assembling them now, but am not in love with them. I could kvetch about the models at length, I think, but I don’t know that that would be productive. There was a huge Dark Age turnout at NOVA, which surprised me: last year, it was even smaller than Wrath of Kings.
- Speaking of Wrath of Kings, Mike did a couple of events for it and did pretty well, and had a great time. I’m crabby on his behalf, though, because he played in a scenario game one night… and although the table was gorgeous, half the models in it were unpainted. That’s just incomprehensible to me. At this point: build-and-plays get a pass: nothing else.
- The loot haul was pretty modest: the aforementioned Dark Age, the Rogue Trader reprint (I’ve had a copy about 20 years, now, but softcover is softcover), keeping up with the Goritsi, some Mechanicus models because I have a project in mind, and a Su Jian because I hope to play some Yu Jing after I’ve figured out my Nomads.
PHOTO DUMP, because even though I sucked at taking pictures and notes, I did take some.
Capital Palette Entries: