Tag Archives: tournaments

Huzzah Hobbies Inaugural Infinity Tournament

About a month ago, I ran an ITS event at my FLGS, Huzzah Hobbies.  I’ve been meaning to post about it for a while, but vacation, work, and trying to get the post perfect have all conspired against that… so instead, I’ll shoot for good enough.

What Worked Well

Just about everything.

Turnout was off the charts.  It was enormous.  We had 27 players. Folks came down Maryland.  Folks came down from Pennsylvania.  A couple of folks came from Michigan.  I’m fairly confident that it qualified as a Dire States event: that’s incredible for a first tournament.

Prize support was off the charts.  Black Maria Designs gave us prize support and a thing for everyone who showed up.  Black Sheep Industries gave us prize support. Warsenal cut us a deal on prize support.  The Michigan GT had Data Tracker tokens for everyone who showed up. Myomer had a nice gift for the Wooden Spoon prize. Many, many people contributed stuff for the prize pool.  There was enough stuff that Everyone Got Something, with stuff left over to go into the pool for next time.

I attribute most of that to BMinusCPlus, who did an incredible job of hustling both attendees and vendors for support.  If he hadn’t been involved, we’d have had the quiet 8 person turnout I’d expected.

What Didn’t Work Well

There was a scheduling conflict that resulted in us losing about a quarter of our table space.  I knew about this, and had been told there’d be no impact, but failed to do the groundwork to confirm that. In the end, everything worked out Just Fine, but there was a period there where it wasn’t clear that things would work out.  In the end, we had a couple of tables smushed together, and everything got along OK.  Had I done that groundwork, I’d have likely dialed back on the event size from 32 to 24.

For next time, a couple of items: I don’t think the scheduling conflict will happen again.  If it does, I have a better understanding of the remaining capacity so I can adjust the event size accordingly.  Finally, it was a good reminder to trust, but verify.

I also ran a poll of players after the fact and the consensus was that smushing tables together: not great but not the dramatic inconvenience we expected it to be.  That data point will also help in planning better next time, as well.

What Can Be Done Better

Spirit of Infinity was scored 1-5, per player, per round.   It’s not my prize to give, but I’d tweak a couple of things about how it’s scored. Only one player can get your top score. We had some folks giving out top scores like candy, and we had another withhold a top score (thinking they’d only get one) in case they played a certain other player they expected to have a great game with.  This means I’d collect those scores at the end of the day, not round-to-round.

It was important to me to have an appearance award; we went with Player’s Choice. I kind of hate Player’s Choice because it’s lazy, and doesn’t necessarily result in the best painted army winning. At the same time: it’s doesn’t require much work (and who has time for more work when running an event?), and abdicates the responsibility for who should win it to the players.  Regardless, I’d decided to do Player’s Choice and then stopped thinking about it.  Separate score sheets might have made things easier, and no accommodation was actually made to do the review: hadn’t scheduled it, hadn’t prepped player numbers to go by armies, etc.  Player’s Choice doesn’t need much planning, but it needed more than it got.  Next time, it’ll get it

Infinity Tournament at Huzzah Hobbies – Feb 3

I’m running a tournament at Huzzah Hobbies on February 3, and it is shaping up to be amazing.

Relevant Links:

I just wanted to see an Infinity tournament go down at my FLGS, but it’s really shaping up to be be very much a to-do.  In addition to the standard ITS prize pack and the entry fees getting rolled back into prize support, several folks have donated some things to the prize pool, and we’ve gotten sponsorship from some really great companies that I want to call out:

The amount of stuff for folks to walk home with is really stunning to me.

As far as the actual event:

$10 entry fee

2 hour rounds

Missions are:

  1. Safe Area
  2. Frontline
  3. Acquisition


  • 10AM – Store Opens – Table setup
  • 11AM – Round 1 (Safe Area)
  • 1:30PM – Round 2 (Frontline)
  • 4PM – Round 3 (Acquisition)
  • 6:30 – Awards!

We’ve got folks coming in from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Maryland, as well as a lot of Virginians.  At this moment, there are 19 people signed up for the tournament!  19!  I’d been hoping for 8!

It should be a really great time and a great opportunity to overwhelm Huzzah with Infinity.  If you’re in the area and free, you should really come out to play!

Thursday Night Shadespire Tournament

Almost forgot to post about this: I helped organize a quick Shadespire tournament last week at Huzzah Hobbies.

We figured/hoped that the speedy play of the game made it well-suited to a weeknight activity and it’d be an easy way to ensure that a few folks got in a couple of games… and were totally right.

It was hugely successful: on a Thursday night, we got twelve people.  We got three games in, and were done at a pretty reasonable time.

I found this Winter 2017 Organized Play packet somewhere (the Shadespire FB group?), and we worked with that.  Some key points therein:

  • No best two-out-of-three matched play.  This makes sense, as it means you get to play more opponents.  And, really, we had time for only three games.
  • You need to track W/L/D and the Glory Point delta.  This actually maps down to Glory Points per player; the rest can be calculated.
  • 45 minute rounds.

Things went very smoothly except pairings.  According to the packet, you effectively group players into brackets based on their number of Wins, Losses, Draws (3, 0, 1 points each, summed; simple enough) and then pair within brackets, matching the highest net Glory Points player in the bracket against the lowest net Glory Points in the bracket (okay) shifting the lowest & highest within a bracket up and down a bracket to account for any odd number of players (this was just too hard to do).

I worked up a spreadsheet to track the event, ’cause that’s how I’m wired.  Came away from the evening with a few revisions to make, but for the most part it worked well.  You can access (and copy) an updated version of the Google Sheet to use for your events here: Shadespire Tournament Tracking Spreadsheet.

In terms of warband distribution:

  • 2 Garrek’s Reavers
  • 5 Ironskull’s Boyz
  • 4 Sepulchral Guard
  • 1 Steelheart’s Champions

Wade took 1st with Ironskull’s Boyz, Thel took 2nd with Steelheart’s Champions.

I ran Garrek’s Reavers and got the teeth knocked out of me: two losses and a draw.  I’d have come in dead last, but that draw was in the last round vs. Casey and across all of the games, I had one (1) less Glory Point loss than he had (-9 Δ vs. -10 Δ).

My games went:

  • Round 1 vs. Thel (Steelheart’s Champions) – Loss with -6 GPΔ
  • Round 2 vs. Caleb (Sepulchral Guard) – Loss with -3 GPΔ
  • Round 3 vs. Casey (Sepulchral Guard) – Draw with 0 GPΔ

So far as I can tell, everyone had a really good time.  I think the plan is to do it again in January.

Baltimore Brawl IV

High off of a great NOVA Infinity experience, I was pretty hyped for the Baltimore Brawl.  It was a great day of Infinity, though it did end on kind of a rough note.

The Brawl was a single-day, four game event at Games N Stuff in Glen Burnie.  I’ve heard lots of great things about GNS as a store, but had never been able to make it up there before.

Google Maps suggested it’d be between an hour and a half and two to get up there, so I left early; unfortunately, I’d mixed up setup times with check-in times and Google was overly pessimistic about the travel time, which meant I got there a good hour and a half or so earlier than I needed to.  Chatting outside the store wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning, but I wouldn’t have regretted an extra hour’s sleep.

These were my lists:

  • List A – Frontline, Acquisition, Supplies
  • List B – Firefight

I wanted to run the Kriza, but that sucker is so expensive the next thing I knew I was looking at 11 order lists, and at that point it made sense to dial it in to a single, full group.  I don’t think I like running things so tight; you have less wiggle room, and if there’s one thing I need, it’s wiggle room.  I think my List B shook out to be just a bad list,

Game 1 was against Justin (J-Skewers)’s Qapu Khalqi.  I had a great time playing with Justin, but every. single. roll. went my way.  When nothing goes wrong, that means everything’s going wrong for your opponent, and having been on the other end of that, I felt pretty bad for him.  It didn’t really phase him at all, though.  I won this 9-0 without losing a single model.

The most notable moment for me was using the Tsyklon to fire a Pitcher next to Justin’s hacker and then using the Interventor to Isolate, then incapacitate her.  I also made the right call with Intelcom and revealing my Hidden Deployed Spektr to push into his sector at the bottom of turn three to eke out dominance by the skin of my teeth.

Game 2 was against John (JBear)’s Hassassin Bahram.  I got my clock cleaned pretty thoroughly: where all my rolls went my way in Game 1, they pretty much didn’t go my way in Game 2.  I also made a couple of mistakes in terms of positioning, and I made the wrong decision re: going first (which was a theme for the rest of the day).  Even though I lost this one 0-10, I had a great time, and came away learning some stuff.

Not much in the way of memorable moments about the game (besides John’s graciousness as he kicked my ass up and down the table).  I kept forgetting my Stempler Zond was knocked out.  The Kriza performed well, but wasn’t even close to closing any sort of gap.

Game 3 was against Wilson (Masterofmelee)’s Bakunin.  Wilson’s one of the top players in the world (we had a couple of those: I think four of the top twenty at the Brawl), and I’d been second guessing this list since I made it, I didn’t expect to do well in the match.  I didn’t, but I do think I held my own.  I definitely goofed by choosing  to not go first. He knocked my teeth in in the first turn, but I was able to bounce back, hold my ground, and squeeze out a couple of OP.  Even though I lost this one 2-9, I’m proud of my performance.

In turn one, Wilson used his Morlocks to throw smoke and tear ass down the edge of the board and cover the approach of his Überfallkommando, who nuked my Interventor Lt and Iguana before I knew what was happening, so I started the game in Loss of Lieutenant.   After that, though, Kriza Boracs was able to hold the line, my Morans were able to defend themselves against the Morlocks and Zeroes sent against them.  What appeared to be an Intruder turned out to be my one specialist: the Bandit Hacker, who was able to nail both Classifieds.

Game 4 was against Chris(?) (Zah90)’s vanilla Haqqislam.  This game was brief: again, I made the wrong decision by not going first.  He had me in Retreat before my first turn, which was rough, but did mean I didn’t have to wallow in my poor choices for too long.  I lost this one 0-1; he’d have likely have gotten 10 OP except he pushed too hard and had me in retreat too soon.

This wasn’t an easy game, but I handled it well, I think.  I’m not very good at this game, and when you’re not good, you’re going to have games where you just get the shit beat out of you and you can either roll with it and try to learn something from the experience (I think I did) or you can find a different game to play.

So, I was in a perfectly fine mood (three great games, one learning experience)… until he spun his open bag around and his open bag front swept across my entire army tray.  It’s been a couple of days, and just thinking about it now makes my adrenaline race.  I still don’t know the full extent of the damage, but he definitely broke two of my S5 remotes: one of them had four pieces broken off, and another had two pieces broken off and one piece actually broken (as in what was cast as one piece is now more than one).  I don’t know what, if anything is or isn’t broken.  I put everything away as quickly as I could and sat outside counting to 10 for a while.

This sort of thing happens.  It’s happened before, it will likely happen again.  It’s never not traumatic, though, and the carelessness, the extent of it, and combined with it being done by someone with a bunch of unpainted minis (which, fairly or unfairly equates to “doesn’t give a shit about minis” in my mind) makes it really upsetting.  The last time something like this happened to my minis (my fault: I slipped and fell down the stairs carrying my Khornate Daemons), I couldn’t bear to look at them for a year and a half.  I need to psyche myself up to look at the damage.

Despite the upsetting end to the day, I had a great time.  John Junghans ran a great event, the Infinity community is really the best, healthiest game community I’ve ever experienced.  It’s tough to have a bad game of Infinity: I find losing games as or more satisfying than winning games, because I come away knowing a bit more about the game.  I can’t not point out that of four opponents, two were painted, two were unpainted and that’s something I’d love to see change: the lack of painting expectation is the greatest flaw with the game.

Anyway, I’ll definitely be back again next year.

Infinity – Alexandria 3 Rounder

I got out to my first Infinity Tournament this past weekend.  The event was organized via the local NoVA Infinity Gaming FB Group The event was run at a school, which was pretty cool: the space was perfect for a couple dozen people, and they had pigs in a pen just outside.

I went in expecting to get my teeth kicked in and, in fact, did get my teeth kicked in, so mission accomplished. The important thing is, though, is that everyone I played with was super supportive and helpful and I can absolutely walk back how events played out in each game to mistakes I’d made (and in one place, a few key dice rolls that had a greater impact than any mistakes).  Really, that’s all I could ask for.

It was a great time and, as I’d said, everyone was super supportive and helpful, and I’m looking forward to seeing these folks at future events.

I ran Corregidor, with the following lists: List A, List B

Round 1 was against a Vanilla Nomad list; Justin ran kind of a camo spam list.  I feel like I held my own here OK… even though I didn’t actually accomplish any of the objectives. Bran do Castro really did some damage.

Round 2 was against Vanilla Ariadna.  Len had a ton of light infantry.  Duroc popped in and, even though I was ready for Van Zandt to show up and make life difficult, he just kept making rolls and I kept failing ’em.  The dang werewolf ended up killing about a third to a half of my army alone.

After that, I ran the Iguana around with something resembling impunity.  It wasn’t effective, but it felt good.

Round 3 was against… J?  I’ve forgotten his name, unfortunately.  He was running Tohaa. I got to more mobile than usual time time around, but paid for it: overextended with the wrong units, was too cautious with the wrong units. Even dumped a bunch of orders into accomplishing  a Classified Objective… that I didn’t have!

In the end, I was 0, 1, and 3 Objective Points across the three games… but they were all good games and I had a great time.  Definitely pumped for more Infinity and definitely pumped for the table I ordered a couple of weeks ago from Shark Mounted Lasers to show up.

Age of Sigmar – Thoughts & Tournament Results


It’s entirely possible that that ‘Sigmar’ is Reikspiel for ‘Poor Stewardship.’

(Gonna give my now-informed thoughts about Age of Sigmar first, then talk about the event itself afterwards, since I expect the former is more interesting to the rest of y’all.)

I got in five games of Age of Sigmar at NOVA, which means that I’ve now played five games of Age of Sigmar total.

I’ve tried pretty hard to keep an open mind about it: actively avoiding the crushing negativity about it around CGL and reserving any and all judgement about it until I actually got the chance to play several games.  Now, I think I have an informed opinion about the game.

It is not a bad game, nor is it a good game.  It’s an exceedingly bland game.

The analogy I kept coming back to whenever someone would ask me what I thought of it was: it’s a rice cake.  You can eat a rice cake.  If you have nothing else to eat, it’s better than eating nothing.  But it’s not very filling or satisfying, and there are thousands of other things out there that one would rather eat.

There’s maybe a useful engine for resolving or organizing a game in there somewhere, but it’s insufficiently baked. If you look at it and think, “That is entirely too simplistic a game,” you are correct.  GW’s actually packed a lot of complexity into the warscrolls, however: and that’s not a good thing.  It means that the game is ultimately overly-complex while resting on a jellied, unset foundation.

Standard bearers don’t work the same.  A Standard in this unit does A, and a Standard in that unit does B.  On one hand, this is a mechanism by which they communicate flavor… on the other hand, it’s confusing.  I had two units of troops on Saturday, and my opponents kept getting turned around on how each one worked.  It drives me up a wall that shields don’t work the same from army to army.  That just doesn’t make any sense.

Some units are even worse: Plague Monks have full command, but none of them work close to what the other Skaven units’ command does.  Instead, each (Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician) gets to choose one of two options, each of which involves more rolling and more rolling and… doesn’t really change anything.  It’s a lot of extra effort for next to no payoff.

A lot has been said about the lack of points: it is indeed the problem it appears to be.  Friday’s event was “Six Warscrolls.”  Saturday’s was “95-100 wounds.”   Most of the players had more models on the table Saturday than Friday.  I had nearly 50% less.

There are fixes for the lack of points: counting wounds is the most common.  It’s crap.  There is no planet on which a Pegasus Knight is equivalent to 4 Clanrats. At the Clanrats’ optimum numbers, 30, there’s no planet on which 8 Pegasus Knights are equivalent to 32 Clanrats. It took one game with both Stormvermin and Plague Monks to know that the former is 1,000,000,000 times better than the latter.

Ultimately the closer you get to some way to make the game playably balanced, the farther you get from what’s their unambiguously clear design goal… which, increasingly, convinces me that it’s a shit design goal.

Every game I played ended in a tabling or would have had it not ended to time (the game plays fast, but pretty much everyone there was learning it).  There were scenarios, and they were generally interesting enough… but didn’t come up often because someone was too busy choking on their opponent’s block of troops to be able to worry about them.

That said: it was such a limp, loosey-goosey game system that we all had a good time.  It was impossible to take it seriously, so there was an excellent mood around the games.

My prediction: AoS is gone and dead within two years.  This thing is too baroque and top-heavy with too-skinny legs and knees of jelly to survive.  Hopefully, we’ll see a Warhammer 9E shortly afterwards; the alternative is tragic.  (There’s a discussion to be had, somewhere, about GW’s stewardship of Warhammer and 40K.)

Wow, that ran long.  Longer than I’d planned, for sure.

The tournaments themselves were a good time.  Like I said: it’s such a weak system, it’s impossible to take it seriously.  Getting competitive about Age of Sigmar would be like attempting to write a critical dissertation on Mighty Max.

Friday was two games: six warscrolls.

I ran:

  • Warlord – Warpforged Blade & Shield
  • Grey Seer
  • Clanrats x30 – Sword & Shield
  • Stormvermin x30
  • Plague Monks x31 – Book of Woes, Contagion Banner, Bale Chime
  • Plague Furnace

Game 1 was against Sean, who’d come down from New York, running Dwarves.  I believe I won that game, but it was long enough ago (three days!), I’m less than certain.  It was also my first game of AoS, so it hardly counts.

Game 2 was against Tim, who’s local, running Bretonnians. Bretonnians, as it turns out, really did get a lot better.  I was tabled very, very quickly.


No really: I actually did have a very good time.  I’m entirely confident that everyone there did.

Saturday was three games – some more complex comp rules but basically 95-100 wounds per player.

I ran:

  • Warlord – Warpforged Blade & Shield
  • Ikit Claw
  • Warlock Engineer
  • Clanrats x30 – Sword & Shield
  • Stormvermin x30 – Shields
  • Hellpit Abomination – Warpstone Spikes
  • Warp Lightning Cannon
  • Warp Lightning Cannon
  • Plagueclaw Catapult
  • Warpfire Thrower
  • Warpfire Thrower
  • Poisoned Wind Mortar
  • Poisoned Wind Mortar

Plague Monks are gone because they’re trash.  I don’t care how limp and noncompetitive the game might be, when you’re as well off taking them as you are just playing 30 wounds down: you don’t.

War Machines & Weapon Teams with ‘Warp’ in the name are very good.  The mortar & catapult are trash.  If I took 33 Warpfire Throwers and placed them all 3.5″ apart, I would probably win every game ever.


Game 1 was against Tim again.  He’d loaded up on more Knights.  I still lost, but less badly than the night before.  We ran out of time, though: it’s possible he’d have tabled me if we’d kept going.

Game 2 was against fellow CGL’r Eric, with his spectacular Dwarves. He went all in: he rebased his Dwarves on round bases.  He also had more bodies on the table than I did.  I managed to table him, but I’m not sure how.

Game 3 was against Sean again.  Despite an enormous blunder early on, incautiously shoving my block of Stormvermin down his throat in such a way that almost his entire army was pulled in, I managed to table him.

Like I said above: there was a lot of tabling going on.

In the end, I won Best General – One massive win, one solid win, and one moderate loss was apparently enough to put me in the lead on battle points. Eric won Best Appearance, and Norbert (who I did not play) won Best Overall.

It’s also important to point out that Aaron (local-ish) and Brian (from Boston) did an excellent job given the circumstances.  It went smoothly, and everyone had a great time playing: I would be surprised if the same thing could be said of any other event there.  Given the system is what it is, I think that’s especially notable.

So: do give Age of Sigmar a try so you can have an informed opinion about it.  Do expect to be disappointed.  Do give anything Aaron or Brian run consideration.  Don’t ever take Plague Monks.

NoVA Open 2013 – 3 – The Games

Output - Card - Khorne

So, the army I took was a shortest-path-to-tournament-ready deal.  I’d rather be playing Tau right now, but they’re so far from presentable it’s tragic.  I considered trying to update my Dark Angels to something I could bring, but ended up settling on my Khornate Daemons.

Casey was an immense help in figuring out what the list needed to look like given the models I had ready to go.

It started out just needing a Bloodletter with Instrument of Chaos. Then, it just needed a Herald of Tzeentch.  Then, some travel got cancelled, so I decided to push on and do some Plaguebearers. (As in, I got the call while I was on other travel, and stopped by the game store on the way home from the airport to grab the kits I needed.)

In the end, this is what I ran:

05-2013-08-30 10.10.07

Bloodthirster – Exalted x1, Greater x1
Herald of Khorne – Juggernaut, Wrath, Greater x1, Lesser x1
Herald of Tzeentch – Warlord, Lvl 3, Conjuration, Exalted x1

Flamers x4

Pink Horrors x16 – Champ w/ Lesser x2
Plaguebearers x10 – Champ w/ Lesser x1, Instrument

Fast Attack
Flesh Hounds x16

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince – Khorne, Flying, Armor, Greater x2, Lesser x1
Soul Grinder – Slaanesh, Baleful Torrent
Soul Grinder – Slaanesh, Baleful Torrent

There’s a lot stupid, extraneous upgrades in there, yes.  I was pushing to build as few models as possible; that’s why.

I had SO MANY really great games.  NoVA scoring is a pretty basic affair: 3’s unbelievably enjoyable game, 2’s an average game, and 1’s a shit, miserable game.

I had 6, 1, 1, respectively.

That said: I didn’t finish hardly any games. Out of 8 games, I think 7 were called for time.  Most games had a pace where, when they’d call “30 minutes” we’d agree that we’d get one more full round in. Maybe because we were (in general) chatting too much?

Also, I really dropped the ball on photographing my opponents armies. I always do that, and I’m really annoyed with myself that I neglected to this time. Sorry, guys.

Day 1

Game 1 – Sisters of Battle with Imperial Guard

Saint Celestine – Warlord
Primaris Psyker
Uriah Jacobus


Battle Sisters x10 – Meltagun x2
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Battle Sisters x10 – Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Infantry Platoon
– Command Squad x5
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
– Infantry x10 – Plasmagun, Power Axe
Seraphim x9, Two Hand Flamers x2, Meltabombs
Seraphim x10, Two Hand Flamers x2

Fast Attack

Heavy Support
Retributors x5 – Heavy Bolters x4

I lost, 0-20.

I did a lot wrong here; if I’d played my army ten more times, maybe I’d have considered that in a Kill Point mission, taking the Portalglyph is probably the stupidest thing I could do. I also might have respected the two hand flamers a bit more.

I got my clock cleaned… but I don’t mind.  Stephen was a nice dude, and I got the weekend off on about as right a foot as I could with an enjoyable game.

Game 2 – Tyranids

Hive Tyrant – Warlord, Wings, TL Devourer w/ Brainworms x2, Hive Commander, Leech, Paroxysm
Hive Tyrant – Wings, TL Devourer w/ Brainworms x2, Old Adversary, Leech, Paroxysm

Doom of Malan’tai – Mycetic Spore

Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Tervigon – Crushing Claws, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst
Termagants x20 – Devourers, Mycetic Spore
Termagants x10 – Fleshborers
Termagants x10 – Fleshborers

Heavy Support
Biovore x2
Biovore x2

I lost, 0-20.

This game was a mess: lots of big monsters and a lot of chaff to wade through to get to them.   My Herald of Khorne was MVP, decapitating two Tervigons himself. He didn’t roll Decapitating Blow every round of combat, but when he did, he rolled it a lot.

The game ended on Turn 3, unfortunately.  If we’d gotten the rest of the game, I might have been able to turn it around. Things were, frankly, looking pretty dang good for me, but we’d have needed a 5 hour round, I think.

Lots of generated models here: his Tervigons kept pooping out above average sized broods, and I rolled two new units of Daemons on the Warp Storm table.

Game 3 – Tau

Aun’Va – Warlord

XV104 Riptide – TL Plasma Rifle, Ion Accelerator, Shielded Missile Drone x1, Early Warning Override, Stimulant Injector
XV8 Crisis Suits x3 – TL Plasma Rifle x3, Fusion Blaster x3
XV8 Crisis Suits x3 – TL Plasma Rifle x3, Fusion Blaster x3

Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Fire Warriors x12
Kroot x20

Fast Attack
Pathfinders x6

Heavy Support
Broadsides x3 – TL Rail Rifle x3, Velocity Tracker x2, Positional Relay x1
Hammerhead – Ion Cannon, Blacksun Filter
Hammerhead – Ion Cannon, Blacksun Filter

I won, 13-7.

Things did not go Zander’s way.  First, I Seized Initiative.  Then my Soul Grinder Baleful Torrented most of his Kroot to cinders. Then all of my Blood Horrors looked at Aun’Va standing behind a row of Fire Warriors and said, “There’s no way he can make that many cover saves,” and were proven right.

I did some stomping; on the flank with his Fire Warriors, I outshot him with my Horrors. On the Flank with his Broadsides and Riptide, my Hounds, Herald, and fliers swarmed over him.

This was only a Minor Victory, though: the Hounds multi-charged a unit of Fire Warriors, a Hammerhead, and the Broadsides; this was a mistake. It took them too long to chew through the Broadsides… and the game got called on time. If we’d been able to play through to the end, I think odds are high I might have been able to table him.

Day 2

Game 4 – Chaos Daemons

Fateweaver – Warlord
Herald of Tzeentch – Lvl 3, Conjuration

Fiends x9

Plaguebearers x10
Plaguebearers x10
Pink Horrors x16
Pink Horrors x16

Fast Attack
Flesh Hounds x16
Seekers x15 – Icon

Heavy Support
Soul Grinder – Nurgle, Baleful Torrent

I lost 7 to 13.

Kevin and I had been chatting about Daemons and how rad it was to be running a goofy army when we realized hey: we’re both at this table ’cause we’re supposed to play each other.

Anyway, this was the best possible way to start the day. It really looked like I had him on the ropes, but when time was called: he’d eked out a win over me.

Unfortunately, he’d also managed to knock my Bloodthirster to the floor, shattering him into four pieces.  I’m still working through that.  But, when a dude can (accidentally) destroy one of your minis and you still point at it as the best game of the weekend: it was a good game.

Game 5 – Chaos Space Marines with Daemons

Chaos Lord – Warlord, horne, Juggernaut, Axe of Blind Fury, Sigil of Corruption
Bloodthirster – Greater x2

Bloodletters x10
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino
Chaos Marines x10 – Khorne, Meltagun x2, Meltabombs
– Rhino

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x5 – Khorne, Plasmagun x2, Meltabombs

Heavy Support
Havocs x5 – Autocannon x4, Veterans, Meltabombs

Aegis Defense Line – Quad-gun

I won, 17-3.

SIck of me saying “this was a really good game” yet?  A lot of fun, some unexpected Warp Storm results, laughs all around.

Game 6 – Necrons with Tau

Of course, this list would be the one I can’t find. Figures.  So, from memory:

Overlord – Warlord, Warscythe, Command Barge
Commander – Command & Control Node, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armor, Vectored Retro-thrusters

Riptide – Ion Accelerator, TL Fusion Blaster

Kroot x10
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe
Warriors x5 – Night Scythe

Heavy Support
Annihilation Barge
Annihilation Barge
Annihilation Barge
Broadsides x3 – TL High Yield Missiles x3, Missile Drones x4

I’m almost certainly off on some particulars, but the big themes are pretty hard to forget.

This was my bad game. It’s probably not entirely my opponent’s fault: he was probably (and I don’t know that I exaggerate here) all of thirteen years old. He can’t help that he was an unpleasant little shit: all boys that age are unpleasant little shits.  Why we’re permitted to survive past that into manhood is one of nature’s greatest mysteries.

He had an unfun list, an unfun personality, and didn’t know the rules. (At one point, I just turned, walked off looking for a judge. I was done arguing with him.)  The thought of just dropping the game had occurred to me; I’m glad I stuck through it.

I’d have played him at some point anyway: if I hadn’t have lost to him in Game 6, I’d likely have played him in Game 8, where he played for our bracket. (Instead, he played IFL’r Seth in that game, who had as much fun as I did.  “The first words out of his mouth,” he said, “was that I had to have my Blacksun Filters painted on my tanks.”  So, yeah.)

Day 3

Game 7 – Chaos Space Marines with Daemons

Chaos Lord – Warlord, Nurgle
Daemon Prince – Nurgle, Flying, Armor, Greater x2, Lesser x1
Sorcerer – Lvl 3, Bike, Aura of Dark Glory, Gift of Mutation, Spell Familiar

Plague Marines x8 – Meltagun, Power Fist,
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Plague Marines x8 – Meltagun, Power Fist,
– Rhino – Dozer Blade
Plaguebearers x10
Plaguebearers x10

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x5 – Slaanesh, Meltagun, Icon of Excess, Gift of Mutation, Power Fist
Heldrake – Baleflamer
Heldrake – Baleflamer

I won, 20-0.

Torrent of Fire has the wrong pairing up: it shows the Dark Angels player who no-showed, rather than the Chaos Space Marine/Daemons player I played (whose opponent dropped the night before).  Sadly, I neglected to write his name on his list.

Anyway, this was another great way to start the final day.  A fun game that was looking pretty grim for me at points but I managed to swing it around to a pretty decisive win.

Game 8 – Grey Knights

Coteaz – Warlord

Servitors x3 – Plasma Cannons x3
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Dozer Blade, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight
Warrior Acolytes x3
– Razorback – Psybolt Ammunition, Searchlight

Fast Attack
Storm Raven – TL Assault Cannon, Hurrican Bolter Sponsons, Psybolt Ammunition
Storm Raven – TL Multi-melta, TL Lascannon
Storm Raven – TL Multi-melta, TL Lascannon

Heavy Support
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator
Dreadknight – Teleporter, Heavy Incinerator

I won, 17-3.

Man, I thought this game was going to hurt.  I haven’t really played Daemons against Grey Knights, and he had kind of a lot of Dreadknights which kind of scare the pee out of me.

Despite running a list that I’d have judged harshly an edition ago: I had a good time against him.  Things were pretty close in the last round: we got very tactical about charging here, holding things up there: in the end I pulled out a W because he failed something like a 4″ charge with his last remaining Dreadknight.

NoVA Open 2013 – 1 – Overview

NoVA Open 2011 Logo

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.

Hammer in the New Year

Saturday, Ashley ran a “Hammer in the New Year” 40K tournament.  Three rounds, using a format Casey‘d been wanting to try for a while now.  I had a great time, didn’t do so well, but ended up scoring better than I’d have expected.

I’m super-rusty with 40K, having not really done much with 6E in general, recently, or competitively.  Furthermore, the list I brought was driven entirely by expediency.

Here’s what I ran:

Bloodthirster – Blessings of the Blood God, Warlord (Command)
Bloodthirster – Blessings of the Blood God

Flamers x4

Blood Horrors x8 – Changeling
Blood Horrors x8

Heavy Support
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze
Daemon Prince – Tzeentch, Flight, Daemonic Gaze

Desperate Allies
Big Mek – ‘Eavy Armor, Ammo Runt, Kustom Force Field, Burna
Boyz x21 – Shootas, Stikkbombs, Big Shoota x2, Nob w/ ‘Eavy Armor, Bosspole, Power Klaw

So, two things should leap out with this list: there’s kind of a dickish amount of Flying Monstrous Creatures in there and those Ork Boyz WTF?

Obviously, I’ve been working on Orks, so that’s what I want to put on the table. The Orks I put on the table are basically all the painted Orks I have, so I can’t run (if I want to be fully painted, and I do).  So, I decided to run my Daemons and throw the Orks in as Desperate Allies. They’re little better than wasted points; forget being non-scoring, non-denying models: allied with Daemons, they’re the only thing on the table at the beginning of the game.  They basically suck up an army’s worth of shooting immediately.

All the Flying Monstrous Creatures were in there ’cause I wanted to see how they worked. I played in an Apocalypse game with them, and that wasn’t the best venue to see how they worked. I can totally see how they look intimidating, but I’m not convinced that they’re the best choice.  I think I’d have been better off taking the Daemon Princes without Daemonic Flight and enjoying an additional 180 points.

Also, if it’s a legitimately dick thing to do, I think the utterly poor decision to run 300 points of useless greenskins counteracts it. :)

My MVPs for the day were easily the Flamers.  I definitely need to make some more.

Anyway, each round had a different deployment, and was scored thusly:

Scoring a Kill Point: 1 point each
Capturing a Quarter Objective: 2 points each
Capturing the Center Objective: 3 points
First Blood: 1 point
Slay the Warlord: 1 point
Linebreaker: 1 point

Game Points are used to determine your Battle Points.
If you have…
…half as many Game Points as opponent or less: 0 Battle Points
…3 fewer points than opponent: 2 points
…1 or 2 fewer points than opponent: 3 points
…tied opponent in points: 5 points
…1 or 2 more points than opponent: 7 points
…3 or more points than opponent: 8 points
…double or more points than opponent: 10 points 

The person with the most Battle Points wins the game. Game Points will be used for tie-breaking purposes.

The Center Objective will be a Mysterious Objective, all the others will be normal. The Night Fighting special rule will be in effect for all rounds.

Round 1

was vs. Kevin F, someone I used to see a lot of around the gaming store back when I first started playing 40K, fell off the Earth a few years ago, and started turning up just as I fell off the Earth. I’d actually been trying to schedule a game with him, so it was nice to start the day out playing him.

It was also the closest game I had over the day.

Overlord – Warscythe, Mindshackle Scarabs, Sempiternal Weave, Command Barge

Immortals x10 – Transmorgrification Cryptek
Immortals x10 – Transmorgrification Cryptek
Warriors x9 – Despair Cryptek, Ghost Ark
Warriors x12 – Destruction Cryptek
Warriors x9 – Storm Cryptek, Night Scythe

Fast Attack
Canoptek Scarabs x5

Heavy Support
Canoptek Spyders x3

Stuff came in, he shot at it. He focused on trying to ground something, then vomit fire into it until it stopped twitching.  This was also the only game the Ork Boyz saw the end of Turn 2.

We only got through Turn 3.  I’m not sure why we didn’t have nearly enough time; although we weren’t playing quickly, we certainly weren’t playing slowly.

At the end of Turn 3, I’d gotten some stuff into combat and killed a few things, he’d obviously shot some things to bits. I ended up losing by a couple of points.

Round 2

was vs. Aramis, a solid dude from the old gaming club that I haven’t played often though I’ve always enjoyed playing against him.

Duke Sliscus – Warlord
Baron Sathonyx

Kabalite Warriors x20 – Splinter Cannon x2
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom
Wyches x5 – Haywire Grenades, Venom

Fast Attack
Beastmasters x3 – Khymerae x5, Razorwing Flocks x4
Beastmasters x3 – Khymerae x5, Razorwing Flocks x4

Heavy Support
Ravager – Flickerfield
Ravager – Flickerfield
Ravager – Flickerfield

Aegis Defence Line – Quad-gun

Battle Brothers
Farseer – Guide, Mindwar, Runes of Warding
Guardians x10 – Shuriken Cannon

You can imagine how overwhelming this army looked: twice the bodies I had, not counting all the vehicles… and that quad-gun did a nice job of countering my flyers.

By the end of Turn 3, I’d killed nothing and had nothing left save 8 lonely Blood Horrors hanging out, ready to get jumped on by two Beastmaster Packs. We shook hands and called it: 0 points to 24.  Ouch.

Still, I enjoyed myself, and that’s what really matters.

Round 3 

was against Joe, who’s part of a group of players that have started turning up at the store over the past six  months or so.

Chaos Lord – Bike, Sigil of Corruption, Melta Bombs, Gift of Mutation, The Black Mace, Warlord
Sorcerer – Terminator Armor, Lvl 3, Spell Familiar, Burning Brand of Skalathrax

Terminators x10 – Power Axe x5, Power Maul x4, Power Fist x1

Chaos Space Marines x10 – Meltagun x2, Veterans of the Long War, Power Maul, Rhino
Chaos Cultists x20 – Autoguns
Chaos Cultists x20 – Autoguns

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers x6 – Meltaguns x2, Power Fist x1

Heavy Support
Forgefiend – Extra Ectoplasma Cannon
Forgefiend – Extra Ectoplasma Cannon

To be honest, I went into this expecting a not-great game.  It was super-clear coming off the game with Aramis that my list was bad, Joe had what looked to be some pretty hard units, and he had a friend hanging around the table who I’d just seen kibitz my friend Bart’s 2nd Round Game into a loss (which really kind of pissed me off).  Having folks hang around to chat is cool: having to play two people at once is not cool.  Correcting people on rules is okay: reminding your bro to use such and such psychic powers is not okay.

Fortunately, the chatty cathy wasn’t too bad, so that concern proved to be unfounded, and Joe was a fun opponent. And while his tough units were tough, mine managed to hold their own, too, which never hurts.

Champion of Chaos really worked against him: his Terminators charged into my Bloodthirster… and had to challenge. Although a Bloodthirster is probably going to have a tough time with eleven Terminators, one is actually pretty manageable.  His terminators ended up spending the game tied up with one Bloodthirster or the other.  Ultimately, the second Bloodthirster bopped the Sorcerer on the head, the Terminators had a crap Morale roll, and (unsuccessfully) ran for it. That was pretty game-changing.

Where I’d been tabled in Game 2, I’d managed to do the tabling in Game 3, which was really surprising to me.

Ultimately, the surprising turn of events in the third game helped offset the rolling I got in the second.  Between that and a really great painting score (second highest) managed to put me in sixth overall.

I’d have done much better, I think, if I’d just run my regular old Daemon list. Much lighter in the FMC department but I’d have had a lot more models on the table. Plus, I wouldn’t have wasted points on the Orks. But I don’t regret it; I wanted to run the Orks, so I ran the Orks.

The format worked well, I think.  Everything (from the Secondary Objectives to Kill Points to Objectives) mattered, which is nice.  I get that KP in 5E didn’t work perfectly, but dang it: there’s got to be some drawback to running MSU, and this seemed to do an okay job of making it work. I definitely would like to see more of the format.

Again, overall, I had a great time and it really motivates me to want to get out and play some more.

NoVA Open 2012 – Part 3 – Retrospective

So, I’ve got what feels (to me) like a good handful of thoughts about what worked and what didn’t with the NoVA; enough to merit rattling them off into their own post.  It is important to be clear that this is all presented in the spirit of constructive criticism: I appreciate everyone’s hard work (and the folks involved worked really, really hard)  and I had a great time this weekend. I’m not actually unhappy about anything.

Also, because it’s not constructive to just point out something that needs improvement and leave it at that, I’m going to make sure to include a proposed fix for things that I think need work.

Anyway, I did one of these last year. That seems as good a place as any to start.

What Worked (last year):

  • Paint Scores – I didn’t see any and wasn’t told about any of the paint criteria this year.  Although I doubt they changed it, I can’t comment on this one.
  • Format – The format… was different this year.  There was no sportsmanship this year; I’d have liked that to persist.  I had some really great games, and I’d have liked to reflect that with a score.  More significantly, I’m growing deeply leery of the lack of a comp score.  I’m tired of hearing, “Well, there’s no comp score, so I guess I’m supposed to bring a beatstick.”  Comp’s a big, complicated subject, but I would like to see beatstick lists disincentivized.
  • Raffles – I don’t believe they did any raffling in the Fantasy room.  If they did, they were extremely sneaky about it.  There were a ton of raffles at the end of the weekend (more on that), though.  Nobody should have walked away without something. I’m going to have to assume that non-40K players weren’t second-class citizens and were equally eligible for door prizes throughout the weekend, as they were at the end.
  • Terrain – I’d have preferred Mysterious Terrain, but I accept that it’s a hassle and makes Table A and Table B different (which is a stated thing to avoid).  I forget how we did it last year.
  • Hotel – They really stepped it up this year.  They dropped the prices, had more accessible food, improved cell signal.  Same venue: better than last year.

What Could have Used Improvement (last year):

  • Intercom System – They moved Fantasy up two floors.  Boom; not a problem any more.  Our space was quiet enough for everyone to play their game without interruption.  Fixed.
  • Schedule – Schedules were printed and, kinda-sorta-for-the-most-part adhered to. At the beginning, however, we were given instruction that there would be no time limit, to prevent slow-play, and that the games would take what they took. That wasn’t exactly how things worked out, but it was close.  That helped save us from the “5 minutes left” problem I had last year.
  • Cell Signal – Not a problem at all this year.  Fixed.
  • Food – The hotel had a hotel-priced (aka “expensive”) but reasonable (aka “not nearly as expensive as it could have been”) food stand outside of the 40K area.  This went a long way towards mitigating any problems from last year.  Fixed.

So, pretty much everything that stood out last year: still a thing this year.  Everything I thought needed fixing last year: fixed.  It should be clear that responsiveness and improvement is a laudable, essential thing in a big event like this.

So, for this year:

What Worked:

  • Vendors – There were more vendors this year. The War Store had Dark Vengeance on Saturday. There was a guy selling Osprey books (he only had one I needed, and I think he forgot to check his stock for Matchlock Musketeer and English Civil War Fortifications for me, but I can’t fault him too much for that).  One of the sponsors, Grex, had  a booth set up for folks to test their airbrushes.
  • 5 Hour Energy – 5 Hour Energy sponsored the weekend.  They just gave them away, free the whole time. I should have taken more advantage of that: I might have won Game 3. :)
  • Closing Ceremony – It was nice to put every system’s achievement in front of everyone else.  I liked that.  Also, as I said, everyone there walked away with something.  Literally.
  • Painting Contest – This is a good addition to the weekend.
  • Seminars – So were these.

What Could Have Used Improvement:

  • Scenarios – Have you seen them?  They’re boring.  They’re all Pitched Battle + some special objectives that don’t have much of an impact on the way you play the game.  The point of each game is to kill as much as the other guy as possible and, oh hey +2 Battle Points because of X.  The other book missions are in there for a reason; I hate Dawn Attack and Meeting Engagement, sure, but Battle for the Pass might have been a welcome change of pace and Blood and Glory and Watchtower (which wouldn’t have worked b/c of the “Buildings are Impassable” rule, but still) have a healthy impact on how you build your list.

    Furthermore, the line-of-sight, level rule change did nothing but cause confusion.  It solved no disputes, only introduced them.  It’s a bad, regressive rule.

    Proposed Fix: Better, more varied scenarios. Take a lesson from the 40K side of the house, which emphasizes different ways of winning besides, “I killed him harder than he killed me.”  Drop the level based LOS rule.

  • Score Sheets – The score sheets had the scenarios and bonus objective rules written on them. This is great.  It’s the only great thing about them, however.  They were woefully incapable of capturing the sort of data you want on a score sheet.  A score sheet needs to capture:
    • Player Name
    • Opponent’s Name (or at the very least Table #)
    • Player VP Opponent’s VP (it’s too easy a checksum to not capture)
    • Player Result (Major Victory, etc)
    • Player Battle Points
    • Opponent’s Battle Points (again, too easy a checksum to ignore)
    • Breaking up Battle Point sources into Scenario, Bonus, etc, could also be useful, but not necessary

    Instead, the sheet captured: Did you Win/Lose, Your Battle Points from the Mission, Your Battle Points from the Bonus Objectives, those two numbers added together.  Note that there’s no space for your name on there, even.

    Proposed Fix: Do a better score sheet.  Identify the fields that need capturing and make sure there’s a place for them.  I’ve already decided to work up something for them.

  • Post-Event Coverage – There’s understandably a lot of noise about the weekend leading up to it and even doing it.  The 11th Company freaking broadcasts all weekend, including the championship games.  Awesome.  And then, after it’s over, that’s basically the last you hear of it from the NoVA team until the next year, and that drives me nuts.

    This should have been an item last year, even.  They had a staff photographer, who took pictures of all the different painting winners.  I have yet to see those photographs (I gave up looking for them after 3-4 months; I really wanted to see a pro photographer’s pictures of my Skaven).  I mentioned the other day that I think Ken Stubbs won Undefeated?  It was a long day, so I don’t trust my memory… but the scores for the weekend aren’t posted anywhere.  That’s nuts.

    There’s a web presence, and it should be used before and after the event.

    Proposed Fix: Post the weekend’s results, as soon as practically possible, to NovaOpen.com.  Ditto any official photographs.  A delay is understandable (a longer one for photos than for scores), but get ’em up there!

  • Paint Judging Locations – This year, 40K was on one floor and the other events were two floors up from it.  That meant the paint judging team expected Fantasy players to load up their display boards and somehow negotiate them down two floors via escalator or elevator to the 40K room for judging and then back up.

    That I didn’t start dropping f-bombs on learning this is a testament to my respect for the guys doing the paint judging and an understanding that they were understaffed.

    Fantasy players have something between 2x and (given the number of flyers zipping around downstairs) 10x the minis that 40K players have. I’m shocked and thankful that nobody’s army was utterly destroyed on the precarious and lengthy trip to the judging area.  Also, the lighting was much better in the Fantasy area.

    They came up and judged a few people’s armies (including mine), because we complained.  I’m deeply thankful for that: I’m honestly not sure if I would have passed on being paint judged otherwise.

    Proposed Fix: Put paint judges in each area or, at least, on each floor play is taking place in. Because each army gets evaluated by more than one judge, swap them out.  Have Bob upstairs in the morning and then downstairs in the afternoon.

    Or, alternatively, have the paint judging team in different places at different times of day.  Before 1PM, the team will be here, afterwards, there. If the expectation is that someone is going to have to suck it up and risk their hard work negotiating the length of a busy hotel, that sucking up should be distributed amongst all of the players, not just a few of them.

    In a perfect world, there’d be some sort of schedule for paint judging… but I recognize and accept that that’s not the case at all. It’d be hopelessly impractical.

    At the very least, a solution must be found that doesn’t require people to risk hundreds of dollars’ worth of models and hours’ worth of work shuttling their armies any farther than they must.

  • The Painting Contest – This was their first year for a standalone Painting Contest, so I think a lot of slack is called for.  There were some really strong entries in it, I think, so I don’t feel anything but happiness for the folks that won.  However (and this is a two-parter):

    1 – I don’t actually know what won.  I know who won, but because there were (rightfully) no names on the entries, I don’t know what won four of the six categories.  The two I do know, I only know their painters and was able to track them down and ask.  (That’s a lot of “knows.”)

    This is a particularly visual competition, and there’s a substantial disconnect between the person shaking hands and collecting the prize and what people want to know about how they won.

    Proposed Fix: Make sure to describe the winning entry, so folks can know what won.  If feasible (and maybe it’s not), put a photo or two of the winners on a projector.

    2 – The competition rules were neither followed nor enforced.

    When I said “I’m not actually unhappy about anything” upthread, I lied. (Sorry about that.) I actually am unhappy about this, because it meant that I only had two entries instead of four.  I don’t think they’d have done any better, but for me that’s not the point.  (I have a realistic enough opinion of my painting skills that I my primary source of pride comes from competing in, not winning this sort of thing.)  I was unable to submit as many entries as other contestants, because I read the rules and expected them to be followed.

    As a refresher, at the Golden Daemon, I tried entering my Fimir (on a 40mm base) into Single Mini, and it was bumped to Monster.  “40mm bases and up,” I was told, “are too large for Single Mini.”  So, when it came time to figure out what I’d enter here, I read the rules, and saw clear as day “Single miniature, roughly human sized, 25mm to 32mm on a 40mm or smaller base.”  I didn’t have anything I wanted to enter on a larger base (that I wouldn’t be using in the tournament), so I didn’t enter anything in the SFB and FRB categories.

    You can just imagine my chagrin when I later learned how the first pick for the SFB was on a 40mm base.  Or that many of the entries were on 40mm bases.  I expect the winner was probably on one as well but because I don’t know what the actual winning entry was (see above), I can’t be sure.  The winner of the FRB category, I could have sworn, was a diorama.

    Some of the judges complimented Michael Shaefer (who won Best in Show with his awesome diorama) that he’d been the only person who read the rules: everyone else submitted units on Golden Daemon-style unit bases and that they’d called for “dioramas.” Not to detract from Michael’s well-deserved victory, but the rules also called for a “Diorama of 3 -10 miniatures” and unless I missed something (which is possible), I only saw two figures in his diorama, not the three.  No, nobody followed the rules.

    At the time, I’d thought, “Yeah, the rules should have been more clear.” Now that I’m rereading them for the purposes of this post, though, they’re perfectly, unambiguously clear.  They’re maybe a little hard to find on the site, (“Creativity & Painting” -> “Painting Contest” -> “More Details” -> “Painting Contest Rules” and then “Eligibility, Requirements, and Additional Information”), but not that hard.

    The stakes for this contest are huge: big, big prizes.  They’re too big to play fast and loose with the rules.  Games Workshop sticks to their rules big time, and the Golden Daemon prizes don’t have nearly the same dollar value attached to them.

    I’m certainly happy for all of the winners and content with my performance. I’m just steamed over the disconnect between the rules and the actual contest.  To be honest, the more I think about it, the more steamed I get, so I’m going to try to forget about it as soon as I’m done with this post. :)

    Proposed Fix: I accept that, hey, if nobody followed the rules for two categories you either have to throw out those rules and let people compete with what they brought, or say, “Well, all of you people failed at reading comprehension.  No valid entries.”

    One is more fair than the other.  If you’re going to discard the rules and let folks enter with whatever they brought, you’re doing a disservice to the folks who read actually the dang rules and chose not to try to submit an illegal entry.  You’re rewarding the folks who didn’t read the rules or read the rules and didn’t care.  If, at the last minute, you decide to allow units on unit bases, you’re cheating all of the folks who’d have entered a unit on a unit base but didn’t because they were initially told they couldn’t.

    I believe the only fair option is to 1) enforce the rules and 2) reject entries that don’t meet them.  The stakes are far, far too large to place

    3 – It’s also curious that it wasn’t worked into the closing ceremony.  Given that the prizes involved are Big Time, I’d think they’d merit everybody’s attention.  Not that the ceremony needed to be longer, though…

  • Closing Ceremony – Ran… long.  It started something like 30 minutes late (unfortunate, but these things happen), and went what? an hour and a half?  It certainly felt like most of that was due to people winning raffles and not being there to claim them… or the person after them… or the person after them… or the person after them…  etc.

    I get that it was a long weekend, and not everyone wanted to hang around for even longer, but jeez.

    And really, there wasn’t much in the way of wasted time besides the calling names and waiting for folks to (not) shout, “Right here!”

    Proposed Fix: None.  I don’t think there’s anything that should have been excised from the ceremony (heck, I just suggested moving something new into it), and there’s nothing you can do about people packing up and leaving. 

Really, except for only being able to enter two minis to the painting contest instead of four, I’m not actually unhappy about anything.  Pretty much everything I called out as working well from last year was present this year.  Everything I called out as needing improvement last year was improved this year.  I have confidence that I’ll be saying the same thing next year.

I had a fantastic time this weekend, and am very, very much looking forward to next year.

The rest of the weekend:

And, with that, I think I’m done writing about NoVA 2012. :)