NOVA GT Wrap-up: Not Organized, Very Amusing.

Used without permission.

Well, the NOVA GT has come and gone and so has Hurricane Irene. Luckily for us, we were all able to withstand the weather in D.C., and just got battered with some high winds and pouring down rain. Nothing major happened so that was a good thing. By Sunday afternoon the clouds had broken and the sun was out once again. I got the chance to play against 5 really cool opponents and even got the chance to meet a fellow blogger, Rushputin, whose stunning Skaven army ended up taking best painted. Grats to him. Lots of things that I seen at the NOVA were things I’d never seen at any other GT I’ve attended before. Pre-set terrain, identical table sides, and no scenarios made for some pretty weak games and took out a lot of the strategy that you can use in Warhammer. We were also set back in the corner, away from all the action, and ignored for the entire weekend. Poor initial organization made it one of my least enjoyable tournament experiences, but again, that’s just me.

Here follows a quick overview of each of the games I played:

Game 1 vs. Lizardmen

List was pretty straightforward for a Lizardmen player. A Slann and an Oldblood were the Lord choices and a Scar-veteran and Skink Priest on the EOTG were the Heroes. Some Saurus warriors, a Skrox unit, and some skinks rounded out the core and then some Terradons, and 3 small units of chameleons to fill in the Special slots. Lastly, for Rare choices, 3 salamanders, First turn he actually blew up his Slann by rolling a 4 on the miscast table followed by a 2 on the roll to determine if he lives or dies. He managed to kill of 8 Saurus warriors in the process due to the Strength 10 hit that was delivered by the miscast. So it was looking good for me to start off but it never really went my way after that. I terrained myself and got my OB stuck between a unit and impassible terrain so he never made it to combat until it was too late. He kept trying to take down my Carno with the chameleons but only managed to do 1 wound. The biggest battle came between my spear Saurus and his Saurus unit. This was the beginning of the end for me as my dice went south and never really came back for the rest of the tournament. For two straight turns, I rolled 31 dice to hit him, needing 4’s and 4’s… and managed to wound 3 times the first turn and then 4 times the second turn. I needed to run off that unit and by that time I was flanked by the EOTG with my creatures fighting their own battles. Came down to the end but he managed to get a minor victory in the end. A good game but my dice hated me for some reason. He ended up going 4-1 I believe.

Game 2 vs. Tomb Kings

I actually thought this was going to be a tough game but I ended up tabling him and it all started with my OB charging his warsphinx. It took 2 turns but I was able to down it, after that, my OB was loose on the flanks of his Tomb Guard and eventually a unit of Skellies. The Saurus were handling their own against some chariots and the EOTG and Ancient Steg did what they do best. It was a pretty lopsided victory for me and it was over with by the end of Turn 4, where he decided to take a knee. Again, he was an awesome opponent and his army was painted well. So I’m 1-1 at this point.

Game 3. vs. Daemons of Chaos

So, I had this guy dead to rights for 3 straight turns. He had a big horror unit that had his herald of tzeentch in it and I knew what I needed to do in order to win. They had the 4+ ward save because of the banner so I was going to try to take him out. The other portion of his list was typical Daemon crap, flamers and hounds… and a big unit of Bloodletters Again, it got down to the main event with my spear unit of Saurus engaging his Horror unit. Again, I rolled a bucket of dice and managed to do only 3 wounds… That went on for 2 more turns and the same crap kept repeating itself. I rolled 30+ dice 2 turns in a row and managed to wound, at best, 6 guys. Then I rolled 25 dice and managed to wound 3, with him saving all of them. By that time, the Bloodletters and Saurus had beaten themselves down to a few models and the chaos hounds and flamers came to engage the spear Saurus in the flank. Even my opponent thought the game was over when I was rolling those buckets of dice…. I guess that’s why you roll the dice. Had him dead to rights and couldn’t wound to save my life. So he ended up getting me down to a few models by the end of Turn 6 and it turned out to be a Solid victory for him. Day 1 down and I finished 1-2.

 Game 4 vs. Dwarfs

This was one of my favorite opponents all weekend long. He was only 17 years old but said he’d been playing since he was 6 years old! He also had a pretty nice painted / converted army. He said that he went to Games Day a few years ago and won a Golden Demon for the youngbloods category, which I believed because his skills were pretty good for his age. Anyways, the game was tough for me because he had the Dwarven gunline, which is hard for my army. Luckily for me, he whiffed every time on my OB with his grudge throwers but he managed to get my Carnosaur down to 2 wounds left and a single wound left on my OB by the time they made it in to combat. He had a big unit of hammerers and a few units of Dwarf warriors on the flanks. My chameleons and Terradons did exactly what they were supposed to do, taking out the crew of the war machines early on in the game, which definitely helped me. But, to make this worse (again!) for me… I whiffed…. Again… on his unit of Hammerers for 2 straight turns. They only have a 5+ armour save so I figured I would eventually widdle them down since they weren’t going to run anywhere. I charged with my OB (what was left of him, anyways) and the spear saurus as well as a Stegadon and ended up winning the combat. As expected, he stayed there so the fight was on for next turn. I rolled 25ish dice again, and only did 3 wounds… It had gotten to the point where I put those dice up for the rest of the weekend and went with another set. They had failed me too many times. So he eventually started killing off more of my Saurus warriors than I was killing of his dwarfs, the OB eventually went down to a Strength 6 hammerer and all I had left was a few Saurus warriors, the EOTG, and some skinks. My BSB got his head smashed by one of the hammerers so I had no re-rolls left. It ended up being a solid victory for him.

Game 5 vs. High Elves

At this point, I threw all game planning aside and told myself I was just going to get into hand to hand combat as quick as I could (BTW, all of the games were scenario-free, which made them straight pitched battles with a couple of secondary objectives… what? This is a GT, right?) It started off good for me, both of my Salamander getting close enough to do cause some fiery death and, between the two of them, I killed 17 high elves in one go! He had no shooting (I know, weird) so this game was gonna go quick. A unit of White Lions was his bread and butter and a handful of casters. He had a total of 5 characters, 3 of them being spellcasters. It was a small army for High Elves, no chariots, no bolt throwers, no arrows… no Dragons. I’m sure this is why he was 1-3 so far in the tournament. Anyways, I got some favorable charges off with my OB and EOTG and managed to kill of a huge amount of white lions and then moved in with a unit of saurus to clean up the mess. I eventually got them all down by about Turn 5 and the salamanders kept moving around killing off the random others. On the other flank, the chameleons and javelin skinks were peppering a small unit of Knights, and they eventually shot them all down.  In the end, all he had left was his lord, everything else was gone so it was a massacre for me. So, I ended the NOVA 2-3.

So I have several gripes about the tournament in general but I won’t go into too much detail here. I think a lot of things should have been done differently and there should have been much more prize support, especially since people had to pay $70 just to get in. I enjoyed the games but the table set ups left something to be desired. Each and every table had the same set up, 2 forests and 2 hills in the corners with a single, impassible watchtower right in the middle. The (lack of) scenarios were laughable. Seriously? A pitched battle every game? Takes the “strategy” out of it. There was some “brother-in-law’ing” going on as well, throughout the entire weekend, but again, I won’t get into that here. The emphasis was clearly on the 40k side, and (maybe) rightfully so…  They had tons more players so that was clearly their cashcow. The fantasy side didn’t have a judges table, appearance table, or microphones… all of that was reserved for the 40k side. And lastly, as I have mentioned already, it was seriously understaffed and the whole thing dragged along throughout the weekend, making for a lot of sitting around and waiting… Overall, the NOVA GT was a disappointment for me and I see several areas that can be improved. Hopefully I won’t be here next year but if I am here I’ll not make plans to attend. As always, thanks for reading.


7 thoughts on “NOVA GT Wrap-up: Not Organized, Very Amusing.

  1. It was great meeting you, and I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time!

    I won’t argue that the scenarios were bad. They were all Pitched Battle, with a small objectives-based tweak that was virtually identical from one round to another and probably didn’t affect overall score very much at all.

    I disagree about the layout of the tables, however: one of the driving principles behind the NoVA format (a format much better/cleanly implemented 40K side than on the Fantasy side) is that everyone should be playing the same game. It deliberately calls for a common terrain layout as a baseline. I like this… though it was undercut somewhat by the Mysterious forests. I ran a tournament a month ago, using the NoVA format (because why not) and did one roll for every forest every round. Not sure if that’s any better or not.

    My understanding (and this is just from looking at announcements and results, not from a conversation with the organizers) is that some folks were booked to run the Fantasy side of things, and they fell through. The result was what was probably the least organized event at NoVA. I have every confidence that things will be tighter next year, since unreliable folks won’t be relied on.

    The lack of a clear judges table and announcing equipment is something I commented on as well. If anything, I’d like to inconvenience the 40K players as much as their announcements inconvenienced us. 🙂

    Prize support by way of the raffle was actually really solid: I saw a _lot_ of people win prizes in the raffle… but I do imagine that things were skewed by the fact that it was a common raffle: if you lost a Malifaux game, a WM game, a Fantasy game, a 40K game, your name went into the same bucket. The result of that is that 40K players had more opportunities to win the raffle (since they played, and could lose, more games); this is probably true of the skirmish games: at the very least, their games went quicker, so I feel like WHFB players probably lost out in that. Maybe next year they could consider having separate draws per system.

    • @Rush: The layout of the tables ranks low on the overall list. Yea, I can live with pre-set terrain, it’s not really a big deal… just something that happened to be there and thought I’d mention it. I believe you’re right about having people bail out at the last minute (and, understandably… because of the weather) but at least let all of your players know about it. If you remember we sat around for about a half hour on the first day waiting to hear something… anything… from somebody, anybody. My overall thoughts is that we were kinda just left to fend for ourselves and were pushed into the corner as an afterthought… Again, this is just how I felt.

      No joke about the announcements! I would have to stop talking – midsentence – and then start back up when they finished. And my opponent is right across the table… that’s how loud it was!

      The prize support was decent to me. If I’m playing WHFB, at least give me something is WHFB related, or at the very least give me the option. Again, I felt like the Kings of War stuff was being pushed onto everybody because that’s all I seen given out to people for their raffle prizes. It was a cool / good idea to have the losers be put into the raffle, it meant that everybody had a chance of getting something. But, and I’m going with what other people said as well, at least give out things that are related to the game we’re playing, or separate the losers raffles by game system… or something else.

    • Why would you have a similar terrain on each table? If the concern is “everyone should be playing the same game”, why stop with the same terrain? Why not limit everyone to playing Wood Elfs? Or better yet, why not make the army list for everyone and have them play the same list… not just the same army? Point is, terrain (and the randomness of it) is part of Warhammer (40K or Fantasy)… that’s why we roll dice. We shouldn’t try to control this randomness, but rather embrace it.

      As for people backing out of running the event… if you’re changing money, you should do EVERYTHING possible to make sure the event runs smoothly. Granted, I wasn’t there, but the way it sounds, the Fantasy players were treated like 2nd class citizens. If that was the plan, they shouldn’t have had to pay 1st class entry fees.

      I really tried to make this one, but I’m actually happy that I couldn’t make it.

      • I think that’s a bit hyperbolic. The point of the similar terrain is the same reason everyone plays the same scenario during a round: so that you can actually compare a win on one table to a win on another table. That’s pretty tough to do if the tables have wildly different layouts and have dissimilar win conditions. Can you really compare the performance of two Dwarf Players if one plays a game with a ton of LOS blocking terrain and the other doesn’t?

        You don’t have to normalize everyone down to the same army / army list to get that: but surely you can see that reducing variables is a good thing.

        “Treated like 2nd class citizens” is… a bit strong. It was definitely a 40K event that, like, also had Fantasy and Malifaux and WM and stuff, so it’s not inaccurate, but it sounds harsher than the actual circumstances deserve, I think. And, for the record, Fantasy entry fees were less than 40K entry fees: $30 less.

    • @argentbadger: Yea, man… there was a few times that I looked at my dice and was like, really?!? I don’t think I’ve ever had as bad of dice rolls as I did this past weekend throughout my entire career of playing Warhammer! It was a record that I didn’t want!!! LOL!

      • I find it fruitless and absurd to think that everyone needs to play the same game. How does that even fit into the game system? In every competitiion, there should be varying degrees of win/loss situations. IMHO, knowing that all tables were going to be the same gives an advantage to certain army types. In the example listed above, (the dwarf gun line, with LOS blocking terrain) that only makes other CC armies more favorable. Already putting the dwarf gunline at a disadvantage. I should not have to put any army list together based off of what the table will look like, rather, I should be worried about putting a list together that will prepare me for my opponents, not the terrain, or lack thereof.
        I immediately thought about real sports with this comment. I mean, should we have all NFL games playing indoors on turf because a few teams have their stadiums like that? It alters the chances of winning/losing, but thats something to embrace not to shy away from.
        Also, if I’m at a Warhammer GT, I damn well better get Warhammer prize support. Especially if I paid 70.00 to enter. I don’t care if it’s half the price of what 40k players paid. ESPECIALLY if the overall winner gets Warhammer swag, thats what should be given to everyone. period.
        As far as the overall tournament, it sounds like it was poorly run and something I’m glad I didn’t make it too. I don’t know how you managed to keep it together when they let someone win a painting award that they didn’t even paint. Also, Best Sportsman doesn’t come with a plaque??? Wow….just….wow. Sounds like a piss poor tournament that I’ll never attend.


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