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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Nova Open - Review

Hey guys I am back from my weekend of crazy game playing with the big boys while wild storms happened only a few hundred miles away from us. I did exactly what I wanted day one then got punched in the face day two. lol. Oh well. The event was great fun and I have pictures of several of the armies and Nova stuff to post up that I will get to as soon as I can. I thought it would be nice to do a review from someone not all internet famous to see how the event was for the little guys. So let's get into




THE VENUE

The hotel itself had some mixed reactions from people I was with. It's the D.C area so everything is more expensive than I am used to. That isn't a bad thing just something I really hadn't thought about when planning for the trip. I felt like the hotel was comfortable but the normal hotel nickel and dime you to death any chance given was there as well. There was no parking for guests unless you use Valet and then it was a 25 dollar a night fee. Pretty standard for cities though I think so that's meh. Again something I just personally didn't think about while there. My room was very comfortable and the staff was super great if you needed anything. I am pretty sure you could have tipped them and they would have gone to MCD's for you and brought you back food. The Internet was around 14 dollars for 24 hours in your room. I passed since I didn't have time to do much with it anyway. The hotel was in no way set up for our event though meaning the food situation was just horrible. You didn't have time to eat during breaks so that sucked. The only complaint about the room was no microwave or fridge I personally like those in my rooms but other than that it was comfortable. They even had a Ipod clock radio so I could easily charge my phone at night. The location was about a 30-45 minute drive from the airport I was told.

THE SWAG

The swag bag for coming wasn't shabby and I was told by several people it was leaps and bounds above Wargamescon. (I didn't get to go so I dunno personally what they gave out) We got a NovaOpen tote bag, A nova open shot glass, A laser pointer from the warstore, small bag of bitz from the warstore, small bag of bits from spikey bits, A few bases from one or two companies, some snacks, a cold towel in a package, some gum, several coupons for different places online offering deals, black libby preview book, and a sticker. It wasn't shabby at all.

In addition to this they ran raffle drawing all day both days between rounds. Plus you got extra entries any time you lost a round. Several people I knew won raffle prizes which were random stuff all over the board from T shirts, to bitz, to Gale force nine stuff, to signed books. The final raffle gave away some battlefoam bags as well. Then they raffled off 5 cash prizes for those who stayed at the hotel. 4 250 dollar prizes and then a 1000 dollar prize winner. I didn't really see what event winners got for winning over all events but I know there were medals given out as well as prize swag based on the bracket level.

THE WARES

Warstore, Spikey bits, and Battlefoam all had stands set up. It wasn't anything amazing though to be honest. I mean if you shopped at WARSTORE you basically saved on shipping as far as I know. They already have pretty solid prices so that's not horrible. I didn't see or hear about anything super above and beyond that. Spikey Bitz had several bitz and blister bins out so that is always cool if your looking for stuff and want to save a little cash going the used route. Decent selection and prices weren't horrible to say the least. Again though nothing amazing or a must buy since you showed up type thing. BattleFoam was standard as normal. I will say that the Battlefoam Guys are always amazing when it comes to customer Service. I am pretty sure Romeo was on site and interacting with anyone game wise or about his product. He wanted to make sure you would be pleased with what you purchased and got what was right for you. They offered 10 percent off and they paid the tax for you. Also if they didn't have it they would ship it for free to you. Not a super must buy deal but nice for a great product that doesn't do sales or deals very often. It was cool that these guys had been here though.

THE TERRAIN

There was great terrain and it was all 5th edition terrain. They played if very differently than I am used to locally since they played no need to roll to go up or down levels. Which isn't bad just different. (I wonder how flamer templates worked) That with the TLOS blocking terrain being very common really changed the game and meta IMHO. I thought it was a good thing personally but if I would have known before hand I would have changed my list. Terrain on every table was very even and I would personally say the best terrain and set up I have seen at any event I have ever been to hands down.

THE STAFF

The staff was onsite and great. Mike runs a tight ship. There was judges around and everyone was more than helpful the entire weekend. I saw three issues personally handled by judges were the person was a little less than fun to deal with for whatever reason and all three times the Judge was more than professional as well as being nicer than I would have been about it. Mike was a amazing guy, he walked around and was involved all weekend. He shook hands, checked on issues. was ready to talk or chat about anything you wanted, as well as personally would apologize for anything that happened in his control or not. He was very involved and available to make sure you had a great time from Net Celeb tough guy all the way down to the little guys who just came to have fun.  Mike is a outstanding T.O and he was a great guy.


THE EVENT ITSELF

The tourney itself had the highest ratio of great players of any event I have personally been too. I am a little new to the hobby though so maybe that doesn't mean anything. It was well run with a few hiccups as they adjusted for players dropping or things like that. Over all I think it went rather smoothly. Oh also I want to point out the packages they gave out for the event. One with all the rules and info for the rounds. The other was basically a tablet with a hard back and the pages had your scoring sheet printed on them. This was great and convenient very awesome I thought and made the process much more smooth. Although I will admit that VP's really slowed down time between rounds. As VP's aren't hard its still takes longer than KP's and gets cumbersome at times.

Now for my feedback..

1. The food was a horrible problem, there wasn't a ton of time between rounds and even on breaks there was a lack for places to eat. Adepticon did this right they had food on site fast ready to go and not overly pricey. The hotel wasn't ready for this at all. Both days myself and several people I talked to basically had to eat at the table as fast as possible before the round started if they ate lunch at all. The hotel places to eat were not fast or ready for it either day. The only fast place you could walk to quickly was MCD's and it was packed since so many people went there. Need to figure out the logistics of getting all the people options to eat next year I think.

2. Time left was a issue, I am not sure the best way to settle this at all. I talked to tons of people randomly while I was there and this was the other thing mentioned to me more often than not. It was always cloudy how much time was left. It wasn't announced enough I think. So if you could make it a point to announce every 15 minutes or project it on the wall in a few places that would be fantastic.

3. The pairing sheets sucked.. there was too many people and this really cut into rounds almost. Again being able to project this on the wall would really help this out. Having a 100 people behind two sheets trying to find their names on a list of 208 people while standing in line was not a fast process at all. If you can't project it to help this then you need always list the sheets in alphabetical order perhaps. You don't need to know your opponent just what table your on.. This would greatly speed up the process and help streamline the issue.

Those are the three issues I think that need to be addressed more than anything else but there are some things I wasn't sure about either.. like the placement of the terrain. It was odd that the terrain was in a tight circle on every board. It was like we just didn't use the edges? None of the terrain was ever toward the corners so that was a little odd. It seemed like it wasn't evenly on the board it was more like a city fight sometimes as you could go down corridors or jump from terrain to terrain.

While the terrain placement isn't overly important. I would like to say I don't like the objectives being pre-placed personally. I think placing objectives is a huge part of this game and really plays into the strategy of the different army builds. I am curious why it was set up that way? To be more even or to help balance MSU vs ELITE armies? I thought it would have been better if you each got to place two objectives and I think it would really change how the game would play out. The games ended up being about center board control or about holding your objectives and contesting one of his. I think the placement of your own two objectives would shift that up a bit.

I'll have some quick write ups of my games coming soon with pictures. If anyone has any thoughts, comments or questions feel free to ask I'll do my best to clear anything up from my point of view. Again it was a great fun event I hope to have the chance to go back.


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