The Nova Open – Recap

Every year, I assist with the Nova Open, running it as the head judge and lead organizer alongside a talented group of people who are able to make this thing run, like it did this year, like a well oiled and smooth machine. Its an event I am very proud of, and, if you get the chance, you should come out sometime and see us – its one of the best cons that the East Coast Has! 

The Open Schedule

If you’ve not looked, we’ve got a solid schedule of both standard competitive events as well as fun and off the wall tournaments to give everyone something to do all convention, as well as a massive Iron Arena Prize pool to encourage pickup games. Each year we try and hone the blade and make the show that much better, that much stronger, as well as trying out new and interesting formats that come along. This year was no different, and I don’t think I would have been able to make it work without the crew that helped this year, and years before. We’re building on the successes, and I’d like to talk a bit about the crew,  what we do, and the tournaments we run, starting with the Crew because the people you have are the most important asset to running it right.

In no particular order

  • Zosia Simpson – She was the greatest Front Desk person we could ask for. Where before this, we had people who were being pulled in all different directions being asked to man a computer and input information, tournament results, and Iron Arena, we had a person who that was their main focus. She was a monster at what she did all weekend, running 16+ hours a day behind the desk and opening us all to whatever needed to be done at the time. 
  • Devon Maher – an amazing co-lead who was able to direct his energy to all sorts of directions, interacting with the staff, attending the awards ceremony, running the team Tournament, and making sure that everyone was happy. He also sacrificed a ton of time to set up the tables, including the terrain, tables, and scenarios and keeping the place clean when I had to collapse because it was 2:00 am.
  • Jason Houser – A dedicated and solid non-competitive tournament organizer, Jason held down every fort that wasn’t a competitive event, playing people with the bye, making sure everyone had fun and being the strong second to make sure everyone had fun in all the cool, offbeat events that we run. He also provided some excellent terrain for the Highlander events that he loves to run. 

    These three stout convention warriors are how I made it through all four days without my head exploding, how I was able to go to sleep at night knowing that everything would run the next day, and for the first time in seven years, actually play in an event. It was amazing and I think them for it a million times! 

Additionally, we had a ton of people who were great supporting staff without who we would not have made it a success, people who answered the call to bring, pack and make systems that would bring success to all, the often unsung heros

  • David Brown – We used Conflict Chamber extensively this weekend, actually it was the only thing we used this weekend. Every tournament and every registration was handled through the website army builder that validated and checked all the lists and made them able to be downloaded into a file that we could upload to the tournament software. It was vital, this year, that the product ran smoothly, and damn it if we had but one hiccup and he fixed it immediately. It was amazing. 
  • Paul Johanns – Speaking of Conflict Chamber, without Pauls assistance in bringing the actual hardware – Computers and printers, we wouldn’t have been able to run the convention the way I’d imagined it. His ability to bring the technology and set it up was amazing and vastly appreciated. 
  • Brendon Caulkins – Iron Arena isn’t a big part of the convention, but it is a significant part, and without Brendon’s software, there is no way we’d be able to track it and do the work we do for it every year. He, too, was called on to troubleshoot the system when it failed, and within minutes he was down and corrected the issue and it ran perfectly the rest of the weekend. He was also instrumental in doing prize support, packing the prize bags, and making sure everyone got something cool. 
  • Ryan Babcock – Speaking of Prizes, there is no way I would have had the type and format of prizes that have happened over the last three years without Ryan. He has done a magnificent job in choosing prizes, making them match the feel of the tournament and giving them a great home and a great reputation. 

The Sponsors

In addition to the People, we also have the excellent sponsors that brought in prizes, money, support or all three: Muse on Mini’s, Broken Egg Games, Tectonic Crafts Studios, Privateer Press, Fear the Swan and Barefoot Pest Control. They were all great to us in making sure the attendees were well taken care of.

The Events

Now, I know, The part that You’ve all been looking forward too! 

Recap – Team Tournament 
This year, I was able to play, for the first time, in a competitive event at NOVA. The Derp Slayer Victors team made its showing and played all four rounds – I’ll go through my matches really quick, mostly because I’m hella rusty, and this goes by pretty easily. 

Round 1 I get put into Crucible guard, which was fine for me mentally, I didn’t feel like they had too much of an advantage on me. I played Scaverous, because I love Scavs and because I felt that this list was trying to fight all my slayers. Sadly, I misremembered a rule on the suppressors card, and it having dual attack is significantly better than having Gunfighter, and that ended a huge pile of my Croe’s Cutthroats for almost no reprisal. It was a long and grinding game, but the loss of my equalization threat was just too much for me to overcome, and I lost the match. 

The second round, our opponents never showed up and we all won on clock. Huzzah!?

Round 3 we got paired up against a Team of Fairly-Locals from Lancaster, and I played into Zaadesh 2. It was a great game that, thankfully, I had played before and the opponent had not. It was a tough fight, but in the end, there were simply too many slayers. I took the match and, incidentally, the coin! 

Round 4, the final round, we were paired against the King of Trains and the Choo Choo Crew – A lovely name if I never heard one, playing duplicate legion and Grimkin. I thought that Scavs has an answer to Anamag, but it turns out its a complicated answer that involves not losing 1/2 the Cutthroats on turn 1, but that is a different game. This time, I was ground out and lost the game to a great player and a cool list. 

After this, I simply ran the events, so I don’t have much to contribute. There were a lot of great players and lists, with players from Canada, New England, Upstate New York, Michigan, Pittsburg and even Florida. It was a great con – I can’t say it enough. 

The Events

I’ve mentioned the events before on other posts.  so Now I’ll just go over how well they did or didn’t do. 

The Team tournament was an amazing success, garnering 21 teams and 63 players, It’s by far our most popular single tournament, and we love running it on Thursdays to give everyone a reason to make the trip out for the first day and stay until the last. 

Friday we Ran masters, and had over 60 players playing in two brackets simultaneously, though with a staggered start, with the top 8 from each making it into the finals on Sunday. It was a great field and of the 16 people to make it to the finals in tough, grueling competition were 6 of the locals, which was a great difference from years past, as we were often beaten out of the finals by outsiders. 

Friday and Saturday morning we also ran a thing I have started calling Breakfastmachine, where people can get a bit of an early start (8am) and get fruit, doughnuts, coffee, and other breakfast items with their starter warmachine games for the day. It turned out, after last years rather small showing, to be a great early day tournament with 8 players Friday and 12 Saturday. It isn’t a huge turnout, but then again, what proportion of the players like getting up and running that early? 

Friday’s secondary tournament was the Iron Feast, a tournament much like the old Gauntlet rounds, where you pick your caster and then build a list from a huge roster. However, it has fell flat in its first three years, so I’ll likely just punt it out of the schedule and replace it with something different, probably something standard yet fun. It’s in a challenging time slot against the end of the master’s rounds. Or maybe I replace it with nothing, and the end of Friday is just early. Might be worth a look. 

Saturday is also the day we ran champions, which sold out with a wait list. As predicted, though, many of those dropped and the 48 man tournament moved along smoothly through all 6 rounds, ending about where the tournament should. It was a long grind, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and many played all the way through. 

Saturday was also the debut of our new and fun old-time scenario tournament – Through the Ages. In it 12 players battled through three of the most insane scenarios from Steamrollers past: Grind (2011), Sacrifice(2010), and Ridge Raiders (SR4 – ~2008). It was great times and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 

Lastly, aside from the Masters finals which were heated and excellent competition, we held a speedmachine tournament that was well attended and liked. This event being the Sunday event was excellent as it allows for most of the attendees who want to get along on Sunday to still play in a fun and cool event for prizes while also keeping a solid schedule. I really like running the event on Sunday for schedule reasons, and it is likely to continue

The Last event, as I mentioned earlier, was the Masters final. All 16 qualifiers showed up, which wasn’t something that always happened in long gone years, but makes me believe that people really want a shot at what we are giving out. The field was full of solid players from Canada and the US, and 7 of our local players made it into the top 8, creating a feeling of great local pride! 

Congratulations to all the winners, and I’ll likely have a post up soon with many of their names! 

Until next time, 

Jonathon