Monday, September 3, 2012

NOVA 2012 Weekend in Review

First and foremost, I want to thank Mike Brandt and his incredible staff for an outstanding experience. To undertake a task of this magnitude and have it come off as well as it did was impressive to say the least. I will break the event down further below.

Hotel - The Hyatt was fine as far as accommodations go, it was annoying that every little thing was an extra charge. Who charges for Wi-Fi in the hotel industry? Never seen that before. Their buffet for breakfast was very good, but pricey. My input which I know has less than no effect here: I would rather pay a little more for my room and have Wi-Fi and breakfast included, instead of breaking all the costs out. Grade: B-

Gaming Area - Plenty of space between rows of tables, so two bigger fellas could play back to back and someone could still get past. That is excellent. The space in between the individual boards in the row was a little slim, I don't know logistically if anything more could be done, but it was a little cramped. By the way to any gamer out there reading this, if you bring a giant display board good etiquette dictates the overlap should go onto your board not the board of the game next to you. Then when the gamer next to you asks you to move it so he can deploy his models, if you've made the faux pas of overlapping onto another board, don't shimmy it 1/4" over leaving 6" of deployment zone still covered. The temperature was good most of the time, and until the last day the hall was free of that stale, musty nerd stank. Well done. Grade: B

Terrain - I can't even imagine the chore involved in producing terrain on that scale. It boggles my mind, and I have built several boards. In my mind terrain should be graded on three criteria: functionality for play, durability, and appearance. I should also caveat my comments here by saying, I have been spoiled by playing on some of the best terrain available in all three of those categories. To me, the NOVA terrain seemed fairly durable, it stood up throughout the tournament. Appearance left a lot to be desired, I don't like playing on felt but I understand why that choice was made, the terrain looked like exactly what it was: mass produced. That said it did it's job and looked far better than it could have. The monuments for the narrative were the exception, they were beautiful, well lit, lovingly crafted, etc. Functionality was solid across most of the pieces, my one beef was terrain interfered too much in some situations. I like LOS blocking, but being able to hide several vehicles or monsters, or in my case several squads of bikes behind terrain creates problems in the system. The terrain was okay, this is the area I would like to see improve second most. Grade: C

Staff - They were polite, happy, and volunteers. Unfortunately there weren't enough of them, especially during some of the hobby seminars. There were gaps in rules knowledge for a few judges. There were also misunderstandings about some rulings, and how the tournament had FAQ'd certain questions. I will give the staff the benefit of the doubt on this one since it is a brand new edition, but this is the area I would most like to see improved. Grade: B

Prizes - WOW. I didn't win any, and I was a bit disappointed when several of the big winners were also pulled out in the raffles. My personal feel is if you win a big prize you shouldn't win a "door prize". However, the variety and amount of prize support was impressive. Obviously Mike and his crew did a great job finding sponsors and the sponsors themselves were very generous. They got big pluses in my book and several of whom I had never heard before will get my business going forward. One also lost my business based on how they treated a friend. Grade: A+

Scenarios - Very vanilla, and solid. I don't like moving objectives, but that is GW's fault for creating the relic mission. It also seemed like every mission primary was table quarters. A little more variety would be nice, but the scenarios were serviceable. Grade: B

Opponents - THANK YOU. These guys were fantastic. I couldn't ask for a more intense set of games with a better set of guys. I had a GREAT time. They were kind while crushing me, and gracious in defeat. When rules questions came up, we worked them out together and drove on. A genuine pleasure, if there is a hallmark of NOVA this should be it. The competition is tough, but competitors are genuine, kind and as interested in enjoying the game as winning (and they want to win BAD). Grade: A+

The summary: I think the best way to summarize is to say, I will absolutely attend next year so long as that is in my control.  The weekend as a whole receives an A- from me. Definite room for improvement, but still of great quality.

1 comment:

  1. Had no idea you were playing at NOVA. I would tried harder to pay attention to it if I had.

    Glad you enjoyed it.