Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Note on NOVA

I should probably write an extensive review of NOVA 2013, but I'm not going to do that. There are a few reasons I'm just not up to the task. For starters, the Internet has it covered. But mostly, it's just me, a mix of fatigue (I mean, I spent six months gearing up for this thing) and sensory overload (there's no way for me to do the event justice, so why waste words?).

However, it just wouldn't be right to let this go entirely unreported, so I would like you to know one thing: this was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I haven't been to a convention of any size for probably ten or more years now, but NOVA '13 made up for all of that. It was obviously a labor of love on behalf of the organizers and a team of the most devoted volunteers I've seen almost anywhere, so, great job guys. Thanks for everything.

There was so much going on that I didn't really get a spare moment during for a few days - between the seminars, vendor hall, surprise encounters with friends from all over, drinks in the VIP lounge, and dozens upon dozens of armies to check out, there was barely any time to squeeze in eight games of 40k.

If you attended, awesome. High five. I hope I saw you there. But if you didn't make it down, you need to make it a priority for next year. Some tips for new attendees after the jump:

  • Get the VIP ticket. I can't adequately state the value. The VIP lounge (drinks aren't much cheaper, but it's a cool atmosphere) and the army/bag check (a lifesaver) alone are probably worth the price tag, but I simply couldn't wrap my feeble human mind around the swag bag. It was truly overflowing with gaming-related toys, ranging from templates and accessories, to bags of bits, to full models. You're going to be sad if you don't do it.
  • Try and be smarter than me and figure out some kind of food plan. I know that going to a convention is a sort of vacation, and so the threshold for eating junk is somewhat relaxed, but I ate crap for 4 days straight and felt like death by the end. Not a lot of food options in the area, either. Besides, your body will thank you since you'll probably be drinking non-stop the entire weekend.
  • If you're a 40k player, decide whether you really want to commit to the Grand Tournament. I had a great time, but it monopolizes your convention experience somewhat. Next year I might consider the narrative campaign or the trios event to fit in even more seminars and side events. Oh, and for posterity, I did horribly in terms of win/losses, but I had a blast anyway.
  • The tournament ranking system is a little weird. Your first four games are essentially used to gauge your skill and group you with players who are comparable. After you're placed in your bracket, you'll play a series of four games to win your bracket, but now it's single elimination. Lose game 5, and you don't have any chance of coming back. It can be disheartening if you're there to compete. I ended up being placed in what I believe was the bottom bracket, and made it to round three in my contest to be king of the scrubs until I was knocked out of contention by a thrown Land Raider tread and a canny Blood Angels opponent.
  • Give yourself a budget. There weren't a ton of vendors, but the ones that were there either offered good deals or fairly rare items. you're probably going to find something good.
  • Seriously, VIP.

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