Sunday, April 24, 2011

NOVA format ruminations

I traveled out of state for a tourney yesterday (with my friend Edge).
I had a blast.
I didn't win, but I had an absolute blast.
Met some new people, was exposed to a new meta and saw some interesting models.

But I would NOT have had fun were it not for 3 things, in order...

A TO who was genuinely excited and engaged,
my opponents and their attitudes,
and the NOVA format/missions.

The TO (uberdark from will get his own nod when I do my BatReps...but after my experiences in last years 'Ard Boyz semi-finals, I was going in with a bias/pre-disposition to be unforgiving. He dispelled my prejudice in spades.
My opponents, the same treatment. I was able to walk away from an event with no complaints and fun games.

The NOVA format, on the other hand, was a pleasant and welcome surprise.

I've been developing missions, running events and trying to make tournaments competitive (without a bunch of TFG play/attitude) for upwards of 15+ years.
I've tweaked scenarios and scoring methods towards that end from the beginnings of the old RTT scoring/scenario methods to the newest GT interpretations of the same.
I adapted to 5e (over the first two years) by trying to create scenarios that mitigated the point and shoot/charge play encouraged by basic scenarios with a single goal, since my second tourney after 5e came out.

I missed the mark.
Humbling that, as I know I'm good...very good. That is not hubris (well, a little, but meh). It is feedback, direct and circumspect...both comments directly to me, from blogs, and the evidence of return players consistently popping up at my events (here and in Fla). The return of players that may not even like me on a personal level, or agree with some of my rules interpretations.

MVBrandt did it. With a simple, and subtle, set of rules...that captures the essence of ALL the basic rulebook missions in one go, in each mission.

I won't re-iterate them here, but just link it;

When I first read the missions (a while ago) they seemed overly simple. As I looked at them more, I saw the appeal. I incorporated some of the core concepts into a few missions/events I ran since last year's NOVA. I didn't run them straight, as I thought they really needed a pure W/L event (which requires more than just a 3rd RTT format to work properly). But I was lucky enough to finally PLAY in an event that utilized the format and scenarios. They were awesome.

Subtly applying the concepts of victory for all the core styles of play in 40k, and FORCING you to think on multiple levels of objective, the scenarios punish single-minded point&click armies/players and reward take-all-comers lists and well thought out play.
Creating multiple avenues of victory allows a good general to play to his strengths/opponents' weaknesses on multiple fronts...and MORE importantly, compensate for particularly bad RPS match-ups (with regards to both army bias AND scenario weakness).
Have MSU in a kill-point scenario? go for the tie and grab objectives...your opponent (if he's good) will see that coming and go for the next tie breaker...and you both might end up playing to the final tiebreaker as mayhem ensues. (same for low KP armies facing fast MSU in an objective mission...etc etc).
These missions represented TRUE balance,
and I shall wholly embrace them in any event I travel to that espouses their use as well.

For my own events, while I think the MISSIONS are grand...I don't want to use them to exclusion.
But I will use them for my next RTT (modified scoring for a 3rd RTT, but missions will be paramount).

I also, now, wish to run a GT to utilize the full NOVA experience.

I was quite QUITE pleased. Brandt has unearthed a gem!



    (the NOVA mission/primer link didn't stick so here it is, sorry)

  2. we're planning on the Indy Open in November to be a full NOVA style event.

    we might clairfy a few things on the missions. Like KP's for each, and VP's for each. There seemed to be some confusion with a lot of the scoring sheets, as people recorded VP's for the KP objective. Some never recorded VP's. Those are both used in calculating final standings. It's something Mike's been crunching maths over to try and calculate.

    I'll point him in this direction. He likes to read reviews of the NOVA format, and get constructive criticism.

    glad you guys had a good time!

  3. Edge and I had a blast.
    We really wanted to bring a few more with us, but real-life jumped up and bit a number of us in the arse...damned adult life responsibilities!
    I was just glad to have finally PLAYED in an event with the missions.

    I think the confusion may have been along multiple avenues;
    a) simply a lack of exposure on some people's parts,
    b) new TO-itis...which always has a few little things slide through the cracks (things that seem obvious to the Judge, as he's been crunching it in his head for days/weeks),
    c) the simple fact that no matter HOW simple you make things, somebody just doesn't hear that last wee little important bit...always... :)

    IndyOpen a GT (IIRC) right? Maybe that little git-together will be my Bday present to myself! :-o