NOVA 2011: Summary Part 1

Friday, September 2, 2011

Here’s the first part from my summary of experiences from last weekend at the NOVA Open 2011. I arrived Thursday evening since I work near DC and wanted to catch some of the Whiskey Challenge games that started at 6. After walking around a little I asked about Open gaming and when that would start – I figured I would try to get a game in later that evening for more practice since I had only managed to play a handful of games in the 2 weeks leading up to NOVA.

A few minutes later I get approached by some really nice staff asking me if I could fill a vacant slot in the Whiskey Challenge due to a no-show. The initial prospect of this made my stomach turn as I tried to make it clear that I am no 40k heavyweight (or middleweight even) and I thought the Challenge was for all the best tournament players or big names in 40k to duke it out amongst a smaller/elite pool of players. I didn’t want to be the baby seal giving someone an easy win and fudging the results, lol. But by that logic, having an odd number of players would achieve just that, forcing a by for the player without an opponent. After confirming that there was no one else who could fill the spot (and making sure I wasn’t going up against Stelek, haha), I agree and head up to my room to retrieve my army. Still nervous as I approach the game hall with my gear, I notice someone else rushing along with a huge army transport case behind them. I stop them and ask if they are there for the Whiskey Challenge and sure enough they were, just running late. Crisis averted! And by crisis, I mean avoiding getting demoralized in the first hour of my first game at the NOVA ;) 

I didn’t realize until seeing it on his blog the other night, but I would have been playing Sandwyrm from The Back 40k. It would have been cool to play against his awesome looking Guard army, but I’m glad the original opponent made it in time, as I’m sure he gave him a better game than I would have (they both had great looking armies!).

At this point, a group of players from Scotland had just arrived and were getting their armies judged for the painting score and looking to play some games. They rolled off to see which one would get to play me and the Imperial Guard player won. There was no avoiding IG the first night it seemed.

He had Straken, 3 Demolishers, and a boat load of Chimeras filled with melta-vets. We went with the first round scenario for the Open; pitched battle deployment then Objectives, Kill Points, and Quarters as the respective goals. I won the roll off for first turn and set up my Vindicators and long range guns in the two main fire lanes that his tanks would surely need to cross. My snipers took post in the center area terrain with objective and my bikes started behind cover in case my opponent was able to seize the initiative. He didn’t, so I began by dropping my Ironclad beside a cluster of tanks and turbo-boosted a melta bike squad up on the right flank. The rest of my army proceeded to shoot the front most tanks in each of the group of tanks. I was able to wreck one and immobilize the other, clogging up the open pathways to the center for the rest of the tanks parked behind. This was a good start!

It was a long, hard fought game on both sides that ended up going over 3 hours. I was hoping for the game to end on turn 5 as we were tied on objectives and I was sure I had him on kill points, but the dice had other plans. Turn 6, two of my bike squads were down to a couple of models but tried to boost and contest the 2 objectives on his side. One of the squads made it but was then surrounded by a lot of guns, and the Sergeant from the other squad was still tied up in combat just outside of the other objective. Both survived the bottom of 6 thanks to some good dice and handy 3+ turbo-boost cover saves. Now, really hoping for the game to end as I was +1 on objectives, of course the dice had the final say. We go to turn 7 where my bikes were finally overrun and he was able to kill off Sgt Telion and capture the center objective for the win. This guy was a pleasure to play against and a great match to ease into the weekend of non-stop games! It was a big confidence boost facing such a tough list and not getting tabled, and almost pulling off a win.

I realize, as this is already a lengthy post, that going into such detail on each of my games would result in a novella sized wall of text. Most probably just want to see the pictures which are now finally organized; all I have left to do is piece together the short clips of video. For the sake of brevity (and my short attention span) I'll be breaking this summary into 3 parts; Part 2 will be posted this evening and 3 will go up tomorrow. And if that's not enough NOVA for you, I'll be posting my final thoughts on the overall tournament this weekend with a look at how people's general feelings about the event seem to have shifted over the corse of a week. More to come...

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