While I have already posted a general NOVA response on my own site, I thought I would save my more critical observations for Blood of Kittens.  As those of you who follow my articles are already well aware, I am a hobbyist.  As a high school English teacher, I honestly only get time to play 40k about once a month, but I am typically free each evening for an hour or so to convert and paint.  That said, my criticism of the NOVA should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am far from a hardcore tournament player.

Really, the one issue I had at the NOVA was the limited amount of time per game.  For my first two games (of eight), I was fresh and ready to go.  Those games ended well within the 2 hour and 15 minute time limit.  However, as the tournament wore on, the games became slower and slower.

While there were apparently ustream accusations of slow play, on my game at table 1 in particular, I can assure you that my opponent was not doing anything unfair.  It was just the pacing of the game, at this point in an already exhausting weekend.  On day 2, only one of my games hit the turn limit, and I think my first game just barely finished turn 3 by the time we had to end it. I didn’t even have all of my army on the board at this point, much less in position to win.  I do not think it was just chance that my two wins over the weekend, were from day 1 which went all the way through the game.

Again, I am not a pro player, but it is worth noting that my army, a DE webway bomb, is at least %50 in reserve.  This means that I should be a speedy opponent to play, with a few short turns early on where I only have a small portion of my forces available to move and shoot.  So if my own noobness isn’t the culprit, and my opponents were not slow-playing (which I truly believe they were not), then what is to be done?

Perhaps 2 hours and 15 minutes is not enough time for tournament level 2k point games?  Or more precisely, perhaps the time limits should be increased as fatigue sets in?  Or maybe I just need to learn to maintain a high rate of play over 8 games.  Honestly, I rarely play 2 games on the same day, much less the 4 required at the NOVA Open.  Perhaps 2 hours and 15 minutes IS enough time for tournament level play, but my opponents and myself were not tournament level players.  That seems a bit too insulting to sit well with me, as I would think a tournament made for “all kinds of players” would not be so exclusive.

Perhaps the 8 games should be spread out over 3 days instead of 2, in order to retain the integrity of the pairings system, while allowing entire games to be played out.  I understand that a three day event would be impossible for many of us, due to logistics, but I am just brainstorming here.  I personally have no experience with organizing a tournament, and I typically nod-off whenever I start reading about seeding systems.  I just thought I would share my honest experience and criticism of the event.

Maybe I just need to move to England, play 1500 point “fun games”, and compete only in Throne of Skulls events.  Alas.

My final observation is a bit touchy, and I refuse to go into specifics here as this deals more with players than the event itself.  I also want to be absolutely clear that this observation has nothing to do with any of my opponents; I was very lucky to play 8 fantastic guys, and had lots of fun in each and every game, even when I was getting tabled.  What I am absolutely amazed by, is the discrepancy between what I saw with my own two eyes going on at the NOVA, and some of the internet chatter surrounding it.  I don’t mean the “peanut gallery” of ustream, but rather the manner in which some people conducted themselves, compared to the way they claim things actually went down after the fact.  This honestly terrifies me.  When I read some of the other NOVA reflections out there on the blogosphere, I feel as though I am bearing witness to significant psychotic breaks.  With the mental stability of some players in doubt, I would be wary placing my own beloved models on a table near them, in fear of what damage they could do when they finally do go over the edge.  As a teacher, I know that disturbed individuals certainly do exist in society.  However, I typically assume that the more disturbed an individual is, the less capable they would be of traveling to and attending an organized event such as NOVA.  I have assumed wrong.

I know that our hobby of choice appeals to people who sometimes lack certain social skills, and I am more than willing to accept this as part of our game.  If you go to a multi-day tournament, you are going to smell some armpit.  It happens, I can get past it.  What makes me uneasy, is when I can no longer vouch for a players mental stability.  I spend a decent amount of money, and far too much time painting and converting my models.  I keep my miniature display cabinets closed, in an effort to keep my cats from running off with my models (I did find a plaguebearer in their toy basket once).  So with that in mind, why would I want to put those same models in arms-reach of someone whose mental stability I truly doubt?  Again, I know people are crazy.  I am a little crazy too!  But man, the discrepancy between what I saw, and what some people say…  terrifying.

I hope this last bit wasn’t a cheap shot, or something that everyone already sees and ignores.  I don’t mean to pick on anyone, either; you cannot blame someone for suffering from a personality disorder.  This just happened to be my first truly national GT, and I had no idea just how deep the rabbit hole was.

All in all, I had a great time at NOVA, and these just happened to be the minor critical observations I had.  Organizing a tournament is not a “for profit” gig, and I truly appreciate all of the effort the NOVA staff put in.  I do not mean to insult the event in any way, and I will certainly return next year.  In fact, I suggest that other people check it out too.  I just thought I would offer up some feedback.

How about you, dear readers?  Do any of you have any observations to make, or comments on my own thoughts?  As always, I am all ears.