Friday, February 25, 2011

NOVA 2011 Missions Primer

Mike posted up the missions primer here.

I've had a chance to give them a first read through, so I thought I would share my initial thoughts. I'll be sitting down with a beer later and giving them the attention they deserve.

Let me just start by saying the NOVA missions are the best tournament missions I am aware of today, in terms of ease of use, fairness of play, and strategic depth.

I know there were complaints last year about the lack of Kill Points. Most of the complaints centered around the allegation that Kill Points are an effective balance against MSU and the lack thereof unbalanced the missions in favor of MSU.

Well, I don't think that Kill Points really do a great job of balancing MSU. But Kill Points are in there now and I don't think that's a bad thing.

I ran almost these exact same missions for our recent RTT and it went very smoothly. There were a few hiccups, but by and large it was a drama-less event. The biggest questions/concerns were about a single aspect of the painting rubric, and not about the gameplay aspect at all.

For that tournament, we were also using a KP mission setup from some early NOVA thoughts this year, which required a "win by four." Four Kill Points to win was too high. After seeing this play out on 12 tables over three rounds, I think that three Kill Points is just right. It shows a convincing victory while minimizing the vagaries of Kill Points. Bravo on this change.

The table quarters mission has also been tweaked slightly. "Scoring" units now count towards table quarter control at their FULL, ORIGINAL VP total, rather than their reduced total if they have taken over half casualties. This makes scoring units more important in two out of three of the missions, which seems appropriate.

The NOVA is the best thing going right now, it's a model for the global 40k community to follow. It's not perfect, no, but the approach of the NOVA is a scientific one, accepting and indeed demanding peer review and thorough testing. The fact that the outcome is excellent with such a good foundational ethic should surprise no one.

All in all, I'm really pleased with these changes. I will be playtesting these missions myself, and will likely try to incorporate them into an RTT as well soon for further testing.

Check them out, give them a whirl, and if you have any feedback send them to Mike, I know he will appreciate it.

Here's a link to the NOVA Open website.

Check it out, sign up, and I hope to see a lot of you there this year.