Monday, March 27, 2017

The Direction of Games Workshop, AdeptiCon Announcements, and NOVA 2017 Updates

I am often reminded that I do not post on Whiskey & 40k often enough.

To be fair, a lot of that is I fell off a fair bit from GW games for a while. Lately, that's changed quite a bit!

First off, some NOVA Open Updates. It's a super exciting year. I say that every year, but it keeps getting more interesting, which is a great thing.

Here are some short-hand highlights in a very random order ...

  1. Games Workshop is attending. Yup. They're promising some really cool things at NOVA, most of which they won't even talk to us about yet. After what happened at AdeptiCon, I'm stoked.
  2. Fantasy Flight Games made the NOVA Open the host of its Star Wars National Championships events for all Star Wars game systems. This includes the brand new and very popular Destiny card game, Star Wars Card Game, Imperial Assault, Armada, and X-Wing. Nearly all events are sold out.
  3. Warlord Games is attending and running a full weekend of Bolt Action, Antares, and Konflict events and tournaments, plus they'll have a vendor booth. That came out of the blue - we're super excited.
  4. We're at around 350% faster registrations than last year. Swag Bags sold out on the first night. SuperNOVA bags lasted 32 seconds. This is enormously liberating for us as organizers - we feel everyone is excited, and we can focus more on prep and quality, and less on haranguing the regulars to sign up earlier than later. Unfortunately, this does mean many of the regulars who sign up later historically will miss out on things like swag bags this year. Semi-bummer. Around 1,000 people are already signed up to attend (compared to roughly 300 at this time last year).
  5. Things that didn't historically sell out quite as fast have done so this year. Seminars are a particularly good example of this. Painting a Bust in Atmosphere, Painting OSL, Roman's Blending School, The Shaded Basecoat Technique are all sold out. Less than 5 spots remain in a large # of others, including Roman's Color Theory, the other Shaded Basecoat Technique class iteration, Building a Display Base, Building a Solid Base, and many others.
  6. People have signed up for a bunch of board game events even already (many / most of which are free).
  7. 40K and 30K excitement are returning to NOVA, it would seem. Compared to last year, most of our registration in those event paths is up anywhere from 100-200%. 30K was capped at 32 people last year, but 68 are already registered across its events this year, with 47/64 spots sold out in the Escalation Campagin. The 40K GT, which typically has slower registration due to the incidence of LVO and AdeptiCon during its first couple months of registration, is nearly at 100 spots already, which is over triple its pace by this time last year.
The Direction of Games Workshop
Last year, right before NOVA, Games Workshop reached out to the organizers of AdeptiCon, LVO, and the NOVA Open. Hank/Greg/Chris, Reece/Frankie, and I, among others, ended up spending a long weekend with them in Nottingham. They recently shared at AdeptiCon that they'd been engaging with Reece, Frankie, Chris, myself, and others from the community, and while there isn't much I can really share, I can say that it is part of a trend they've shown over the past couple years of changing their entire approach and outlook to their community of gamers as a whole.

Whether it's hilarious videos jumping on top of and taking ownership of new and breaking rumor leaks, being the actual leaders in providing first look and early hint information to the community, engaging their fans and supporters for feedback and input, or just being more connected to what's going on in the heads of their consumers ... GW is absolutely crushing it lately in terms of their PR side of the house.

For years, it felt as though the *only* customer they were concerned with was their shareholder-side customers ... a common fault seen when niche or hobby-focused (or really any) companies go public. This certainly cannot be said to be the case lately. Lately, image shares and other things also support that this has been good for them on the public / shareholder front *anyway*, as buzz is on the rise and long-absent fans are returning, while better engagement and better expansion to other media like video/computer games seems to be doing a better job of generating newer customers.

I also think people have an erroneous impression of a lot of the inner workings of GW. Again, I can't really share much in terms of details, but Jervis Johnson is a good idea. I met the man over a cup of coffee while in Nottingham, and was nothing but impressed by his thoughts, words, outlook, and the things he shared. He was not the gamer-hating, crotchety old bugaboo that many (including, at times, myself) have in the past purveyed him to be.

This is mostly just a bit of my rambling thoughts, but I'll simply say that I'm very excited about the direction GW's been heading, both in the tactical sense with regard to their game design choices and releases (Blood Bowl, Age of Sigmar's General's Handbook, etc.) and in the strategic sense with regard to their changing methods and approaches for engaging with the community and taking ownership of how their own consumers see them and interact with them.

AdeptiCon Announcements
I was enthused to hear GW's announcements at AdeptiCon for a couple reasons. One, because it gives me a lot of excitement about what they might announce at NOVA! They don't tell us this sorta thing, so I have no idea if they'll even do any kind of big reveal, but I'm certainly hoping! Two, because the stuff they revealed was overall very exciting. 

To those I chat with regularly, it's no secret that I haven't enjoyed 40k lately. The game today is very centered on micromanaging super units, abusing the psychic phase, adding hundreds or even thousands of free points to your game, etc. I find the very thought of a model with only a 1/36 chance of failing a save just mind-bogglingly dumb, and can't help but feel one of my eyebrows rising in incredulity when those who play such units ardently defend them as good design elements. So, while GW hasn't announced anything as near-term as a new edition, it sure seems from the ACon announcements that they are looking at some hefty changes to core rules mechanics. The very fact that they're at least labbing and talking about these things in the design studio makes me think or at least hope that some kind of meaningful game shake-up is in the future. It may not be something that occurs anytime soon or by NOVA, but at least it's percolating - and this gets me stoked.

Until such a thing happens, however, there's Blood Bowl! I'll be joining a Blood Bowl league Dan Boyd is starting up later this year, and I've got a couple of the new plastic teams sitting at home waiting for me to get around to actually painting them. If I ever have that kinda time :)

I hope to post more as we move forward, especially as it relates to further announcements and releases from GW. In the meantime, make sure to sign up for whatever NOVA events look best to you. It's going to be a helluva big year!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Charity Pub Sing/Music & Board Games @ NOVA Open 2016

Each year, we try to find more and more things to add to the NOVA for the "cost of the CAP," to help transform it over time into a well-rounded convention, instead of its early founding as primarily a gaggle of collocated, but ultimately isolated tournaments.

Two things stand out as heavily expanded and fleshed out this year to that end, giving people a lot more to do socially and gaming wise for the cost of attendance and nothing more.

First off, we're bringing back the Board Game room from last year, but expanding it pretty dramatically. Atlantis Comics and Games, which runs the room, will be running board tournaments, events, collaborative games, and more all weekend long with a proper, robust schedule of activities. So there'll actually be organizational support, potential rewards, and more. Furthermore, all events are free w/ a CAP (or Day Pass). In the same room, we'll have a lot of free Magic the Gathering activities as well throughout each day, with at-cost Limited Booster events in the evenings. Stay tuned to the newsletter for a list of all the board gaming events for the weekend. It's a TON, and it's gonna be awesome!

Second off, last year a few musical members of the staff wound up pulling out guitars and other things to jam in the Charity Lounge. In support of that, and with a few of the members of (yes, this is my and my wife's band), as well as a few members of the NOVA Open staff, we'll be jamming most nights in the Lounge. But we'll also have a couple of 2-hour more formal sets with a wide range of fun sing-along-able songs to play, ranging from rowdy Irish drinking songs to popular music we all know and love from the last 50 or 60 years. You can check out the Embry set list for an idea of the types of things you might hear. This is another outgrowth of what makes NOVA happen each year - a combination of the developing passions of our various organizers, board members, and volunteers, as well as responsiveness to the outcome of surveys and feedback that attendees provide (folks loved the lounge jamming last year, and wanted more; people didn't quite know about the board game room last year, and wanted a more robust and well-organized time to enjoy it around).

Cya at NOVA!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The NOVA Open is Around the Corner, and Age of Sigmar is Sold Out

Rumors of my demise have been greatly overstated.

Well, I don't know if there are any rumors.

But hi!
So I haven't posted in a really long time, and that's my bad. I used the blog to keep people posted and wax [in]eloquent about the game for a long time, and I should get back to that.

First off, I've never actually blogged about whiskey.
So, drink Lagavulin. Why? Ron from Parks and Recs drinks it, that's why. Also, it's like licking candy off a grill. So. C'mon. It lacks the downsides of peaty whiskeys while owning all the upsides. Win win. IT's a little overpopular/cliche these days ... b/c it's awesome ... in a way that Laphroig and others in my opinion simply cannot be. Maybe b/c I don't like a whiskey that tastes like I imagine a tire doused in iodine to taste.

Broken seals ... on my long post absence, and on my never actually really talking about Whiskey on the Whiskey & 40k blog.

NOVA's around the corner, and registration is lookin' great.
40K Trios only has one spot left. That's pretty awesome, and it's under new management this year with some upgrades.
Lots of the X-Wing, Malifaux, and other events are sold out or nearly sold out, b/c those games rock.

Wyrd is coming to NOVA this year
Fantasy Flight Games is coming to NOVA this year
The owner of Corvus Belli is coming to NOVA this year

There's a lot more
I'm super excited, are you?

Also, even before the new actual points system for Age of Sigmar released, the singles event sold out. Too cool.

We added Guildball. We added Firestorm Armada. We said we wouldn't add things. But we did, b/c it makes things more fun for you guys.

We're rejiggering Magic to support the free ability to do sealed/limited events in the evening for all attendees, including those whose primary game isn't magic, but who've always wanted to be able to play it or who play it casually (So, I'm finding out, everybody).

We have a cool show mini coming, entire game boards and terrain sections dedicated to battling it out in Las Vegas or to battling it out on ancient Viking warships (in a non-nautical game).

We're also bringing live music more formally to the lounge this year. Keep a weather eye on the schedule.

So sign up if you haven't, get on your horse, and we'll be talking about some things here and elsewhere as we lead up. I'm excited about NOVA.

On a personal level, I don't play as much 40K as I used to. I dabble in Magic casually, and I just started traveling to events again to attend a Malifaux ETC-style team tournament formally done with Fantasy as the focus called Bragging Rights up in Connecticut. And, with Tony Kopach, Owen Beste, and Casey Campbell as teammates, we won the thing. Made me feel like gettin' into another 40K tournament again also, flex that old competitive muscle.

Can't wait to see everyone at NOVA, and to talk more about some of the nuances and details going forward. Only about a month and a half to NOVA! Jeesh ...

Monday, February 1, 2016

NOVA Open 2016 Registration Opens TONIGHT! Do NOT Miss Out!

Well, today's the day NOVA goes live for more than just the feverishly busy Exec Board and Leads.

Hotel Rooms:

Things I'd recommend snagging while they last tonight ...

  1. SuperNOVA passes. These lasted only one hour last year. I have no problem saying they are the best VIP program bags you can find at a tabletop gaming convention anywhere. That doesn't belittle others, either. They're just THAT good, thanks in large part to KR MultiCase and our other wonderful partners.
  2. Swag Bags. Last year, over 1,200 individuals attended NOVA Open. Only 400 of them qualified for our first 400 registrants receiving Swag Bags. Those Swag Bags are ALSO awesome, and this year get even more awesome due to the addition of special Golden Tickets by KR to many of the bags, good for free product (Some of it quite expensive) at the KR Booth at NOVA. It's very possible we'll clear our 400 swag bags early on this year - snag them while you can, even if you miss out on the SuperNOVA.
  3. Seminars. With the addition of 4-hour intensive workshops by Roman and Raffa, the return of super-popular sold-out classes by Justin McCoy and Caleb Wissenback, and the addition of very limited-space classes taught by acclaimed artist Jessica "Brushmistress" Rich, seminars are set to go very, very quickly, especially those in the most optimal time slots. Don't miss 'em.
  4. Malifaux National Championships. Last year's event wound up selling out, and this year looks to be in much higher demand now that the game has grown even more and last year's absentees had a year to plan for it. We are not offering more spots for it at this time, so when they're gone, they might very well be gone. Do not miss out.
  5. X-Wing Events. Last year's events all sold out. The Hunger Games events sold out on the day of registration opening. There are less Hunger Games this year, to make room for new Armada and Imperial Assault additions to the schedule. When they're gone, they're gone.
  6. All the things! Last year's NOVA was by about 400 people the largest yet. It only looks to get bigger this year. By and large, most of our events sold out. That is likely in 2016 as well, only at a faster pace. Just get registered!
  7. Hotel Rooms. This one is unique for this year. We've already booked 20% of our room block. You really don't want to miss out on the ability to stay in the convention hotel. Even locals and staffers now stay at the hotel instead of commuting during NOVA. There's just too much to do and too much socializing and fun to be had well into the wee hours of the morning each night. 

Good luck getting the events and items you want. The NOVA's exec staff will be online and ready to triage any issues you have. Contact us at with any questions that arise.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Registration in a Few Days - Don't Miss SuperNOVA Bag

Here's how the SuperNOVA works ...

We only have 100 of them
Last year, they sold out in under an hour
Registration opens at 8PM on Monday, February 1, Eastern Time

KR is sweetening the deal this year for those who miss out on SuperNOVA
For the first 400 non-SuperNOVA registrations, aka the people who get Swag bags, there's a chance your bag will contain a golden ticket for as much as a Kaiser4 bag in it, redeemable at the KR booth at NOVA ($300 bag, fwiw).

Friday, January 15, 2016

NOVA Open Registration in 2 Weeks!

So, here we go again!

NOVA Open's registration opens in about 2 weeks, on Monday, February 1, at 8:00PM. Because it's a work day, and due to the extremely high demand for SuperNOVA, X-Wing events, Malifaux events, and a number of other items, we wanted to make sure the widest cross-section of people didn't have to skip work in order to be at the front of registration.

You can book your room at the Hyatt now. We kept the rates low, and we were not able to add more rooms, since we largely have them all, and they nearly sold out last year. Snag your rooms now - you can always cancel up to 24 hours in advance if something comes up. BOOK ROOMS HERE.

First off, we have a SUPER sexy new website, thanks to Dylan Davis. has been updated, though there's still some "W.I.P." going on as we flow things through and finalize things like schedule of events.

We also have a new logo, that you'll see used more and more often, along with variants.

So that's cool.

Roman, Raffa, Justin McCoy, and Caleb Wissenback are all returning to teach their highly acclaimed classes this year. Moreover, after demand, Roman and Raffa will also be offering a limited number of 4-hour hands-on workshops to complement their standard 2-hour demonstration courses.

We've added a number of events, especially Imperial Assault, Armada, and the Horus Heresy. Events are occurring all weekend long in each of these systems.

It's going to be a super exciting year this year, and we're anticipating our biggest crowd yet. Stay tuned for more and keep your eyes on the website and newsletter.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Missing 40K From Back in the Day

I find myself wishing I could play a game of 40K using a mix of the current NOVA missions with 4th and 5th Edition rules and codices.

Anyone else ever feel that way?

Sometimes, when you talk to things like the craziness of 2+ re-rolls or weapons that auto-delete entire units on the roll of a 6, you hear a response of "well, there's been broken stuff in every edition! It took effectively a 2+ re-roll to kill falcons!"

Well, not really. On the falcon example alone, they could be quickly degraded on much better odds (rolling a pair of 5's and 6's would immobilize one, which got rid of a lot of their value), but across the game as a whole in 4th and 5th edition, most things could be killed and could kill. The arms race was far more nascent, a wider swathe of codices could compete (even if they had to min-max to do it), and army construction / the rules in general were more straightforward.

7th has some perks, not least of which is the amazing quality of the models GW is releasing lately, but I am pretty certain I'd find a way to squeeze time into my schedule for a semi-regular hybridized game of 40k a la the above ... taking the best bits of 4th and 5th + complex and interesting missions for a really nice platoon level wargame without a lot of the crazy big stuff and super powers.

In NOVA news, we're getting ramped up with leads now on planning. Most or all of our events from 2015 will be back, and it looks like we'll be adding a Horus Heresy / 30K event track, Imperial Assault, and Armada. Additionally, we'll take the concept of the CME short-run events like Highlander: Quickenings that we tried out this past year and convert them into proper register-able events to ensure a higher chance of a large # of them firing.

Much more than that to come, so stay tuned! Sorry it's been a quiet few months; things are crazy as ever in NOVA prep town.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NOVA Open 2016 Dates Confirmed - September 1 - 4, 2016 - Will You Be There?!

I'll be updating this post with some NOVA Survey outcomes and other things.

Long and short is September 1-4, 2016 = the next, best NOVA Open yet!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Flash Alert on Events Running Out of Room. Plus, Badass Star Destroyers are Badass.

 Some updates for last minute lucies ... grab one of the spots listed as barely left below at

Seminar #17, OSL & Effects, only has 1 spot left (of 20)
Seminar #30, Painting Faces, only has 1 spot left (of 20)

Several other seminars are down to two or three spots left

Unlike previous years, it will be very hard to "walk in" to any seminar you want ... 92 people presently are registered for just seminars and nothing else, and the # who are doing other things AND seminars is much higher.

Blood Bowl - the Saturday SlaughterDay! event only has a couple of spots left

The 3 Infinity ITS events are basically sold out ...
Friday ITS - 1 spot left
Saturday ITS - 3 spots left
Sunday ITS - 3 spots left

Wyrd's first ever National Championship, head judged by the guy who designed the game, Wyrd's Justin Gibbs, has 1 spot left.
The Capital Carnage Story Encounter sold out, but we opened a few more spots.
Most of the other Malifaux events are sold out or nearly sold out

Warmachine went gangbusters this year, and FFG is sending folks to join us! There are over 100 WM players registered. Hardcore, Steamroller 2015, and Tierany are nearly sold out. The team event sold out, but we were able to one-time up the slots ... and there are only 11 team spots left.

X-Wing is sold out in every event except the Championships. The Championships sold out, so we upped them to 96, but now we're out of room. X-Wing also features one of the coolest showpiece items we've ever built:

The Lord of the Rings GT is ... running out of room. 32 are already registered for the GT, with attendees from England, Quebec, and across the US. Yup, LOTR. Terrain and display features that have been seen in WD and elsewhere by Wright Wargame Terrain will dominate the center of the LOTR gaming area ... should be a real treat!

Last year's NOVA saw around 860 people attend, including what we call "daywalkers" who just show up not pre-registered and snag passes or seminars and the like on site.

As of today, there are MORE than that # registered for NOVA. It's already our biggest year yet ... don't miss out!

For those who aren't straight tourney gamers or seminar takers or speed painting competitors or vendor deal shoppers ... we also have a board game room this year, where you can play any of over 150 board games (Thanks to Atlantis Comics and Games!), including checking them out (ID swap) and going wherever you feel most comfy playing them, or picking up games with friends or strangers in the board game room itself! This'll be active all con long.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Free Lounge Chats @ NOVA with Wyrd, Privateer Press, Hawk Wargames, Corvus Belli, Cool Mini or Not, and More

We're VERY, very excited to be joined this year by lead designers, reps, and more from numerous parent companies of the games we're hosting, including:

Dropzone Commander
Wrath of Kings
Dark Age

Many of these folks have also been kind enough to volunteer their time for free industry chats and personal time with fans in the Charity Lounge, and will be around the con throughout the weekend.

For free lounge talks, see the schedule: 

Times for parent company reps/designers/etc ...
Thursday 9PM - 10:30PM: Cool Mini or Not
Friday 2PM - 3:30PM: Dropzone Commander
Friday 7:30PM - 9:00PM: Wyrd Miniatures (Malifaux, including Justin Gibbs, Aaron Darland, and Mason Crawford)
Saturday 5:30PM - 7:00PM: Privateer Press (WMH)
Saturday 9:30PM - 11:00PM: Corvus Belli (Infinity)