From Thursday September 3rd through Sunday September 6th, the annual NOVA Open convention will be here in Diehard GameFAN’s own backyard. Although this will be my first time attending the convention, it has been running since 2009 in Northern Virginia (which is where the NOVA in the title comes from). It’s a nice sized convention (the largest wargaming convention in the Washington, D.C. area) for tabletop miniature, skirmish and wargamers, offering vendors tournaments (with prizes), casual gaming and best of all, workshops where you can improve upon or learn new techniques. This was the big draw for me as I’ve only been painting miniatures (most Batman Miniature Game, Robotech, Warhammer and Reaper) for two years and there is a lot I can learn. So not only will I be attending NOVA Open as member of the press, but I’ll also be taking three of their classes and report back to you, the Diehard GameFAN audience on how it went (Most likely I will be embarrassed by my results and the instructors will be appalled, but hey – no ulnar nerves! I’ll never be a Golden Daemon contender.).
Tournaments are a big draw for any miniatures convention, and NOVA Open will have many for you to choose from, whether you want to play or just watch. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Blood Bowl, Dark Age, Dropzone Commander, Infinity, Lord of the Rings, Magic: The Gathering, Malifaux, Warhammer 40,000, Warmachines/Hordes, Wrath of Kings and X-Wing will all have tournaments and casual games going on throughout the convention. Some of these are extremely complex, like the Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament which goes eight rounds of play (and each round can be pretty long!) down to something like the introduction to Age of Sigmar game which will last about two hours and is meant to be newcomer friendly considering the game has only been out for a little over a month. To check out all the tournaments going on you can go visit the NOVA Open website and download primers for each tournament.
Now if you’re like me and you’re not a fan of tournament gaming, there are still plenty of other reasons to attend a convention like NOVA Open. With many vendors in attendance, this is your chance to purchase some items that your local gaming stores might not carry. Some dealers might even have convention exclusives for you. Another reason includes the many seminars being offered. They range from intro painting or terrain building classes to things more complex like sculpting conversions or adding LED lightings to a model. Although there were many classes I was interested in taking, I have signed up for three. Perhaps I’ll see you at one of these:
Introduction to Blending (9/4/15 from 11:30am-1:30pm)
Learn to Build Terrain (9/4/15 from 1:30pm-3:30pm)
Cogs and Cobblestones (9/6/15 from 4pm-6pm)
You can register for the seminars here, but you can also just browse the list of classes and/or read more about the instructors.
You’ll also find painting competitions, raffles for charities and food trucks in the area. Best of all, you get to meet and socialize with other gamers. You might find some new people to game with or even a guild of gamers to join up with. It’s also worth noting that in NOVA’s Charity lounge key reps/designers for several miniatures companies will be holding free talks for convention goers. Want to meet up with Justin Gibbs, Aaron Darland, and Mason Crawford from Wyrd Games? They’ll be there from 7:30-9pm talking Malfiaux and Through the Breach. Cool Mini or Not, Corvus Bell, Privateer Press and others will have scheduled talks as well, so if you’ve ever wanted to hear what these companies have to see live and in the flesh rather than via a forum or blog post – this is your chance.
Finally I want to bring up the Nova Open Charitable Foundation. Established in 2013, this is the charity wing of the NOVA Open team. It’s a fully vested 501(c)(3) non-profit (like Diehard GameFAN itself!) and exists to raise funds for various charities through the wargaming/miniatures community. This year the Foundation side will be offering numerous raffles for various armies. Best of all, it’s open to anyone – even if you can’t attend the convention. Live in Toronto? You can still purchase raffles tickets for the armies you are interested in. The proceeds go to charity and they’ll send you the army! This year choices include SEVEN different Malifaux offerings, Batalion Piechoty for Flames of War, two Warhammer 40,000 armies and three individual pieces. You can check out the raffle prizes and purchase tickets here. You can also peruse the various charities (like Doctors Without Borders) that the proceeds will be going to.
So if you’re going to be attending NOVA Open this year, feel free to say hi as I wander the Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport. I’ll be attending painting classes, talking with other industry professionals and networking. I might not have time for a game, but I’ll be happy to chat and look at your armies/warbands/crews/etc. I’ll also be bringing my Batman Miniature Game figures and rulebook if anyone wants to learn more about the game (The audience is really small here in the States, which is surprising because it’s BATMAN!). I won’t have time to do a demo, but I’ll be happy to share information about the game and with luck, maybe I’ll even run/judge a tourney for next year’s convention! Hope to see you there. If not, follow along here at DHGF this weekend as I write up my escapades, interviews and tourney coverage at NOVA Open.
To learn more about the NOVA Open, feel free to click through to the following websites:
The Official NOVA Open website
The NOVA Open Store
The NOVA Open Charitable Foundation
Whiskey and 40K (The convention’s dev blog)
NOVA Open’s Facebook page