[Surprise Attack!] Not Quite Live from NOVA, Sunday


We need to pause our NOVA coverage for just a minute to bring you an announcement that will rock you to your core.

There are truly great mysteries in our world: Who built the Pyramids? Is there life on other planets? Atlantis? Bigfoot? Stonehenge?

But some things trump even these timeless enigmas. I’m talking, of course, about what happens when you shoot buildings with machine guns in Drop Zone Commander. Over a year ago we launched our finest hobby minds against this puzzle and got nothing. There was no hope, it would elude our civilization forever…or so we thought. While hiking through a forbidden jungle I chanced upon a temple dedicated to DZC and climbed the steps. I dodged booby traps, venomous reptiles, and some guy named ‘Indy’, who I shot in the back after pretending to be friends. Back off, bitch, this is my temple. Once on the summit I turned my eyes from the blazing light of awesome, and wept tears of undiluted bliss. My quest was over. I was complete. Teach us your wisdom, O Wise Man of Wiseness.

It’s a little noisy in the background but he clearly says shooting buildings with machine guns is “the key to victory”. He also used several other phrases like “ridiculously OP tactic that we’re going to nerf bat”, “total oversight on our part, sorry”, and “only a FAAC fool wouldn’t take an all machine gun list and shoot every building he could”.

So there you have it. It’s settled. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and prep our Big Foot tranquilizer darts.

Moving on to Infinity!

Final day brings a new game against Adam in our Ariadnan Civil War. Sabot had to leave yesterday to have some family time, so I’m left flying solo in my journey through the battlefield.

Adam and I decide to make things interesting and play for money. When the dust settles we find I’ve clenched a win and I proceed to pillage the battlefield, pocketing my quarter with glee. That’s what SinSynn fans get, sucka!

Game two is against Lovell and his Tohaa, which I forget to take any pictures of. Whoops. It probably had something to do with having one of the more complicated games either of us has ever played. We lost a lot of time trying to wrap our brains around things like a TO-camo marker dropping a mine on top of a crate,  against a pack of three revealed antipodes acting in mandatory coordinated ARO, while a camo marker in the prone is beneath the mine crate, while all of it is being overwatched by an HMG-gunner using suppressive fire. Errr…fun game, very challenging. I had to use my almost-useless smoke grenade launcher on my Antipode controller to speculatively fire smoke on 5’s that will block line of sight for my specialists to dash forward and scoop up the crates. I had one order left on the controller when she finally made her smoke shot, giving the Chasseurs in another combat group the chance to win me the game. A natural 1 has never looked so beautiful before.

So pretty.
So very, very, pretty.

Lunch brings a painting comp and Nick Pasch from Swift Brush Studios puts out a gorgeous Yu Jing force. A curse on his steady hand and smooth blending…a curse, I say!

Over lunch, Greggles and I finally manage to steer ourselves into each other and hatch a cunning plan…stay tuned for the results. I wanted to do a lot more stuff with other bloggers, but I vastly underestimated how much time the gaming would consume. Just playing the tourneys is a full-time job. 
Also over lunch, a little birdie whispers that I’m in the running for “Master Tactician” of the weekend, the highest average of Win/Loss spread out across all of NOVA. Say what? Yes, it’s true. We both have seven wins apiece since Friday. All I have to do to clench it is not lose the next two games. Even one win would be enough, if the other mystery player does poorly this afternoon. O-M-G, drama!
After lunch brings a game against Scott/”Roboutte”, a player I’ve met before from Certs’ tournaments at Victory Comics. Scott’s another guy who typically hands me my ass on a platter, but today he’s running a very fun, but very impetuous, Yu-Jing/JSA something-or-other biker list. It’s nasty, but impetuous troops are a double-edged sword. I run up a Chasseur into the center room, expose her by dropping mines everywhere in the room, then she curls into the fetal position behind cover and prays her death will be quick and clean. I top this off by overwatch approaching alleys with heavy weapons teams. Bound by their compulsion to attack the nearest revealed figure, his bikes get mowed down over the next two turns and I come out on top when we duel our regular troops. Scott has achieved a level of Zen Mastery with the game where he is totally unphased by any of this and I’m startled by his unflappable reply when I ask how many troops he has on the table: “This guy…and this guy. I’m in retreat when your turn ends.”
Holy shit. I didn’t see that coming. 

 Cameronian owning it like a boss on the edge of Scott’s deployment zone. He’s probably my MVP for the weekend, having broken through so many defenses and simply run rampant. 22 points of Win.

Final game of the day.
Hello, Derek/”DFleetw”…so we meet again, worthy foe. En guarde! 
Derek is straight from a loss to John, the top player, full of piss and vinegar and ready to satisfy his bloodlust on my blameless troops. He’s also tired as hell, having gunned for Iron Man this weekend (playing in every Infinity event possible, even the late night Hunger Games). On the down side, I’m pretty burned out too. I feel my Check Engine Light come on but all I have to do is pull off a slight win, maybe even a tie, and I clench Master Tactician. If Mystery Player doesn’t win anything this afternoon I’m already in the clear, but I can’t chance it. To battle!
We push aside the mental cobwebs and roll off for initiative. I win the WIP roll, but things go downhill immediately. I choose deployment and pick sides. Derek plays it smart and takes second turn, meaning he will have the final turn in the game. He also notices, and I did not, that he has line of sight with a heavy machine gun from an elevated bridge, with cover, from his deployment zone straight through the center objective room all the way to the objective in my deployment zone. 
Ahhhh fuck. 
I can’t even be mad, I picked the sides. 
Yep, that’s clear LOS all right. Have at it. 

Turn one is a lot of murderation by me, followed by more from him. I take objectives, he shoots me off and keeps the one in his deployment zone. 2 points for him for having more than me. He also chooses victims wisely and drops an airborne troop next to my Lieutenant, slaying her. I spend my second turn picking a new one, Derek spends his claiming more objectives and getting his secret objective. 3 more points for him, there is now no way I can win this. Running hard in final turn and getting my secret objective will only earn me a tie. But it could be enough…

My turn three goes better. Delayed murder gets unleashed under the direction of the new LT and I force him off all his objectives, even his deployment zone. I get crazy with my medics, jumping off ledges and running them up to the left and right objectives. Crazy, or “cray-cray” as the kids say, has really paid off for me this weekend and I have no intent of stopping the rock.

Pictured: Kids These Days

A Chasseur in the center takes the middle one, worth an extra two points at end of game. Unfortunately, my secret objective is “Heal your own dude”, normally an easy one for me but  Derek is slaying them all dead-dead, not merely unconscious. I can’t heal in ARO during his final turn, so I lose my shot at a tie because the best I can do for having more objectives than him (+2 points) and the center objective (+2 points) is 4 to his 5. Sad Panda. Fortunately, Derek’s down to six orders and I have three objectives to his none. Keeping the center one gets me a 5-4, keeping any other gets me 5-2. I will not go down without a fight.

Derek takes his final turn and pushes the gas pedal all the way down, with some cunning and efficient use of his last few orders he slays me off the flank objectives and runs up to contest my center one, stripping me of my potential four points. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Order is restored in the Universe as he returns to his usual result of a blow-out match against me.

After game is called we sigh and shake hands. Derek says something hilarious: “I hate playing you, you never give up.” True, lol. He had to push me kicking and screaming into the underworld, but I feel the same about him. We do not have easy games. We have shut outs, like this one, but they are highly contested up until the final order of the final turn. I’m glad I have guys like him and his BFF Todd in my local North Carolina scene, they make you work for it.

So, end of day brings another much-appreciated Renaissance Man award to me for the mid-tier tourney. Master Tactician would have been icing on that delicious cake, but it was not to be. Wilson, mystery player, takes it with 9 of his 12 games won that weekend. Hell of a showing by him! My mega-table gets second for Best Table, with Todd’s bad-ass blocks winning first.

Although Corvus Belli throwing it up on their Facebook page helped take the sting off. Gracias!

Unfortunately, it turns out I can’t stick around for the NOVA awards ceremony: Sabot kindly offered me a place to crash at his family’s house in Baltimore so I wouldn’t have to make the six-hour trip back to North Carolina that night. Staying for the awards meant I’d get there around 10:00, and would still need to leave early the next morning for the drive home. I had to pick between blowing off a dinner with his family and treating his home like a hotel, or skipping out ASAP when the games were done. Since I hadn’t seen the Sabot family in four years, I picked the lesser of two evils and left as soon as I had my stuff packed. I hated to be the douche that bounces out before the awards are given out, but I hope the other players understand. You guys were unfailingly awesome and I had a rad time. My hat’s also off to Craig and Andrew the TOs, Gutier from Corvus Belli for being a champ who hung out at the tables the whole weekend instead lying about in his hotel room and just making token appearances at the seminars, the artists like Misterjustin and Caleb who put on fantastic workshops, and the NOVA organizers for making it happen. Special thanks to Simon from Hawk Wargames, our guru on the mountain who paused his long queue of DZC demo-gaming to answer our pleas for clarity.

Work permitting, this is definitely happening again for me next year…’cause Derek needs someone there to hand him some shut-out games XD

Group shot with most of the Infinity players and  Gutier Lusquinos Rodriguez AKA “Interruptor”. Down with A-G-G, yeah you know me.

Wow, I really dated myself with that joke. FML I’m old. Moving on!

Now that the weekend’s over and House Painycakes acquitted itself well on the field of battle, is this the end of the NOVA 2014 series? No! It’s not the end. We have some special Bonus Content coming up real soon from a guest correspondent, but this is about it from me for a while. I’ll be out of town for a couple months this fall and, since I already spent most of this spring/summer out of town for work, most of my free time will be for catching up with the family before this next trip. My two year-old said “DaDa home!” when I walked in the door, for the first time ever. They’re growing up fast.

I won’t say exactly when I’ll strike again, or how, because this is “Surprise Attack”, not “Regularly Scheduled Content Attack”. In the meanwhile rest uneasy knowing that I lurk in the shadows, gathering my forces.


Hoooooooooly shit. I need a little Sword to keep me moving after the exhausting weekend.

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