Now I realize Mike was a bit hot about this subject and his terrain placement has excited a lot of commentary online. Good grief. Seriously. Mike ran what appears to be one of the best GTs many in the community have ever seen and the two biggest "issues" that have any credibility are the location and the terrain. In each case the "issues" are more about annoyance than actual "I'm never coming back to this crappy tournament". Mike, people loved NOVA!
Mike appears to have a bee in his bonnet over this one. Yes, I heard the interview during NOVA on the 11th Company webcast and I agree with the concept of the terrain placement based on Mike's commentary there. I still think the concept is an excellent one and far superior to the current "standard" of terrain around the edge and little true BLOS terrain to enhance the mech/long range shooting meta. Is it perfect? Not hardly.
Do I have a big hard on about this terrain set up type? Heck no, go to the front page, look at my lists. I would love to play on this type of terrain, but... Yes, I know, lots of people did lots of work getting this terrain ready. Nice appeal to emotion, but it doesn't fix the problem. Anyway, enough extra commentary, here is the text of the comment that just cannot seem to stay posted on Whiskey & 40K.
The top comments I've heard from a lot of sources was over the terrain. Too much BLOS, too tight (especially as the day went on, sometimes restricting vehicular access to the center), nice to see the shadow area behind terrain, nice not to have a ring of terrain shooting gallery with a token bit in the center, etc. Mixed.
IMO, from watching the 11th Company webcasts, I would take a Sharpie and outline each terrain piece on the board. It would avoid misalignment after the inevitable "oops" of shifting the terrain while trying to work around it. At the end of one of the Day 1 Game 4 broadcast game (the "Tervigon Incident" game), a judge was called over to check the center objective for position. There was a potentially contesting model, which was just barely out of range to contest. If it had happened that the objective had moved away from the contesting model (and maybe actually did with the fingers on it)... Potential big ouch, especially if it happened on day 2. Worked out in this case.
I'm a nice guy, but I might have had a couple of words to say about the subject. Probably loudly too. The solution? A Sharpie. Terrain got bumped? Put it back inside the outline. Done deal.
Despite the fact that I liked the setup and Mike's explanation of why on the terrain, I'm wondering...
Does all the terrain on all the tables have to try to be clones of each other? So you end up playing on eight really similar tables over the weekend? I've become a fan of scatter dicing terrain, it makes the choice of which side to deploy on something besides:
"Well, I'm here, you're there, the table is a mirror clone of the last table's layout, so unless you really, really want to move, why don't we just say these are our sides."
"Sure, it really doesn't matter, we could go to the next table and keep the same sides too. Let's roll to see who goes first."
An additional thought I'm inserting here: Wouldn't it be nice to bring an actual list balanced for 25-30% terrain that didn't depend on a certain particular setup? Where the decision of what deployment zone to pick has a real purpose outside of Spearhead deployments when the BLOS terrain tends to run in one diagonal down almost every board? Where sometimes the super mech lists get maneuvering room and sometimes they get hemmed in while the foot lists go through the terrain? Where there isn't a "GT-X" meta and "GT-Y" meta based on how the terrain is setup on all the boards at "X" & "Y". Oh, I'll be ready for next year's NOVA with my current list unless GW sticks its oar in and screws with my codex. The funny thing? I don't care if you keep it all pushed together, spread it all out or do the scatter dice on a symmetric layout.
Mike, your skills and presentation appear to have been excellent and even with the minor negatives, the high terrain ratings were justified (even looking from overhead) as far as quality and layout, but a generic question like you asked "What about the terrain as a whole?" is shaded towards drawing the responses you got. You had good stuff out there. Did you break it down into:
"Was there too much BLOS terrain?"
"Was the terrain too tightly clustered?"
"Would you have prefer to have the terrain shifted around from board to board for variety?"
Of course, you should also ask the reverse of those questions too.
Trust me, I'm not trying to urinate in your wheaties, I'm actually kicking myself for not going this year (I thought I needed some more practice, more fool me). My list would have *loved* that terrain just like you had it.