Monday, June 4, 2012

Nova Open: this is costing me how much?

Wish I'd gone when it was in my backyard... 
Lots of considering the Nova Open today.  It didn't take a lot of convincing to swallow the $60 price tag for the weekend (35 for the con itself, 25 for the Warmahordes component) as it covers up to 7 non-overlapping tournaments, plus open gaming (with prizes!) in the form of the Iron Arena, plus free loot via a swag bag.  Not much convincing at all.

Now that I'm looking at lodging and associated costs, the outlook is less rosy.

Why lodging, when the venue is all of 20 miles from my house?  Two reasons: traffic and sleep.  Events start at 9 am, so to drive there from home means going into the teeth of rush hour (which lasts all day really) and would require leaving the house at probably 7:30, if not earlier, to arrive by 9.  With the second tournament of the day running until a little after midnight, I'd be looking at getting home around 1.  That's doable on the sleep front, but would have me running on less-than-standard rations, which is a recipe for disaster when combined with competitive play.  There's also the over-night tournaments (which I don't plan on attending anyway, but they're there) plus the Iron Arena to consider, either of which I could be doing instead of driving or sitting in traffic.

So that means hotel.  Rooms run $85 a night (which I guess is reasonableish?  I don't travel much), so that's ~$250 for Thursday-Saturday.  If I can find someone to split a room with then it's a more reasonable $125.  Then there's four days worth of parking ($12.50 per, so $50 total), though I could probably con a ride to and from out of someone.  They're doing a breakfast and lunch package (delivered to your table maybe?  looks to avoid lines at the least) at ~$60 for Friday-Sunday.  I'd class all these as essentials, so the total is at ~$360 (assuming I don't find a roomie).  That's a significant bump in cost over the $60 entry, which is not included in the above essentials.

Then we get to periphery.  There's a VIP swag bag that looks like a great deal for $75 with some very appealing items, with the KR backpack (can't find a direct link, it's the double-wide backpack) leading the way for this gamer in particular.  The bag itself is $75 retail, so you get all the other stuff for free if you want to look at it that way, except that the bag needs trays.  Cost on those is ~$80, which makes the deal look not as shiny.  I've been meaning to get a bag for my Legion though, and have looked at KR previously, so this would be a good opportunity to jump in.

What's the final tally I'm currently debating with myself?  Approximately $575 with all the bells and whistles (including getting trays for the KR bag).  This is a considerable amount of money for me and is about ten times what I started off with (just the entry fee).  Can you put a price on convenience, sleep, and dodging traffic?  If so, is that price $500?  I'm not sure it is.  There's plenty of fat to trim (VIP swag, Thursday night, food package), but there's also the dealer room to consider.  I'm sure there will be lots of shiny stuff there, quite possibly at an attractive discount.

Going into this, my first con experience, I didn't expect to do things on a shoe-string budget.  Working the calculator today has been a bit of a rude awakening though, so perhaps some adjustments are in order.  At least I have a couple months to ponder/prepare.


  1. Now you know what what I deal with every Thursday! The commute, not the costs...

    1. The DMV's hellish traffic situation is the main reason I'm contemplating spending hundreds of dollars to stay at a hotel that is perhaps 20 miles from my house.

  2. Demitra,

    I went to the Nova Open last year to play in the WH40K tournament, so some notes for you:

    1) I wouldn't sweat the dealer's room too much, as last year there were only 3 dealers, with a big focus on the WH40K crowd. From memory, it was Battle Foam, The Warstore (with almost no WM/H stuff), Spikey Bits (all WH40K Bits), plus a table for Gav Thorpe to sell and sign books at.

    2) The rooms aren't that great. They look nice, but unless they've redone all the bathrooms, the showers were made with no door on the stall. The bed was decently comfortable, but the pillows weren't great (bring your own if you're picky about pillows).

    3) Food - No fridge unless you pay extra, but several food places in walking distance. The entire reason they're offering the weekend meal deal is because of complaints about the food (it's VERY pricey at the hotel). I wouldn't expect it to be delivered to the table.

    4) Commute vs Hotel - I would compare the cost of travel to the cost of hotel/parking (or just hotel if you bum a ride). While I don't think the hotel is great, you'll also want to be able to hang out with folks you meet, so I would recommend staying there just so you can socialize more (i/e go to grab some late night food w/ other players, etc).

    I live too far to drive, and can't afford plane tickets this year, but it was a blast and I wanna do it again in the future.