The Ceresia Campaign – a NOVA Open 40k Trios Team retrospective

“‘Ollanius Persson, retired,’ says the man. ‘I’m trying to fight my way out of this shit hole. You boys want to come along?’
Krank nods.
‘Safety in numbers,’ he says.
‘Or company in death,’ replies the old guy. ‘But I’ll take either. Grab your guns.'”

For the last few years, I’ve been attending the Nova Open with a few guys from my gaming group. Besides the Toledo Game Room‘s awesome bits selection, the Trios Team Tournament has been a staple fixture for us. For the uninitiated, Nova’s own description sums it up best:

“The Warhammer 40,000 Trios Team Tournament at the NOVA Open is a twist on always-popular team play for 40K. Players register and compete in teams of three. Over the course of three rounds on Thursday each player battles once on their own using a full size army list, and twice using a smaller list partnered with each of their teammates. This gives players a chance to field all their usual toys, and requires them to be able to fight on their own, but also ensures two great games battling alongside two friends, an excellent way to play 40K!  NOVA 40K Trios is intended to be a fun, casual event, with significant emphasis on teams’ narrative theme, and an individual Warlord Achievements track alongside the primary team scoring.”

Pretty straightforward. Two games with a friend, one game on your own. Emphasis on narrative and fun. What could go wrong?

What initially drew me to this event (besides peer pressure) was the fact that I could throw down with my friends in tow in a not-nearly-as-serious environment as, say, the 40k GT. It’s a great chance to channel our inner Oll Persson and Krank (from Dan Abnett’s Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear, above), and enjoy safety in numbers or company in death. That, however, only gets your foot in the door.

What’s kept me coming back is the great gameplay, generally relaxed environment, and awesome hobby on display. I can’t labor that last point enough – for a ‘tournament’, the hobby standard is well above par, and you can find fantastic examples of people’s best work on display. You can find examples from last year’s event at the TO’s blog here. Last year’s event was particularly fun for our team. Rewarding, too – since we won the overall event. I’m proud of that accomplishment, as we put a lot of effort into the narrative and the display boards for our forces.

Evan Valdyke’s awesome Krieg Riders army

For those interested, here’s our narrative from the 2017 event:

Pt. 1

At the close of the Plague Wars, Ultramar lay in ruins. Dozens of worlds were lost, and hundreds others scarred and brutalized by the Death Guard’s savage onslaught. Though the Primarch and his forces had successfully managed to turn the enemy away, the damage done to the many of the five hundred worlds was near total.


Beset on all sides by Traitors, Daemons, and Xenos alike, Guilliman was determined not to lose more systems than absolutely necessary. He thus ordered the Space Marines under his command, including both his own Ultramarines and their successors, to analyze all theatres and reinforce those with the bleakest outlook. One such system was Ceresia, a major agri-world that hosted its own Knight house. The planetary government had poured so much of its resources into subsidizing the knightly houses that its Guard regiments had suffered from equipment and personnel shortages. When Ceresia fell under attack from Necrons of the Sautekh Dynasty, their forces were swiftly overwhelmed. Though a force from the Fulminators Chapter was dispatched to Ceresia, it was lost in the Warp.


As the Ultramarines prepared to undertake a second voyage to Ceresia under a newly elevated Primaris Captain Adon Orestes, a representative of Yvraine, Keloren D’Altear, arrived unannounced. Warning that any voyage through the warp would end in disaster, he offered guidance through the webway to reach Ceresia and back. Though the Eldar’s motivation to assist the Ultramarines could only be guessed at; reluctantly, Orestes agreed.


I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to this year’s tournament and the armies people will bring.


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