Each year, we try to find more and more things to add to the NOVA for the "cost of the CAP," to help transform it over time into a well-rounded convention, instead of its early founding as primarily a gaggle of collocated, but ultimately isolated tournaments.
Two things stand out as heavily expanded and fleshed out this year to that end, giving people a lot more to do socially and gaming wise for the cost of attendance and nothing more.
First off, we're bringing back the Board Game room from last year, but expanding it pretty dramatically. Atlantis Comics and Games, which runs the room, will be running board tournaments, events, collaborative games, and more all weekend long with a proper, robust schedule of activities. So there'll actually be organizational support, potential rewards, and more. Furthermore, all events are free w/ a CAP (or Day Pass). In the same room, we'll have a lot of free Magic the Gathering activities as well throughout each day, with at-cost Limited Booster events in the evenings. Stay tuned to the newsletter for a list of all the board gaming events for the weekend. It's a TON, and it's gonna be awesome!
Second off, last year a few musical members of the staff wound up pulling out guitars and other things to jam in the Charity Lounge. In support of that, and with a few of the members of http://embrymusic.com (yes, this is my and my wife's band), as well as a few members of the NOVA Open staff, we'll be jamming most nights in the Lounge. But we'll also have a couple of 2-hour more formal sets with a wide range of fun sing-along-able songs to play, ranging from rowdy Irish drinking songs to popular music we all know and love from the last 50 or 60 years. You can check out the Embry set list for an idea of the types of things you might hear. This is another outgrowth of what makes NOVA happen each year - a combination of the developing passions of our various organizers, board members, and volunteers, as well as responsiveness to the outcome of surveys and feedback that attendees provide (folks loved the lounge jamming last year, and wanted more; people didn't quite know about the board game room last year, and wanted a more robust and well-organized time to enjoy it around).
Cya at NOVA!