Monday, January 16, 2023

Dean Con 2023

 Perhaps it wasn’t an “official” convention with a proper name, a program, and all of that, but I had the opportunity to get together with my sons for a two-day game gathering this weekend.  All three of us are employed by organizations that observe all federal holidays, so this was a three day weekend for all of us. That allowed us to seize the day(s).  We had been awaiting an opportunity to do so since younger son William arrived back in this general area in October.  Elder son Norman’s house was the obvious location, as he has been able to take over a finished basement room as his gaming and hobby space, with an adequate 5x6 foot table. 

Norman’s space, with the inevitable Really Useful Boxes neatly organized on shlves

As it worked out, we didn’t need the whole table, since the main program was a series of DBA games using various historical armies from our joint 1/72 scale plastic collection.  Norman had noted that we have at least 20 armies available to us at the moment, so he has decided to pit them against each other in an effort to determine which is the most powerful/successful.  He has divided them into four divisions of five armies each.  Each division will see each army play the others in a round robin format, with the two most successful armies in each division advancing to an elimination bracket tournament.  Some quick math will show that the divisional tournaments will consist of ten games each, and the final elimination will have three rounds of four, two, and one game respectively, for a grand total of 47 games.  This will not be a one-weekend effort.  Perhaps he will write something up about this eventually on his blog…

Between Saturday and Sunday, we completed the ten games of the first division.  Since William doesn’t own any of these armies, and Norman owns most of them, we tend to play somewhat objectively, and do not generally treat this as though it were a map campaign, with a strong personal identification with the fortunes of a particular army.  

Bronze Age Libyans face off against early Arameans

Once we had enough of DBA and needed a break, Norman set up a 19th century imagi-nations scenario.  We used (again) the rules in Neil Thomas’s book Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe.  As with our Thanksgiving weekend, Norman chose one of the included historical scenarios, the battle of Oeversee from the Austrian/Danish War of 1864:


Neil Thomas is a proponent of fast, compact games.  This scenario is intended for a 2’ x 2’ space:


We had set it up on the 3’ by 3’ ground cloth we had been using for the DBA games before we looked closely at the scenario and concluded that the table was even smaller.  That’s how we ended up pulling a second ground cloth out of our ready supply of ground cloths and resetting. The town and bridge were provided by the usual toy soldier-appropriate Castle Blocks and the trees are from Norman’s old collection of 6mm scenery.  Wooden trees seen in some earlier battle reports are part of my collection of childhood toys, and weren’t part of what I was requested to bring.

As can be seen from the set-up above, there was little room to maneuver.  The “Danish” forces, at the bottom of the picture and represented by Norman’s white-coated Elabruners were a rearguard.  Their orders were to hold the “Austrians” (represented by Norman’s Occiterrans) for ten turns to allow the remainder of their army, off-board, to retreat.  The Occiterrans were restricted by a doctrinal preference for the bayonet over firepower, but also started with their artillery deployed on a hill safely beyond a stream, and with the range to bombard the Elabrun infantry from the beginning.  William commanded the Occiterrans, and pushed aggressively forward, clearing the road in just six turns, so the game did not take long.


We had some supper, and spent the evening with some board games.  We played several rounds of 
Kingdomino, which I received as a gift from my parents at Christmas.  It’s a fast and engaging Eurogame, and I’m not surprised to find that it received the Game of the Year (Spiel des Jahres) award in 2017.  We also played a round of Azul.  We’ve been playing quite a bit of Azul on Board Games Arena, one of our favorite online hangouts since the plague, but this was the first time I actually played with a physical copy.

I will have a separate post soon about my recent revisitation of some 6mm projects.  I took my 6mm Hordes of the Things/DBA collection, handily contained in a large tackle box, with me this weekend.  On Sunday morning, Norman and I continued with the DBA 3.0 theme, but switched over to 6mm and pitted some early Franks against 3rd century Romans.



Both games were routs, one for the Romans, and then one for the Franks.  I have had the Roman fortress for many years (a TCS Model, now sadly no longer in business, but once a mainstay of the Historicon/Cold Wars dealers’ room), but I believe this may be the first time it has actually featured on the table as an active fort.  In any case, I enjoyed seeing the “little guys” out on the table.  They were most recently on the table as fantasy forces in an experimental playtest game we had at Huzzah in 2015, and, according to my records, were most recently deployed as actual ancients in May 2012, also at a Huzzah.  As I recall, that was also a test, of the Basic Impetus rules.  These figures used to be my usual portable set, and were therefore along at conventions as a contingency game.

Huzzah 2015 6mm fantasy playtest

I asked Norman this weekend whether he recalled how it was that we got away from this well-used project, a staple of my kids’ childhoods.  He noted that, to the best of his recollection, we started down the path of recreating a Hordes of the Things set up in 1/72 scale after he realized, while fiddling with the wargaming impedimenta around the house, that an Italeri Saracen was just the right size and shape to ride a plastic dinosaur from a Jurassic Park board game.  On such chances do the fortunes of our lives depend …

We closed out the weekend with a game of the popular board game Terraforming Mars, which took a little longer than we had estimated.  I look forward to a rematch, now that I have some slight idea of what I am trying to do. 

It was a good start to the gaming year, and I hope that we will be able to gather again soon, even if not for a two day extravaganza.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Reflections on 2022

 My brother and I had a chance to play a couple of games during our family Christmas visit.  We had agreed that the game this year would be Dragon Rampant, and that the theme would be “No Ral Partha”.  I certainly have nothing against Ral Partha, but we have been playing a lot of Ral Partha Chaos Wars in a demo game context, and we usually feel obliged to stick to Ral Partha figures when we do. We thought it would be nice to allow some of the other figures a chance to shine on the table.



My 1977 Minifig NS spearmen fend off my brother’s Archive wolfriders


1974 vintage Minfig ME Gondorian spearmen face some Adina hobgoblins

As you can see, we were restricted to a small space

We had intended to set up on a larger table at the local games store, but they have not yet re-opened their gaming tables post pandemic, so we made do with a space of about 4’ by 3’ at our parents’ house.  It was good to see all the very vintage figures on the table.  We had each brought two warbands, and, apparently inspired by the same thought, each had a warband of orcs and a warband of humans.  It was a bad day for orcs all around; my humans defeated his orcs, and my orcs were defeated by his humans.

While there are a few days left in the year, and while I do have a Five Leagues from the Borderlands solo skirmish game pending, it is likely that this will have been the final game for the year. (In my counting, I generally count multiple sessions of a single rules set played back to back as a single log entry.) If so, it was number 40 for the year. While short of the 52 games that are my notional goal each year, it is still a respectable total, and one that I am pretty happy with. Similarly, I might get another miniature or two painted, but if I don’t, I finished about 173 figures of 1/72 scale or larger this year, plus a handful of 6mm ancients which can’t be counted in the same way as larger figures.  It’s a few more than I completed in 2021, but it is a number which should prompt me to a bit of caution when it comes to taking on new projects.  


There was a thread on the Lead Adventure Forum recently, and someone was musing about whether the new projects that we are all prone to take on would ever see the table, and, if so, how many times.  I realized that I had some actual data on that.  Being a very Old School gamer, my logs are hand written, and contained in a series of notebooks.  I dug them all out, and was interested to note that I have been doing this for longer that I remembered, with the first year logged being 1999.  So I have 24 years of data (less the balance of December after the 5th when I did the counting) covering 805 games.  With an average of 33+ games per year, this year’s 40 is solidly above average.

Attempting to answer the question of which of my collections of figures had been on the table more frequently, I might be off by a few games here or there.  The results were tallied by hand, and the data was spread across about 15 different notebooks.  Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether a 25mm fantasy game played in 2003, say, had any of my own figures in it.  These counts are divided by the miniatures, and most of them represent the same collection being used with multiple sets of rules.

As you can see, the 25mm fantasy collection takes the top prize with about 96 appearances on the table, followed by the Not Quite Seven Years War collection with 74 appearances.  By the time you get down to a tie for 6th place by 25mm Dark Ages and 40mm Renaissance at about 21 games each, one might note that those projects have been on the table less than once a year on the average, and with a frequency less than a quarter of that of first place. I should note that both of those projects have been in a playable state since before 1999, when the records start.  Two of the most frequently played projects, 1/72 scale fantasy/medieval/ancients and 54mm medieval, are younger than the records, both having been started around 2003.  I was also interested to note that the French and Indian War project is still solidly in 4th place, despite not having been on the table since 2016.  There were a lot of F&IW games early on in the records.

When you put all those numbers together, I think that I am coming to the conclusion that it would make sense to try to concentrate on doing more with the top projects.  I would like to work on one side project which isn’t yet playable, with the main candidates being 54mm medieval/fantasy flats and 40mm 19th century/Franco-Prussian War from Schneider and other vintage German molds.  This is where this year’s painting numbers are a caution flag; even a simple One Hour Wargames pair of armies would amount to 10 units of 2 stands each per side (well, not the artillery), with 4-6 figures per unit, or something like 88 foot, 16 horse, and 4 guns with crew total, which would represent somewhat more than two thirds of the total I painted last year.  That’s not unthinkable, but would be a major commitment.  I suppose it’s time to paint a few of them and see what I really think about working with them.




Monday, December 5, 2022

Home Cast 40mm Renaissance Revival and Other Random Events

 A lot has been going on since I last blogged, both in life and in hobby activities.

My younger son has returned to this part of the world, so, with both sons relatively nearby, we are looking forward to some family wargmaing time.  However, moving just before the holidays has meant that everyone has a lot of activity already scheduled.  We did manage to get a good game in on the margins of the Thanksgiving feasting last week:

We played the Battle of Montebello scenario from Neil Thomas’s Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe. There’s a full report on elder son Norman’s blog.

I managed to get my limited French Revolution collection on the table for a solo game recently.  



This was in service of a playtest of some new horse and musket large skirmish rules currently in development, so I won’t comment on that part of it, but it was good to see these figures on the table.  While Norman ran a game with them at an HMGS convention in the mid-teens, I personally haven’t had them on the table since 2009.  Until November, they had been my second longest unplayed project, topped only by my neglected little 6mm Spanish Civil War collection, which was last on the table in 2005.  I plan to bring out the French and Indian War figures (last played in 2016 when Ross came down for Fall In) for the next playtest, but with the holidays, that might be a few weeks yet.

A few weeks ago I visited Days of Knights, my friendly local game store, and was surprised to find that the latest release in Osprey’s series of role playing games was a “clockpunk” Italian Renaissance game, set in a 1510 that included advanced Leonardo da Vinci technology.


Now, as it happens, I have a 40mm 16th century toy soldier project already in hand, and I am currently the possessor of some Leonardo-type machines built by my friend Chris Palmer back in the late 1990s. I dug them out to take a look, and found them all to still be in good shape:



We used these for a year or so and then got distracted (as is so often the case).  Chris dug out some print pictures of them in action back around 1998.  Here’s a sample:


So I have spent much of my reading time these last few weeks gathering inspiration to jump back into the period, with a historical book on the early Italian Wars, and a historical novel (Prince of Foxes) on Cesare Borgia.  In podcasts, I’ve been listening to quite a bit of the Yarkshire Gamer’s Reet Big Wargames Podcast lately, and Ken Reilly, the eponymous Gamer, has been displaying his Italian Wars project lately, for additional inspiration.  So, we’ll see what becomes of that.  I am always glad when the Muses grant some inspiration relating to something already in my collection at a playable level.

I have been trying out the “slapchop” painting technique on some old Hinchliffe Byzantines.  That deserves a separate report later…


Sorry about the picture quality there…

I tried out Nordic Weasel Games fantasy solo skirmish campaign system, Five Leagues from the Borderlands, a topic which also deserves its own post.  Just for fun, I am playing it using my collection of 1/72 fantasy/medieval figures.


And, last for today, I sent Ross Macfarlane the one good copy of a semi-flat lady riding sidesaddle recently.  This is from a mold by the Adolf Hoehmann company, which apparently operated up into the 1990s and produced a series of molds, both copied from Schneiders and originals.  Information on them was found in the book on German molds I obtained in the summer.
Here’s the catalog page, as provided in the electronic add-ons to the book.  The lady is part of a series of molds making a convey and escorts, and is really intended to be 16th century, although her dress looks generic enough to me to pass for other time periods.  It is unfortunate that these molds are very scarce; the lady was the only one from this series in an estate being broken up on eBay this year.

So, that’s the news from here; lots happening, for a pleasant change!










 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Some recent 1/72 scale painting


I would suppose that there is not a wargamer out there who ever gets as much painting done as they hope to.  Most of the summer was occupied by other activities this year, and the fall is getting off to a slow start as well.  I was responsible for running an emergency response exercise for the office last month, which was taking up most of my crerative energy, but, when it finally came time to run it, I ended up with a long weekend in Tooele, Utah, with not much to do except to settle in with my portable painting kit.  I finished up 22 figures in a weekend, including this little dragon which I bought from the local game store while I was there. (The dragon also came with the large skull, which I painted up figuring that I could find a use for a giant/ogre skull for something.)  I have been trying to fill out my planned orders of battle for the five countries involved in my Northlands solo campaign, so I particularly wanted to get some orcs done.  I also had a group of cows (a very small herd, I suppose) that I wanted to add as a baggage element.  Beyond that, I was willing to go with whatever inspired me.



 

I wasn’t sure what to do with the cows.  My wife suggested that I look at “belted cows”. I hadn’t heard of this as a color pattern, and there aren’t any that I have noticed locally.


However, it looked like it would be very easy to paint, so, belted cows they are.  Since they are usually going to be deploed into a fantasy setting, I don’t need to worry about when the breed was developed or any of the rest of that “realism” stuff.



In addition to the bases, I finished up 7 individuals.  The orcs are destined for the Rangers of Shadow Deep campaign I am playing co-op with Chris Palmer, and the rest are an ecelectic assortment of Strelets, Caesar and Dark Alliance figures.  The 8th figure, at the far right, was finished before the trip but finally based up with the rest when I got home.  

As mentioned, at one point I took a break from the painting to walk down the street to the game store, Game Haven, where I picked up the Wizkids dragon and a couple of bottles of paint.  There was a Joann’s fabric and craft store next door, so I ducked in there to see if I could find something that would work for scenery.  I had the sudden notion that I might play a skirmish game with all of the freshly painted figures. 


I came out with a camoflage bandanna, a plastic plant, and some tan cardstock, and whipped up this. 


My son Norman looked over the available troops and suggested that the rational scenario was humans and orcs squabbling over cattle … until the dragon arrives.  I think that would have worked out, except that time and energy ran out before I could implement it.  Nevertheless, it does seem that it should be possible to have some sort of starter game on the table fairly quickly, should one need or wish to.

After getting home and getting the basing done, it took a couple of weeks to get back to the painting table.  I started in on some Dark Alliance orcish warg riders, but set them aside briefly to allow a heavy wash to dry.  Before I knew it, I was finishing up two “big guys” who had be in progress for a while.  The big eared one is a troll (or “bunyip” in the Dean family) from the sadly out-of-production Caesar Adventurers set, and the other is a Dark Alliance cyclops.  The Airfix Robin Hood figure is just there to give an idea of the scale.




With both sons due to be back in the area, family conversation has turned to DBA/Hordes of the Things armies, so I decided to try to make some progress on an ancient Nubian army (DBA I/3 if that helps) to add to the family Bronze Age collection.



I managed to finish up two warband stands and a skirmisher, so I have two skirmishers and nine bow stands (including a general) to go.  


Monday, October 10, 2022

Barrage XXV, 23-24 September 2022

 It is hard to believe that the HAWKs reached Barrage 25 this year; it still seems like only yesterday when someone suggested at a club meeting that a game day would be a good idea.  We went to two days a couple of years ago, and this year we had over 200 attendees including club members.

Unfortunately for me, I had to miss the Friday events, as I was returning from a work trip to Utah over which I did not have schedule control, and didn’t walk in the door at home until 9:30PM on Friday.  I was signed up to run a Not Quite Seven Years War game on Saturday morning.  While I had spent the weekend before the trip organizing my flea market offerings, and ensuring that I knew where all of the Bronze Age gear that my son Norman was going to need was stowed, I did not have the NQSYW scenario materials pulled out.

Therefore, I got an early start on Saturday morning, pulled all the stuff up from the basement, and got it loaded.  It still wasn’t early enough to avoid a bridge closure due to a running event, but at least I knew that it was likely to be happening this year.  Carrying around a stack of boxes loaded with Charge! regiments in 40mm does leave me wondering these days whether I should be recreating the NQSYW in something a little more portable, such as 1/72 scale plastics …


Chris Palmer brought the North Polenburger army, so the scenario involved an attempt by the Northern Alliance, here represented primarily by North Polenburg, to hold a bridge long enough to allow an evacuation after nightfall.  The Pragmatic Coalition was represented by Schoeffen-Buschhagen, Wachovia, and the Imperial Free City of Wiegenburg, as usual. 


The North Polenburg 32nd Dragoons made an impressive display on their gray horses, as usual.


They fought well, although there was one moment when the lone Wachovian Hussar standard bearer fought off a pair of Dragoons and preserved the flag; a commendation is no doubt in order.


As the battle progressed, the Coalition left flank gradually pushed in the Alliance’s right, in a series of cavalry charges and countercharges so typical of the rules.  The Wiegenburg Regiment (center right) in their white coats (and leading their mascot into the action) suffered heavy casualties in a direct assault on the Alliance line defending the bridge and were eventually forced to withdraw.  A follow-on attack by the Schoeffen-Buschagen Adelmann Regiment, though, was more than the defenders could withstand, and the game ended with the Alliance forces being compelled to withdraw in disorder, seeking an alternative crossing location.


It was, as always, nice to have the NQSYW back on the table.  As I’ll discuss below, there are several reasons why that project is on the top of my mind right now.

Norman has been working steadily on expanding the Bronze Age 1/72 project since last year’s Barrage, and he staged an afternoon game of Egyptians versus a Sea Peoples alliance using his home rules (NURD: Norman’s Universal Rules Design) which looked like it went well.  He ended up coming up prepared to rebase a few of my Egyptian chariots on the spot, to ensure that the Egyptians had the numbers needed.


My flea marketeering went well.  I arrived with four boxes of stuff and returned home with two, plus  $370 in pocket, so I was pleased.  It’s no fault of Reaper Miniatures, but I sold off a lot of Bones 5 figures.  I have concluded that I am more interested in recreating (or perhaps just creating) the vision of fantasy miniatures I had in my youth, so I expect to be putting my effort into expanding my vintage 25mm collection instead of trying to keep up with the latest styles.  


Afterword:

I mentioned that there were a couple of reasons why the NQSYW was on my mind.  Back in August, right after Gen Con, my pre-ordered copy of Henry Hyde’s Wargaming Campaigns arrived.  As might be expected with Henry Hyde, horse and musket campaigning is front and center, so perhaps this will finally kick me over the edge into doing another NQSYW map-based campign.


Additionally, William, my second son and the originator of the Pragmatic Coalition’s Imperial Free City of Wiegenburg, has landed a job in the Washington DC area, and will be returning to this general area next week.  His appointment is for at least a year, so his brother and I have been considering some possible agendas for game days, especially since Norman’s basement, as seen  back in June is suitable for miniatures.








Friday, September 2, 2022

Gen Con 2022 — Better late than never …

 

We (myself, my brother, and my wife) made it to Gen Con  again this year, after being on hiatus since 2019.  I did participate in the 2020 virtual convention, and I would have gone last year, except for the pandemic-related rescheduling that moved it to a weekend when I could not travel due to work commitments.

After the usual participation in the planning phases starting in January with the room lottery, it was finally time to pack things up and get on the road on the 2nd of August.  My brother had signed us up to run two miniatures games, a Burrows and Badgers skirmish, and a Chaos Wars mass battle.  I was to provide one of three B&B battlefields, and three of six B&B war bands.  That didn’t take up much space, so I was able to strap it all together in a stack of Really Useful Boxes, a 12-liter, a 4-liter, and a 2.5 liter (the latter my usual GM paraphenalia box).


While we chose to drive this year, that would have fit into the overhead compartment of a passenger aircraft, so I was pleased to be able to keep things compact.

Irene and I got in late on Tuesday, the 3rd of August, after having struggled with accidents and construction along the way.  The map software estimate a 10.5 hour trip, but we nneded about 13 hours, with the disruptions. Our plan had been to check in, get our wristbands from the vaccination check station, and have dinner with my brother, but that did not end up happening. The vaccination check station was already closing when we checked into the hotel.

We ended up with a room at the Conrad downtown, way up in the air.  The Conrad is more or less at the northeast corner of the collection of hotels attached to the convention center by an enclosed skywalk.  Judging from my walking times, it was about three quarters of a mile over to the far end of the convention center, where we would be running miniatures.


As usual, Indianapolis was more or less ready for the influx of nerds.


We got our wristbands bright and early on Wedneday, with no waiting.  On top of that, Will Call (where I had a few paper tickets from late-added events to collect) opened early, so we got through that with no wait either.  There was a wait for purchasing Gen Con merchandise, and attendees were pressed into service as gonfaloniers (there’s a word you don’t need every day …) to allow folks to rally appropriately on the end of the line.


We all had lunch at the District Tap (which did have the Sun King Gen Con beer on tap), and then my brother came back to our room for a quick round of Burrows and Badgers for practice.  


Wednesday events are free, though ticketed.  There seemed to be fewer of them this year. Nevertheless, we were all signed up that evening for our first scheduled event, a demo of a card game called Usurp the King.  It was, uh, interesting.  There were six rounds of card laying followed by a resolution phase ordered by card type.  After that was all over, the table situation was compared to a hierarchical chart of victory conditions.  While there was technically no randomness and only a little bit of hidden information, there was also very little ability to predict whether a play would be useful or not, so I didn’t feel like I had any control over winning or losing. Ultimately, not recommended …

Irene and I had a seminar on ballroom history (with a section on how to use this in your LARP) to start Thursday, after which my brother and I ran the official B&B game.  We got 5 of 6 registered players, which I thought was pretty good.  There have been conventions where the pre-registrant appearance rate was under 50%.  B&B is optimized for two-player play, so we got a six-player game by running three simultaneous two-player games. We used the same scenario on all three tables, a “Capture the Paychest” thing where finding and dragging off a treasure chest was the objecctive, regardless of the terrain. My brother had to fill in to even up the number of players.  I have to say, despite being a somewhat detailed set of rules, all of our public B&B games have gone very well. Kudos to Michael and Jo Lovejoy for the rules and the charming miniatures!

After the game, I ended up having enough time to drop the miniatures off at the hotel room (the Conrad being about a 12 minute walk each way from the ICC) and get back in time for the one speed painting round I had signed up for. These involve painting a pre-primed miniature with a limited palette of 12 colors using two brushes of dubious quality in 45 minutes. The figure we got was a Reaper Miniatures “Persephone”.  I was fortunate enough to be first in my round, and so maintain my streak of qualifying for a final every year I’ve tried this, despite the dubious brushes. I had to decline the actual final this year, though, as I already had another event scheduled.


After the speed painting, I did a quick recon of the Exhibit Hall.  I ended up having dinner from the food trucks (reasonably familiar Mexican street tacos) before heading on to my one scheduled RPG event of the weekend.  This was a Monster of the Week game (a Powered by the Apocalypse implementation) run by the folks from the Crit Show live play podcast.  As with the one I played at Gen Con Online 2020, we quickly built characters, formed a team, and tackled a mystery, improv’ed to the extent that the team wasn’t predictable in advance.  I played a time-traveled magician from Arrthurian times, and the mystery involved finding and destroying the “anchor” keeping a malevolent ghost in a haunted house.  I’d play with them again.

On Friday, Irene and I had two sessions of dance with the ladies of Counts to Nine.  We have danced with them before, and they were thrilled to see Irene (and me) back.  The second of these was an intro to Celtic dance, which is very energetic.  They had been hoping for a couple of years to be in a position to offer an intermediate class and go a little deeper, and we were signed up for that on Saturday. 

I followed up the dancing with some 6mm SYW action, Prussians versus Austrians.  This got off to a slow start due to a decision to have the sides choose their set ups sequentially from scratch.  This is not a decision I would make for my own games unless the number of elements each player was deploying was, say, five or fewer.  The rules, from The Games of War by John Bobek, were ok; my side lost, but it was nice to see some historicals there.

On Saturday morning, my brother and I had five players for the Chaos Wars game; unfortunately we had one player elect not to continue before the end, so I jumped in to take over the abandoned position for the last hour.  The scenario was an elf/human punitive expedition into the territory of the orc/undead/lizardman alliance.  In retrospect, there might have been a few too many monsters on the table for a satisfying game.

After Chaos Wars, Irene and I had enough “leg” left to get through the Intermediate Celtic Dance class, but Michael Flatley doesn’t need to fear for his job on my account.  Irene and I had a quiet (early) dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory after a brief foray into the Exhibit Hall. By Saturday night we were both hitting the wall, but I did hobble over to the JW Marriot to look at open gaming set up in one of the ballrooms.

While “open”, there was some organization to assist you, and various flags and cones were available from a headquarters desk, to assist you in recruiting the appropriate people for your table.


I’m not sure the wide angle lens is providing the proper impression of the scale of the open gaming area, so you might want to tap on that picture and take a closer look.  Most of the tables were playing various board games, both new and classic, but I saw a few roleplaying games going on, and a table of Gaslands miniartures as well.

We finished up with ticketed events on Sunday morning with one more dance, after which I finished shopping.  I didn’t really intend to do a lot of shopping this year, but I came home with a few t-shirts, the annual pin, a few odd little indie rpgs, and a few other bits and bobs.

We took a commemorative picture, had a farewell meal with my brother at the restaurant attached to the Downtown Marriott, and then headed home, with a planned overnight stop in Columbus.

By the way, after it was too late to do anything about it at the convention, I learned that the Pin Bazaar event event this year included a pin memorializing the rather distinctive carpet pattern from the Indianapolis Convention Center, as seen in the picture above.  Happily, I was able to acquire one after the convention.


Overall, it was a good con, and I was glad to be back among my tribe for a while.  It looks like the vaccination requirement, the masking, the handwashing, and perhaps an element of good luck, were sufficient for us to avoid the plague.

Now it’s time to start planning our events for next year …