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Action Log

24 Jul 2004 6:55 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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nevinsrip24 Jul 2004 5:48 p.m. PST

This is in reply to a report on Historicon listed on the Conventions page.

I am afraid I have to differ with your report. Historicon is NOT a national showpiece for historical gaming. It is a convention for EAST COAST gamers and does not pretend to be anything else.

I arrived on Thursday just before noon, and picked up my pre-registered admission badge within minutes.

Everything was computerized and very professional. I walked around for a few minutes and got on line for the flea market. For me, this is the highlight of the show. People lined up without pushing or arguing and the doors opened right at the stroke of noon. There were some real bargains to be had and within a few minutes I had gone through half my budget. The sellers were friendly and quantity discounts were easily available.

After about a half hour, I trudged back to my car and loaded the trunk with my new found treasures. One of the strengths of Historicon, is the fact that the Flea Market turns over every two hours so that new sellers get a chance to display their goods and buyers are treated to a new selection throughout the day.

From there, I headed to the Dealer Hall. I think it is a great idea to have all the dealers in a separate venue. As the previous reviewer stated there were no fancy
displays or gaudy, circus like exhibitions. Just solid products placed on tables for all to see, touch and admire.

Perhaps you may differ, but I disdain the glitz. I just want to see what the product will look like after I get finished painting, basing and displaying it.

The set up allows access so that you may speak directly with the dealers, who I found were more than happy to spend several minutes explaining how different effects were achieved. There was no "hard sell" anywhere. I had some great conversations with dealers from whom I didn't purchased anything. They were more than happy to talk miniatures. It is this consumer friendly atmosphere that makes shopping at Historicon so enjoyable.

After filing up the car for a second time, I headed over to the game rooms. Let me first state that I am not a gamer, so that my perspective may be different from everyone else's. I just enjoy the beautiful painting and terrain that is everywhere. I have been attending Historicon for many years now, and this year it struck me how many children were there playing in the games. I would estimate that there were double the amount of kids over last year. They were everywhere, and seemed to be very much involved in it. Most looked like they were having the time of their lives. There were plenty of patient adults supervising and I was really struck by how much fun everyone was having. I was truly a delight to see.

In my opinion, the terrain and scenery was not up to last years level. Many of the games were played on green felt mats, rather than the spectacular homemade terrain I saw last year. I guess the absence of Duke Siefried may have had something to do with that. Last year he put on a Lord of The Rings display that was just breathtaking. There was nothing to rival that this year. To be fair, I left Friday night so I may have missed something on the weekend.

As to the location of Lancaster, I think it is an excellent choice. I drove down from New York City and was there in less than three hours. Besides visiting Historicon, there are other attractions in the heart of Amish country. The "family style" restaurants like "Good and Plenty" or "Plain and Fancy" served great country cooking and allowed you to sit with people who had come to Lancaster from all over the country. It was quite fun to share a good meal with complete strangers and enjoy varied conversation.

All in all, I had a wonderful time. I spent a small fortune, got some great bargains and met lots of people who I only knew through screen names previously. Everywhere good cheer abounded and the feeling of fellowship filled the air. It was absolutely refreshing to see whole families enjoying themselves to the maximum. I drove home Friday night with a smile on my face.

Historicon may not be the last word in gaming conventions, but as a person who has been there since it was located in Harrisburg many years ago, it is fine as it is. I'll see you there next year........................BILL

RudyNelson24 Jul 2004 6:01 p.m. PST

since Harrisburg... only a newbie. I was attending Historicon when it was in the DC area in 1984, my first which was Long before many of the current admin were even involved.

The discussion (pre-convention) was of a possible move to Valley Forge next year. Even further away for many dealers. Did you hear any talk on that issue while you were there?

I am glad that you had a good time.

John the OFM24 Jul 2004 6:13 p.m. PST

"In my opinion, the terrain and scenery was not up to last years level. Many of the games were played on green felt mats, rather than the spectacular homemade terrain I saw last year. "

Let me address this. I put on a game which I had to bring down in my car. This was not a Club event, I did not have help. I deliberately limited my dunnage to two large Rubbermaid "caskets" and my "rolls of felt". I CANNOT afford to haul vast cubic yards of terrain uniquely suitable for only one battle in all of history just to satisfy some elitist expectations. I haul my Box O'Trees, my Box O'minis inside my Box O'Hills (and dice, and village, and creeks and rivers...). It looked every bit as good as the games I put on at my club.

The people who played had a good time. Maybe if you were a player, you would have appreciated it more.

Daryl G24 Jul 2004 6:22 p.m. PST

I expect peeps to put a little bit more effort into there games at a convention.. If I came across a table covered in a green cloth and two foam hills I doubt very much I would stop and investigate the game.

And im a gamer, but to me nice looking terrain and figures is as much part of it as the game itself.

MiniGuy24 Jul 2004 7:04 p.m. PST

Terrain is what attracts new people, compels kids to turn their heads and indeed, is one of THE main reasons why I go to conventions. I love a well laid out game and it keeps me coming. When I hear attitudes like John Carroll's above, it helps me to understand why the historical side of the hobby is in a slowly diminishing state. Take it or leave it attitudes and "I'm better than you because you did not start playing in the 70's" type talk is silly and counter-productive. Just got back from the DAWGHOUSE! WHOO HOO!! WHAT a ride.

Big Miller Bro24 Jul 2004 7:44 p.m. PST

just as an aside- who said historicals was diminishing??? Is there any actual proof cause if anything I see more people playing historicals now than we did before.

nevinsrip24 Jul 2004 7:51 p.m. PST

John Carroll.....calm down, John. No one is attacking you or your game. I am very happy for you if you enjoyed yourself. All I stated, was that last years games seemed to have better scenery. Sorry if my OPINION upsets you. I guess that's just "my elitist expectations" comming through. I guess you missed the part of the report that said that everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
There were dozens of games going on, so if you think that I picked you and your felt to single out, you are sadly mistaken. Lighten up, it was just an observation by someone who goes to the convention to enjoy the terrain and painted figures.........BILL

tshintl24 Jul 2004 7:57 p.m. PST

I too am into "eye candy" games. I tend to walk by ones that don't have above average terrain and scenic items, but that is just personal preference and there's lots of people that don't care about these things.

The only two things I would like to see changed for Historicon would be a better location, and more dealer room for the usually more than 50+ dealers put on a waiting list (this and last year).

I mention the location because the Lancaster Host is not the nicest to say the least. I would never stay at their hotel, and chose to stay in another town about 10 minutes outside of Lancaster any time I've been. There may be a couple things to do in Lancaster, but no alot, unless you're into Amish, Pennsylvania dutch, or corn fields for entertainment.

Of course a different location would cost more, but if there was room to fit all the dealers that wanted to attend and have been put on waiting lists, that would be a good start in paying that extra mount.

Just my .02 cents worth.

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2004 8:08 p.m. PST

I sat in on Del Stover, Jay Hadley and the Valley Forge rep's combined presentation of the rationale for a potential move. My major concern is and will remain the enticements for my non gaming family members to come along.

The Valley Forge site sounds better for gaming, a better hotel, and access to a major US city, all things Lancaster lacks. Informal discussion afterwards seemed to indicate negative to neutral opinions with regards to the move.

My couple of days at the convention were enjoyable. I ran 3 games that were all full of gamers and added as many players as I could accomodate. The dealer's hall was the best ever, with some marginal dealers gone. None of the dealers were dead space and the dealers hall is now truly outgrowing the facility.

I saw far more nicely done games than spartan layouts.

Off to bed since my son heads to scout camp at 6 am.

John the OFM24 Jul 2004 9:26 p.m. PST

I apologize to all those who expected me to put on a game which required a forklift to load the terrain on the table. Maybe YOUR attitudes will dissuade me from going to all the "trouble" to haul my puny rolls of felt and my inadequate foam hills.

Perhaps the BOD can be persuaded to set aside a ghetto for those of us who cannot afford to bring their game to the Con in a U-Haul.

I have learned my lesson.

BrianBoru24 Jul 2004 9:37 p.m. PST

To John Carrol:

As a disinterested observer, I can say you need to relax. All the man did was point out that last year's terrain was better.

I have gamed on felt many times. But to be honest with you, when I game at a convention I expect something better. You don't. That's fine. Don't take it so personally, its preference.


John the OFM24 Jul 2004 9:39 p.m. PST

Oh, and one last thing... (said Cleitus the Black, hurrying back to Alexander's tent.)

You DO realize that the vast majority of games have to be taken down again quickly, and that most spots have 3 games scheduled per day?

MiniGuy24 Jul 2004 11:08 p.m. PST

I have a great idea! Let's solve ALL the problems and start a new convention... HISTPLAINICON!

Histplainicon is where every manner of felt can be found and displayed. We can invite dealers such as Jo-Ann Fabrics and JC Penny to show there wares at the show (all the lasets fabric colors and textures!). Only the barest tables will do!

Rules and figures must be excellent however. We'll charge the same as Historicon but do far, far less, when running the games. I think this has real merit! In fact, I'm positive we can get Wargames Illustrated and Miniature Wargames magazines to do a cover shot of the award winning felt!

Think of how many people will be attracted to this. We can tell our kids, "it's really cool, they've got all kinds of felt, some cut like rivers, some cut like roads, some have over 48 square feet of cloth!! Wait till you see it kids, it's a blast!"

Think of it, all the graying, fat, bald guys will be at Hisplainicon and the future of wargaming (which we all once were but no longer know who you are) will be at Historicon! This way, everyone can be happy, the old vetran who loves sewing supplies at Hisplainicon and the future of wargaming, the attraction that turns heads instead of stomachs at Historican! Any takers! LOL!!!!!!!!! Oh no, I feel the Dawghouse door a-knockin' Lord help me!!!

tshintl25 Jul 2004 12:00 a.m. PST

John Carroll,

unless I've missed something in any of the above posts or the original post that seems to have set you off, I don't know what the problem is other than you being upset that a persons opinion is different than yours.

So what if some people like to see games with
"breathtaking" terrain and scenery. That's not everyones opinion. There's plenty of people that don't care about things like that.

All that matters is that you had fun, and those who gamed with you had fun. Why would you ever care what "nevinsrip" or anyone else thinks about the scenery and terrain? It's his opinion, and he is certainly entitled to it. I can hardly see a reason to get all worked up over it, as if he was specifically targeting you.

RavenscraftCybernetics25 Jul 2004 4:33 a.m. PST

actually, Id like to see JoAnne fabrics at a show with a truck load of felt.
John Carol is right, Con games have to be portable, set up quickly and struck even faster.
The time slot you are given isnt flexible.

Big Miller Bro25 Jul 2004 5:57 a.m. PST

I must admit from having both run games at a con and running the whole con it is tough to give people enought time and space to do the real showy stuff. I prefer it over felt but felt is still good enough.

RudyNelson25 Jul 2004 6:04 a.m. PST

John Carroll, be happy with your terrain. Ignore the comments by the negative 'shrubs' (my wife loves that reference from Stargate even though she does not watch it).

I have never used elaborate terrain nor would I expect every game that I play in to have it. The finances vary to greatly among different gamers to have such an expectation.

I have to say to myself what is more important to bring terrain for the game or more minis and books to sell. Terrain always loses. So my terrain is poor even though most people think that I can afford better. Though I must admit with the intro of JR Miniatures to my stock lines I am carrying more but to sell not to play.

Youth do not become interested in playing due to terrain. GW games that I have seen especially at the 40K tournament level tend to have the worst possible terrain layout yet they have plenty of youth playing. They want to see 'the blood flow' which is why they tend to lean toward skirmish (1:1) rather than unit scale games.

E Murray25 Jul 2004 7:16 a.m. PST

Hey, if HISTPLAINICON promises to have excellent rules, I'll be there!

nazrat25 Jul 2004 7:49 a.m. PST

All the games up at the HMGS Cons that I have run have been done with spectacular terrain ON felt. The felt itself was an olive-type green, and had been sprayed with glue and flocked as well. I have NEVER run a game where I didn't win a "Best Game" award for presentation-- where are these anti-felt sentiments coming from, anyway? FELTISTS!

MiniGuy25 Jul 2004 7:52 a.m. PST


All Good Gecko


E Murray

BINGO! You are MEN we're looking for!! That's what I'm talking about! Boring games, boring tables, strong opionions, kids don't like cool things, stick to your old crusty ways! That's it, that's it, now you've go it! See you all at the greatest con of all "HISTPLAINICON"!!!!!!!!

KSmyth25 Jul 2004 8:22 a.m. PST

So MiniGuy,

Which games did your run at Historicon, and what did they look like?


RudyNelson25 Jul 2004 8:24 a.m. PST

Miniguy, it is clear that you do not understand the simple economics of attending conventions as a vendor.

It is nice to know that you have such a well paying job that economics and carrying space is not an issue.

Of course since I have only been going to 24+ shows per year for over 20 years that maybe I do not understand the economics either.

RavenscraftCybernetics25 Jul 2004 8:34 a.m. PST

Im open to any sugestions as to how to cover a 4X8 table in terrain for less than $20 and can be packed up in under 1/2 hr. (plus last 20 to 30 years of doing so)

And while I have had my games called one-sided while trying to balance a scenario, Ive never had them called boring.
Terrain boards are nice to build but pretty much impractical for the scale I play.

John the OFM25 Jul 2004 8:46 a.m. PST

OK. Perhaps I should not be upset. I did not have felt, I had tan automotive interior carpeting, blotchy sprayed with brown and green. But I did have it in rolls.

If there are 300+ games to be put on, how many can have spectacular terrain? Duke's games are set up earlier in the week, and run all convention. He is ... Uncle Duke. Other lobbies can be filled all weekend with Market Garden games. But the vast majority have to be taken down quickly so that the next gamer can put on HIS game one hour after yours is finished. I CANNOT let the game go on for an extra hour like I would at home or at the Shop, because someone is waiting for my table, and needs at least a half hour to setup his game. I cheat, by always asking for a 8:00 or 9:00 AM game. I MUST have an empty table within a half hour of the scheduled end of my game. This is not just common courtesy. This is a neccessity.

I feel that the 90% of us representing small clubs, or just ourselves were slapped in the face. I am not a professional, I had myself and my son to set up my game and take it down, and it had to come down and go back home in the back of a Subaru.

It's the game, it's the figures, it's the rules, it's the people. If you have the resources to put on a 3-ring circus, good for you. If I have to break down so the next guy can do a 15mm Wilson's Creek or 1:300 Golan Heights at 2:00 at the same table I did my FIW skirmish game at 9:00, I will bring my rolls of felt, excuse me, automotive carpeting and foam hills, and feel that my game is every bit as valid as Helm's Deep. Remember, that is us 90% who are the hobby.

(Leftee)25 Jul 2004 9:08 a.m. PST

Nevinsrip stated perspective was one of a terrainophile. Not a gamer. He was quite implicit in this. So, naturally, that is what he would notice. He did mention the great attendance, lots of kids, patient adults etc. so kudos to the grey haired 70's gamers who are (despite what others are posting) fostering a new generation.
On felt; gaming takes imagination. Some of the best games and some of the worst, have been on felt. Same with terrain boards.
Unprimed, non-based, unpainted minis is the only place I draw the line at a convention -almost impossible to see this at an historical convention anyway. So, really no issue. Let's just consider the good experience the initial poster had and go with that.
Viva Feltisma!

Perris070725 Jul 2004 11:05 a.m. PST

I ran a game at Historicon several years ago that I dragged all the way out from northern Wisconsin. I used felt over geo-hex ridges and hills. I made it look as good as I could. John's point is very valid. As one gamer, or family of gamers, it is a difficult task to set up and take down a game in order to fit in the allotted time. I ran a major battle of the Franco Prussian War in 15mm with about 150,000 troops represented! The guys that gamed it loved it. Many came back the second day to refight the same battle. Several guys went out and bought new figures for the period! While I thoroughly enjoyed the games, I would not go through all the work it took to haul out, set up, and run(and damage to my figures...)again lightly. I thoroughly appreciate John's comments. It is a LOT of work for one or two people to put on a game.

The point is you can have FUN either with or without expensive terrain layouts. I have enjoyed many a game on bare tables. I also enjoy looking at the fabulously painted armies and great terrain layouts. I enjoy it all - it's a hobby. Variety is the spice of life. Game on!

nevinsrip25 Jul 2004 12:41 p.m. PST

To all you felt people.........your game is fine. There was no insult intended to any of you. If you are happy playing on a felt mat.... then great!! For you the game is the thing. As I mentioned in my original post I DO NOT GAME. I just enjoy the visual appeal of a well done terrain system therefore, a felt mat is not my personal cup of tea. I never said one system is better than the other. It was and is my own opinion.

The reason I never got into gaming is the prevailing attitude of people like Mr. Carroll, who has taken such offense at my opinion. When I first started attending conventions, in the middle seventies, the hobby was infested by old men who did nothing but fight over the most minute portion of complicated rules. Rule seven, page eight, paragraph 14, subdivision 2C, in the second appendix clearly states..........Blah, Blah, Blah. For the life of me, I don't know how any newcomer to the hobby ever made it through that period. It was strictly the "old Boys" network and if you were not a member, you were ostracized and ignored. That attitude seems to still survive among some people today.

I have met many wonderful people while attending these conventions. 99% are helpful, courteous, and more than willing to spend their time explaining different techniques to you. Most are very friendly. As I mentioned in my original post, there was a wonderful feeling in the air at Historicon. I was nice to see that, in these days where the country seems to be so divided.

So, John Carroll, enjoy you game, your felt, and the people who played it with you. You seem to have a knack for missing the point, as I recall your post of a few weeks ago, where a gentleman asked for some uniform help and your advice to him was to buy a uniform book. It is people like you who make the hobby so enjoyable................BILL

John the OFM25 Jul 2004 1:22 p.m. PST

I was going to let this drop, but since I am now responsible for keeping generations of people from joining and enjoying the hobby...

YOUR opinion clearly states that the way I do things is inferior to what you enjoy. The snottty superior attitude is clearly on your side, not mine.

As for the book, it was partly in jest, but come on. You DO need a uniform book. You can't just go on line for help everytime you want to paint a new regiment.

The G Dog Fezian25 Jul 2004 1:31 p.m. PST

The initial point I take exception to is the assertion that Historicon is a 'regional' show. I've been to regional shows - Historicon ain't one of them. Whether it was intentional or not, Historicon has become the flagship miniature gaming convention in the United States.

Look at the length of the convention, the number of games, the number of attendees and the number of vendors that attend Historicon and tell me its a 'regional' convention. If it quacks like a duck...its a duck!


Felt...99% dolphin friendly!

MiniGuy25 Jul 2004 3:05 p.m. PST

So, tell me, has anyone ever run the numbers to see how many people play each game? What I mean is this: what will attract new comers, table after table of using imagination on felt OR snappy terrain COMBINED with great figs and rules (and believe me, imagination is not lost on a table like that)? What are the stats of running 2 or 3 mediocre games on one table, as opposed to 1 great (terrain and all) game setup all day and ran more than once? I tell you, you will attract more people with the later than the former. The former is for those who want to experience the hobby as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

What are miniatures to a newcomer other than toys on felt. That's it. Toy soldiers played by older men on felt tables. By and large, you see that, you walk away (if you're new). Now, consider the railroad hobby, a train on a table going in a circle attracts kids (just like toy soldiers on a table attract kids, so I give you that one) BUT a train on great terrain and even NEW people will pay to go in and see it. Then they want to build it and use it. This is what's missing in the hobby: a complete lack of understanding that it's the "entire experience" that attracts new gamers quickly and the missing component to this "entire experience" is TERRAIN!! I know everyone will debate the definition of "entire experience" uggghhhhhhhhh..

How about a test. Put two games in a room, both, say... Civil War (ACW) games run by equally qualified and happy people. On one, great figures, great rules, felt and minimal terrain. On the other place great figures, great rules and modular terrain, made to a high standard. Now let in 15 people and state: 10 players per game, first come first served. Where do you suppose they will go? Where do you think the 5 that could not get on the good game go? I submit that felt game tables, at conventions (do what you want at home, of course) are for die-hards and those they bring with them (hence the "I played on felt with my 14 year old son and he loved it - of course you/he did..."). Give someone a choice and they will gravitate to the better, higher quality tables.

You see, at a convention, it should be "special" not just a bunch of clubs doing the minimum (or the quality they're used to at the club). If it's your first time at a con, you should be compelled to come back. If felt is all you see (and felt is a metaphor for a myriad of "plain" techniques), you may not even play, unless someone prods you into it. Furthermore, you'll not drive 3 hours to get there, unless you're a dieharder.

I know a guy who was not at all interested in the hobby, in fact he often teased me about my "toys". I once said "they're not toys" to which he responded "well then, what are they?".... point well taken. Anyway, one day he saw my "Rapid Fire" books and went nuts (admit it WW2 guys, even if you don't use the rules, you can't help but admire the pics, what does that tell you)! He stated "What is this, is this what you do for a hobby, very interesting, look at that". Previous to seeing the pics in those books, he could care less about my arcane hobby and it's toy soldiers, as he saw them. Since seeing the pics, he's in the hobby, buying like a mad man and just went to his 2nd convention (for which he has many funny observations, being an "outsider", some very refreshing insights - many a basis for my comments here - I'll elaborate some day - like the 5 old fat men pushing metal ships on the convention floor observation - funny).

On the grind of running games and the sacrifice by so many to make a convention happen and to the logisticians, I say: Thank you. Oh, and, we can use you at the new con (see below). But, reconsider your decades old manner of running a show, think of it as more of an "attraction" theme park for games, of an experience you can't get anywhere else, of stable tables with high quality "entire experiences" run multiple times instead of trying to fit one game from every time-period. Vendors will appreciate the growth that these types of con's will bring to the hobby. One word "Presentation". Why do Rapid Fire books sell "presentation", what's making Flames of War into a fast growing gaming company "presentation" what's GW all about... you guessed it. Oh yeah, we want the content, we want the quality, nobody says that has to go. But change is needed to attract people. All I ask is, think about it.

Anyhow, enjoy your felt and let's all work on putting together a plan for HISTPLAINICON, the greatest average convention ever!!!

RudyNelson25 Jul 2004 3:16 p.m. PST

A R Garbee, I agree that Historicon is NOT a regional show. It is just run by a regional group. I attend a number of convention each year. I rate shows based on attendance and distance travelled by attendees.

In both cases Historicon matches the bill for a National show. Regional shows of 400 or less are common but the most common is the local show with 120 or less actual attendees with most but not all only travelling from the local area.

nevinsrip25 Jul 2004 3:29 p.m. PST

Mr Carroll, once again you miss the point. Reproduced for you is the opening of my last post

To all you felt people.........your game is fine. There was no insult intended to any of you. If you are happy playing on a felt mat.... then great!! For you the game is the thing. As I mentioned in my original post I DO NOT GAME. I just enjoy the visual appeal of a well done terrain system therefore, a felt mat is not my personal cup of tea. I never said one system is better than the other. It was and is my own opinion.

Please point out to me my "SNOTTY AND SUPERIOR ATTITUDE"
and where I point out that "THE WAY YOU DO THINGS IS CLEARLY INFERIOR."

WaltOHara25 Jul 2004 3:42 p.m. PST

Jeepers, my dollar store special, SERGEANT SLAUGHTER IN BUN-BUN LAND, replete with sickeningly green budget bin ground cloth (a dollar a yard), easter bunny figures (gazillions of 'em) and nauseating bunny village buildgs, was packed with kids. Nothing sophisticated there.

MiniGuy25 Jul 2004 3:43 p.m. PST

John Carroll

Would you be willing to be the president and chief organizer for HISTPLAINOCON? You're just the man we're looking for.

KSmyth25 Jul 2004 3:58 p.m. PST


You're comparing apples and volcanoes. If you don't remember the hobby 20-30 years ago, there is no comparison to what we do today, and we did then. It's better to an nth degree today, and if you think the rest of us have simply stayed in place . . . you simply can't imagine. AC glue, acrylic paints, Geo-Hex, resin buildings, 10 and 28mm figures, and the internet are a few of the things that were not widely available or available at all when I started gaming.

Again, aside from being snide, disrespectful and lobbing bombs from left field, I would love to know which games YOU have run at conventions, what they look like, and what you are doing to improve the hobby.


John the OFM25 Jul 2004 6:01 p.m. PST

Everybody shut up and hit the "UNDO" button a few times. Hit Ctrl alt del a few more, hit excape. If that does not work, I will commit sepuku.

I APOLOGIZE DAMN IT! Now, Bill DH me for my own good. although the FAQ says DAMN is acceptable. Unless it is DARN, then I'm screwed. In any event, I need a beer.

HISTPLAINCON sounds too much like work.

skink master25 Jul 2004 7:25 p.m. PST

Perhaps you guys that dont like other peoples terrain are in the wrong hobby.Maybe you should take up model railroading.

Daryl G25 Jul 2004 7:36 p.m. PST

The whole point for most people attending a convention is to look at and buying NICE stuff.

How many people are going to stop long enough at a table covered in felt, 2 foam hills and a pile of lichen representing a wood just to listen at someones droning expertise at a certain rule set......

Eye candy is what people travel to see, If I drove 5 hours to something like Bovington wargame show and was only seeing felt id be mighty pee'd off.

But I suppose it depends how much effort you can be bothered to put into it...

ancientsgamer25 Jul 2004 8:44 p.m. PST

I happen to game a lot with felt and at conventions too ;-)

But there is a point in all this although those that complain rarely do anything towards having games with terrain. Hey, I love great terrain too and am building some because I realize that better terrain WILL attract more players. But hey, I live in Texas and I'm with John. If anyone thinks I will haul an a--load of terrain 1600 miles to Lancaster, they have been smoking too much of General George Washington's hemp ;-)

But point is well taken. One of the things that attracts gamers to Games Workshop is the support and pagentry of the games they put on. Their painting contests have brought painting techniques for 28-30mm figures to dizzying heights.

Another case in point is what's happening with Flames of War. I for one am not enamoured of the rules but do appreciate that they are bringing loads of fantasy and new gamers to the historical side of things. Their glossy rules and pictures sure do look purty! :-)

Anything that brings more folks to the hobby is great in my book. To those that like more terrain, I do too; but what are YOU doing to help? If you see it as a problem then lead, follow or get out of the way and show us how it should be done. The more the merrier :-)

Here's to all those that help the hobby either through putting on games with felt or with lovely terrain. Trust me, to the newbie, its all wonderfull.

San Antonio

Hacksaw25 Jul 2004 8:57 p.m. PST

Not picking on you specifically nevinsrip, but I found this too humorous to pass up -

"When I first started attending conventions, in the middle seventies, the hobby was infested by old men who did nothing but fight over the most minute portion of complicated rules. Rule seven, page eight, paragraph 14, subdivision 2C, in the second appendix clearly states..........Blah, Blah, Blah. For the life of me, I don't know how any newcomer to the hobby ever made it through that period. It was strictly the "old Boys" network and if you were not a member, you were ostracized and ignored. That attitude seems to still survive among some people today."

I laughed when I read that. Have you ever been to a 40K tourney?? The local ones I have been subjected to have arguments that make the legendary grumpy old men in your quote seem like a glee club. Loud references to arcane rules in such-and-such section, such-and-so subsection of "x" codex or WD article nearly every turn, and sometimes anytime particular units do whatever it is they do. Even the grumpy rivet-counting old Napoleonics players I knew back in '79 werent that bad.... ;-)

In spite of all that, Im building a Tau army anyway but I am only playing 500 pt games. No tourneys.

nevinsrip25 Jul 2004 8:58 p.m. PST

Mr. Carroll ...we can agree that this has gone on long enough. My hat is off to you for running your game. I know it takes a lot of hard work to plan and execute a game at a convention. In no way did I intend to belittle your effort.
It was an innocent comment not intended to insult you or anybody else. Enjoy your beer......BILL

kalgaloth25 Jul 2004 10:23 p.m. PST


Personal logo Vis Bellica Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2004 11:47 p.m. PST

Interesting thread.

One question, as I'm in the UK and don't really know anything about Historicon: how much was JC paid to run his game on felt. Surely visitors should be able to claim back their money if they were unhappy with his terrain. That way he'd be incentivised to provide better terrain next year.

That's the solution: dock JC his pay!



skink master26 Jul 2004 12:15 a.m. PST

Glad I could help there,miniguy.

CATenWolde26 Jul 2004 2:33 a.m. PST


??? Are GM's paid to run games in the UK? If so, Blighty here I come! ;) People pay an entrance fee for the convention in the States, but not for the game.

Personal logo Vis Bellica Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2004 3:11 a.m. PST


So let me get this straight...

JC went to all the trouble of setting up a game to play at the convention - producing and transporting the figures, the terrain, the game etc - and people get to play the game for free, and then are complaining that the terrain wasn't up to scratch i.e. wasn't some incredible work of art specially made for the convention?

Have I got that right?


Personal logo edmuel2000 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2004 4:58 a.m. PST

Here's the problem (and statements like it):

"To all you felt people.........your game is fine. There was no insult intended to any of you. If you are happy playing on a felt mat.... then great!!"

The underlying assumption is that any layout that has felt is second rate. A stupid assertion, the justification for which, from many quarters, is the tired old canard about attracting "new gamers" with visual appeal. Let's take the next logical step, then, and begin to elminate "ugly" eras (say, anything post-1870). Now how do you like it?

Ed Mueller

Personal logo 7th Va Cavalry Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2004 5:46 a.m. PST

I play John C's games on a regular basis. I would much rather play on his felt and have all the quick replies to 'what ifs' which occur in games along with complete background info he generates on the matter then play on some 'Stiff Shirt's' thousand dollar modelling marvel.
BTW John, I saw some nice white material at AC Moore's we can use for Trenton when we take it to Fall In.

Personal logo edmuel2000 Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2004 6:03 a.m. PST

Okay, note to myself and to anyone reading. I should not post first thing in the morning after coming back to work after a good convention (a low point, in other words). My post above (using the term, "stupid,"), is over the top.

Sorry about that. Let's just say that there's more to a layout (or a game) than felt (presence or not). I agree with the comment that there were fewer spectacular layouts at this year's convention, but I still saw plenty of good things (that far exceeded what I could do).

Best, Ed

legtus26 Jul 2004 6:53 a.m. PST

a view from the bleachers! I thought this was a hobby to enjoy,not to rag on each other!

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