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"Post Fall In! Update to the HMGS, Inc. Membership" Topic

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Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2016 8:07 a.m. PST

HMGS, Inc. Membership Update from the Board of Directors

Future Conventions:

At the Fall In!® Sunday board meeting, the HMGS, Inc. Board of Directors voted to hold Historicon® 2018 at the Doubletree by Hilton Somerset Hotel and attached Garden State Exhibit Center located in Somerset, New Jersey. The Board's next priority is finalizing a location for Cold Wars® and Fall In!® 2018.

In addition, the Board received word from the Lancaster Host Resort management that the new owners were present at Fall In!® 2016 and were very pleased with the type and amount of business that HMGS, Inc. provides. As a result, the Lancaster Host will be offering HMGS proposals for conventions in 2018 and beyond in the next few weeks.

Finally, the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center (IKE) in Gettysburg, PA now has a copy of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for both Cold Wars® and Fall In!®. We have extended the deadline for a response until the December board meeting.

HCON 2016 Update:

Historicon attendance was 2336.


HMGS, Inc. Board of Directors

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2016 8:55 a.m. PST

Good! Options and a happy host, or is that a happy "Host"?

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2016 9:08 a.m. PST

Excellent. I'd love to see this split three ways – one for Somerset, one for the Host and one for the IKE. Let's see how this pans out. 2018 should be a banner year for HMGS!

Ottoathome Inactive Member12 Nov 2016 9:08 a.m. PST

I am sure the Bod and the convention staffs picked the best option available. I may be a bitter critic at times, but the strictures they operate under in finding a facility are enormous. I'm surprised they found ANY place. It's not easy. I know, I've done it.

Moe the Great12 Nov 2016 9:34 a.m. PST

Okay, NJ is not my first choice, but it seems it's only 6 hours from me. Not bad, not great, but better than the I95 travel to VA.

DinOfBattle212 Nov 2016 9:35 a.m. PST

The move to NJ for Historicon 2018 will mean that 2017 will be my last Historicon. It is just too far north from me, and driving 10+ hours is just not something I wish to do anymore.

I've been to every Historicon since 1991, so this is a very sad day for me.

I hope the move is successful for HMGS, even though I can no longer justify attending.


47Ronin12 Nov 2016 9:43 a.m. PST

Don't get your hopes up too high for a return to the Ike, King30.

The location has a number of issues, to say the least.

The hotels at Somerset and Valley Forge have recently received major upgrades. Renovations are proceeding at the Host. I've been to all three locations several times over the past year. They are all in far better condition than the Ike.

If I had to bet, I would bet on those locations before I bet on the Ike getting an HMGS convention anytime soon.

Of course, I could be wrong. We'll see.

Either way, give the current BOD credit for keeping the HMGS community up to date on developments.

Moe the Great12 Nov 2016 10:09 a.m. PST


That's how the move to VA was for others, including myself..

I understand the problem.


TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2016 10:45 a.m. PST

@47Ronin – my main reason for wanting the Ike is the geographical location. That area is easier for allot of the southern members. If not the Ike then I really hope for something in that general area. Time will tell.

evbates12 Nov 2016 11:08 a.m. PST

I will not attend In Somerset either. I've already starting going to NashCon and have a few friends going with me next year.

47Ronin12 Nov 2016 11:29 a.m. PST

Location is one factor to consider in selecting a convention venue. Another is the financial health of the facility.

I've been to Gettysburg and the Ike and enjoy them as much as the next gamer. The problem with the Ike, however, is financial, not geographic. It lost out on the casino license. Valley Forge won the license and has since been renovated. You know that a facility with a casino license will be around for years to come.

The Host has now been sold and the new owners are putting money into the facility. On the other hand, the Ike might be sold in the future and renovated or it might not. Moving a convention there is a much riskier proposition, regardless of the geographic advantage it may have for some.

We'll see whether the Ike makes it to 2018, with or without an HMGS convention.

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2016 11:58 a.m. PST

As I said on another thread, the overall health of the economy is the 800 lb gorilla in the room

grtbrt Inactive Member12 Nov 2016 12:16 p.m. PST

Actually I don't see the economy as a major issue at all- I think that you do solely because that is the industry you are in and it likely drives all your work decisions and bleeds over to other decisions .
and not all bankers feel that way at all -or At least in the executive levels they don't (my brother and my brother in law and 2 members of his immediate family are in banking and some game as well)

Just looking at my wide circle of gaming friends and acquitances in the NY tri-state area -The economy hasn't really affected them at all -It did a little 5-8 years ago ,but that was then .Not now .
HMGS is moving their con to an area that the attendees are unlikely to still be feeling the affects of the economic stumbling from that time period .

JMcCarroll Inactive Member12 Nov 2016 1:57 p.m. PST

I going to HCon in 2018. Haven't been since it moved to VA. I am glad Gettysburg, Lancaster, and Valley Forge are possibilities as I enjoyed those locations. VA for cold wars could also work ( I can't handle the heat ). Now if we can only get Trump to put a North-South bridge over all of D.C. we could all be happy!

Lascaris12 Nov 2016 4:30 p.m. PST

I love this change. Flying in from the west coast I hated the drive from Reagan International to Fredericksburg. I can non-stop to Newark and have an easy drive to Somerset.

egoodlander Inactive Member12 Nov 2016 8:03 p.m. PST

Well, Lancaster and Somerset are both around 6 hours for me from Buffalo like Moe. Our friends from Canada have an hour more. Did Fredericksburg once and the extra 3.5 hours with traffic killed it for us. I think if you are within 4 to 6 hours of a location its fine. Facilities are tough to find so I think the BOD has done the best job they can and they have been very open.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2016 12:30 p.m. PST

Actually I don't see the economy as a major issue at all….

I agree.

It doesn't explain the growth of various other conventions.

historygamer30 Nov 2016 7:29 a.m. PST

"It (the Ike) lost out on the casino license. Valley Forge won the license and has since been renovated."

Point of clarification. The Ike lost out on the casino license to Nemacolin Woodlands, a five star resort out by Uniontown, PA. Having just driven past there twice this past week, I am not so sure they are a thriving casino as their parking lot always looks pretty empty.

VFCC, IIRC, had already secured its license prior to the two Hcons being held there, though I think they were tied up in a court challenge. Once they won they proceeded with construction – which did impact the second Hcon which was briefly cancelled, then rescheduled when construction was delayed.

In regards to the economy, I think it is hard to say. Some areas have recovered better than others. I know that at the local horse riding ranch outside Baltimore/DC, the owner told me she had a lot of grandparents paying for the kids' camps this past summer as the parents were in financial binds. I'm just not sure how to factor in the economy to attendance other than to say it could be a factor, along with many other things (change of venue, decline of physical plant, drop off in certain types of dealers, etc.)

I always enjoyed going to the Ike as well for FI. It's always good to go to Gettysburg. Some of the dealers complained about shoppers opting out of the con to go tour the battlefield there. I never heard that complaint at the FCC though, which has four major ACW battlefields around it. The Ike suffers from a lack of funds to update it. I think the place has been for sale forever since the owner passed away many years ago.

civildisobedience30 Nov 2016 11:08 a.m. PST

While I like the idea generally of going to Gettysburg once a year, the cold fact is the Ike is a very poor facility (and no, I'm not talking a, "which is the worst dump" debate). The layout and the separation between the two major sections is far from ideal. Also, we haven't been there in some time, and it already looked like 1955 had frozen in place there. I'm wondering what shape it is in now.

The NJ location is only 45 minutes for me, so it is convenient. But, unlike many others, I can be objective and say I don't think it is a good spot for the long term. I know the BoD had to do something, and Fredericksburg has clearly failed to deliver the results needed to justify keeping the convention there (and after five years, and nine years from the trough of the last recession, I think claims that it didn't get a fair chance are irrational in the extreme). Again, going back to objectivity, I have been to all five, and I actually don't mind the road trip once a year. So, I'm not gunning for anything to be in my backyard.

That said, assuming the indications are correct that a serious reno is happening at the Host, and also assuming the new ownership offers reasonable financial alternatives, it seems to me the location is hard to beat. Historically, it is the home of the best results in terms of attendance, etc.

I'm not necessarily saying all three should be there, but I don't think not having them in the same place is a good enough reason to move them. These events are creatures of the area where they've been held, and the living breathing heart of these things are the gamers who come to all three, or who make the two that work around family and work commitments. Any move to other locations just trades one group of people for another, and such moves have generally been quite unsuccessful. Just a review of the numbers, and a stone cold analysis of Lancaster performance vs. everywhere else, paints a pretty clear picture, one I find a lot more compelling that the myriad, "but I want it closer to me!" posts.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP01 Dec 2016 12:08 p.m. PST

Yes, the "I want it near me crowd" is a very vocal one. I have no dog in this race as I live in Western PA and the best spot near me is the brand new, low priced Bayfront convention center with more than enough room for even Hcon….

BUT…. it is in Erie PA…… too far out for consideration.

Next up is the multitude of locations in Pittsburgh PA…. again, plenty of awesomeness…. yet again… still too far out of the main membership triangle.

I will be silent now and continue to drive my 5-7 hours to the 3 shows… without complaining….

pvi99th01 Dec 2016 4:27 p.m. PST

I live in NJ but would be up for the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie. :-) Beautiful looking site and plenty to do with the family if summer.

Visited Erie this past summer and had a great time. Of course the Niagara wasn't in port at the time. She was in Ohio.

CSherrange Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2016 7:44 a.m. PST

I for one would be very enthusiastic for a Western PA/ Eastern Ohio convention, as I am a Pittsburgh resident. I've often thought about attempting to kickstart a convention idea, as there are multitudes of locations. Seven springs in the summer is large and cheap, with tons of rooms and family options. (As seen by WBC) Erie with bayfront is huge, and a ton of nearby hotels. (I was there for tall ships, the place is massive!) And there are multitudes of cheap, large spaces in both Pittsburgh and Cleveland. I'm afraid it's too far east for the "hub" of NY/MD/DC gamers however, and I'm afraid it would fail. Not only that, but with going back to school for my masters has really prohibited me from spearheading such an effort.

Blutarski03 Dec 2016 8:19 a.m. PST

Has anyone ever looked into the Scranton area?


civildisobedience03 Dec 2016 3:15 p.m. PST

I'm really not trying to pick a fight with anyone, but for the life of me, I can't imagine what point anyone thinks there is to coming on here and saying, "XYZ is close to me, so I like it!" What remote value does that have in terms of evaluating a location? Stipulated: Everybody would like it to be closer to them. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with what makes a good location. I'm sure if we look hard enough, we could find somebody who lives on Guam to come on here and say, "I'd like it if it was in Guam, because it would be close to my house!"

And, FYI, I may verge on confrontational at times, but I'm not a hypocrite. A few postings up, I just said I'm close to the NJ location, but I don't think it's a good spot.

It would be nice if we could look at numbers and facts and have a discussion based on that. But logic, realism, and facts always seem to be in short supply. So, all we can really ascertain is, people like it if it's closer to them.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2016 5:26 p.m. PST

Just to throw this one in the ring in case it was missed. Has anyone from the "Search Committee" checked out the "Gateway at Gettysburg" Convention Center?

2 On-site Hotels, a Brewery, 46,00 sq. ft. Theater, 25,000 Sq. Ft. of Meeting Space, all the usual amenities plus another 1900 Sq. Ft. of Meeting Space in the second Hotel. Conveniently located at the intersection of Rt. 15 & Rt. 30 just outside of Gettysburg.

Less then 90 miles from D.C., 2 hours from Philly, and 2 International Airports (Harrisburg & BWI) less then 2 hours away driving time!

Might be worth getting a quote from them at least if such has not yet been done! Might be pricey, though I have no idea, but it wouldn't hurt to ask just the same!

HMGSNORTH Inactive Member04 Dec 2016 4:18 a.m. PST


Just stayed at the Courtyard in the loop,the facility is definitely not large enough for our needs. A shame really as the Marrriot and Wyndam are really nice. Valley Forge has just been renovated and would be a nice option for Fall In and Cold Wars.

Yankees Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2016 12:08 p.m. PST

Convention operations

We need 65,000 sq ft for cold wars or fall in
20,000 is just the vendor area

We need 90,000 sq ft for Historicon
30,000 for vendors

Gettysburg is too small

Next problem – is the hotel already sold out with another group

We have been looking for places for 33 years one board after another

If you find something and they meet our requirements
Contact us anytime

47Ronin04 Dec 2016 1:05 p.m. PST

Well said, Dave.

Multiple HMGS BODs and Convention Directors, made up of very diverse members, have been looking at this issue now for years. If the "perfect" location were out there, HMGS would have found it by now.

That is a tough message for some people to accept, but it is still true.

civildisobedience04 Dec 2016 2:50 p.m. PST

Agreed. People bash the Host or other locations, and come on here suggesting all kinds of places that have been looked at time and time again. There are two immutable facts that overshadow any venue.

1. We need a LOT of space for the number of attendees. Mini wargames take room.

2. We cannot support the "normal" price structure of the convention industry, either in terms of gross charges for space or for add on costs like Unions, etc.

People are ready to complain about the quality of the locations, but they don't realize, in a very real sense, that is all we can afford. Even Fredericksburg, a very reasonably-priced venue of its type (notwithstanding the location itself) has proven to be a burden in cost. The ever-shrinking dealer area owes itself somewhat to declining attendance, but also increased cost. An earlier BoD mistook itself for the National Association of Home Builders, and decided to treat the dealers like multi-billion dollar manufacturers instead of part time businesses run out of someone's garage.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2016 5:01 p.m. PST

That raises the question once the Host is fully renovated will it remain affordable enough to continue any of the shows there?

Particularly as mentioned in another thread, the current Host Management has the choice of bringing the Tennis Barn up to Code, or tear it down in hopes of replacing it with a newer building at some point in the future.

Then when you consider they are "stuck" with the Golf Course they then have to decide do they use that as a draw for business for the Hotel in the Spring and Summer, or just let the grass take it over.

At some point they are going to be looking for a return on their investment, and come up with a price structure that will provide those returns for the space and amenities they have on hand.

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