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"Make Historicon Great Again!!!!!" Topic

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historygamer10 Apr 2017 1:56 p.m. PST

While I agree with a lot (most) of what is being posted in this thread, I have to take exception to the logic in this comment:

"I also think that HMGS should begin promoting non-historical war-games."

If you like and play those, that would not be surprising.

"There are plenty of open tables…."

Well, there could be many reasons for that, not just that there aren't games. Also, I have rarely seen anyone get on TMP and complain that they couldn't get into some game. If my math is correct, there are far more games offered than there are players to fill them.

"…. and some of the games are awful and bring down the vibe."

I would agree, but the sword has two edges. Some of the poorer games I've seen (not just at HMGS cons) are fantasy games, where apparently using unpainted miniatures and models is no big deal. I would also point out that HMGS does little to nothing to encourage better looking historical games to attend.

"A bad looking historical game is worse than a good looking non-historical game."

Well, that may be true, but it also doesn't address the fact that HMGS does virtually nothing to encourage good looking historical games to attend. I'm not sure how encouraging non-historical games of unknown quality helps.

"The bad looking games are just depressing, and have a negative impact on the convention floor."

See above. Perhaps HMGS needs to fix the problem instead of expanding the invites – and again, they already offer more games than people can fill, and there have been non-historical games offered for years with no noticeable increase in attendance – in fact, attendance has dropped during that past several years.

Personal logo EccentricTodd Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

"But what do you do when the one guy donating 100 28mm French Knight with livery is a stone nut who does not show"
--Rotundo, Page 4 --

Agincourt might have worked better for the French if the cavalry didn't show.

Seriously though, planning out a battle, terrain and miniatures should be done months in advance, and not the day of a convention. Maybe miniatures at least a convention before it needs to go live. Maybe miniatures are mailed to whomever becomes the "keeper of the tiny guard". The logistics can be figured out if and when it's decided to commit to the idea.

Rotundo10 Apr 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

Don't you think we did that?

Rangers Lead the Way10 Apr 2017 7:37 p.m. PST

Page 5 I am the king!!!!!!

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 9:06 p.m. PST


The Balcony was condemned a few years ago by the local Building Inspector, as "Not Safe for any Human Traffic" due to Dry Rot of the supporting structure! That is what is shown in the local Public Records! The New Owners received a waiver for the Tennis Barn as a functioning building which I believe expires later this year, which is why they have already scheduled repairs to begin later this summer.

historygamer10 Apr 2017 10:00 p.m. PST


forwardmarchstudios10 Apr 2017 10:38 p.m. PST

That sucks, but that is also very funny.

47Ronin29 Apr 2017 1:50 p.m. PST

I'm still catching up on all of the comments made here, some of which were very good. Since I don't want to see them forgotten, I'll add a small suggestion of my own:

To those convention directors who may find themselves with empty tables in their Vendor Hall (whether it be in VA for H'con or PA for CW/FI), my suggestion is to group those tables into a gaming area and have some games going on while the Vendor Hall is open. The hope is that this will increase the foot traffic for dealers. The games I would put in there are the air and naval games that run from 10am to 5pm. There are several such games in the H'con PEL. The idea is that these games are low on terrain and should be easy to transport and set up. Some of the SciFi games would work as well. I'd ask the GMs of those games first if they were OK with the idea before I moved them there.

You could also set up a Hobby U. "outpost" table or two in the Vendor Hall in the same way. Rotate the instructors, but have somebody available to do a painting demo or two.

Something to consider for future conventions.

Finally, +1 to Dan for all his comments and responses. At least one CD is paying attention to the comments here.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2017 11:16 a.m. PST

47Ronin, +1 to the Hobby University outpost demos idea! Nothing like being able to walk up and gawk or ogle at someone who knows what the hell he or she is doing, and who might have the answer to that unsolveable problem you've been having. It may also inspire us mediocre artists to attempt something more adveturous.

Personal logo vonLoudon Supporting Member of TMP29 May 2017 9:46 a.m. PST

Give the dealers the option of one more hour to be open at their choice. They close at 7. The flea market closes at 5 now. So now one more hour of possible shopping plus the morning hour already in hand. With a choice they can still decide whether to run a game or not, have dinner or do whatever they want. Make it optional. What would it cost the con; I say nothing.

Lee49429 May 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

Historicon = Host. Period. And for goodness sakes get the costs down! Ran games with over 40 players at Cold Wars. Number one complaint. Too Expensive. Entry fee. Room fees. Outrageous food prices. Costs so much money nobody has any bucks left to buy from the dealers. Which is why many stopped coming. Find someone on HMGS Board who can Negotiate!

1. Get room prices down. I've gotten cheaper rooms in Philly through Bookings for crying out loud.

2. Get food prices down. Gamers pay NYC food prices for sloppy joe diner food.

3. Expand dealer room hours. Anybody GMing games can't make it to dealers room.

4. Make it more spouse friendly. Let them in free. Let their husband or SO spend the money in dealers room.

Problem is HMGS, the Host and the food vendors all try to make a killing at the gamers expense. Let them come game and keep a few dollars to buy things and you'll get more gamers and vendors coming. Everyone wins!

Al Swearengen30 May 2017 10:47 a.m. PST

Cheaper than the Host and surrounding areas ?

This is why we can't have nice things.

M1Fanboy30 May 2017 11:59 a.m. PST

I guess I am coming late to this discussion..but some things I personally have noticed with regards to HMGS..and the ring around the rosie we seem to have had with regards to "Where is Historicon going to be this year?"

1. First, we decide, that yes, the Host is too small/run down/just plain not capable of hosting Historicon?

2. The then BOD decides, "Why not give Baltimore a try!", that fails, after some shenanigans involving the President and some contracts that were signed that should not have been?

3. We then say, having decided not to hold it in Lancaster again that year, rush to Valley Forge and hold it there for a year just so we can have a place to hold the darn con. (But this only works for a year).

4. Then, the con is moved to Fredricksburg for several years, and segements of HMGS complain it's too far to drive/the noise/I just don't like it, and they vote in a BOD that will "take care of it."

5. This BOD tries to negotiate a site in NJ, which pretty much ensures those that were happy with Fredricksburg will pretty much pass this one up, that is..until the place is sold to be a server farm.

6. So, we all grumble as Historicon, voila, has moved back to Lancaster, the very place we all had agreed on in the first place was too small/dirty/poorly lit to handle Historicon in the first place?

Has any of that changed? Has the renovations made the facilities better significantly? I was there for the last Cold Wars, and I didn't see much of a difference, to be honest. Couple this with the usual "culture of rumor" that surrounds HMGS (the usual accusations of skullduggery, fraud and the like), would it kill anyone for HMGS to take advantage of social media and do a presentation on why in the world we are moving back to the place we said was too small to handle our flagship con?

Is that too difficult a question?

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2017 12:39 p.m. PST

Point of order for Lee494 above: Spouses have been able to attend all 3 HMGS Conventions for FREE since the beginning!! Have no idea why you think it has been otherwise all these years!

I will note that after looking over the "Mailer" & the HMGS Web Site they have dropped the "Military Discount" for current and retired members of the Armed Forces!! A discount that for the last several years was only offered at Historicon, by the way! If this is meant as an intentional slap in the face to current and retired members of our Nation's Armed Forces the point IS noted! Just another reason not to attend your events!

As for prices, as the renovations are completed I think it would not be entirely unexpected to see prices at the Host rise as a reflection of the higher quality of the hotel. Also, as better quality hotels/motels are added along the Lincoln Highway corridor it would not be unexpected to see those places begin matching the prices charged by the Host! The owners/corporations of those facilities all belong to the local business associations, and those associations tend to ensure level pricing and less competition so that business is spread more evenly. Particularly in an area such as Lancaster, which is trying to attract the family vacation business year round!

Then once the golf course renewal is completed Historicon, at least, will find itself in competition with the Host's "Golf Package" business! Adding another layer of competition in the convention contract negotiations. So while the facility may get better don't expect it to get cheaper!

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2017 12:44 p.m. PST

Fanboy, some comments on your points:

1) I don't remember that anyone thought that the Host was too small to hold Historicon. It was the actions of the "Take it to the Next Level" crowd that wanted out of the Host. Do you not remember the "Move Historicon Now" buttons? HIstoricon also had to be moved to an urban centre to bring it an "Origin-like" growth.

2) Correct, and a result of #1

3) I believe the Host was booked after we left. The move to Valley Forge was a good move given the circumstances. And we were there for two years actually, 2010 and 2011.

4) Wrong. We have been at the FCC since 2012. We have seen increased costs and diminishing attendance. That is when the current BOD decided to "take care of it".

5) Correct to a point. Your comment of, "…..which pretty much ensures those that were happy with Fredricksburg will pretty much pass this one up" is unsubstantiated.

6) Correct, but again not for the reasons you put forth. The Next Levellers were ultimately correct. HIstoricon went to a next level……..downward. So we have shrunk the convention back to where it will fit comfortably into the Host. And remember, it will likely be only another "step gap" measure, likely only to last for one year.

……….would it kill anyone for HMGS to take advantage of social media and do a presentation on why in the world we are moving back to the place we said was too small to handle our flagship con?

Is that too difficult a question?

Your original presupposition is still incorrect. It wasn't that the Host was incapable of holding HIstoricon, it was that some felt the convention needed to move elsewhere in order to grow massively. How about a question from me? Why don't you give us a social media presentation on why the convention should have remained in an expensive venue with five years of declining attendance?

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2017 12:48 p.m. PST

This is why we can't have nice things.

No kidding! Lol!

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP30 May 2017 2:39 p.m. PST

There was indeed a time when it looked like the Host would no longer be big enough. That's when some of the dealers were put in the pro shop basement. The search for a bigger site was not unwarranted at the time.

TSD10130 May 2017 7:53 p.m. PST

1. Get room prices down. I've gotten cheaper rooms in Philly through Bookings for crying out loud.

Or stay off site. Do you want cost or convenience? There is a tradeoff.

2. Get food prices down. Gamers pay NYC food prices for sloppy joe diner food.

Nothing is stopping you from ordering out and having it delivered to the convention center and there are plenty of options 1 mile away.

3. Expand dealer room hours. Anybody GMing games can't make it to dealers room.

Dealers are already there 10 hours. Do you expect them to sit there longer? If you can't visit the dealer hall at any point between 9 am and 6 pm you need to learn to budget your time

4. Make it more spouse friendly. Let them in free. Let their husband or SO spend the money in dealers room.

This already exists and has for some time.

Too Expensive. Entry fee.

If $25 USD to get in for members is too expensive for the entire convention, then those people need a serious dose of reality. That is absurdly cheap for a hobby convention of this length.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

There was indeed a time when it looked like the Host would no longer be big enough. That's when some of the dealers were put in the pro shop basement. The search for a bigger site was not unwarranted at the time.

Perhaps, but a trip back to 2008 will show that the Historicon move was for "growing the National convention" and not because we were bursting at the seams. Here is one thread, incorrectly named, "If you move it, they will come".

TMP link

wargamingUSA31 May 2017 5:01 a.m. PST

Full disclosure: I have now let both my HMGS-E and HMGS-MW memberships expire.

As far as HMGS-E… I'm just not understanding the need for three HMGS-E mega conventions that are all essentially the same.

If HMGS-E must have three conventions then…

Why not a single 3 1/2 day mega con, Historicon, with games, dealers, a flea market, and a marquis presentation by someone of renown on a themed topic? Same place every year.

Why not a 2 1/2 day Cold Wars with games, dealers, and a series of small historical topic presentations? A different venue than H'con but remains in the same place… one that considers winter driving conditions.

Why not a 2 day Fall In with games, a flea market, and a series of presentations on painting, sculpting, and terrain making. The convention moves between two smaller locations year-to-year.

Why does the organization insist on having no paid regular or professional staff and rely entirely on volunteers (many of whom do a good job and many who don't) if they are going to continue presenting three conventions? There is a cost to all those volunteers in form of comp rooms, etc.. and they aren't, can't be, held to any standard of performance. They are also insiders, who intentionally or unintentionally tilt things in certain directions, rather than strictly neutral performers. You can add $5 USD or $10 USD to the entry fee without negative impact if the show is well run at an appealing location.

HMGS has been, by charter, about historical miniatures gaming. Assuming developing and promoting an interest in history via gaming is the core consideration, and what differentiates HMGS conventions from Adepticon, GenCon, etc…, why not evolve into the Historical Gaming Society and start including board games? Many miniatures gamers are board gamers. Many pure board gamers might be prime candidates for inclusion and involvement in miniature gaming given the right exposure.

How about HMGS-E works to promote itself and the hobby outside of just advertising the conventions?

As things stand, it is the same old gamers and vendors attending the annual family get together and muddling through the same old conversations and complaints. That is why so many other gamers who might attend insist on staying at home and playing with their local group. The bottom line is gaming isn't dying, HMGS is withering.

corzin31 May 2017 5:27 a.m. PST

if you need to know one person who thought the host was too small to host historicon, I am one, and i wasn't the only one… the dealers in the golf shop…but also games in the host room,down that corridor no one walks down(yes i am still not happy about being assigned that room ;) )…games in theater where it is hard to get your stuff to, etc…etc but i wasn't a "move it just to move it" or a "next leveler" i am just a guy who runs 1 game a convention and likes to play games

Blutarski31 May 2017 5:46 a.m. PST

"… don't expect it to get cheaper"

I cannot think of anything that has gotten cheaper, or even remained at the same price, over such a period of time. HMGS is not immune to the laws of economics.


Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

If you need to know one person who thought the host was too small to host historicon, I am one,……

I'm not saying that your viewpoint wasn't legitimate. I'm simply saying that it was not the main driving argument for moving the convention at that time. The "Next Levellers" wanted a larger urban environment that was going to grow Historicon into a large National convention. Look back at the old threads.

47Ronin31 May 2017 1:33 p.m. PST


As usual, you are doing an excellent job of responding to the points raised about HMGS (East) and Historicon. I have very little to add other than to say keep up the good work.

I did notice your link above to the "If you move it, they will come" discussion started by "vojvoda" in 2008. I also noticed that vojvoda's last visit to TMP was May 2014. Time flies. Much has changed since then. I'm not sure what else there is to say.

Finally, a few questions for all those who think they have the answers when it comes to HMGS (East) and its conventions, as inspired by wargamingUSA's comments above:

1) are you a member of HMGS (East)?;
2) do you attend the membership meetings at Cold Wars?;
3) do you attend the meetings at Historicon?; and
4) if a member, did you vote in the election?

The reason I ask is not to be critical of anyone's comments here, but to let you know that you are pretty much wasting your time if you think that posting on TMP will change the way HMGS (East) does business. With very few exceptions (Dan M., John S.), most of the "powers that be" at HMGS (East) don't even look at the comments on TMP. They stopped a long time ago. You are just talking to yourselves, which is the way some people at HMGS like it.

If you feel there are things that need to be changed, go to a meeting or vote with your feet. Then you may get some results or, at least, your voice will be heard by someone in charge.

wargamingUSA01 Jun 2017 5:53 a.m. PST


To answer your question and keep perspectives honest… "yes."

I have attended both HMGS-E and MW membership meetings, voiced opinions at both, met with various Board and staff personnel outside of E and MW meetings, attended discussions outside of formal E and MW membership meetings when asked to attend, provided E with professional materials on strategic planning when asked, not thought twice when Board members said they wanted to talk further and never followed-up, and even ran for (and won) election to the MW Board when we needed to drag Little Wars back to civilization from the frozen, windswept fields of rural northern Illinois. So, however you want to phrase it, my dues have been paid, my street cred is there, or the effort was made.

I was initially hesitant to post to this topic on TMP. Ultimately, it became clear to me that TMP is a legitimate forum for a wide variety of substantive discussions relevant to the hobby. A key factor in my decision to post to this thread was the fact a number of HMGS-E and MW Board members are actually using TMP threads to initiate conversations, solicit input, and communicate their thoughts and opinions. (To be fair, I'll acknowledge not all communication on TMP is reasoned or informed.)

My point is while you say you're not being critical of any TMP posters' comments, you are actually sticking your finger in their eye; by insinuating they aren't on firm ground when they post unless they have otherwise involved themselves in HMGS corrective action you deem credible. In this age of digital communications we have to recognize the nature, reach, and potential value of digital forums; and identify digital commentary worth considering while tuning out the "noise." Perhaps Dan M. and John S., since both men choose to leverage the digital landscape, can identify worthwhile commentary and then champion it to other Board members.

My two cents worth.

civildisobedience01 Jun 2017 7:25 a.m. PST

I have to agree completely with WargamingUSA. The whole, "why are you complaining if you didn't go to meetings/run for office/blah/blah/blah" is annoying and classic diversion strategy.

First, many people (the ones you need if the dealers are going to be able to make money and the convention survive) are essentially customers of the convention program. You can buy something in a store and have an opinion on whether it is good or bad without buying stock in the company and becoming an activist shareholder.

Second, whether or not someone has the inclination, time, desire, or ability to become more "involved" in such ways, does not invalidate their opinions or input. You can think something is bad, and want it to succeed, without having the time or inclination to go to meetings, etc.

Third, let's not overestimate what "going to meetings" accomplishes. I actually think the current BoD is a MASSIVE improvement over what we've had in recent years. It is 2017, for those who don't know, and one really shouldn't have to be sitting in a chair at a meeting to know what is going on. I still remember the sorrowful sight of a BoD member posting on TMP that he was going to post information, but because people said mean things on the site he wasn't going to. So, when that was the prevailing attitude of board members, what could possibly be achieved by going to a meeting and listening to them lie? Again, to be clear, I'm speaking of past BoDs. The current group seems much more committed to being open and communicative, and I applaud them for that. Some of the old crew seemed to feel they were Politburo members back in the good old days of the 50s and 60s.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 8:22 a.m. PST

With that all in mind, I'd like to remind everyone to vote. This is the most power we have as individuals over how things will progress.

Ploogak28 Sep 2017 2:15 p.m. PST

Thanks to everyone who contributed constructive ideas to this thread. I've read all the comments here and listed out the ones that address the topic as issues to discuss with the other Convention Directors. You've made a lot of good points and we'll be doing our best to address them.

Thanks again,
Joby Miller
Convention Director

Ember52 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2017 3:06 p.m. PST


Good luck in your new role as Historicon CD. Thanks for agreeing to take on this challenge. (Thanks also for your work on Fall In!)


Nick Pasha02 Oct 2017 7:10 p.m. PST

Having been in on the discussion to move Hcon to Baltimore, and that those board members are no longer on the board, I can tell you that the main reason for moving to Baltimore was someone's idea to turn it into another Origins. Many people were opposed to the move, including senior convention staff, some board members, the late Pat Condray, and prominent members of HMGS East whose names I will not mention. We were yelled down and I pointed out some of the problems that would occur, that actually did occur. The last year at the Host saw our number rise to almost 4,000. As assistant games director it was my job to find space for people who did not preregister their games. I found it in various places. It wasn't that the host was too small, it was that we were an extremely popular convention. Also game session time was tailored to the needs of the game master, not organized into pre determined blocks of time. More games were played to their completion rather than called because of time. This was a popular decision on our part.

historygamer06 Oct 2017 8:23 a.m. PST

From the AP:

WOODBRIDGE, Va. A study has found that northern Virginia is home to the single worst traffic hotspot in the U.S.

That spot is the stretch of southbound Interstate 95 from the Fairfax County Parkway to Fredericksburg.

The study published Wednesday by Seattle-based traffic data firm Inrix found the average traffic jam on that stretch lasted 33 minutes and covered six miles. Inrix counted 1,394 traffic jams there during the two-month period it conducted the study in March and April.

While I-95 represented the single worst traffic spot, Inrix found that overall the D.C. area ranks third to New York and Los Angeles in terms of overall traffic congestion.

The study analyzed more than 100,000 hotspots in 25 of the nation's most traffic-congested cities.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member06 Oct 2017 7:26 p.m. PST

Inrix gets it wrong yet again (they're known for that). Any survey that doesn't rank the 405 in LA as the worst has no credibility. And 6 miles? I wish the clobber on my commute was so short (try 20+ miles). Side note: Wonder why radio stations sell for so much in the LA market? 'Cuz you're guaranteed a captive audience of several million every day….

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 3:01 a.m. PST

I always thought the 405 in LA was named for the speed you're traveling – 4 or 5 miles an hour. Max.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2017 7:25 a.m. PST

Charlie, with all due respect, the report says the Washington area ranks behind New York and LA. To say that a 6 mile stretch is the worst hotspot in the country doesn't mean traffic is better in LA. Also hard for me to judge if the I-95 to Fredericksburg stretch is included in the DC area.

I've had the misfortune to have driven all three. LA is the worst, with NY next (I assume them mean NYC), and I-95 is no picnic either.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2017 5:16 a.m. PST

I would think on this….

1. on price…. I am not trying to compare any of the HMGS shows to GenCon, etc…. but HMGS is charging waaaaaay to little for what you get….. prices are slow moving if at all…. I do not see anyone's logic here…. while smaller shows that are one day charge more…. No, HMGS seriously needs to raise prices.

2. On dropping a show or two and doing one huge show that lasts all week…. what do you think others were trying to do when they wished to increase the venue and grow the show….?

I know we are a niche hobby…. our games take a lot more effort than most of the games you see at GenCon or Origins…. it is a whole different dynamic, so you just cannot compare HMGS shows to those other shows…. it is apples and oranges… Period.

holien17 Oct 2017 6:51 a.m. PST

Yep apples Vs oranges…

People forget GenCon is run for profit by professional full-time staff.

We thankfully have volunteers who do the best they can with what spare time they can give….

Looking forward to seeing the show in its new (old) location…

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