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Action Log

15 Mar 2019 9:57 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Wargaming in the USA board

Areas of Interest


1,261 hits since 15 Mar 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

clifblkskull Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 8:55 p.m. PST

Hello Gang
Any Cold Wars pic and reports on day one?
Thanks clif

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 10:23 p.m. PST

Cold War update: We still won. The Berlin Wall is still down and the USSR is still dead. Here are some pictures.


KPinder15 Mar 2019 10:56 p.m. PST

I don't have any ability to post pix, and what follows is a WHOLLY subjective perspective, to which any number of people might choose to disagree, but here goes.

It's working.

I don't mean that it's getting by. I mean it is succeeding.

I arrived Thursday, because I have come to like being here and settled on day one Friday. I played "don't get squished" with a Wall-E army of load lifters and Bobcat parking lot sweepers in what seemed a very determined effort to be out of our way on time.

The front entrance isn't finished, and it's clear now it won't be, anytime soon. They're putting in an enormous covered arrival "gantry," and adding an additional floor above the old entrance lobby. The off-line Continental also seems to be putting in a similar gantry. The slow progress with the entrance now looks like a function, not of sloth, but of ambition.

Distelfink is finished. Lampeter is still a work in progress, but both are 100% functional.

So, Friday, things get going.

For a Friday it seemed like there were a lot of people here. The Expo was full of people. There were a lot of people gaming, and the lobby always felt full.

The HVAC in both gaming areas remains an open question as it's been 60s-70s, and all the doors have been wide open. It was warm in the vendor Expo, but no one can fault anyone for not having their AC available in March.

The new lobby is the centerpiece of the redone hotel. It's modern and trendy, but what seems most impressive to me is how we seem to have embraced it. My impression is that it was always crowded, but never mobbed. People seem to naturally settle into the social islands. In the old lobby people only ever congregated in the bar and the few seating areas just outside it. Apart from that, people were just coming and going, or dealing with the desk, or gaming near the fireplace. Now, we inhabit the whole thing.

It was here that I noted what struck me as the most significant change in this con. It's the "energy." At a lot of recent cons it has felt like people were showing up as if they were just "going thru the motions." Today I have really sensed people were energized. Everyone was doing something, or on their way to something, or looking forward to something. I have heard very little grousing. I'm not sure why, but I like it.

The lobby Starbucks, tucked in on the right, just past the Wheatland Room, has a food counter that is always busy, but cranks the stuff out fast enough that there's never really a line. Ive seen A LOT of their food being consumed, and apart from mushy fries, people seem to be liking it.

The hotel has a new eatery about where the old dinner restaurant was. It's very "college dining hall," and they have a buffet, but I've not yet seen their bill of fare in person. The breakfast dining area is not yet complete.

There seemed to be lots of games. Nothing really "over the fence," but lots of good looking events. There looks to be one mega game in the lower lobby, but it's been scenics only thus far.

There are a fair few regular vendors who are absent. No Casemate. No Eureka. No Baggage Train. No On Military Matters. But this really isn't a new phenomenon. Vendors seem to be increasingly getting away from the 3 for 3 con model. I did get the impression that there was quite a lot of money changing hands, but the vendors can chime in on that.

The parking near the Expo is mud/grass only, and the access road is in really bad shape, but it's working none the less.
It didn't really rain hard until after dark, and that helped.

The only flea market/Wally's Basement was 9p-12M. Maybe 1/2 full of vendors with a fair few shoppers. Lots of board games. Old plastic sci-fi. Books. There seems to be an increasing amount of home brew scenic foliage. Some of it really quite good.

This turned out to be longer than I planned, but we'll…

Let's see how Saturday goes.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2019 11:58 p.m. PST

I was there today. The vendor area seemed pretty busy until about 1600 or so.

I played a game of Adeptus Titanicus tonight and my phone died.

I'll post pictures when I get home.

TheKing3016 Mar 2019 4:55 a.m. PST

Excellent reviews! I wish I could be there…

23rdFusilier Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 9:02 a.m. PST

Arrived Thursday. Having a wonderful time. Impressed by the renovation (which is in going). There are a number of fantastic looking games.

Chris Palmer16 Mar 2019 6:26 p.m. PST

For those with Facebook, there's been photos posted from the HAWKs room n their FB page: link

clifblkskull Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2019 8:58 p.m. PST

Good reports

pvi99th17 Mar 2019 3:11 a.m. PST

The Wyndham (what used to be The Lancaster Host) looks great. The upgrades are really nice.

Still a lot of issues with lack of parking, but that has always been a problem but compounded by the construction, They were parking people at Dutch Wonderland and they had to walk over.

The place seemed more packed with people than usual. It was almost impossible to get through the aisles in the Distelfink room. I know at previous conventions, including Historicon, it seemed you could have held a game in some of the aisles, because they were so empty.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 12:40 p.m. PST

My quick thoughts while still unpacking:

1. Hotel will be very good when finished. Room was great. The Distlefink is outstanding now. The dealer hall is very nice too. Still a lot of work to be done though.

2. Saw some very nice looking games at the con. Hard to say on attendance.

3. Some of the regular vendors were not there, but there was no empty space in the dealer hall.

4. Parking was a …. challenge.

Some nits, but overall good con and a big thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen.

DaleWill Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 1:04 p.m. PST

I'll agree with what others have said. If Fall-in 2018 was the nader, then this is the beginning of the comeback. The main hall is great. Those weird shaped lights are very bright. I don't think there is a need for outside lighting there anymore. It was very hot on Friday then about a 30-40 degree dip in temps sat. and Sun. Making heating/cooling a challenge.
Did seem to be a good energy. I know I was busy all the time.

KPinder17 Mar 2019 3:39 p.m. PST

As the weekend progressed we got a clearer picture of how things at The Wyndham (nee Host) are shaping up.

On the down side, there are teething issues with the food. Saturday morning things got jammed up because they couldn't quite figure out how/where to locate plates. Other gripes about the heat/quality of the food were voiced. I think these are bugs to be worked out. By Sunday morning I think they ran out of some food selections. The breakfast buffet was well stocked, but the Starbucks was down to selling Snowballs out of their case.

On the upside, despite the dramatic drop in temp Friday to Saturday, the main rooms remained comfy. Most of the secondary rooms were pretty warm. The gaming rooms on the 400 level, behind the kids play area, which have a long rep as being sweat boxes, especially.

The lighting in Lampeter and Distelfink is now excellent. Whatever they did in Distelfink to muffle the noise was also working really well.

I heard the hotel was without water a few hours Friday night. Later I heard this was done intentionally so that their plumber could get in and fix a problem that had arisen.

Lots of eye candy games Saturday. I'm sure the pix that are yet to be posted will enlarge on the ones up and will give a good idea of what was presented. One GM had arranged to have the SPI Cedar Mountain game map enlarged and laminated. It had to be 12' square.

They've poured a new swimming pool. It's smaller than the old one, but it has an elevated hit tub. It's still a long way from being finished.

For future reference, it is apparently official, Cold Wars 2020 will be held at the Lancaster Wyndham. Rumor has it that, at that show, Wally's Basement, will be brought back down from the theater. Expect flashlight stocks tomorrow to plummet.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2019 5:07 p.m. PST

Overall pleased with the convention, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Host/Wyndham were completely functional by Cold Wars 2020, if CW2020 is held there. Entrance is still under construction. Food is still a mess--and a problem with scheduling is tight, and When they say "all rooms are renovated" they mean they are only renting out renovated rooms. My preferred rooms in the 100-series are completely blocked off. Carpet is ugly, but at least not threadbare or stained. Really, you can (now) see the facility improving each time.

I would disagree about "energy" though. The dealer's hall and the flea markets had unused space. The showcase game position in the Lobby was barely used. Walking the parking lot and looking at license plates, it felt as though the reach was down. Very few cars from outside the core area. Of course that last is impressionistic, but since the Board is late and reluctant with actual attendance numbers, impressionistic is what we've got.

Which is a long way of saying that except for the annoying food situation, the problems aren't with the facility, now, but with us. If we want a better con, we're going to have to do it.

KPinder17 Mar 2019 5:31 p.m. PST

The 100 and high 200 series rooms have long been the "red-headed step-children" of the Host. I got a high 200 one bitterly cold con, only to find the rooms on both sides were out of service and unheated. Not surprisingly, I had to be moved.

Prior to the rebuild it wasn't unusual to see half the 100 rooms with no doorknobs.

The Host gutted the 100 hallway some time ago and it's all still bare concrete and dust. There were a fair few people working in there. There was a substantial trench running outside along the poolside 300 rooms verandas. Someone mused they might be relining the foundation to abate leaks.

Given that the poolside of that corridor is below grade there aren't many guest room possibilities in that corridor. It's kinda not surprising this area is lagging. But I agree, any room that can be accessed without humping up a full staircase is a gem.

Bowman17 Mar 2019 5:44 p.m. PST

I'm with Historygamer, I didn't see any empty vendor tables, but then I wasn't looking for them.

I had a great time, but that depends more on my gaming and my friends than issues with the facilities. I eat and overnight elsewhere, so I wasn't affected by some of the issues. I had two great meals within a 5 minute walk from the Host.

I think the hotel looked better than I can remember. By 2020 it should be fine.

Pre-registration check-in with the HMGS crew took literally seconds. The new system is awesome. Thanks to Heather and all her volunteer crew for an excellent convention. Looking forward to Historicon.

John From DE17 Mar 2019 8:19 p.m. PST

I had a good time. Parking was a problem and food was not easy BUT there are five restaurant within a block. I go further than that for lunch every day. Registration was terrific and I got good deals in the vendor area and Wally's basement. Everyone I talked to was happy. This was a good meet.

KPinder18 Mar 2019 1:22 a.m. PST

The mezzanine could have accommodated some more vendors, and the room at the SW corner, where Casemate usually sets up, were both unused.


historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 5:10 a.m. PST

The mezzanine should have been used for tables for the people buying food down below. There was no where to sit and eat in the dealer area. Oddly enough, round tables were being set up Sunday as things were closing down.

For those going to cons long enough, you'll remember the Mezzanine area used to be home to the painting competition – and people actually used to enter historical military wargame armies/units. Ah, those were the days.

I also noted that the few tables in front of Starbucks/food station were often taken up by people just taking a break sitting there, but this added to a lack of an eating area for the food being served. I'd like to suggest that the hotel Starbucks staff be allowed to carry tasers to correct this problem in the future. :-)

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 5:49 a.m. PST

Some other quick observations:

1. Had a player in my game Saturday night. Said he was supposed to be GMing a scifi game but he had no players show up.

2. When the above gentleman said that, a couple of other players chimed in with tales of their own about other games that had no players as well.

3. The Distlefink (great room now!) was half empty (or more) by 9pm.

4. A number of people were disappointed that there was no flea market Friday afternoon. Count me among them. Not sure what problem this is solving moving it to the evening. Why not have two then?

5. Sunday morning flea market was full and busy.

6. With all the empty spaces, I am not sure why the Vista rooms are even being used. The lobby gaming area was also lightly populated this time as well. Is this a planning problem or are no-show games that significant?

I will be curious to hear about attendance and number of canceled games.

Bowman18 Mar 2019 10:58 a.m. PST

Said he was supposed to be GMing a scifi game but he had no players show up.

<sarcasm> Well that should make you happy </sarcasm> wink

Seriously, that happened to one of my friends too. No one showed up to play his game either.

I played in Erik Turner's FIW game right next to your game on Saturday night. It was a very fine looking game too, I may add. I was going to come over and introduce myself but you were busy. Also, I had my hands full trying to chase down the dastardly French Marines and their sneaky Indian allies. Maybe at Historicon.

A number of people were disappointed that there was no flea market Friday afternoon.

Was that a request by the vendors? I was going to drop by late on Friday to check it out but the biblical scale deluge stopped me from walking from the Tru.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 11:22 a.m. PST

I hate to hear of any GM who goes to all the trouble not getting any players. That could have happened for a variety of reasons, but still….

Thank you for the kind words. I guess I was so oblivious I missed seeing Eric's game. I would have like to have seen it. I saw something in photos of a Fort Necessity game. Was that his too? I did run into Eric a couple of times and we chatted for a bit. Always nice to catch up with old friends.

Rotundo18 Mar 2019 11:32 a.m. PST

I had all tickets taken for Anzio, but alas not one showed. I was bailed out by a father son team and some friends. Now, I take a tough spot. 11am until 3pm on Saturday….but why take the tickets?

Rotundo18 Mar 2019 11:35 a.m. PST

Oh and I noticed we now need 20 hrs of gaming to qualify for free.

ViscountEric18 Mar 2019 11:50 a.m. PST

No, we need 20 player-hours to qualify. It's been like that for a while.

6 players for a 4 hour game = 24 player-hours.

egoodlander18 Mar 2019 1:02 p.m. PST

It is a disappointment. This has happened to us a few times. This is why we only run a game for the guys we know that will show up and not leave us unable to run. This time we ran our 1/25 scale Road Warrior with 15 players and real playing time of about 2.5 hours. It can be tough when you need 6 players and only get 3 or 4 on a 3 hour game so we have stopped even trying on most of our historical scenario games. We just keep them at home for the local group rather than lug them 6 hours and be unable to run.
We had all 4 tickets out for our Battle in a Box wild west game but only 2 showed and we were lucky to get a third from the Hawks (thanks Mike!) but we needed 4 and had extras for 2 more players. The game just wasn't the same missing a full 1/4 of the factions. I don't know how to handle that other than to not bother trying to run anything other than the ones I know friends will pile in on to play. Saturday, was pretty scarce for games so they should all have been full…but weren't!

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 1:17 p.m. PST

My AAR on my blog…

The short version… I had a great time. The only thing really lacking was the food… they wer enot totally prepared as the kitchen was expected to be fully up and running and I don't think it was… beer and booze was plentiful! The starbucks was open, my room was completely remodeled, had plenty of hot water and water pressure.. the place was clean… still not finished, but sooooo much better than even Fall In! It will be nice when done…

As for everything else.. the show was great. I saw little to now problems at all. As you all know, I volunteer, I am biased, but I am also honest. I could go on and on…. please check out my blog for the actual pics and write up.


95th Division Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2019 4:56 p.m. PST

Great job at Cold Wars, Dan. Thanks for all your assistance with getting our Lard America games co-located in Distlefink. I enjoyed reading your blog entry (and you even had a photo of my AWI game – thanks for posting). Distlefink was a vast improvement and a very enjoyable gaming area, plus the lighting was great.


civildisobedience18 Mar 2019 5:31 p.m. PST

Good convention. Kudos to all responsible, and especially to those at HMGS who finally beating back the registration demons that have plagued it for decades. Getting in and getting registered has become quick and easy, and someone deserves a pat on the back for doing something that eluded years of predecessors.

The hotel is getting there, and the renovated parts look good. People can find things to complain about (parking, food, etc), but there's no question things are moving in the right direction. I'm wondering if we wouldn't be better off back at the ex-Host than trying our luck with the casino in Valley Forge. Time will tell.

Bowman19 Mar 2019 6:50 a.m. PST

I had all tickets taken for Anzio, but alas not one showed.

Ya that's a shame. I get the feeling that to many, these conventions are just shopping trips and the games are just a diversion. Now I would still come, even if there were no vendors. Don't get me wrong, I love the shopping too. Coming from Canada, I can cart the figures home without the shipping charges and the duty and taxes. But my main focus is playing great games and hanging out with my wargaming friends.

But that might just be me. Maybe many don't appreciate the work going into putting on a game as they are just focused on their purchases.

Bowman19 Mar 2019 6:53 a.m. PST

I'm wondering if we wouldn't be better off back at the ex-Host than trying our luck with the casino in Valley Forge.

I don't want to start a new internet war, and I certainly don't want to undermine the fine work done by the BOD during a difficult tenure, but I agree wholeheartedly with that.

……and especially to those at HMGS who finally beating back the registration demons that have plagued it for decades.

Absolutely!! What a pleasure the new system is to use.

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