Continued from PREVIOUS POST
Catchy title, eh? This travelogue will, much to your dismay no doubt, have an operational flavor.. mostly because this was one of the busiest Cold Wars I have ever worked on. Fortunately there are a ton of game pictures at the end, so you can skip there if you don’t like reading about how these things get pulled off.
Catching up on Cold Wars Reportage
Thursday night: the doors opened at 6 PM to largish crowds after the Cold Wars crew spends the standard frantic hours running off addendum sheets, running to Staples for last minute supplies and printing addendums to the program book. The line snaked down the lobby a bit but we had the initial rush handled very quickly. Thursday night is starting to pick up at COLD WARS ™ and I was approached by more than one individual wondering when we would expand to a four day con. It might be a good idea, who knows. In any event, we did throw something around four or five games Thursday night, and lot of attendees were hanging out here and there.
Friday dawned… it was a day a bright as a whore’s promise and cold as her heart. Surprisingly, no snow, no rain, no inclement weather. A great convention setting, as if the Divine was saying “Just kidding, you kids have fun“. We had quite a crowd at the flea market and exhibitor’s area at start.
We were short staffed at Cold Wars, so we actually had some BoD members helping us out by mid-day. Shock and awe, the much-discussed-on-TMP COLD WARS SHIRT flew off the shelves, so to speak. We only had about a dozen or so left by the end of the first day. Hmmm… I’m increasing that t-shirt budget line dramatically for CW07. Personally, I thought CW05’s shirt had a more interesting logo but what can you do. Who knew?
I had some arrow signs made with foam core put on the walls, to assist in navigation of the (oftimes confusing to newbies) Lancaster Host. They seem to work!
Wait a sec…
Cold Wars 07? Did I drop a name here? Yes. Somewhere in there, and I have no idea where, I extended being COLD WARS director out another year. I have an idea how it happened…
I agreed, mostly because I wanted to go out on a high note but also to have a year where I could get some ACDs (assistant con director) working on learning the job. Yes, that’s ACDs in plural. I have three!
Continuing Friday, our first day of the convention occurs with a lack of any conflict worthy of interest. There’s a couple of room collisions, but that is inevitable. I mediate a particularly nasty one. For the most part, we had many wondeful events put on by some very talented and dedicated GMs. CLUBCON went off without a hitch, though their space was crowded in a bit by the hotel taking up some wall space to vend food in. We were gracious.
Friday being Saint Patrick’s day, I am the target of many good-natured comments about my ethnicity and the fact that I’m not wearing green. I reply that I have such a serious Irish Mojo working, just by being myself, that to add green to it might cause the danger of overload. Jay Hadley, hotel liasion (e.g., schmoozer), bequeaths a lovely giant leprachaun figure to me in honor of the holiday.. it sings “When Irish Eyes are Smiling…” I am much taken with it.
Frank Preziosi, who did such yeoman work as our pre-registrar, made corned beef and cabbage for the entire staff, driving some of our staff away for a while… to me, that’s perfume in the air, ladies!
Thank you, Prez. I had two helpings, they were yummy.
I managed to get a quick walkabout (walking the rooms, checking for problems), during Friday in the PM; no problems yet. Could this be a convention blessed with no disasters? A triumph of planning? We’ll see.
Heather Blush’s Combat Painting Corps show up in the PM, and do setup. We were kept lively fetching more chairs for Heather’s event; the painting classes and competition were a big draw, and it’s only getting bigger. MANY thanks to Heather and her loyal crew for showing up and providing this wonderful addition to our conventions; the feedback was 100% positive.
The flea market was slow on Friday (traditionally, no surprise). It really picked up Saturday morning. Here’s Jay Hadley (hotel Schmoozer par excellence) next to Mitch Osborne (CW06 Program Book artist) and below that, Howard Whitehouse flogging some wares.
Fri. night, life got mellower… I bumped into these folks (that’s Bob and Cleo Leibl, our newsletter editors, on the left). The conversation got very metaphysical over wine and peanuts.
Some gents were even sneaking in some boardgaming down in the Lampeter:
That’s SETTLERS OF CATAAN for the uninitiated.
Saturday dawned bright, cold and clear again. I went out for a chilly sunrise walk, to clear my head for the membership meeting. Coffee, man… I need COFFEE!
The membership meeting went off without a hitch. I stood up on my hind legs, gave some numbers (we were doing pretty well, both in money taken in and in attendance, so I got a smattering of golf claps). I also announced that I was doing CW for one more year, and got some more golf claps. That’s flattering.
I dodged out to do the Con Director thing.. so missed nominations to run for the BOD this year. I hear that Bill Rutherford and Fred Hubig are running again, as well as Heather Blush. We tried to get Ruth Torres (my ACD this year) to put her hat in the ring, but she would have none of it.
The Reenactors showed up. This group is LEGIO XX, from Maryland, and LEGIO XXV from the Philly area showed up Sunday. The reenactors were wonderful, not asking much, just to stand around, hang out and explain Roman reenacting. I can’t thank Matthew Ampt enough for arrangning this wonderful theme event for us.
Games went on without a hitch (only one minor contretemps with a gent we call “the Ship Nazi” but that was handled more or less amicably) and we saw an increased rush of one day passes being sold as people drove in for day trips. We sold our last tshirt by 10 AM.
The dealer’s hall was jammed by mid-day.. it’s actually thinned out a bit when I took this picture.
Bumped into Otto (nemopholist) Schmidt on Saturday, and had lunch with him and Mitch Osborne. We discussed the theme for CW07 (THE ROAD AND THE WALL: greatest Combat Engineering feats), which was his original suggestion. It was good to see Otto again.
The hotel set up there standard big feed by 4 PM. They seem to know what gamers want:
1) Tables set up on time
2) The Dealer Hall opening on time
3) FOOD in our bellies
4) BEER on tap, and plenty of it.
I can’t help feeling a certain level of empathy…
We closed up by 5PM (the Wheatland) and secured for the night. I’ve been shamelessly neglecting my family (it happens at cons, and is rather hard to avoid). I tell Ruth “You have the CON, ACD”, in macho, Star Trek fashion. We decide to just run out to this “nearby” town of Hamburg, PA for a short field trip and dinner. You know what? Pennsylvania is a big place, and kind of confusing. Mapquest doesn’t do the place justice. A one hour escape rapidly turns into 2.5 hours, and my cell phone rang and rang… sigh.
Arriving back to the hotel, I do another walkabout, arriving at my favorite Saturday night destination.
I bump into Del Stover, and we talk about promotions and conventions. In a moment of weakness, he agrees to take over print publicity for COLD WARS 07. This is a major coup for me, because say what you want about Del as HMGS President, he was very, very good at publicity and marketing, and I miss his efforts (since we can’t seem to get any publicity out on time for a CW convention these days). I look forward to working with him.
You really have to work hard on that “moment of weakness” with Del, btw…
I also talked with James “Voyvoda13” Mattes, our director of marketing, about the idea of using podcasting to support next year’s show. He is interested in diverting some funding to support the project. Those little “audio reports” (not really podcasts) generated a surprising number of hits leading up to the convention, and we might be able to leverage this idea for marketing purposes. I’m wiling to give it a go.
The next day (Sunday) ushered in the standard pell mell run for the exit. We had a pretty good showing of Sunday morning games, including Professor Rick Norton’s wonderful Easter Rebellion game (featuring my own ancestor, Garrett O’Hara). I sure wish he’d do this on a day when I’m not counting out money.
We did the convention closeout with the hotel and the HMGS accountant. This is the part you never get to see, the unglorious job of figuring out what extra expenses cropped up here and there. We got off light; starting at 10AM and we were done by 1230PM. The fastest closeout on record!
For the record, I held the line on expenses, was fairly frugal and we made a profit. Not a huge, glamorous profit but a sizeable one for Cold Wars (more than last year, I think). We are processing the last invoices and outstanding bills now, and HMGS will announce how we did in the next financial report. Attenance numbers wer pretty good, I believe them to be at least as good as CW05 and possibly better.
I want to publically thank all of our wonderful volunteers– Frank Preziosi, Ruth Torres, Pat Shields, Bill Rutherford, Mitch Osborne, Jerry and Asher, Dan Niedwick, Rich Crouch, The Higbees, the Giglios, Todd Kauderer, Fred Haub and the gang at the GM desk. You all worked your butts off, for little compensation other than a thank you and a food voucher and I appreciate you for it. Cons don’t happen without you.
Thank you all for attending (those of you who did) and I look forward to seeing you at COLD WARS 2007: THE ROAD AND THE WALL!
That’s right, I promised you game pictures. Well, I intend to deliver. Mitch Osborne, cub photographer, graciously allowed me to borrow some of his digital photos (mostly because mine suck!) The following SLIDE SHOW will depict a fairly large (80 pics and more) slice of gaming life at COLD WARS 2006. All pictures copyright Mitch Osborne 2006.
Note that you will need JAVA to be enabled to see this. The link takes you to a FLICKR photo album.
Here are a few more online albums with some great pictures.
Thanks for coming! See you next year!
Stand by for HISTORICON 2006, being run by my friend, Bob Giglio. Bob knows how to put on a show, and HISTORICON will assuredly be a success under his steady hand.