The Lord of War
Cold Wars Main AAR
Well, the day had come at last, for my last show as CW Director (in name). In truth, I was relieved. It hardly seemed like “my convention” for the last three months, and poor Frank Preziosi had to shoulder quite a burden stepping in to virtually run things as my new job had me working long hours incommunicado. Talk about learning under fire. Frank, your efforts were appreciated. I nosed my truck into the parking lot Thursday morning after picking up the shirts late Wednesday night.
The tables were already setup out front and downstairs. Rich Wright was running around making last minute adjustments. Frank and Mrs. Prez were very competently shooing people about hither and yon as all the little last minute things were getting done. Shirts out and sorted by size, pre-reg shirts pulled for the people who ordered them. Program books arrived on time and addendum being stuff as we speak. Rutherford busy making sure the machines and label makers were working. Our seed money already distributed.
Over at the tennis barn, Neil Schlaffer was honchoing vendors into position with effortless ease. The peg board crew (The Crouches) were busy ratcheting away at assembly points down near the Help and Events desk. It looked like chaos but it all made sense. Things were happening.
I dropped into a pre-convention meeting with the hotel staff and met some of the new faces and names. I was sad that “Big John” the night manager had moved on, as well as Gloria, the front desk lady that made counting out relatively easy. The new folks, including Medium-Sized Carl (Big John’s replacement) and Patty, are quite good at what they do, and very personable.
At six we started taking registrations, selling shirts, and handing out pre-reg. We had some lines but we really handled it efficiently, due to the layout. The homemade stanchions the Preziosis made for FALL IN came in very handy for line control.
The Flea Market and Tournament area were laid out in an unusual configuration for COLD WARS but I approved it. Traffic was great and for once, ALL PARTIES WERE HAPPY! Hooray! It can be done. I might add, that Bob, Neil, and many tournament luminaries had a meeting at this con and resolved a game plan for HISTORICON that seems to be amicable to all parties. Well done, gentlemen.
Look at that happy Tournament GM!!
I should mention the weather. I was wearing shorts on the way up. By the end of the day I was bundling up– the temperature had taken a plunge. Snow.. and ice! were expected, and the reports were varying everywhere from 2 inches to a foot in places. Oh the joy.
Well, they don’t call it COLD WARS for nothing.
The mood in the bar (for people who had showed up on Thursday) was restrained and pleasant. Chances were we would be stuck here over the weekend, but could you imagine a better place to be stuck (that’s rhetorical). The restraunt and food services department from the Host were not complaining.
Nothing like having a naturally hungry crowd as a captive audience.
Naturally, there was ‘talk’ about the impending referendum at Saturday’s membership meeting. I went to bed (early, for me at a con) at 1 AM.
Friday sprang up but I did not. Somewhere during the night, my nemesis, arthritis, set in.. and I could hardly stand up. My knee joint had locked up during the night and I felt awful. The only meds I take for an attack are ibuprofen and I didn’t even have that. Or even a winter coat and gloves! And it was now icing and sleeting. As you can see, things were NOW looking ominous:
So I hobbled to the reg area, bummed an Aleve and drove over to K-Mart to buy some Ibuprofen, a cheap disposable coat and gloves. Friday’s games were in full swing when I got back around 9. Some of them were vastly impressive. Phil Vevrito’s massive SIEGE OF CARTHAGE was a shoe-in for best thematic game, in my opinion. HMGS President Pete Panzeri had gone out of his way for COLD WARS, both in suggesting Phil as a Guest of Honor and contacting the WOMAN’S ARMY MUSEUM to provide little statues as awards. Thanks, Pete, you done good!
I was very bummed that I could not get my stuff together to run a game on Del Stover’s table on Friday. I had planned on a nice four hour slot to run RED ACTIONS in, but the fact is we had got the game to being about 80% ready for public play but had not had time to complete it. Sorry, Del, didn’t meant to let you down. Thanks for the great work on the newsletter!
WHAT WE PLAYED The entire convention featured many OUTSTANDING games being played Here are but a few..
(For reasons of blogger.com compatibility, I have to host the slideshow offsite. Click on the Pig’s Head to start the show)
I managed to get in to a game of THE SWORD AND THE FLAME (French Foreign Legion) run by Ed Watts. Details elsewhere.
The best part of an HMGS convention is meeting people in the flesh you only get to talk to on the phone or via email during the course of the year. Some things you don’t WANT to see… of course. Here’s John Camarano, doing his yearly Frodo at the Crack of Doom pose.
I was so annoyed at his hijinks, I banished him and Dewey to the kids table.
Heather’s painting program gang showed up and got right to it on Friday. They are located in the “Lancaster Room” (read: the old Gift Shop). This proved to be a great location. Lots of bright light, and natural light filtering in from the glass walls. Hard to miss, too!
I was impressed by the sheer number of board and card games at this convention. Seems like anywhere there was a free table or little nook in the lobby, there were a gang of gamers playing a Euro, wargame or boardgame of some sort. I event got in at the tail end of a game of ARKHAM HORROR very late Saturday Night with such luminaries as John Drye, Dudley Garidel, Frank Chadwick and Bill Rutherford. I only regret that they wussed out and halted the game early. What a pity! I love Arkham Horror. Apparently the complexity factor really sells this one to wargamers. I also saw another favorite, DESCENT (also from FFG) being run by Mike Lorenzo (Goldwyrm from TMP). There’s never enough time to play EVERYTHING you want at a convention.
I did my bit for wargaming commerce, and in an act unlike me, spent every dime but five bucks for lunch on the way home at the Vendor’s hall. I got (finally!!!) my Japanese Yalu fleet from Outland Games (former Lyzard’s Grin). Some more huge-ass 54mm gladiators (must get around to building a stadia one of these years!). Some buildings for 20mm Red Actions (farmhouse and stone country house). A “Jack the Ripper” tableau and rules kit from Old Glory. Various dits and dots here and there, including some serious poundage from Iron Wind Metals, who were doing my favorite thing, selling old Rals by the pound. Sure wish they would do that with historicals!!!
Saturday dawned with a thick crust of ice on it covered by a light powder. Day trippers were up from the day before, but weekend passes waaaay down. Sigh. What can you do?
I went to the Membership meeting expecting fireworks due to the recent proposal to trim the board of directors down to a certain amount plus three con directors. The proposal, by an HMGS Member, had been withdrawn from the floor via phone call. I was pleased to hear this– we avoided another implosion!! Nominations for the BOD were heard.. and I was very pleased to see Mike Pierce, Gunner Garidel (who did a bang up job as Pre-Registrar for this con and previous Historicons), and John Drye on the ballot. This is a great group of candidates to choose from!!! None of them are particularly political, all of them are hard working and concietionous. Heather Blush was also nominated, and I also think she can do great things– as she has proven. So it will be a hard choice this year!
REMEMBER, CHECK YOUR MEMBERSHIP STATUS, HMGS MEMBERS! (vote! it’s important!)
the rest of the meeting was remarkably civil and pro forma. They got me to painfully stand up and say nice things. During which, I acknowledged the huge debt I had to Frank for helping with this convention, and had HIM read the numbers. He gave a short speech about plans for CW08, and the theme, which is GOLDEN AGE OF PIRACY. Fantastic idea!
At this stage in any convention, it’s all over but the screaming (and count out). So I limped around, trying to be helpful here and there, and staying out of the way of those folks who knew their job. A person, who shall remain nameless, gave me a little topical something for my knee that had it feeling loads better in short order.
I flitted here and there and all seemd to be going well. Saturday afternoon and night was more (and bigger) games, including the awards ceremonies. Phil “Classical Hack” Vevrito won for SIEGE OF CARTHAGE, which deserved it. His report on CW07, and the Siege of Carthage game, is HERE. Much better shot photos of the game, too!
The Peking game got the PELA. Did I mention Ilove those statues? I also presided over the judging of the COLD WARS MILITARY ENGINEERING CHALLENGE,and even built my own contraption. Saturday night, I avoided the bar for once and got in a very interesting game of RUGGED ADVENTURES run by Jeff Simpson and Ed Watts (details elsewhere).
Had a nice (unvirtual) beer, and off to bed.
Sunday dawned and so did the sun, doing its best to melt off two days of ice. Numbers were given, count outs were done, and expenses recorded. I will not have the final report until all the expenses are recorded and paid out, but my SENSE is we did as well as we could with the bad weather. People made an effort to come, as evidenced by the all time high for day passes. And the vendors were happy. those that DID come, spent money (I know I did). I won’t reveal the final totals here as that is the business of the BOD (and we truthfully don’t know all yet).
And so, I nosed my truck into the traffic and headed home after chipping it out of the ice. We had done well. Things had come together in spite of my new job, the weather, and the Host’s always changing construction schedule. I have to thank Frank Preziosi for being a hard worker and virtually the REAL con director from January onward, Neil Schlaffer for the Vendor support, Pat Shields, Sandra & Ann Marie Bennecke, Kathy Higbee at the front desk, Dudley Garidel for the pre-registration work, Richard Wright for the Events management, Jim and the Flea Market gang for one more year’s effort, Heather and the Painting Gang, Geoff Graff for the Cold Wars Military Engineering Challenge and the various other staff members I haven’t mentioned. Your efforts paid off handsomely.
In closing, it’s been a fun four years. Some of them were better than others, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I will now go back to the many projects I have let linger over the last few years… (grinning).
Bill Gray’s AGE OF EAGLES Dennewitz game at CW07
Chris Vaughn from TMP posted a rather comprehensive CW07 photo album on the web. Mostly .45 Caliber Adventures stuff.