Historicon 2007 — Sat/Sun

The gift of Gab, Whitehouse, Gladiators, and Sunday kid’s stuff

When you’re painted and left on the Airsoft range,
And the part-time staff come out to clean up for next day’s,
Jest find your car keys and head home ‘fore it rains
And pretend to teh Internets that you’re a soldier. — Grant Whitley

Saturday dawned with a hearty breakfast (brunch really) of Eggs Benedict and coffee. I was tired from the night before, and decided for once, I could let a membership meeting go by without me. I kicked about in the dealers’ room, almost giving in to the siren song of this advertisement:

Who could resist such high pressure advertising?

As is usual for a HISTORICON, I got cajoled by Howard Whitehouse to be an assistant director for his Pulp Adventures game, Astounding Tales! I’m a sucker for whining and sniveling, it always gets me right here, so I agreed to help.

Better Slideshow, more and better piccies!

For those of us who are unused to Howard’s Astounding Tales, you know that the structure is simple but the texture is quite complex. The game is on the surface a “skirmish” game, but it really is a low-grade RPG setting. Howard runs his convention games as movie sets, where each table referee is an assistant director helping to make the main movie happen. In this case, the “movie” was SLAVES OF THE ELEPHANT GOD, a fictional movie set in four sets, the Jalalabad Marketplace (with a strangely phallic looking minaret), The Northwest Frontier, The Jungle, and a Tibetan lamasery. I ran the Tibetan table, which featured (of course!) Fu Manchu and his deadly minions.

Fu Manchu (pictured) this fellow did the evil Warlord justice!

Some local Warlord thugs did his bidding, as well as the llamas at the monastery. Into this mix came Biggles the famous pilot, The Indiana Jones family (Indy, Henry Jones, Short Round and Marian), The Tibetan SS expedition, the Gestapo, and the Bolshevik Spies. They were all investigating the mysterious idol of the Elephant God. Fu Manchu sent his deadly minions out to interfere with the groups. A fierce battle ensued. Indiana and Marion were captured. Short Round infiltrated Fu’s group and released them. Biggles fought with the bad guys, who captured Ginger.. who got released again. Henry Jones (Indy’s dad) got captured by thugs. Things were looking dire for the Jones team when it became… Act 2! We did a table switch for a few teams.. I sent out the Bolshies and the Gestapo and brought in Clark Savage, Jr. (aka Doc), whose dad knew Henry Jones back in the day, and Jeeves and Wooster, just wondering the Hindu Kush looking for a petrol station.

Patrick Wilson volunteered to be a standin stooge for me.. and since he had so many cool hats I took him up on it. A wonderful job.

Things picked right up in the Second Act… Fu acted inscrutable, Clark helped out the Jones family, Bertie acted lost and got his car blown up. Fu disappeared at the very end when it looked like the good guys were winning. The scene shifted to a very speedy denouement at the Island Volcano of Riki-tiki, where, of course, the volcano blew up, the Elephant God emerged to plague the world, and every beat feet out of there before the island sank below the waves. A fun little game. You have to be on your toes with this system, and keep the action CONSTANTLY moving– the game is partly improv comedy, partly a test of trivial knowledge, and oh yes, kinda sorta a RPG game. I love it.

The game ended, and we all (the TriaDCon planning committee) went out to dinner at Lapps. It had been a while since I had been to Lapps, but it hasn’t changed much. They still make a wicked chicken corn chowder. Andy had a bombshell to drop that we’ll discuss when we get more details. We compared notes and discussed issues. And we had corn chowder.

Karen thinks: I love hanging out with professional competitive eaters. They are so hawt.

I had to get back to get into a chariot racing game (one of my favorite minis style events). It turned out it had morphed into a gladiator fighting game using the Arena Rules. I liked this game, but maybe would have enjoyed it more with fewer people and less of them shouting in my face under the influence of beer. Oh well, I had a headache.

Cool Slideshows!

They seemed upset at “the turtle” and ganged up on him. Towards the end, I implored the child across from me for death.. the shouting was a bit much. The young lad that I had pulled a fast one on in the Aachen game the previous day dropped by to say hello.

Hey Mr. Traitor.. YOU SUCK!

Even at this late hour (Saturday night), there were still lots of games going on. Greg Whitaker (below) had run several rounds of Viking Looters, the game that Pirate Raiders comes from.

Mark Fastoso was running one of his Sword and the Flame games, late Saturday..

There was a preponderance of cowboy games as a secondary theme…

And one thing I liked was the REAL SCALE Pulp Adventures game, called “The Shrink Ray”

I didn’t party too hard in the bar like I have in shows past.. I was tired enough. I did end up talking with some friends until late, but at least I didnt’ wake up with a headache the next day.


Whoops, we haven’t shot the obligatory “Massive Vendor’s Room Shot” that everyone takes at HISTORICON. Here you go.

There you go, tracking right to left. Glad we got that out of the way. For my money,and it was for my money, at that.. the Vendor Hall was only so so for me. There wasn’t much new. I spent my money mostly on the Gaming Camp supplies, rather than anything personal, except for some reference books. Having the A/C fail put a “damper” on things… even walking calmly through the area had me drenched in sweat. (which wasn’t the vendor’s fault, to be sure)

From the “This Hobby has Plenty of Shiny Young Faces in It” Dept. Games for Kids and the Adults they bring with them:

Sunday seems to be getting focused on games for the youngsters, and I couldn’t be more delighted. I love throwing games for kids and I love watching all the clever stuff that other people do along the same lines. Here’s Jim McCourt’s awe-inspiring “Red Five Going In” (Z-733) Star Wars based game, featuring ships he handcrafted out of wood. This guy is a genius.

And of course, the game that started the trend, Mark McGlaughlin’s Princess Ryan’s Space Marines, a longtime favorite of Sunday Mornings.

And Duncan Adams’ BUCK ROGERS AND THE SECRET LABORATORY (Z-196), featuring recast flat figures from commercial Buck Rogers figures from the 1930s! Very cool stuff. I thought I saw Peter Card playing this..

Mr. Todd Harland-White has also run his “Teddy Bear Picnic” rules for a few years now, and this year, he had a wonderful Western theme with cowboy teddy bears.

Not a bad effort… I am inspired!

Sunday seems a good time to try something a bit wacky, or in large scale..

Here’s Chris Weuve playing a raw-ther large scale PURSUIT OF THE GOEBEN game in mega 1:1200 scale.

Having hit the dealer’s room one last time, and shaken Otto’s hand farewell (thank you, roomie!) I bid Historicon farewell and nosed my ancient vehicle southward for a nice easy ride home down 30, to 15, to Frederick and points South. It was an easy ride.. but I was exhausted. Historicon wears me out!

If I have taken a few impressions away with me, I’d have to say this was a remarkably apolitical, easygoing convention. MANY thanks to all the contentious individuals for leaving it home. There was a dearth of nasty gossip, and that’s the way I like it. I felt more charged up about HMGS than I have been for a while– I had been in a slow spiraling burnout for a good bit of the last two years but I’m beginning to get enthusiastic again. I want to break out the paint, I want to finish off a few projects that have languished out of apathy. Thank you to all the staff and participants of HISTORICON 2007, you helped recharge my batteries.

And to Bob Giglio, a job well done, sir.


Additional Photo sets