HISTORICON 2008.. a fantastic time

I’ve been away from blogging for, oh, six months or more, for that I do apologize. A series of life changes has kept me fairly busy during that time, and I’ve had precious little time for gaming.


I went to HISTORICON last week, from Wednesday to Sunday– alas, no pictures are contained with this narrative, but I assure you somebody out there will be posting some soon. I will give credit where it is due and link to other photos where needed– just pass a mouseclick over the photo.

HISTORICON was my first HMGS convention since FALL IN! 2007, where I had been turned off of miniatures gaming for quite some time after the collapse of TRIADCON from within. In summary, I have to say HISTORICON was an EXCELLENT convention, a wonderful time from start to finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed the efforts of Bob Giglio and his crew of stalwarts: Neil Brennan, Frank Preziosi, Duncan Adams, JT Thomas, Wilbur Grey, Jeff and Monica Hobbs, Kathryn Plamback, Don Perrin, Jim McWee and many others should be singled out for their contributions to a wonderful show. Not to mention the on site staff that were up to their normal high standard of efficiency and helpfulness.

Having arrived in the afternoon on Wednesday, my activity was limited to visiting with friends, kibitzing, and solving the heady problems of philosophy in the lobby lounge with Bob and Cleo Leibel, Otto Schmidt and the occasional stalwart that drifted in and out of our wine-soaked conversations. “Sitting around and BSing with other learned pals” might be my favorite convention activity of all time, so I rate this evening as among the highlights of the convention. The next day started out late– a wine soaked 230 AM bedtime will do that to you. I wandered about for a while, having grabbed a ticket for an evening game, whining my way into a boardgame (zombies), visiting the painting area and then showing up for dinner (late) with Otto, Bob, Cleo, and a family of adoptees that Otto had coerced to the convention. A most engaging supper, and off to my first “formal” game of the con, the battle of Ulsan. this was a fairly even contest between Japanese and Russian pre-dreadnoughts, using the wonderful Old Glory Shipyards Dreadnought line (the ship models weren’t 100 per cent accurately representing the battle line, but the Japanese ‘stand-ins’ retained the flavor of the ships they were to represent).


I was in the role of the Russian Admiral, Jessen, flying the flag of the ROSSIYA. From the commencement of the battle, the Rossiya was under heavy, continuous fire from multiple ships. In an odd reversal of historical roles, it was the ROSSIYA that suffered a fate similar to the RURIK, the weakest ship in our line. I kept rolling “Special Damage” which ended up with a Captain dead.. the ship went through 8 captains during the course of the fight. The running joke was that by the time the battle was over, the laundry officer was running the ship!

The Russians won decisively, having no ships immobilized (this was close, though) and the Japanese were down to one ship left afloat. I had a wonderful time with this game, and commend the GM Mike Miller (as well as my fellow players on BOTH sides) for making this a fun time.

Friday dawned, I did some local things, and did my first big trawl around the dealer area. I got pigeonholed by Howard to help with his big pulp game (unexpectedly held on a FRIDAY, not a Saturday, harrumph). I promised I’d try, but got their late due to other commitments. Sigh. He really didn’t need me, anyway. 😀 One interesting acquaintance made in the dealer’s area was a man named William, clearly a Mennonite, who had started a miniature gaming company in his community, and was selling Age of Reason/Seven Years War figures. Yes, he had heard about the Amish Rake Fight, and he thought it was hilarious, which shows you that should never assume anything. I promised I’d send him some photos, so please, if you got his card, get in touch with me.

Having been released from obligations to Howard, I did some more shopping, had some conversations, painted a bit, and then grabbed a ticket for the evening game. This was for CALLIOPE, a game that has always intrigued me, but alas, I was charmed when I saw FUPRIKT’S ALESIA or HOW TEDDY ROOSEVELT SAVE RURITANIA, and had to weasel my way in there. This was a giant GASLIGHT BATTLES game in a very small space. I played Victorian Germans with their giant spider walker, three companies of troops and flesh golems. You know, the typical troop mix. I slaughtered the Ruritanians in front of me, but it was to no avail, we couldn’t advance through the densely packed town nearly fast enough. We lost but only by a narrow margin. I sat in on some friendly (and UNfriendly) banter about the “big subject”, moving HISTORICON to Baltimore. This was much discussed in the evening, at the bar.

The next meeting was the membership meetings, which I did not avoid. I was rather touched to receive a very nice Saint Petersburg trophy for my years as a con director, and a HMGS lifetime membership, complete with secret recognition coin.

I got into Pete Frechtling’s excellent A DAY AT THE RACES, LEONARDO? which may have been my favorite game this convention. This is a very silly game, featuring Renaissance era tanks racing each other with a little bit of sabotage from the sidelines. Reminds me of the old Le Grand Cirque games. I lost in dramatic style, trying to ram the guy who tore the guts out of my steam tank from behind.

I had time for a quick meal, and then got to sleaze my way into THAT’S A BUNCH OF BOLSHEVIK: SOMEWHERE IN RUSSIA, 1920. Great fun indeed, when you can squeeze a Russian Revolution game somewhere into the mix. The Rules were RED FURY, a sort of variant of BLITZKRIEG COMMANDER for the RCW. They played very well and could be condensed into two pages.

After being THOROUGHLY defeated by a very good opponent, I ambled upstairs and got involved in the bar room convos about the HISTORICON move. I avoided being too argumentative, and had a fun time BSing with people I rarely see.

Next day I packed up, did a final run through flea market and vendor area, and thus pointed my nose southward. I had a great time– one thing I noticed was the stress level has greatly receded in the last year, and there are many changes. People are friendlier and more mellow at these things, which is EXACTLY the convention I wish to attend. Good show, my fellow enthusiasts, I am proud of you.


  1. Nice AAR. Why do some want Historicon to move (asks the perennial WBC attendee), if you say? Mostly curious if it’s about the venue. Despite being more remote, I think the move from the Hunt Valley Inn to the LH has been a huge positive for the WBC. I certainly enjoy dealing with Host staff who at least actually try to act like they give a shit, unlike the HVI staff.

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