Gar and I decided we’d go visit the Williamsburg Muster this year. We went last weekend, with the intention of running two games: LAND OF THE GIANTS and FAST SHUFFLE CHARIOT RACING which are both games I designed for the Gaming Camp for kids I run in the Summer. I live in the Northern Va area, getting down to Williamsburg was fast and easy for me, roughly 2.5 hours, no tolls. Traffic was minimal. I booked a hotel through Priceline, but it’s almost a waste of time. We stayed at the Sleep Inn, which was about a mile from the convention hotel, but there are PLENTY of low cost hotels in the area around the convention. The Super 8 right next door was advertising a rate 20 dollars less than what I paid through Priceline. I’ll just do my homework next time.
The Muster was held at the Williamsburg Holiday Inn conference center. The hotel is of middling vintage.. not brand new, not a dump, and appeared to have amenities and comforts expected for the price range. No complaints. Parking wasn’t ample but I found a spot. We unloaded and played the first game, LAND OF THE GIANTS, at 1 PM as advertised. unfortunately nobody showed up to play it. Sigh, oh well.. good thing I brought my son! I played the game versus Gar. The results are shown here in THIS POST. We had a great time, and Gar has proven to be a sharp dissector of rules that need tightening up. I enjoyed the dad-son time.
We hit the vendors, which were respectable, I thought, for a smaller con. About 15 or so, maybe less. I bought some stuff– a small gun sloop off of Toby Barrett, a couple of boardgames, some hobby supplies to make some last minute repairs. Gar and I didn’t have to run a game until 7PM, so we went over to the Sleep Inn to register, caught a quick dinner at the Ihop on the way back (where we played one of our new purchases, a Fantasy Tavern Brawl game), and headed back to the convention center. I can attest that the dining choices in Williamsburg are varied, reasonably priced and very convenient to the hotel. There were something like 20 plus restaurants of various stripes on the way to the Sleep Inn, and a bunch of moderately priced hotels mostly of the national chain vintage. Williamsburg has a lot of options for dining and sleeping.
We got back and set up the “Saturday Night at the FIghts” Fast Shuffle Combat Chariots event. I had a family of four and a couple of other people jump in for this game and we played a three round game. Gar played in this one, too. and appeared to have a good time despite crashing during corner strain.
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We packed up our Chariot models, went back to the Sleep Inn and slept like logs, coming back with just the intention of a pass at the dealer’s room in the morning. Gar convinced me that we really, really needed to run LAND OF THE GIANTS again, which he seems quite taken with.. I allowed that a small, short game was possible, playing for two color goals only. We set up half a table and only played with desert terrain on Sunday morning. Gar won this one, too.. very handily. so we packed up and said goodbyes for the weekend, in particular thanking the organizer, Chuck Turnitsa, for a lovely convention.
The Long and the Short of it: Williamsburg Muster is a fine, friendly and inclusive event, with representation from boardgames and tabletop miniature wargaming. The Muster is very close in concept to how I used to visualize that TRIADCON convention we started in DC a few years ago. We saw plenty of all kinds of gaming in evidence. In particular, I saw Arkham Horror, Command and Colors: Napoleonics, Call of Cthulhu, the card game, and many other boardgames being played. The miniatures events were mostly historical but there was plenty of room for whimsical stuff– someone was running SPACE:1880 with the giant aether ships, and there was a Mechwarrior event going on right behind us. I saw many gamers that I know personally from all up and down the East Coast. mostly from VA, MD, and NJ. We got a chance to run some games for the first time in a long time. Gar and I had a sincerely wonderful time and will make every effort (barring another three feet of snow) to attend next year. We are hooked. Congratulations and well done to Chuck and his crew for putting on a great break for a convention in the middle of Winter. This one is on my radar.
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Here’s a note on HOBBY GAME RECCE.
The ODMS (Old Dominion Military Society) puts on the Williamsburg Muster and Guns of August, a convention in August. HERE is a flyer for the upcoming August show.