Tag Archives: Guidebook

Cold Wars 2018, fighting in the rubble of the Host

So another Cold Wars has come and gone, and 2018’s is in the rear view mirror. I left Friday morning and arrived at the Host around 2, which is puzzling, since I stopped nowhere.  As always, the rituals and observations must be strictly observed:

the mighty.

A post shared by Walter O’Hara (@misternizz) on

(non embedded link on Instagram)

I’m going to gush here, so even though I suspect she’s heard it before, I’m going to say it now and say it loud: Congratulations to Paul Trani and Heather Blush for solving our registration throughput problems.  Take it from me, who is not often complimentary.  I pre-registered, for the first time EVER, for a convention.   I walked in what I think will be the new lobby (where the front half of the Limerock room was), walked over to one of three kiosks, entered my name, and hit a PRINT BADGE button.  Literally I was in Cold Wars in a shorter period of time than it takes to type this sentence.  That’s real progress and it solves real problems.

I’ll have some observations about other Cold Wars procedural issues later on in this ramble, but I’ll go through my own narrative first.

Friday Highlights

I arrived later than I would have liked but it wasn’t too late to not nose around a bit.  My most immediate scheduled activity was a painting class taught by Dorothy Catapano.  I’m SO glad I took this.  I am gradually building up a force of 54mm Napoleonic figures for my own purposes and Dorothy was teaching a class on painting large scale figures.  I’m an indifferent to competent painter usually, but I learned quite a bit in this two part course.

It may not seem like it from this photo but we made some progress!!

I took a quick (well, not that quick, due to its location) pass at the Dealer’s Hall Friday afternoon, not buying anything memorable.  Since the new layout of the old Tennis Barn facility is radically redone, there is no ramp at the balcony end any more, so it was a long weary trudge down to and back up from the Exhibitor’s Area.

The new layout for the Tennis Barn.  The balcony end is on the right in this picture and is now sealed off.  The building can be entered at the far end (left, above).  So quite a walk now..

I’m certainly hoping that eventually there will be a parking lot down here.  Just saying.  Walking DOWNhill was no problem but I saw more than one oldster with the same kind of arthritic knees I have looking at the walk back UPhill with some dismay.

Hungarian shoes 20% off today, comrade!

I really regretted giving up my parking sport, which by Cold Wars past standards, was terrible.  By 2018 standards, I was lucky to find anything at all.  I had to register for my hotel, though, and grab a quick bite.  It all took too long, and I ended up getting back well after the 7pm start time for my Friday night game.  I walked in to see a line forming on the stairs up to the Showroom, and like any good Soviet from the 70s, I simply got in line.  “Psst.. what are we in line for?”  “Night time flea market.” “Whaaaat?  That’s crazy talk!”.

No, no it wasn’t. Due to half of the Lampeter being used up, we had to use the showroom for the Wally’s Basement flea market. Tsk tsk..

Here’s a first: Flea Market at night. #coldwars2018

A post shared by Walter O’Hara (@misternizz) on

(non embedded link on Instagram)

The move to the showroom was driven by a lack of suitable alternatives, but it wasn’t a particularly good replacement.  Lighting is so terrible in the showroom that I often saw people using their phones as flashlights to view items better.  I found exactly nothing I wanted and didn’t have the patience to give it another pass through.  I was getting a headache from all that squinting I was doing.

Fortunately I had an alternative to the game I missed.  As in Alternative Armies.. Flintloque.  GM Mark Fastosio has adapted Flintloque figures to run using Osprey’s Dragon Rampant rules.  The scenario was complex but the execution simple enough.  If you’ve read the Sharpe’s Rifles series, you’ll probably recognize the players well enough.  The French (elves) are bringing an artillery train through a small valley that has two passes to get into it and a series of flat hills around it.  There are a few stands of trees here and there for cover, but otherwise this is a bleak landscape.  Sharke’s chosen Orcs start the game in a copse of trees in the center, and they react accordingly when the main force deploys coming down both sides of the hill into the valley.

Sharke’s Chosen Orcs at start

As soon as the French committed to a course of action, so did Sharke, running for the high ground between the two advancing columns. Probably a mistake. Ya think? Well, they did kill like champions, for a while.

Whoah!  Lookit all dem Frenchies!!

Vive La Toadies!

Um.. we’re supposed to stop that, si?

I played Major Blas Vivar (from one of the Novels).  Well, not him, but his little brother, who is kind of identical sort of.  I called him Little Joey Vivar.  The Vivar brothers are Spanish (e.g. Dark Elves) military officers in charge of small detachments of infantry and guerillas.  We bravely advanced towards the enemy and then discovered the unique quality of Dark Elves– they suck as soldiers.  On both flanks, we were decimated in any standup fight (or really any fight).  We tried our best, but Dark Elves tend to scamper and dissolve in a fight.  What we did have were wizards, three left.  I did manage to cause a few retreats (at least) and a few casualties on the French side using Lightning Bolt spells.

Run for the hills, boys, we’re completely boned!

I like Dragon Rampant as a rules system; I have never played the core Flintloque rules to compare it to but Mark thinks it’s a great improvement, so I believe him.  I had a great time, even if we were “ahem” underperforming somewhat.  Numbers tell in a situation like this, and the Frenchies had them and we didn’t.  So it goes.  Note: I took many pictures of this game but didn’t post them all, you can see more by viewing this Flickr Slideshow.

A few choice observations on the long, long FREEZING walk to my car at 1 in the morning:

(I was staying at the Quality Inn down the road, a nice enough place, old and worn but clean enough and affordable– and free breakfast).

Saturday observations

I had an early start game on Saturday.  This was Buck Surdu’s game called Duke Morrison and the Great Zeppelin Raid at 0900.  The description had two winning features for me– zeppelins and GASLIGHT.  GASLIGHT is a venerable skirmish wargaming system written by Surdu and Chris Palmer.  In a nutshell, it supports game narratives on a smaller scale, mostly pulp and VSF, without a lot of hard statistics.  The player plays the part of a “lead” or hero in a cinematic style game, plus usually a sidekick and/or assistant leader, and the rest of your faction/group are (ahem) straight from central casting as spear carriers.  Easy cannon fodder.  Your core character can do a lot, your secondary character almost as much, but the rest of the mob are a mixed bag.

The Setting

The setting was fabulous.  This was a laser cut kit of a rigid airship that was sold for a brief time about two years ago– not for cheap, either.  I was impressed, it’s lovely to look at and a great setting that supports the three dimensional aspect of a skirmish game– lots of great places to run, jump, duck for cover, and leap down from above.    The setup was a standard multifactional game, Nazis and Gangsters versus rocketeers, sailors, scientists and beat cops.  You know, like they do.  I played the Nazi She-wolves of the SS, Zeppelin Truppen, and the real hero of the game, Carl “Slasher” Dooley, the one man murder machine, who eschewed firearms for a straight razor to cut elaborate scrolled “S’s” in his victim’s sternums.   Carl bravely fought against the forces of militarism, slicing three sailors and an NCO into chutney without firing a shot.

My Nazi She-wolves, with apologies to Ms. Doris Wishman

The end of the scientist

The main deck became a charnel house of DEATH!!!!

To keep this post moving along, suffice to say that many parties boarded or attempt to board the zeppelin with the intention of collecting various macguffins to claim victory with, before the auto timer went off and the boarding shuttle full of loot descended on autopilot.  My Zeppelin Truppen died off to a man pretty early, but the thugs under Slasher Dolan performed very well, nabbing a mcguffin (the only “bad guys” to keep one all game) and moving it to a part of the ship where it would be difficult to retrieve.  Slasher proved to be exceptional as a scrapper– until he met his demise in a fusilade of bullets.  The only somewhat intact group I had left were the she-wolves, who approached under cover as much as they could, springing on the aircar at the last possible second and going hand to hand in the last possible second.  A big fight ensued, leaving the last of my she-wolves dead as well as my gangster second in command, Dewey Oxburger.  However, the “good” guys were down to their last man.  My two last goons (from central casting) sauntered over, looked over the parapet and fired a single shot each below at the last guy in the aircar, neatly putting one through his eyes.  So in the last possible second, the good guys experienced a huge reversal and we won.  These are the situations I game for.  We all laughed loud and long at that outcome.  Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

I took a huge amount of pictures (some of them might be repeats) which you can see here in this Flickr Slideshow.  However, you might wish to Check out this Slideshow for the REAL TRUTH.

Directly after the game I had session 2 of large figures to finish up with, and then I was free for the rest of the convention.  I did some desultory shopping but found some things I needed.. mostly little scenery bits and bobs, some Frostgrave figs, some terrain and a couple more nautical things from Sea Dog Studios.  I went back to the room for a bit– mostly to get late lunch or early dinner– I was kind of on a one meal a day regime here at the con, so kind of hungry at this point.

Honestly, I meant to get back to the convention that night and weasel into another game, I really did.  Nancy Ott was running one that I wanted to get into, but frankly, I just didn’t want to hassle with the parking.  There was so little of it available that no matter what you did you ended up walking a long, LONG way in the cold wind, and that was starting to bother my knees.  So I puttered about with some new purchases in the room and watched a new series on Netflix instead.

Now, that’s the meat of the convention, right there, here’s the logistics part.  I want to state this categorically– I had a decent, not great time, and it wasn’t remotely the fault of HMGS, the planning, or even the execution.  The Host did its best, but this was not a hotel that I consider ready for OUR convention.  For once, when they said “We’re sinking money into improvements“, they really meant that.  It’s very clear they are doing.. just that.  BUT they are also trying to make a buck and operate at the same time, while renovating, and that has an impact on a convention of a certain size.  Here’s what I had a problem with:

      1. The parking was miserable.. much worse than the worst it’s been.  Why?  Because most of the spots were taken up by rollaway dumpsters, parked construction equipment and CONEX containers.
      2. It was nice to experience the Host’s new fitness plan for all us aging, overweight gamers by forcing us to go up and down the hill to the far side of the tennis barn, but that kind of limited me to only two real visits.. (see above for pictures).   I wouldn’t mind making the same trip when it was just a smidge warmer.
      3. Man, rubble was everywhere, in giant slag heaps.  This wasn’t too awful but it contributed to the tight parking problem and general feeling like we were now in a game of FALLOUT set in the ruins of the Lancaster Host….
      4. Lastly, the flea market, which is a huge attraction, is almost unworkable in the space we had available to us.  I couldn’t see a thing for sale unless I had a flashlight.  No, I’m not kidding– I really didn’t want to go bother going back to any additional sessions.


I want to make this very clear– everything that caused a problem, WAS NOT THE FAULT OF THE BOD, CONVENTION PLANNERS, or HMGS.  The Host is going through some badly needed renovation.  We all knew this was needed.  The floor plans have changed radically in places– it appears the new lobby may be in the tournament area and the business area (near the Paradise Room) is now walled off for some reason.  That’s just two things, there are more.   So we may need to suck it up, buttercup for a convention or two.  Given what they had to work with, I am very impressed with the job Heather and company have managed.  The registration system is incredibly great.  The money spent on banners and signs and dividers– which members used to scoff at, contributed to organization and flow.  The staff was its usually courteous and helpful self.  In general, I liked the convention.  I didn’t see a huge amount of games that interested me personally, but I did see some– there was just a lot of same-old, same-old about it all.

I’ll close here with a deep appreciation of the Sissyphian efforts put in by this convention staff.  They did a great job and should be appreciated for it.  I hope conditions at the Host continue to improve over the Summer so Historicon executes with no hiccups.

(note: I didnt’ take the normal catalogue of games in progress pictures, as I’m guessing that kind of thing is getting stale.  I did take some of the games I was in and the facilities and such.. which can be viewed here on Flickr).


Cold Wars 2018, Guidebook App (the last?)

Yes, Virginia, there is a Guidebook app for Cold Wars 2018.  Alas, this is the last “Standard Plan” app I can make for HMGS, as Guidebook.com has discontinued this plan, which allowed smaller conventions like ours to make use of a great convention app for free (essentially).  I have no quibbles for this decision.  The Guidebook company has been thoroughly professional, and has supported me for each of the dozen-0dd guides I’ve created using their system, even though we never got a nickel out of me during that time and even in it’s stripped-down feature lean state that comes with the Standard Plan, Guidebook was(is) a fantastically useful tool for conventioneers.

I’m not going to get into the features of Guidebook in this post.  I have written several blog posts since 2011 on how to use Guidebook and really just focus on feature changes of note now.  You should probably have an inkling of how to use it by now, but if you need to view screenshots, my post for Cold Wars 2017 is still pretty accurate and has pictures. Here’s what you really need for Cold Wars 2018:

The Cold Wars 2018 LANDING page.  This is the place to actually download Guidebook app (the engine to read guides– either in Android, IoS or Windows smart phone implementations).

The Cold Wars 2018 Web Guidebook This is a webpage that acts like a guidebook by itself.  Plug this URL into your smartphone, and view it as a webpage if you don’t want to download the main Guidebook app itself.

This is the QR Code.  Scan this with your QR reader and it will take you to the specific Cold Wars 2018 guide for this convention.

That’s about it.  I’m pretty sure there’s an interest  on the board to continue with guidebook in some fashion, but I won’t comment on it beyond that.

The only thing left for this guidebook is tournaments, which is usually the last, slowest thing I get to do to support a convention– it’s kind of painful to extract the event data from a long formatted word document.

Yes, there is a Guidebook for Fall-IN! 2017

Main Screen (Guidebook on Web) Fall IN! 2017



To all the good folks attending Fall-IN! 2017, I have to apologize.  I haven’t been Johnny on the Spot with Fall-IN! 2017’s Guidebook app.  There’s a good reason, but you probably don’t care.  Oh what the heck, I’ll tell you.  About a year ago at the end of October, a ten ton tree dropped on Casa O’Hara. The damage was devastating.  My family has endured a long year of rebuilding, being temporarily homeless, and living in a tiny rental as the contractors did their thing.  We are (right now, this week) hitting the end of the tunnel at last.  The contractors are finalizing the work on my house and we are moving back in starting this weekend.  I don’t claim to be the smartest guy in the world, but I’m clever enough to figure out this isn’t the time to go to Fall IN!.  I like being married!  Anyway, all that work (and the recent departure of a beloved family pet just last week) has been a distraction from Guidebook building duty.  Mea Culpa. 


I have not left you all in the lurch.  I wouldn’t do that. I have taken the
data Dan Murawski and Jeff Kimmel sent me and updated and published the
guidebook app as of last night.

It doesn’t display the usual tender loving care I usually put into these
things; Missing are the room maps, Tournaments, Hobby University, and
Speakers (if there are any), social media stuff.  Included are: the events schedule
(with room locations and table numbers), The Vendor Hall map and
vendor listing.

That is about all I have time for, sorry. I don’t consider the omissions
crippling. Unless you are a rank newbie, you can navigate the Host
blindfolded by now. If you ARE a rank newbie, ASK someone. Wargamers are a
generous group and will help you find your table.

The table number will tell you where the room is: D-35 is “Distelfink table 35”.
Usually I spell that out but I don’t have the time.

I don’t have time for a lot of screenshots.  If you have downloaded Guidebook before, the instructions are the same as last HISTORICON.  The user interface is about identical.


The Fall IN! 2017 Guidebook Landing Page will provide you with the download links directly for FALL IN! 2017’s Guidebook, for both Android and IOS, plus instructions of how to implement GB on phones with web browsers. You should be able to download both kind of clients there.

Fall-IN! 2017 GUIDEBOOK on WEB will provide you with interaction with the app on a website (use this with your smartphone web browser if you don’t have a client installed)

Guidebook App for Cold Wars 2017

Cold Wars 17: It’s a Good Day to Die

Herewith is the scoop on the 15th Guidebook I’ve made for HMGS Conventions, Cold Wars 2017.  First of all thanks to Dan Murawski (events), Heather Blush (Hobby U) and Scott Landis (Vendors) for supplying 98 % of the data needed to make this guidebook.  It is a pleasure working with these people.

Anything new with Guidebook?  Not this time.  Most of the large scale changes with the Guidebook interface happened around the time of Fall IN last year, so if you learned Guidebook with that app, it’s the same thing this time.  I’m just going to hit the high points here as MOST of the people using Guidebook should be familiar with it by now (one can only hope, right?).

Features (these pictures were taken on a Lenovo laptop and an Ipad Air– screen geometry will be more condensed with a smartphone)

Main page isn’t any different.. you’ll note the spiffy visual tie in with the convention theme in the headline there.

Main page is where you’ll find the hotel street address and phone number, the theme information and a brief overview of the guide.

Schedule Page is roughly the same as always. Use the date links above to switch days. Select your event by double clicking, then it will bring up details on the event, including table number and room, duration, scale, GM, historical period, rules and the narrative of the game.

One note– you can ADD games to your personal schedule on the APP ITSELF.. this is NOT the same thing as actually registering for events. So don’t confuse them.

Map Pages:
show individual room maps and table layouts. Look at the table designation and then the corresponding table map. If you can’t figure out the acronyms in the schedule I added a graphic to use as a key.

Exhibitors Listing is the same as always. Take a moment to read the descriptions along with the Table Location. This list tracks the following data: Name of the Vendor, Table Number, a short description of the vendor’s products and the website for the vendor (if they have one).

I added some social media hooks (the free ones anyway). The Facebook link allows you to post directly to the Facebook page for HMGS directly from the guidebook app:

I think the Twitter app will post to twitter (you’ll have to log in the first time) with a hashtag of #ColdWars17 (if memory serves).

So there are the highlights for this convention. You can get the guidebook at the same locations as usual.

The Landing Page is here:

Just click the picture to go there. Scroll down from the spiffy visual reference to the COLD WARS 17 theme, and you’ll see links to the Guidebook Downloads for IOS, Android, and on the Web via a windows or smartphone.

And here’s the direct QR code:

So there you have it, Guidebook for COLD WARS 2017.  The only thing not included is Tournaments, which I will add in the next few days.  I may do a few happy to glad fixes right up to the convention itself.. If I do, Guidebook will tell you to update it when you open the app up.  Just open the app connected to the internet and it will download the changes I made itself.

Enjoy the convention and I will see you there.


EDIT 3/2: Fixed the problem with adding events to your personal schedule.  Had to turn CHECK IN back on as an option.

GUIDEBOOK App for FALL-IN 2016, published

I have just received notification that the Guidebook app I’ve been working on for HMGS’s Fall convention, FALL-IN! has passed publication review and now can be downloaded.

I don’t intend to write up how to actually use Guidebook in one of these posts for every convention; the interface doesn’t change that quickly. I wrote a decent overview for COLD WARS 2016, check that post for an overview of features.

Quick Snap of the Events Schedule

I have (as of today) got the schedule and room layouts done, that’s the big job. I’ll be entering Hobby University, Speakers and Tournaments as soon as I get that information. It is downloadable right NOW, I advise you to run and get it as soon as possible.

Here’s the download page:


and here’s the guide online for viewing:


Please help yourself!

Notes: I got the events kind of in two discrete chunks that weren’t formatted for export the same and it took a little while to get that sorted out.. I apologize for the delay.

The one big new feature is the checking in function, which is (sigh) a paid function, so you won’t see it, because we’re kind of cheap and use the free, dumbed down version. It does have potential, though.. it appears you can now set a limit of gamers to your event (say, 8) and keep track of the people as they show up, AND maintain a waiting list of players. Cool stuff! Of course, I had to back that all out when they asked me to pay to upgrade.. sigh.

Update: as of 10/15, I have everything but the Hobby University and Seminars stuff done.  It will automatically update for you when you open it in the app.

Other than that, the basic “trade show” template that I use for miniature conventions is working just fine and doesn’t have other new features.

A sample Floor Layout page.

And here’s the QR code!

Guidebook for Cold Wars 2016 is released

app for that

In a real crash program of data entry, I have managed to put together a Guidebook guide for Cold Wars 2016.  Thanks to Paul Trani, Theresa Presizosi, Scott Holder, and Scott Landis for their assorted (timely) inputs.

Guidebook has changed a bit over the years we have been using it for HMGS conventions.  I’m going to go over the basic screens now and show some of the new(ish) features.

A couple caveats up front.

First of all, we don’t have TRACKS any more.  That’s a pay feature and HMGS is too cheap to buy it.. so no more color coded dots and collections of categories of events.  I liked the color coding but even I am not sure if it’s worth the extra $$ Guidebook is asking to activate tracks, and I’m fairly bullish about Guidebook.  Secondly, I got a lot of the data for this guidebook pretty late (VERY late), so I didn’t have time to add little banners for “Event” “Tournament” “Hobby U” etc.. you’ll just have to figure it out yourselves this time, sorry.

Screenshots were taken on an Ipad Air, the smart phone menu will look different.

And now, the grand tour– if you don’t want to bother, scroll to the bottom of this post and all the download links will be there.

CW16 Guidebook Main Screen

This is the main screen (above).  The layout is a little nicer than before, and they have streamlined a lot of the “basic convention information” into a single screen.  The menu items are on the left in this shot because of the tablet I’m using (an Ipad Air).

Going from the top of the menu, down, here is Exhibitors– aka Vendors.  In the main listing I

CW16 guidebook individual exhibitor listing

This is an individual exhibitor (see above).  In this case Eureka.  The listing will mention location (table number on the vendor hall map, posted in maps), as well as some description and a website.  If the vendor has any sales or promotions for the show, this is the place to put it.  Note the “Add to T0-Do” link on the bottom. This places the listing on your to-do list (menu item) so it can be a note to yourself to visit this vendor in the exhibitors hall.

Next thing down is the speaker’s list (below) and an individual speaker (below that).

CW16 guidebook speaker's list

and detailed speaker listing.. There’s that handsome devil.

CW16 guidebook individual speaker

This is basically what GB used to refer to as “an extra custom list” and it used to cost big money, so I’m glad it’s free.  We can break out speakers into their own category this way.   Note that you can add a SEMINAR to your “to-do” list, as well.

Going down the list “Contacts” is just a small list for listing people on the convention staff. I haven’t populated it beyond Frank P, I might get to it before the show but I doubt it.

Inbox (next item down) is back from previous years.  This is simply a way for me (or convention management) to send an email to all Guidebook users at once.  I haven’t sent out a test message yet so there’s nothing to look at, I didn’t bother with a screen shot.


Photo album is kind of new, and blessedly FREE.  Here’s how it works.. you take a picture(s) or two of a game you are in, or of something interesting.  You can upload it in Guidebook so that it appears in the universal show album.  Not sure what the capacity of this thing is as I haven’t tested it.  Here’s me uploading a picture in three easy steps:


selecting a picture or taking a new one


writing a caption


image in guidebook image catalogue

Images can be a really fun way of sharing not just YOUR game but all the games you played with your mates out to everyone going to the convention.


This looks pretty much like it has looked and works more or less the same way as in past guidebooks. Here’s a few screenshots breaking it down to a couple of individual events.

schedule page for a day

individual schedule item, Hobby U
A Hobby University event– note that Hobby U, Games and Tournaments will all look pretty much the same in the current schedule. I use a T- in front of Tournament event titles and the mortar board to represent Hobby U events.

individual schedule item, Game
A regular game event in the schedule.

MAPS are about the same as always with one nice feature. See the little blue arrows bottom right? That’s a zoom out arrow. Watch what it does:


Map, not zoomed out



Map, blue button removes menu for easier viewing

TO DO LIST basically is a reminder list you build by clicking on “Add to my to-do list” for various vendors, speakers etc.   You can also add items to it as “Add item”. I didn’t bother with a screenshot. No, WAIT, it turns out I did:

to do list

MY SCHEDULE is the schedule that YOU build by checking off schedule items in SCHEDULE. You can also set reminders to your self for Guidebook to nag you before an event occurs. This works as it has before, no major changes.

ATTENDEES works as it has before, this is NOT A REGISTRATION SYSTEM. It’s a checking in system, to tell OTHER GUIDEBOOK USERS “Hey, I’m here at the convention”.

GENERAL INFORMATION is all that stuff on the main page.. Google Maps, convention prices, schedule, directions etc.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS are back for this guidebook, in the form of Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter connection screen

I’ve plugged in these hashtags: #ColdWars16, #HMGS, #CW2016, and this account: @HMGS_Inc, since Cold Wars doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.

Facebook Connection screen

This connects to the HMGS page on Facebook, like last year.

With all that said, here is where you go to get your GUIDEBOOK

Here is the link to view it online. The screen layout is very similar to my Ipad Screenshots

Guidebook Fall-IN! 2015, some new features, some have changed so pay attention…

That’s right.. we do. And I’m not going to say “GOING” Mobile since we’ve been serving up electronic Guidebook apps for 10 conventions now!

So I’ll deliver the bottom line up front. The First Draft of the Fall-IN! 2015 Guidebook app is published, ready for download. You may download it on the landing page here.


Whoah, Red Ryder!  

One thing I haven’t done is go through the feature list in long time (since Cold Wars 2012, in fact) so I’ll point out the new features and decremented features now.

Between HISTORICON 2015 and now, Guidebook, Inc, made some changes to the basic builder module, and a lot of features have changed.  Most of the changes are minor in scope.  one or two impact the look and feel some, so I’ll go through it from top to bottom to explain what is where.


This looks pretty much as it did before Historicon.  They have streamlined the presentation a little bit (no longer do we get the tiny icon inside the big banner effect, which I personally miss).   The front page is where you see the top level for the convention– the address, the director’s blurb, etc.  Call it the “Main Menu”.


Simply put, the Master Schedule is where everything is, and this has changed.  We used to be able to define tracks and color code them.  I liked this feature– and it defined my color scheme nicely.  Red for game events, Blue for Tournaments, etc. etc.  Unfortunately, even defining tracks (and not making it a menu item) costs us extra money that we aren’t willing to spend, so no more color coding, which I think sucks.  Still, it’s FREE, and everything still works, it’s just not as easy on the eye as before.

So if you want to find something in the schedule, look in the cleverly named “Master Schedule”  Here’s some event detail.


This is what you’ll see when you click on an event.  There’s information here, pointing at the room, time, event, scale, GM and rules, plus even description.  All of this was pulled from the registration system by your humble narrator.

If you want to build your PERSONAL list of events to plan your convention– see that “Add to My Schedule” button at the bottom of the event detail and it will build a list for you.  As you can see, I’ve already started mine (below):


PLEASE NOTE THIS, and NOTE IT WELL:  Guidebook is NOT the registration system, or a replacement for a pegboard.  It is a substitute for having a program book with you all the time.. you will NOT be registering for ANY game or event when you build “MY SCHEDULE” in Guidebook.. this is your internal reminder of when your games are going to be held, and you can get it to send you an alarm as well!  So… yeah.  You’ll have to do the same thing to get into a game you always have.


Aka, the dealer’s area vendor list and table layout.  The list of vendors and their table locations are in “Exhibitors”.  The table layout is in “Maps.”

I had a picture of the list part, but I just got a huge update from Scott Landis and the picture isn’t accurate any more.

Maps are about the same as they ever were, only I found them easier to upload and size in the current builder.  That’s an improvement.   If you want to find where the tables are in a room, go to MAPS (see below).


There are tons of maps for this convention in this guidebook.  You change them by clicking “Right” on the direction arrow top of the screen.

I broke Distelfink into three maps– one big one showing everything, one smaller one for the front, and a similar one for the back.  I was going to do this for the Lampter, but hey, what’s the point.. all you really need to show there is the relative locations of touraments and flea market, and the current size does this.  I also uploaded the vendor hall map as is.. if its unreadable, GET IN TOUCH WITH ME and Ill break it up into a front and back view.


Guidebook is going whole-hawg into social media with this release, and made the previously charged-for menu items for social media stuff free.  We did this a little bit at HISTORICON.  Anyway, here are some of them..


This is set to automatically go to the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society page on Facebook.  Why?  Well, Fall IN! doesn’t have a page, and I’m not sure it needs one.  Yet.  So if you want to post what’s going on in your convention and post pictures to the FB page, here’s how.

I don’t have a better idea for Facebook, but this seems to fit.


We actually do have a Twitter account for Fall-IN!, I created it, it’s @FALLINCON.  However, what this menu item does is facilitate that “live tweeting” thing that goes on during a convention.  Our official #hashtag for the show is #FALLIN15.  Some soccer competition is using it but let’s hope that’s done by November.  It will also recognize #HMGS and @FallINCon.

Not much being tweeted at the moment (as you can see) but this really started going up last HISTORICON the closer to the show we got.  I like this idea.


We can also have a menu item for a YOUTUBE Channel for show videos, presuming people post to Youtube about miniature conventions.  Right now I have it pointing to Teri Litorco’s miniature wargaming show on Geek and Sundry.  Why?  Well, it’s a fun show (a little Warhmmery but still fun) `and there aren’t any ‘sanctioned’ Youtube shows for miniature gaming (as there seems to be in boardgaming, but that’s another story).  If you can come up with a better idea, I’m all ears.   Now, IDEALLY, this would be pointing to a HMGS youtube channel where GMs would have the ability to load SHOW VIDEOS to a single “Fall IN” or “H’con” channel and everyone could see our fun events… almost as they happen.  This hasn’t happened yet.  Want to work with me on it?  Contact me.

There’s some other Social Media stuff we can consider.  I’d personally love to have a team Periscoping miniature events (the big, fun ones anyway) as they happen so people can see what we do.  (for the oldsters out there, this is what Periscope is).   I added in a news feed to the TMP page, but this is just a nice-t0-have because it’s free feature.  If you have an RSS feed we SHOULD put in there, let me know.

Other stuff

Inbox, My To-Do List, and Attendees are not new items, but a few reminders.  “Attendees” is not a registration system.  It’s a way of announcing to Guidebook users that “Hey! I made it and I’m here!  Find me!”  Inbox is how you receive email FROM me (or convention management).  We can send you a message from a computer and it will show up on all your Guidebook apps.  I usually just use messaging for guidebook updates.  The to-do list is nothing special..  I use it to list my convention volunteer schedule and shopping list for the dealer’s hall.

That’s about it.  It’s about finished now.  There will be some updates in Events (i have yet to add banners, but I will) and Dan owes me about ten new events.  Also, there will likely be some new vendors in those “TBD” Slots before show time.

Major Guidebook Update for HISTORICON 2015

Hey HMGS Convention Attendees, we have a MAJOR Guidebook Update for you.

Hey Historicon! There’s an app for that!

First of all, I tried floating events early without room numbers.  That was a bad idea, as updating them (later) WITH the numbers nuked most of what I had done before, causing me to reenter data for tournaments and seminars!  Woo hoo! I love entering data twice.

So I’m making a business decision– we don’t post events (that is, regular games) until the events guy irons out what the table numbers are and where they are at.. it’s too painful to bounce back if the earlier input crashes on you.  If that means we post Guidebook a little closer to the event, so be it.

So, what do we have?

  • TOURNAMENTS (again)
  • SEMINARS (again)
  • HOBBY UNIVERSITY (first time)
  • GAMES (again)
  • Maps!

What am I missing?  The map of the Exhibitor Hall and Exhibitor List.

And then we will be done, unless we get new games between now and the convention itself.

How to get it

Go to the Guidebook Landing Page which is HERE and follow directions.

To Preview the Guide

Go to the Preview Page which is here

Historicals versus Non-Historical Count

New feature: I thought I’d do an actual count by period.  The reality of Non-Historical versus Historical by counting the actual numbers, not by hand waving*:

Source: Events Spreadsheet extracted on 6/18/2015, Historicon 2015

So the reality is 20% non-historical games at Historicon.  And I’m grouping in anything that could remotely be considered fantasy and SF together.  There are the numbers.

Events by Rules mentioned in PEL

You may have to click to see original size. There were a lot of rule sets.

This was all over the map.. there were a lot of rule sets being used.  Where it was possible I combined version and flavors and variants into the parent.

In any event, there’s the true facts, and a big, big, big guidebook update.  See you at HISTORICON 2015.

* Note on the period count above– it excludes all tournaments, which probably should be entered under fantasy in some respects.  Did I say that out loud?  I’m trying not to snark…

First Draft (PEL v.) Guidebook for HISTORICON 2015 is ready for downloads.

Greetings, HISTORICON 2015 convention attendees!

As I do for all the HMGS Inc shows (and other conventions), I have created a Guidebook App for you to download and use as a sort of electronic program booklet for the duration of your stay at the convention.

If you are not familiar with HISTORICON and HMGS historical miniature goodness, I recommend visiting the HMGS Site to get up to speed about our biggest event of the year, HISTORICON.    H’con will be held at the Fredericksburg Convention Center, Carl. D. Silver parkway, just to the left of Interstate I-95 facing North.   The app will actually pop up Google Maps to give you an idea of where to go.

[Cautionary note.  You register,sign-up for events, and pay on the Historicon 2o15 site above, which looks like this.  You don’t register for Hcon with this guidebook app, even if it has some features described as “checking in”– that is mostly for attendees communicating with each other and has nothing to do with paying/registering for a show]

Each Guidebook App uses the guidebook app engine created by Guidebook, Inc.  The information is customized for every show.   Usually by me, as it happens.

So to make the Guidebook App work, you’ll need the core “engine app” from Guidebook, and the specialized convention module that I create for each show.  You download the guidebook app, FIRST, then using the search mechanism, search for the app for a specific show.  In this case, HISTORICON 2015.

You will find the pertinent links to how to download the core app and show app on Guidebook’s LANDING PAGE for Historicon 2015.

After you download the guidebook app first and convention app second, you can browse around and look at the schedule.

Front Splash Page, Featuring maps and address, show hours and policies

The menu as it stands currently (PEL release)

Note— these are Android Phone version screens– I usually post Ipad shots.  I changed it up because not everyone uses a tablet.

Note, as well — this release was concurrent with the official HMGS Historicon PEL.  It is ONLY that at the moment.. just the event listings that the events team has a record of at the current moment (5/12/2015).  The guidebook will change a great deal before game time– we will be adding Seminars, Maps, Tournaments, Hobby University events, Exhibitor Listings, Restaurants, and a Vendor Hall Layout.  The good news is that if you download it now, you will automatically update every time I publish an update.  Just open it connected to the Internet (somehow) and Guidebook will tell you that Historicon 2015 has been updated and do you want to update it?  Say yes.

Right now, this is just the first step/bare bones initial release.  Stand by and I will be posting major updates as I get them.  You can also view the preview web copy here.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you at HISTORICON 2015.  I’ll be the guy running the big post-apocalyptic Mad Max game.

Guidebook QR Codes:

For the guidebook app, the “engine”

For the Guide itself (if you already have Guidebook installed). The actual show bits.

Cold Wars 2015 Guidebook App is available for download

Hello, Convention attendees!  Guess, what, it’s that time of year, Cold Wars 2015 is literally around the corner for most of us.   I have, finally, completed a decent first draft of the CW 15 Guidebook App for your convention attending pleasure.  I apologize for being late– I like to have it out at least a month ahead, or close to the PEL release if possible.  I received the loader data and did not notice that every single one of the GAME events loaded in as happening in May 2015.  So I just finished scrubbing the dates on each and every one.  That can slow things down a little.

What’s new?  

Not a lot really.  If you are Guidebook user from shows past the same color scheme holds– blue for tournaments, red for game events, green for seminars, purple for Hobby University.. if I ever get that data.  There’s a much longer and definitive KID FRIENDLY GAME LIST which has it’s own “track” in the schedule.  Look for ORANGE items.

Master Schedule screen with a few newish items added.

Kid Friendly events have this banner:

I’ve also added a local eatery button in the main menu– this is just a list of what I could find using YELP and the Host location with a five mile radius.  It is not definitive, but I hope to make it grow, and who knows, if we can get local restaurants interested in handing out discounts or coupons, maybe we can add those in too.

What’s missing??

The map I got for the Lampeter room has no tables on it.  That’s not the end of the world as the Lampeter holds tournaments and the Flea Market, and nobody really uses that map anyway.  I did not include it to prevent confusion.  If I get a fixed one before the show, look for an update.

I have not received the Dealer Hall layout and listing from Scott Landis yet.  It should be close to final so look for an update with this information before the show.

I have not received a Hobby University update from Heather Blush yet.  Look for an update before the show.

Updates.. how do those happen?

Simple.  Make sure you have Guidebook open and you are connected to the Internet somehow, usually a wireless signal.  The App will check for updates on the server.  If there is one, it will tell you and ask for permission to download.

So where do I get this thing?

HERE is the Cold Wars 2015 Landing page.  The page will have hyperlinks and bar codes to download the Android and IoS versions of Guidebook (the app) and the specific COLD WARS 2015 schedule which I have prepared for you.
HERE is a preview in browser link, so you can see what’s in the schedule.

QR Codes:

For the APP (only)

This will link to the download for Guidebook, the app


This is the QR code that finds the guidebook schedule for COLD WARS 2015.

Enjoy your app, I hope it’s helpful and I’ll see you at the show.

If I have anything to communicate during the show I’ll use THE INBOX FEATURE on the app itself.



Click me to go to the landing page!

Guidebook for FALL IN! 2014.. available

This is just a quick note to inform everyone that the GUIDEBOOK app for FALL-IN! 2014 is up and running (and has been). The events are accurate as of the published PEL listing. I will add more before the convention.

Welcome to FALL IN!  There's an app for that.

Welcome to FALL IN! There’s an app for that.

I’m also waiting for (patiently) TOURNAMENT LISTINGS from Scott Holder, the DEALER ROOM MAP and VENDOR LIST from the vendor coordinator, and the ROOM LAYOUT MAPS from Dan Murawski. These will be there for the convention. Don’t stress it quite yet. New Things: Well, you probably know about Guidebook Messages which were of limited utility at the last con (though it’s a good way of broadcasting a message to every attendee who has guidebook). I’ve added a new track called “Demo Games” which is yellow, and it will display along with a red “Games” track. So, red=Games (as usual), red/yellow=demo games, blue=tournaments, green for hobby university events. I’ve also added a track for Kid-Friendly games to make them easier to find.

the red marks indicate a purple SEMINAR event and a red/yellow DEMO event.

Get the guide the same way you get it every year.. visit the FALL IN 2014 guidebook landing page. If you have guidebook, just search for guides, and select FALL IN 2014. If you need the app itself, go to Google Play, Itunes App Store or run it in your browser. THEN search for FALL IN and install this year’s app.

Front Page (on an Ipad AIr) for the Guidebook for Fall IN 2014

If you have questions or problems, get in touch with me via email. See you at FALL IN!

Games with a KID-FRIENDLY banner have some mention in their description that children are allowed or encouraged. This usually means WITH A SUPERVISING ADULT.  A game is not a babysitting service.

Games with a KID-FRIENDLY banner have some mention in their description that children are allowed or encouraged. This usually means WITH A SUPERVISING ADULT. A game is not a babysitting service.

This banner means the game is a DEMONSTRATION GAME of a commercial game or ruleset.

This banner means the game is a DEMONSTRATION GAME of a commercial game or ruleset.

Note that the schedule will have some of these events in multiple tracks.. an event could certainly be a demo, kid-friendly and a game.


Guidebook App QR Code
This code will direct your users to the Guidebook app listing in the App Store (for iOS devices) or the Play Store (for Androids). If your user has a Blackberry or Windows phone, it will take them directly to our mobile web version of guidebook app at http://guidebook.com/browse/. Once users have downloaded Guidebook App or are within the mobile website, they can search for your guide to download or view it.

This code is specific for THE FALL-IN! Guide. Users who scan this code using the scanner *in the Guidebook App* will begin downloading your guide. Once the guide has been successfully downloaded the guide will be opened. If you use this option, searching for the guide isn’t required.

HISTORICON 2014: Another big Guidebook App Update

What’s this? Another Guidebook Update?  Of course!  

Here’s what’s been done: Bill Rutherford, events guy extraordinaire, took the time to review my last update.   He found some unintentional duplicates, which have been fixed, and added another 12 or so events.  I also added all 60-ish Hobby University events (thank you, Heather).

The only things that are left are a Vendor Listing, a Vendor Map (from Dudley) and any additional new events (from Bill)

Updating instructions: Just open up Guidebook on your phone, Ipad, Android device etc. and click “Okay” for the download notice.

Getting a new Guidebook and Downloading the Historicon 2014 guidebook: Go to the Historicon 2014 Landing Page.  Follow instructions.

To preview online, visit this page.

That’s all for now.  See you at HISTORICON!

Historicon 12 June 14 Guidebook Update: Baselined

FIXED!  Missing Table Numbers.  ADDED! New events and 1 seminar

FIXED! Missing Table Numbers. ADDED! New events and 1 seminar

After quite a bit of work, I have reconciled the first posting of Guidebook, fixing the missing table numbers (one by one by one.. sigh). That had to be done. I’ve added NEW events from that update to now. I’ve added one new seminar.

What’s missing:

Exhibitor Hall layout (need from Mr. Dudley Garidel)
Hobby University Events (need from Ms. Heather Blush)

Everything else should be there.

Landing page: https://guidebook.com/guide/18908/

Update Notes: as always, IF YOU HAVE GB ALREADY, just open up guidebook and it will update for you.

If you need to install guidebook and the directory, go to the landing page.

Hey! New Features!

Guidebook.com added a few neat features since last time.  INBOX, ATTENDEES and NOTEPAD.

Inbox is an easy way to message all users who are using the current guidebook (see picture below).  Right now there’s just a couple of Guidebook related messages in there but DURING THE CONVENTION it can go out to anyone attending using guidebook.  That’s handy!!

Attendees seems to be a way of “checking in” for attendees.  Remember, this isn’t connected to our registration system.. it’s not the same thing.

Notepad is pretty much what you think it is, a little notepad app to keep notes about thing during the convention.

New features.. including inbox

New features.. including inbox

HISTORICON 2014 Guidebook Update: Tournaments, Seminars

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Bill Rutherford (last night) sent me a solid set of Room Layouts which I uploaded. The only thing I’m missing map-wise is the Vendor’s Hall map, which I have to bug Dudley Garidel for. Same URL as above.

This is a quick note to inform everyone who is a fan of the Convention GUIDEBOOK APPS that I have just sent an update to publish status for the HMGS Historicon 2014 convention.  Included therein are all tournaments for Historicon 2014 and all Seminars.

What needs to be done:

  • Bill Rutherford sent me updated table numbers. I’m incorporating this, it will be tedious.
  • Still need room layout maps for every room in the convention from Bill Rutherford.
  • Still need Exhibitor Room layout from Dudley Garidel.
  • Still need Hobby University events from Heather Blush.

A huge thank you to the hard working Historicon staff that probably don’t need me bugging them with more work.

How to get the update.

IF YOU HAVE DOWNLOADED THE FIRST DRAFT ALREADY: All you have to do is open your Guidebook App connected to the Internet somehow.  Guidebook will say “Hey! Updates are available for Historicon 14.  Want to Download them?”  Say “Yes, Guidebook, that will be swell.”  It will do the rest.  Perhaps I’m paraphrasing a little.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE GUIDEBOOK YET, click this poster. Follow directions.


To view the guidebook online, check out this webpage here

IF I HAVE YOUR LISTING WRONG, don’t kvetch, just email me. I’ll fix it.


Guidebook for HISTORICON 2014: FIRST DRAFT published

DRAFT Guidebook App has been published

Front Page of the HISTORICON APP. This is the just the standard information– where the Fredericksburg convention center is, the URLs for registration etc. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Greetings! The Guidebook Convention attendee app has been published in draft form, thanks to some assistance from Mr. Bill Rutherford, HISTORICON Events Guy. Now I’m going to tell you up front, so NO WHINING!! This is a first look draft of the PEL schedule and it has NOTHING ELSE except some standard boilerplate about the convention location, website URLs etc. Here’s what it doesn’t have:

  • Table numbers are not finalized
  • Room Maps are not complete, so not included
  • I don’t have Vendor Information yet
  • I don’t have Tournament Information yet
  • I have nothing for Hobby University yet

Regardless of that, I like to get a first draft of the convention app out as early as I can, so I can increase awareness and downloads of Guidebook.  We had 500 plus users at Cold Wars 2014, and that’s roughly 1/4 of the people that attended.  Progress.

This is about all you can see right now, I’ve added all the events that have been submitted so far. I’ll be adding banners and pretty stuff as usual. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Now, my standing offer is still out there. If you want your event, business, or seminar to have its own special banner. Email me. I’ll make it happen, just provide me the art.


1) You’ll need the Guidebook app for your Android Smartphone, Ipad, Ipod Touch, Android tablet, or browser capable phone.

2) Visit the Guidebook Landing Page.

3) If you have Guidebook installed, just download the Historicon 2014 guide by using “Download new guides”.  If you have to install/reinstall Guidebook first, do so per your devices’ method of installing applications, then download the new guide.

There will be many updates between now and HISTORICON.  Don’t sweat it, just open up your app in a wireless/4G/3G zone and it will download changes as I make them.  Enjoy.

Once again, the LANDING PAGE: https://guidebook.com/g/t64n7ism/