Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I spent last weekend in Fredericksburg VA to attend the mothership of all the miniature wargaming conventions, Historicon. I had missed the meeting one year ago, so I was somewhat eager to join back the fray, and what a great time I had! It was real pleasure to meet old friends, make new ones, playing one game or two, and did some financial damage at the Vendors’ Hall.

In wargamers’ fora there was some apprehension about the new location, south of the Beltway and away from Historicon traditional Pennsylvania’s grounds. Well, the new location worked very well for me. It was an easy flight in and out Washington Dulles Airport, and a relatively easy drive from the airport to Fredericksburg on Friday, and back on Sunday. Some traffic on I-95 on Friday, but I still made the 55 miles or so in about 1h 15min. I stayed at a Best Western about 10min drive from the Fredericksburg Expo, site of the convention. The hotel was simple, clean, functional, and $75 per night. The drive to the Expo was a short trip across a busy mall area (which, incidentally, offers many diverse dining options.) The Expo itself is a large and functional structure, with plenty of space for game tables, and an adequate Dealers’ Hall. Food options on-site were fine – what you would expect in a convention center. Many people loved the opportunity to walk to a Wegmans across the street from the Expo; I didn’t, but apparently the large store had much to offer for food (and drinks…) Some people complained about the noise and din in the large gaming space; it was a mild annoyance, but not a major problem for me. The only complain would be the bathrooms: too few, and not serviced during the day so that by night-time they were in precarious conditions. This is something that can be fixed next year.

Attendance was good, in my opinion – but it is hard to gauge it in a very different space. If you have eight cramped rooms with six games each, you have a very busy convention; if you have 60 games in one large space that can accommodate for 100 of them, you are showing 25% more games, and yet the space may feel somewhat less busy than in the former case. It will be interesting to hear the report on attendance by HMGS-East.
By what I heard, vendors were generally happy about sales and traffic, and I have yet to hear one comment by anyone, dealers or players, who suffered a completely negative experience. Grades on TMP range from A+ to B-, with mine at A/A-. In my opinion, there was a good variety of games, with a little bit for every taste: from the large, organized tournaments for Ancient and FOW (not my cup of tea) to Medieval, Napoleonics, Colonial extravaganzas, and so on up to WWII, post-war and contemporary “Force on Force” games. Both naval and aerial games were also well-represented and easy to locate. Here’s some pictures from random tables that caught my eye.
As for my frolicking. I did some shopping, but I successfully resisted any major splurge. I bought some JR Miniatures buildings, 15mm from the Prussia range, that will look very nice around Saxe-Pape. I bought a few bags of 15mm Blue Moon minis from the Dark Africa range. I brought home Mark Fastoso’s scenario booklet for the Boxer Rebellion – Seymour’s Relief Expedition. I bought trees and palms, and the pontoon bridge by Paper Terrain, plus two other nice bridges that will come handy in the future. That’s pretty much it. To be fully honest, conventions aren’t anymore great shopping attractions if you are mostly in 15mm, as I am. Minifigs was never big at shows, and the American branch of operations is now gone. Essex has a distributor who doesn’t take anything past Marlburians to the convention. QRF wasn’t available (I even forgot who was their Historicon seller in the past.) Old Glory 15 stopped attending a couple of years ago. The only reliable option remains Peter Pig, thanks to the participation of Brookhurst Hobby from California. On net, at least for me, Historicon is less and less about buying figures. As for the games, the one I fully participated and enjoyed was a “Tanga-esque” pick-up battle courtesy of a bunch of good friends, Rob C., Fred A., Tim C., Iain B. Since I have good pictures from that evening, I will write a more complete AAR on that affairs in the coming days. For the time being, here a few shots to whet your appetite!
All in all, Historicon was a great experience as usual, a wonderful opportunity to meet friends, and a fantastic way to rekindle my love affair with the hobby!


FlightDoc said...

Thanks for the report. I used to live in Hampton VA. I move to England and they move Historicon!

Gonsalvo said...

It was great to see you again and chat with you; I can't wait for your East Afrika write up, and the exploration of the rules sets sounds great as well.

You should enable "Following" for your blog, though, Adolfo!

DestoFante said...

Thanks, Peter! "Following", what does it mean? How do I do that?