Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall In! AAR

I've been home for a day or so since Fall In! '09 and I've had some time to reflect on the show. TMP has been full of discussions about the show. Check here, here, here, and here (these are just a sampling).

There have been some passionate discussions about the show but I'm not about to comment on the politics etc of HMGS-East, mainly because I frankly don't give a damn, Scarlett.

My perspective is one of a punter anyway. Conventions come and go, gamers come and go, but the hobby never changes substantially (at least not in my 30+ years as a gamer). Manufacturers grow and decline, conventions disappear and re-invent themselves, friends fall by the wayside and I find new ones, and the vocal minority doesn't go away (nor should it). I think what I'm trying to say is that I've seen few substantial changes in the essential makeup of the hobby in 30 years. When I read hobby articles and commentaries from 20 years ago, they are almost indistinguishable from those of today, in the context of intent and tone: the greying of the hobby (yeah, whatever); convention and club management incompetence (a favourite target of those willing to offer criticism but no solutions); and manufacturer gouging (when a manufacturer is small, there is support for the little guy trying to get ahead but when real money is made and proper business and marketing techniques are employed, they're really just trying to screw us).

Is it really that tough to enjoy playing with toy soldiers? Maybe we should all join the French Foreign Legion:

As for Fall In!, I found it a tad under-attended and a little chaotic (the latter is normal for any large show). The games, what I saw of them, were somewhat uninspiring overall. That's not to say there weren't some fine looking set-ups but I think the overall quality has been dropping in recent years. Despite that, I was happy to be present when Bob & Matt Lehman from Ohio won a HMGS award for game presentation for their 54mm AWI game on Saturday night. I'll post some pictures when I can get them from Ken.

As for shopping, this was the first time I believe I have walked away from a convention with no figure purchases (whether Wings of War models counts for this is up for debate). This was partly due to my shopping list having only Carlist Wars figures on it and the fact that there were no Carlist Wars figures to be had. Everything else on my list was a bust as well. In fact, of all the items on my list and the things I was asked to pick up by others, only one was found and purchased. I'm not sure if that is a reflection of the narrowing of my (and others') wants or the paucity of choice in the dealer hall.

Generally, I was happy with my Fall In! experience this year. But that was due as much (if not more) to the friends I met up with than with the convention itself. Bluntly, I wouldn't make the nine hour drive if it weren't for the great times I have with friends there. The convention alone doesn't have the same draw for me.

Just another punter's viewpoint...

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