I returned Sunday night from Cold Wars, tired and glad to be home. As much as I enjoy being away and seeing friends, it's always good to be home. I had left Lancaster at 1400h on Sunday, expecting to arrive in Bramptonia around 2130h-2200h. An hour into the drive, I was falling asleep at the wheel and pulled over for a half hour nap in a rest stop. I woke two and half hours later and my expected arrival time in Bramladesh moved to after midnight. Guess I was more tired than I thought. That's probably because Ken works me to the bone at the ATKM booth all weekend :) Running demo games and talking with gamers all day can be exhausting! No really!
Enough about my travails...how was the show, you ask? The best part was working with Ken and meeting up with Bob and Matt Lehman from Ohio. The four of us have become good friends over the last couple of years and are a good example of the good things about this hobby. Even such a quirky hobby like this can bring together people from all over. Bob and Matt hail from Ohio and Ken from Atlanta (though I know his heart is still here in Leaf-land). The only time we see each other is at these conventions. This time around, as with previous outings, Bob hosted a large 54mm AWI game on Saturday night. Actually, it wasn't big at all....it was massive! The table was 30' x 6' and had 900+ 54mm figures from Bob's and Ken's collections. We had 14 players and four game-masters! This was a spectacular game, as the photos below show.
This shot shows some of Bob's wonderful terrain to great effect. In the foreground you can see the Hessian brigade moving out of a cornfield and in the background a fantastic one-piece artillery redoubt.
Another good shot of the cornfield before the Hessians moved forward to the American lines. The flags flying above the corn create a nice effect.
On the left can be seen a giant watermill spilling out into a small river. This river helped to divide the table into two more manageable sections.
Bob did a fantastic job with this game and he very rightly garnered a Pour Encourager Les Autres award from HMGS-E. You can see more pictures of the game here.
L to R: Bob Lehman (game host extraordinaire) holding his award; Ken Cliffe (proprietor of ATKM and one of the best in the hobby); Matt Lehman (loyal son and great friend); yours truly (proud to be with such great friends).
Now for my convention rant. This one has nothing to do with the current discussion about Historicon location or vendor booth costs (see here for a sample of that nonsense). No, my rant this time is about the dealers themselves. Nothing political here. Nothing controversial, but can the average vendor please look in a mirror before leaving the hotel room and making his way to the dealer hall? Notice I mentioned I said that with reference only to the masculine version of the convention dealer; women seem to have little problem with what I'm about to say. For goodness sake, is it too much too ask for a dealer to shave and put on some clean clothes? I'm not expecting freshly-pressed pants and shirt but are the faded, baggy, 1980s track pants the only option you brought in your suitcase/plastic bag? Track pants of any variety are so not what I need to see, especially if your belly is protruding from between them and the faded (often banally inscribed) t-shirt above. Go to the supermarket and pick up a razor and cream! And step over the parking lot to Wally-World and pick out a clean (and preferably blank) shirt that actually fits. But don't look at those track pants...no matter how much you think they make your Les Nessman glasses and Ron Jeremy moustache/chin grizzle contribute to your attractiveness in any way. Just because your clientele is fashion-challenged doesn't mean you need to follow suit! Oh yeah, I forgot. So many of the dealers at these major conventions are really gamers with a booth. But don't get me started on how gamers dress...geez, is it really necessary to be recognizable as a geek from a hundred meters away just cuz you are one? OK, rant over (or just postponed).