A view of the miniature wargaming action at Brice’s Crossroads, a seldom-gamed June 1864 battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. This 15mm games was hosted at Historicon 2008 by Roxanne Patton, a member of the Johnny Reb Gaming Society and a scenario author and contributor to the hard copy Charge! fanzine. Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis defend the bridgehead across the swollen Tishomingo Creek against “that devil Forrest.”
Another view of veteran gamer and terrain builder Al Gaspar’s award-winning Gettysburg layout for a 15mm Fire & Fury game hosted by Michael Panzer and Kurt Kramer. This monster game will continue today and tomorrow, with dozens of gamers rotating in and out, and a few hardy souls spending most of the their convention gaming time playing in this nicely done game.
I really look forward to the day when my little grandson can better grasp the idea of wargaming. We’ve started already with games where we set up his 54mm toy ACW soldiers, roll the dice, and see how many figures he will be allowed to knock down. He tends to emulate Nathan Bedford Forrest – Kill ’em all! He was fascinated by the spectacle of all those tables filled with “little sol-jers,” but I don’t think he understood why people weren’t knocking them over, or throwing marbles at them. Ah, youth!
Overall, I thought the crowds (and the number of games) at this year’s Historicon was quite good for a Thursday session. I have gamemastered 15mm Johnny Reb 3 games on Thursdays at a few previous Historicons, or have walked the floor on that day, and I believe this is one of the better turnouts for the opening day in several years. I could be wrong, but there seemed to be more gamers bobbing around than usual, especially in the early afternoon. Perhaps those folks who decided to bite the bullet and spend the money for the convention reckoned that an extra day off of work and another night in a hotel were more than worth it considering the price of gasoline. I spoke with one Georgia gamer who commented that with carpooling and sharing a room, he was able to defray enough of his usual expenses to make the trip without hesitation. I’m sure lots of other gamers also pitched in to help others make it to the con, although I know several rather distant gamers who passed on this year’s con to stay closer to home and attend regional cons at other others times this year.
For a change, I did not spend a dime in the annual Historicon flea market. There were lots of 15mm ACW figures for sale at various prices, but the paint jobs were average at best (I am spoiled by my armies, which were painted by Larry Reber and myself, and I tend to be picky). I looked long and hard at a nice little Old West 15mm U.S. Marshal’s office (only $5 and painted OK), but didn’t pull the trigger. I was planning to rework it and repaint it for ACW gaming, but I decided it was a little too big to fit in with my 10mm buildings (many of which were painted by John Hill or Doug Kline. There were scads of ACW books for sale, as well as old ACW boardgames of various kinds, a couple Civil War 12″ action figures, and some other Civil War goodies, but none tempted me. I ended up spending the money i planned to use at H’con on a stop at Sonic on the way home to York to buy treats for my two sons, grandson, and myself. Worse, I;m sure for the old waistline, but very satisfying after a fun afternoon of tramping the halls of the Host…
Some other random impressions of this year’s Historicon – the organization seemed smooth and efficient, and the folks at the help desk genuinely helpful. As usual, the gaming sprawls throughout the hotel, but frankly, the walking is good for you, and adds a little interest in exploring to see what is in the next room. I thought the Fairgrounds in Maryland a few years ago for Fall-In, with everything in one room, seemed a little sterile compared to the scavenger hunt that is the Host’s events, and to a lesser degree, Fall-In at the Eisenhower Conference Center in Gettysburg. I had a quick chance to stop by the dealers hall on Wednesday night to drop off some scenario books and copies of Charge! to Doug Kline of Battlefield Terrain Concepts, and there appeared to be no let down in the number of dealers who were exhibiting their wares this year. The high price of gasoline apparently did not frighten off many (if any) of the long-time dealers who frequent H’con.