Monday, July 29, 2019

Intergalatic Convention AAR and personal note

A post in which I summarize my recent gaming weekend at the local convention; Friday night through Sunday.  Delayed some, due to stuff discussed in the personal note.

I had signed up to run 3 games, one on each day.  I had meant to run around and take a bunch of pictures but never seemed to get around to it, but I did take some.  We'll do a day to day blow by blow with some general thoughts about the con at the end shall we?  Of course we shall. 

I'll be focusing exclusively on miniature wargames because that's what I like and wanted to play.

Starting Off on Friday night

My convention weekend started off nicely on Thursday evening when the wife took the kids to her parent's house in the bay area; with strict instructions that I was supposed to have fun all weekend and not try to do any chores.  Yes Ma'am.  As an extra bonus I managed at the last minute to get Friday off from work versus just leaving a little early.  This left me Thursday night through Sunday with a rare gift of alone time.  Something I usually only get while driving to work, which is why I sometimes take the long way. 

Since I had nothing really planned till early Friday evening, I took full advantage and woke up on Friday whenever I darn well pleased, went to the gym (because I'm sure those 40 mins would counter-act all the pizza and soda I was about to consume all weekend), and lazily collected the stuff I would need to run my 3 games over the weekend. 

Everything to run 3 games over 3 days.  Not that bad really.

I was actually a little nervous about transporting the Osgiliath terrain.  While not exactly fragile I wouldn't call it robust either, not to mention being big, in odd shapes, and awkward (just like me).

Showing up late Friday afternoon, after I unloaded the car, I spent some hours chit chatting with people and saying hi.

kicking off and hour or before my LOTR game was a fun looking post apoc game in 15mm put on Mr. B.

I would of liked to play but there really wasn't time to get involved before I would have to host my own, so I contented myself to making jokes  and adding funny commentary while setting up my LOTR game "Defense of Osgiliath" 

I had 2 players, a Mr. R and Mr. M, both of which I've known for awhile and are Good Guy Gamers.

I had a pretty smart set up for both my LOTR games, if I do say so myself, in that I had prepared ahead of time 2 different OOBs depending on how many players showed up.  2 players was just the scenario straight out of the book.

The day of the con, I couldn't find my pretty objective markers,
so at the last minute I printed these round blue one.

fighting amongst the ruins

Both players had a good time, though the good player was CRUSHING IT for awhile with outstanding die rolls, so it was a good thing the evil models regenerated. 

I could use some more practice in explaining the LOTR rules quickly and efficiently as I'm new to hosting games with these, but overall I think it went smoothly and it was gratifying to see the Osgiliath set up on the table.    

Then packed up and went home to watch Frasier on Netflix.  Because I could.  Because no one was home. 

Saturday, Day 2 at the Con

Packed the car up with the stuff for the  the ACW game I was hosting later that day, and back off to the con well rested and happy.
There were some options on Saturday morning and I decided to play in a space ship game based on the Babylon 5 series hosted by Mr. C.   Now I've never seen an episode of Babylon 5, but never the less it seemed like a good option...

My ship is red.

..mainly because:
1) it fit my schedule perfectly, starting early and ending with enough time for me to grab some lunch and set up the ACW game.
2) I haven't played in a space ship game in forever
3) Most space ship games play just like an Age of Sail game - moving and turning, firing arcs, speed adjustments, etc...  the main difference is that instead of saying "I fire my lower deck of 32 pounder guns, boom boom boom!"  you say "I'll fire my armor piercing twin linked beam lasers, pew pew pew." 

I took a few minutes to wander over the the What a Tanker game by Mr. R, which I would of liked to play in but alas again, schedule wouldn't allow it.  BOO

After the fun in space, I set up my ACW game for fighting out Barlow's Knoll.
I had some high hopes for this being my flagship game at the con; a big battle, lots of miniatures, a nice looking table, and room for 5 players.  It was also, I think, the only game on the schedule going from Saturday afternoon through the evening so I had high hopes for a good turnout, and was a little disappointed to get only 2 interested.

some pics of the game table

With only 2 players, and knowing that there was no way that the whole battle could be played with all the troops, I did some quick GM thinking and basically just cut the battle field in half.  Giving the CSA 3 brigades and the USA a division.  In hindsight, this was still a little large as RFF really plays best when each individual controls 1 large brigade or 2 small ones.

CSA closing in

"Hold the Line!"  

The ACW gaem ended around 9PM, and with nothing going on I packed up and went home.

Sunday, Day 3.  

Sunday morning saw me back at the con for an early morning game of Gaslands.  A system that I've heard lots about so wanted to try it.  Turns out, it's a really fun game. 


Gaslands was probably the most attended game of the con, with 7 players at one time.  However, I also learned that since gaslands is a game with single activation (1 car moves at a time), it can play kinda slow with a lot of players.  And other game tables were empty.  So maybe in a bout of selfishness and wanting to try some else new, I crashed my car to take me out the game so I could go do one of the empty game tables.  My car was on it's last legs anyway because I've already had my run ins with the debris strewn all over the table.  

I then played in a Napoleonic game hosted by a Mr. L featuring the one and only Sharpe's Rifle company.  

The rules were "chosen men fat" which I had never heard of before.  It's a skirmish game. 
The idea was to get some objectives of fine wine out of the town, I playing the British manged to grab two of them for a draw.

After all that it was time to set up for the last game I was hosting, "the Retaking of Osgiliath."  

Ruins of Osgiliath

There was a widow with a purple film over it nearby,
so some of my pics have a purple shine to them.

Boromir in the tower.
"This city!... was build on rock and roll!"
Wait, that not the line for the extended cut of the movie.

Unfortunately, the game didn't run because no one really wanted to play.  There was some mild interest but most people where gamed out and I already had an attitude of "unless someone says they're dying to play, then never mind and pack it in."  It was the last day of the con and late afternoon, so I don't blame folks. 

Instead, I left early and brought some KFC to my aged and ailing father.  Which is his favorite.  We watched some lame TV show about sharks.

General Thoughts of the Convention

I did have a good time at the convention.  The venue is great, the people were fantastic, and the games fun.  GMs can store their stuff at the con (which I had forgotten about) which is very helpful for people putting on multiple games. 

I had less luck with scheduling this year than last year.  Last year I seamlessly went from one game to the next and it was spectacular.  This year there were a couple of occasions where I really wanted to play in a game but couldn't because the games I was hosting were scheduled too close or overlapped.  I blame those GMs for scheduling their games at the wrong time, because how dare they schedule their games when it works for them and not when it'd be best for me.  (joking of course).
It's just one of those things that happens.

The only real negative was that the con was poorly attended.  There just weren't that many people there.  One doesn't expect a large turn out at these small local cons, but it was still pretty low even allowing for that.  I never had a full table of players, and I'm going to blame this on the low attendance and state that it's not a reflection of my personality.  I guess it's possible that people aren't really into the ACW and LOTR, no that can't be it.

 The event organizer went around and asked everyone what might help raise attendance, and I have no real good feedback because I have no idea how to run a convention and make a profit. 

So while I had a fun relaxing weekend, the low attendance does tend to put a damper on it.  Still, I shall return next year. 

And I am a BAD BLOGGER because I didn't do the blogger thing where I take pics of all the miniature games.  I just didn't get around to it for no other reason than I was goofing off. 

Ending on a Personal Note, not related to gaming. 

That Sunday night after the con was the last meal I had with my father, and the last time we would speak.  He died 2 days later.  I was able to get to him before he passed but too late for him to be able to acknowledge me.  I held his hand  and spoke to him while he stopped breathing.  We were alone in the room and it seemed utterly still.  

His health has been bad for awhile now, so while not unexpected still more sudden than I would have liked.  

Making arrangements to have him buried next to my mother in southern California.  I have now entered that phase of life where one does not have parents.  It is strange.  

It will be awhile before my next post obviously.  But thanks in advance for reading and the well wishes from my internet friends.  It occurs to me that I've been corresponding with some of you for close to 2 years now.  I'm always torn about putting personal stuff into the wargaming blog, and usually don't, but major life evens seem to be an exception.  


  1. Stew, my condolences on the recent loss of your father. Sharing a last bucket of KFC and an evening of lame TV shows with your dad will be a treasured memory.

    Best wishes, my friend.

    1. Thanks Jonathan, it sure will become so over time I hope. I would of made more of an effort to have a meaningful conversation if I’d known it’d be our last but we never do know.

  2. Words come up short. Having held my father's hand as he passed (also oblivious to my presence), and losing my mother a few months ago, I can at least say that I understand something of what you are experiencing. It's good that you had the KFC moment with him. Deepest condolences and don't worry about us--we'll be here whenever you get back around to hobbying.

    1. Thank you Ed. I’m sure many of us have had similar experiences (or will have them eventually). Part of the experience of getting older and the wheel turning.

  3. Hi Stew, glad the Con went well, I was looking forward to the Barlow's Knoll photographs and you being able to get back home on the Friday night, turned out to be something for the good.

    My condolences for your sad loss. Your decision last year to bring him home allowed you to spend extra quality time with your dad and importantly to be there in his last moments. I have had similar experiences of being with someone and talking to them as life expired and each time, for no good reason I suppose, as there was only my voice, I have felt that both people in that room drew some comfort from it.

    1. Thank you Norm. The con, while maybe not a roller coaster of activity, was a fun weekend.

      I do think that his life was prolonged by moving closer to me. Sometimes I wonder if that was really what he wanted. I also would like to think that speaking out loud to someone who is past hearing you is beneficial to some extent.

  4. Thanks for the pictures of what looked like a great convention /show the ruins look great. I add my thoughts to others for your loss never an easy time, it does at least sound like your fathers passing was fairly peaceful.

    1. Thanks Matt. It was a good con in the sense that I’ve never had a bad convention experience, I feel like though I didn’t really do a good job of covering the whole con bc I didn’t take enough pics or even visit the dealer hall or the board game area.

      There is some solace that he did indeed pass without pain and in peace.

  5. All of my condolences, Stew. I lost my mother earlier this year. It can be, as I'm sure you know, tremendously difficult, but as I'm also sure you know, the burden eases with time. Be well.

    1. Thanks FMB. it hurts But You are right that time will take away the sting.

  6. Wow, sorry to hear about your dad. In that light, the missed game was really a blessing.

    1. Thanks Las, it did sort of work out well after all.

  7. My deepest condolences Stew. That's just heartbreaking to hear about those last moments with your dad. I have been going through something similar as you know and it has taken me almost a month and a half to even want to do anything hobby-wise.
    All the best to you and your family.

    1. Thanks Ivor. I appreciate the sentiments. I do plan to return to hobbying as soon as I can, since it makes me feel good and would be part of the self care plan. It’ll be the lack of time that will be the main reason. In that weird state where there is a lot to get done but not much to do today. Actually tonight I plan on basing some LoTR figures while the wife makes cookies.

  8. Damnit Stew, I knew that this was a thing you were expecting to happen sometime, what with your father being ill, but for it to be so sudden - Never easy my friend. Like others have said, you were there to see him off and as awfully sad as that is, many don't get that. I envy you on that much.

    Much love to you brother, you know how to get hold of me and where I am should you need me.

    1. Thank you my good friend. His passing was like a slow decline over time and then a sudden fall off a cliff. When I saw him on Sunday he was weak and tired but walked and talking, and 2 days later barely breathing. The body gives out.
      It is a blessing to have been there at the end. I know that not everyone has that opportunity.

      I’ll be getting in touch with you hopefully soon to plan something fun.

  9. My heartfelt condolences Stew on your loss, I have also been in that club for almost 6 years now so know how it feels.
    Yours games looked great, a great shame that you got so little interest.

    Take care


    1. Thanks Tony. Sadly it’s a club that we’ll all join eventually, even if life goes well. Man has children, the children grow up, the children bury their father.

      I too though, think it’s a tremendous shame that my games weren’t better attended. I did get enough praise though to satisfy my ego.

  10. Lovely looking games, it's a pity you didn't have anyone for the last game, the mat works really well with your ruins.
    Heartfelt condolences for the loss of your father. I lost mine a few years ago now and every time the cricket is on I think"I must call dad and have a chat "and then remember he's not around. I used a bit of the money he left me to buy the figures ( some at least) of my Rennaisance, Italian wars project so when I painted or played with them it would remind me of him, works for me. Good luck and we will all still be here whenever you want to come back.
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain. The ruins mat really does match pretty good.
      Funny you should mention figures, as I’ve had the same thought that when the inheritance gets worked out (and I already know about what’s coming since I managed the finances at the end) that I would purchase something for a memorial army.

  11. I'm sorry to hear about your loss, Stew. I recently lost my Grandmother who was one of the last people who was still alive on that side of my family and I've been feeling her loss and really all of the losses on that side of my family for pretty much all of this year. I wish you nothing but the best in the coming days.

    On a lighter note, this was a great read and very interesting. I live in Chicago where Adepticon is and I was surprised to see how different it is compared to your convention. Adepticon is all about tournaments as far as I could tell from my trip there which was a bit disappointing as I have no interest in playing in them. I'd much rather go to a con like yours where I can try out some different games and host fun narrative games but that's probably no surprise :D It is a shame that some of your games weren't well attended though and I'm sure that thatis a potential downside to that kind of convention too. If you're ever in my neck of the woods, we'll have to get a game or two in :)

    Also, the pictures of your "board" were fantastic and I think your terrain looked better than the other boards you showed off which is something to be proud of. I'll be curious to see what you tackle next hobby-wise when you have time! :)

    1. Thanks Kuribo, I appreciate the sentiments. It’s true that one loss usually brings up another loss previously felt.

      On a lighter note; of course my games looked the best bc any thing that looked better I didn’t take a pic of. ๐Ÿ˜€
      Actually, without trying to be too much of a jerk or arrogant, my games were a standard above the other ones. All the games there were presentable but that’s just how it is. It’s all kind of relative though and depends on the con. I’ve seen games that put mine too shame several times.

      A long time ago I lost interest in tournaments so I know what you mean. ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Haha, great minds think alike :D I walked around Adepticon looking to see how nice the terrain was and to see if anybody was as good of a painter as I am so I know exactly what you're talking about. Some people obsess over having the perfect list but I take pride in my hobby skills instead. It is always nice to know that there are others out there like me! :D

  12. Stew,
    I'm sorry to hear about your father; please accept my condolences. My parents are still around, but their health is starting to fail, and I'm afraid your experience will be coming here fairly soon. I lost my grandfather over 20 years ago, and I still regret that i didn't go back to my hometown and spend more time with him near the end. It's good that you moved your dad to be with you.

    You're absolutely right about speaking to those who can no longer hear you. I did that with my grandfather for many years, but not as much now. Take as much time off as you need, as you know we'll be here waiting for you to come back. If you need/want to talk, you've got my email address.
    Y'r obd't serv't,
    Brian W

    1. Thank you BW for the kind thoughts. I am doing alright all things considered. The lack of blog activity is only one part grief and 3 parts lack of time these days. I spent time in Southern Ca for the funeral and other stuff, and when I returned school started for daughter number one and I’ve had some changes at work....all with the boring climax of little hobby time.
      Now that Labor Day is over and family activities have been done I’m hoping for some fruitful hobby time. ๐Ÿ˜€