Thursday, April 7, 2016

Adepticon - Sunday and Final Thoughts

First thing first:  Feels good to have your feelings validated, esp toward someone you don't "really" know.  When you come downstairs at 8:05am on the last day of a miniature gaming convention, heavily dominated by 40k players with their carts full of figures all trying to get to their event from their rooms, to complain/bitch at the hotel staff for the fact that you waited for a non-full elevator for 15+ mins and finally had to take the stairs:  yes, you are indeed a douche bag.  Any seasoned convention go-er, including this douche bag, should know this is going to be a problem.  In fact, I even woke up extra early (despite needing as much sleep as possible) to get downstairs for my coffee to avoid this.  And really, what do you think the hotel is going to do:  begin construction of a new wing of elevators because you complained?  It's not like the elevators were broken and contributing to the problem.  Always thought he was a douche bag, had heard he was a douche bag and now I know he's a f'ing douche bag.

Anyway, sorry for the rant.  Sunday started the usual way for me at the last day of conventions:  ready to go home and my flight not soon enough.  I did have another seminar that morning that I signed up for up, for some unknown reason (ie, not likely to have value to me).  So that was skipped.  I had signed up for another one in the early afternoon that I really wanted to do:  Airbrushing Vehicles taught by Marc Raley!  Unfortunately United Airlines moved my flight up such that I wouldn't be able to take it.  Bittersweet as I got home earlier but missed what was probably a great class (and on airbrushing no less).

So can you guess what I did?  Yep vendor hall for a few last min things:

The last purchases
Finished up the last of my hit list:  KoW rulebooks.  Earlier in the con I had forgotten to get the KoW template, so I "had" to grab that too.  And yes, that is another set of Mason dice for Guild Ball - I didn't really need another set but I also knew that it would really get under my skin that one in ten times I have to roll more than 10 dice that I didn't have enough Mason dice.  And god forbid I loose one!

The only thing, other than the Frostgrave spell decks which weren't there, that I didn't manage to pick up was the Guild Ball playmat.  They had a few set aside for every day of the con and Sunday's were gone by 10:10 (vendor hall opens at 10).  I am not sure I would have picked it up though due to the logistics of flying with it.  Also in the Legends of the Old West game there was also some excellent gallows from 4ground that the vendor carrying their product didn't have on hand.  =(  That was disappointing since I'm kind of picky about gallows, for some reason.

I ran through the Guild Ball tournament area because I realized I should check out if they were using terrain and if so how much.  They were but it was surprisingly minimal, about 5 pieces per table and the largest of which was about 3 inches in diameter (Broken Egg Games has a Guild Ball set of mouse pad type terrain that gives an idea of what I saw).  I should have gone and picked the brains of the developers to see if that corresponded to what they envisioned but I was lazy and figured I could probably find a similar answer on the forums.  And it's probably vague and non-committal answer anyways.

After some food, it was time for my ride back to the airport (no female driver with a Russian accent this time sadly) and waiting for my flight.  That pretty much ends my Adepticon trip and recap.

Oh, as I was leaving I did get a chance to introduce/meet/say hi to Soshie.  She often joins the google hangout I frequent.  It was nice to meet her face-to-face and see her awesome entry in the Crystal Brush.  Sadly she didn't make the cut though.

A few final thoughts and then I'm going to go back to being silent for awhile:
The Good:
  • Guild Ball's apparent success in the vendor hall (like I said earlier, they seemed to dominate the vendor area).
  • Autoduel was awesome!
  • End of the Line and Seppy Yoon both were fantastic!
  • Not having to call hotel security at 3am about the room next door (a previous con experience).
  • Hope for Arena Rex.  If nothing else, the models need to survive.
  • No new gaming obsession(s).
  • Seminar with Angel Giraldez.  Maybe next year, if he returns, I will not be to intimidated to take on of his hands on classes.
The Regrets:
  • Loosing my cool during the Legends of the Old West game.
  • Not playing Space Hulk, but there was no way I could deal with that problem player.
  • Not signing up for better/more/different seminars/games (this is sometimes not within your control though due to events selling out).
  • Come on Osprey, you brought so much Frostgrave but no spell decks?
  • I didn't play in Fist Full of Seamen (horrible name I know) or even stop by to take pictures.
  • Bought shit I shouldn't have.
  • Only knowing a few people there and that as only acquaintances (the regulars that couldn't make it were missed; the non-regulars that still couldn't make it were, as always, missed).
  • Having no transportation and having to eat the bar food all weekend (granted the bar food is not that bad but after awhile you want something else, esp in a place like Chicago with so many great food options).
  • Not catching up/meeting (face-to-face) David Powell or Kat Jackson, who I've been in a few google hangouts with.
  • OMFG why didn't I play this:

Anyway, looking forward and hoping I can make it again next year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Adepticon - Saturday

Ok, WTF happened to Saturday being a planned relaxed day?!  Management really f'd this up!  Up past midnight, 8am-noon event, noon-4pm event, 6-9pm event and 9pm-midnight event!  In any case some (ok, most) of these things were axed.

So I was up early trying to get caffeinated, fed and into a reasonable state of mind and body for my 8am game:  Mech Attack.  Basically a 28mm Mech/combined arms game ("imagine Battletech with 1/10 the rules" was how it was described) played on a beautiful board:

Confirmed they got in on the same FFG Dust Warfare sale I did!  LOL
This is giving me some great ideas what to do with my buildings!
Another view and more ideas.
The "Good" Guys
The "Bad" Guys
Unfortunately not a lot of people signed up and one of the GMs was forced to fill in to give us a 2 on 2 game.  We only used 1 mech, 2 vehicles and 2 squads - so I suspect by the selection above they were hoping for a much larger game.  Overall a pretty decent game with some great terrain.  I failed to play to the objectives and ultimately the bad guys (my team) lost.  The other player on my team managed to score the most points though and took home a Bolt Action rulebook for her valiant effort.  Not much else to say, except I got to play a game with 28mm Mecha (about 10 inches tall)!

After that it was time to call an audible, there was no way I was doing all the stuff I was signed up for on Saturday.
  • Noon-4pm:  Car Wars - Already did it, fun and all but I scratched it (plus I needed food).
  • 6-9pm:  Space Hulk - Well, I already knew that "problem" player from the Legends of the Old West game was playing in this, so hell no!
  • 9-midnight:  Autoduel - Since I had already done one game of this, it was going to be a game time decision which ultimately I decided to skip also.
So, with my day "salvaged" back to a more relax day I grabbed some food, took a nap and, of course, hit up the vendor floor again.  I did a quick demo of the new version of CAV from Reaper and said hi to Seppy Yoon, creator of End of the Line (previously mentioned Kickstarter a few posts back).  Seppy was extremely enthusiastic, energetic and all around awesome.  He let me know he would be showing people how to play End of the Line after the vendor hall closed at the board game area and that I should stop by.

Money still burning a hole in my pocket
I did pick up the CAV rulebook but in retrospect I think I could get what I want for a Mecha game using the Mech Attack rules (available on Wargames Vault at a much lower price point and originally intended for 15mm not 28mm).

And then there was trouble.  Mike over at Mini Mayhem texted (he wasn't able to attend this year) asking me to pick up the new Hyena Handler for Arena Rex (below).  He also "suggested" that I pick up a starter set for it.  Bad Mike!  After giving him some grief about trying to drag me into something else, I admitted that I backed their Kickstarter and already had about 5-6 Ludus Magnus figures and that I just added another (the figure to the right in the picture above).

The Arena Rex booth also seemed very popular all weekend and the creator I spoke with was very gracious.  Additionally, they had sold out of many of the figures by that time.  It seems like things have been pretty slow with this game and company since the Kickstarter and it will be interesting to see if this outing nets some renewed interest.

Ninja Buy
Wondering around for a bit, I ended up at a demo for Warlord Games Project Z.  A good demo and what seems to be a decent, albeit tongue n cheek, system:

I played the celebs at the bottom of this picture:  Shaft, Elvis, Female Ash, etc.
Hard to tell from the crappy picture, but the Dude Abides!  Those
models were carried by Impact Miniatures btw if someone is interested
It has some interesting mechanics that the demo guy explained to me but were not in the demo.  Such as a hand of cards that you can play to modify attack (or defense) results, thus reminding me a bit of Malifaux.  It also has a very interesting campaign system that is composed of 1v1, multiplayer and solo scenarios.  It should be noted, although not confirmed, that the I think the nature of the demo board (scattered with "toys" and railroad buildings, etc) and the miniature paint jobs (some not all that great) was to drive home that this is intended as a "grab" what you have or want kind of game.

Flashing back to my first Adepticon 4(?) years ago:  I got a chance to demo Zombicide and happened to do so with Craig and Russ from the D6 Generation podcast.  So what happened this year, I demoed Project Z with Craig from the D6 Generation and Dave & Andy from the Nerdherders.  LOL.  Not surprisingly, if you listen to their podcasts, there was some kind of grudge to be worked out between Craig and Andy (I think) that waited to manifest until a couple of turns into the demo, at which point they started to attack each other.  Honestly, from my perspective Andy's gang was just walking up to say hi and share some rations when Craig open fired...  Afterwards I briefly complemented both of their podcast and they gave me some freebies/fan favors:

I believe those 4 heads are head sculpts of the Nerherder hosts
Parting company with them, I headed down to the board game area to see if Seppy was around to show me End of the Line.  He wrangled up enough players (3 of us new to it, plus 2 that played the previous day) and we had a blast.  Easily the most fun I had all weekend.  And it relieved any Kickstarter regrets that I had, well except that I have to wait for it to be fulfilled.  Great game, great guy.  Best of luck to Seppy!

That wrapped up Saturday at Adepticon for me.  Just a couple of things left to check off on Sunday and then fly home.  Oh btw, bitz trading on Saturday seemed just as weak as Friday...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Adepticon - Friday

My day 2 of Adepticon started off kind of slow but at least I got to sleep in.  After waking up and coffee, I head to my first of two seminars of the day:  The Badger Airbrushing classes (101 & 102).  While not of significant value to me, I did pick up a few bits of knowledge.  The classes are excellently taught and are entertaining enough to hold interest even if you have a bit of airbrush knowledge under your belt.  I think it is very important to say that these classes are not a Badger sales pitch, Ken is very open and respectful of other quality airbrush producers.  It is equally important to point out, for those that could be interested, that this is not an airbrush technique class.  But if you are thinking about picking up an airbrush, intimidated about airbrushes and/or new to airbrushing there is definitely value and help that can be obtained from this class.

In between those classes was another visit to the vendor hall:

Yes, that is the corner of my bed.
The skirmish outbreak was a bit of a weak moment and I'm not entirely sure about the system as it appears to be a you go, I go activation system (not my favorite) but I suffered some kind of moment of weakness.  I also decided to go back to the Guild Ball booth and pick up their counters:  I'm normally not inclined to spend money on tokens but I guess my money was burning a whole in my pocket.  As you can see I also grabbed some movement tray/bases from Broken Egg Games for Kings of War and tokens for that game.  Wow, I was just weak on Friday.

Another run in with Derek resulted in getting to meet and chat with the creators of Guild Ball.  Then it was off to my first game of the day at 4pm, lol.  It was a Car Wars game run by Lathan from Burn in Designs.  While I had experienced Battletech in my early wargaming history when I was a teenager, I never did play Car Wars (those two games and that particular timing seem to typically go hand in hand).  So with a vehicular combat itch to satisfy, this was an excellent chance to give it a whirl.

Ten players showed up for the game that Lathan was afraid that no one would show up for!  We mutually agreed to pull into one giant game of two teams (5 on 5), last team standing.  Ultimately my team was demolished and I don't think we even managed to kill of a single car of the other team.  I was the last of my team to go down but more to bad tactical decisions rather than good ones.  Lathan also handed out very nice player favors but I think I forgot mine at the table and thus have no photo.  Many beautiful modified cars were available to choose from:

The selection and some nice terrain he designed for the event

My car for the scenario
It was a fun game, well run and great participants but as I suspected, the mechanics and fluidity of Car Wars leaves a bit to be desired.  I can't say what exactly the issue(s) is though and it does manage to capture aspects that some of the competing possibilities are not able to (I think).  Maybe it was just the scale of that many players.  Anyway, as this is a "windmill" topic of mine, further exploration/analysis is planned.  Eventually...

A quick bite to eat and then it was time to head to my second game, Autoduel: First to Valhalla run by Sam.  Another selection of beautiful cars, this time painted by Dave Taylor over at Dave Taylor Miniatures:

Be sure to check Dave's blog for great pics of all the trucks!
From the event description:  "Each player will represent a Praetor driving a kitted out and armored monster truck. Players will race around collecting flags, while attempting send their rivals 'First to Valhalla'."  A very unique custom/home brew game that played very well and was a lot of fun, featuring a flexible "programming" movement/action system that you have to manage as a resource and a unique vehicle damage system that results in fewer movement/action choices and often hilarity!

My truck in the middle
After the first of five players was eliminated, a priceless target of opportunity presented itself.  Born of greed to send that first player to Valhalla, this was the situation when it was my turn to activate (note my vehicle is not in that scrum!):

Why bother with target priority if you can get them all at once!
After my first action, only one of them remained and my second action granted me epic glory:

Witness me!
A great game that I hope Sam continues to polish and bring back to Adepticon and a really fun time with my fellow players.  Oh yeah, the winner's prize:

That wraps my second day at Adepticon and a very late night (at least for me).  At least Saturday is my usual planned relaxed (or more so) day at conventions.

As a note, these last two events took place around the same time as bitz trading and was in the hall right beside that area.  I don't know if it was the new policy, location or what but bitz trading seemed significantly down this year.  Idk.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Adepticon - Thursday

A few up front caveats regarding these Adepticon recaps.  Firstly, they were drafted during/after as I was there and finally re-edited now that I am back home and have the convenience of a computer to pull them together with pictures.  That being said, for the English majors out there, I will probably have severe issues in these post with mixed tenses.  Also, I tended to only take pictures of events/things I was involved in - there are plenty of great pictures of many of the events and the Crystal Brush entries.  While I do have a very nice standalone camera to potentially do this, I'm not hauling it around - so you get camera phone pictures, I'm sorry!

The day started off very early with my alarm going of at 3:30am so that I could catch a flight from Huntsville, to the totally not on the way destination of Houston!  I arrived in Houston as my plane to Chicago was boarding, so I had a nice little jog from the commuter terminal to the "real" terminals and was about the last person to board the plane.  What a great way to start but at least I made the flight.  Things improved a bit once in Chicago as I was picked up by a driver from Windy City Limo's to take me to the hotel.  A very nice woman with an awesome Russian/eastern block accent.

A little bit of a shout out to Windy City Limo:  I totally f'd up my reservation and it was pretty much transparent to me that I had (ie, they handled it on the fly and barely even brought it up).  Also, if you are by yourself, at least, it looks like the rates are almost comparable to getting a taxi but a much better experience IMO.  Part of the trick is to be willing to sign up for shuttle service as they will often still send a car for you.

Anyway, check in, smooth as usual once at the convention (hotel and con).  Immediately I dumped my bags, check the preregistration swag bag and caught my breath for a few mins:

Not bad for non-VIG swag

Afterwards, I headed for the vendors to scope any potential limited supply items.   Steamforged Games had several new season 2 figs for Guild Ball.  Props to those guys and gals for busting up a starter to give me a game ball that I didn't get in my starter set.  As an aside, they (Steamforge/Guild Ball) seemed to dominate the vendor hall the entire convention.  I think we are going to be seeing a lot of new Guild Ball players!

Hammer Time!

A quick swing by the Osprey booth was disappointing as they had lots of Frostgrave books and minis, but they had none of the highly sought after spell decks.

Next on the agenda was my first seminar of the convention, Vallejo Painting Demos taught by Angel Giraldez (the studio painter for Infinity if you didn't know).  Not much can really describe seeing Angel (sorry for lack of proper accents, btw) work.  Simply amazing and effortless.  I picked up a few new things to try out.  Angel is also very friendly, gracious and approachable even remembering me from the class later on and saying hi.  I hope he returns in the future, as this was the only one of his classes I took. Volume 2 of his painting book will be coming later this year too!

Running back through the vendor hall afterwards I ran into Derek from Throne of Angels and chatted for a bit.  I had never met Derek face to face, so it was great to meet and chat with him, beyond the usual google hangout I participate in.

After a short rest and food, I headed for my first game of the con:  Legends of the Old West - Showdown at Tandywine Gulch.  I suspected and was correct, that this was a game run by a guy/group out of Kansas that I have had tons of fun with in previous years.  The setup was 8 players each controlling a separate faction having arrived in Tandywine just prior to the Hanging Judge's arrival.  Each faction had a hidden objective to accomplish.  The GM controlled events and NPCs in the town that would sometimes (even violently, helpfully or not-helpfully interact with "characters).  I ended up with the Outlaws, just by change of grabbing the seat that I did:

The Outlaws (and my camera phone acting up - sorry)
As typical with this GM, a beautiful table totally ruined by my phone not liking this room one bit:

Tandywine Gulch

My objective was to free "Taco" from the jail before the Hanging Judge arrived.  And this is where things started to go down hill, in game and out.  We (seriously, pretty much all of us) had a bit of an issue with one of the players, which pretty much put me at my wits end.  This factored into me loosing my shit a little bit with another player.  Kind of embarrassing, I should have been in better control of my own enjoyment.  I think the extreme early start of the day, all the running around and this being a late game contributed a little bit to a low tolerance level.  Still out of respect for the GM, I stuck it out and managed to free "Taco" and not harm (in real life) any players.  Two other players also managed to achieve their objectives.  A nice player favor from the GM:

GM's giving out favors now?  Wow.
A few funny things that happened in the game:  The O'Malley brothers knocked one of my gang out.  They had been drinking and fighting with each other all day and I stumbled a bit to close to their brawl.  The owner opium den and the snake oil salesman tied up some other people for several turns, as well as the Mayor who gave a talking to the Indians.  Oh, at the undertaker - business had been very slow and he took it upon himself to try to change that.

Well that is the day one recap. Tomorrow, maybe, I will recap my second day at Adepticon.

Just to be clear and honest, I was out of line in "loosing my shit" during the Showdown at Tandywine Gulch.  Ok.  And the GM did a really outstanding job of trying to handle the problem player short of just kicking him out of the game.