Monday, July 22, 2013


We are on the train headed north out of Virginia returning home from the convention.  We had an excellent time at HISTORICON 2013!  Overall impressions of the convention are the following.

1.  This was my first time at the Frdericksburg venue.  It was ok, and I thought better than Valley Forge.  Space for games was good, even if a bit loud at times.  Registration was smooth with plenty of room.  I am happy that they may be using a different registration system for games as I didn't get any of my games I signed up for on the web.  The shuttle bus was a great amenity if one had time to wait for it.  Hotel selection and pricing was very good.  Food options were good.  My hat is off to all who worked to set up and run the convention, I appreciate all of their hard work!

2.  Dealers' Area was well set up with plenty of room to see everything.  I don't know if that lead to my initial feeling that there was a better selection than in Valley Forge or not.  Really ended up being fewer choices.  Bigger vendors, less variety.  Kind of like the "Wal Mart-ization" of the hobby?  Oh we'll, there is always the Internet.  Only bought a few things, mostly paint and terrain.  Good deals.

3.  Gaming was probably the big disappoint of the trip.  I know that convention gaming can be hit or miss, so i didn't go into the games expecting all Northern Conspiracy level games.  that being said, I like to try new rules and so I sometimes suffer to give it a try.  I played in three games.  Some takeaways from myself and other Penguins were:
           A.  Game masters should know the rules the rules cold and should make decisions quickly and decisively.  They should be consistent and fair to all players.  Never have a favorite at the table.  Leave your personal preferences at home.  We play to see which side will win today.  The final thing is to be attentive to your game at all times.  Things have to go through you so it is important that you maintain the pace of the game.
           B.  Nice looking terrain does not make an interesting scenario or game.
           C.  Clear orders of battle and clear objectives/victory conditions are essential to the players' enjoyment.
           D.  When you are playing, try not to take yourself or the game too seriously.  The biggest problem I faced in my games was opponents who really ruined the game for all involved because of attitudes or actions.  Come on guys! It is our hobby!  Lets have some fun and consider others.
     I don't know if I will play games in the future.  Maybe just watch games from now on.

4.  I really enjoyed our other than convention activities.  We had an opportunity to tour all four of the battlefields in the Fredericksburg area,  Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse.  It was really special to stand on the Bloody Angle and the Sunken Road with other military history enthusiasts who appreciate the significance of those spots and what happened there.

5.  This trip only reinforced how fortunate I am to be a part of our gaming community at the Northern Conspiracy.  We bring together individuals with diverse experiences, interests and viewpoints and we have fun in nearly every instance.  We can talk about virtually every topic and have lively and interesting conversations.  Sometimes we agree and sometimes we agree to disagree.  The important
thing is that we laugh and we edify each other.  I can honestly say that I have true friends.  That makes me feel great!

Well, there you have it!  My synopsis of a great trip and convention.  It will be REALLY nice to be back with the loving wife and family, but I have had a great time and will remember the trip for a long time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The trip to HISTORICON has begun!  We are on the train, sharing stories and laughing up a storm!  If the beginning of the trip is any indication of how things are going to go this is going to be a great time!  Thanks to Ralph, Earl, Byron, Charlie and Greg.  Super friends and traveling companions!