Saturday, July 20, 2019

Historicon 2019, #1: Site, Random selection of Thursday games

View from our room in the newly opened East Tower of the Marriott. Not appreciated in the p[hoto, bout the metal framework at the bottom is the canopy for a rofotop bar. 

   I arrived in Lancaster a little after 5PM; some road construction along the way lengthened the trip from 4 hours to five. I had a room at the Marriott (convention hotel). Figuring out where to park to register etc, was a bit challenging at first, but dealt with without much fuss. I then got a validated ticket for the attached parking garage, and moved in some of the carload of stuff that I brought with me. Tim Couper arrived from Scotland (via Newark, where he had a less than pleasant experience with migrations and customs; perhaps all the lead he was carrying with him triggered the metal detectors?!) A minor issue with the room assignment (one bed instead of two!) was swiftly and pleasantly resolved by the front desk staff. We unloaded some more figures, terrain, etc from my car, using (with permission) the hotel baggage carts extensively. Tim and I used the scanners to print our pre-registered badges, 

    We headed out for a nice sit down dinner; as other have said there are a plethora of nice dining options within a 1 to 5 minute walk from the Convention Center. Downtown Lancaster is surprisingly charming,and abounds with rooftop bars and restaurants. Many eateries seem to be multiple level affairs, with different offerings on each floor. The Central Market, which is right acrooss the street, was closed on Saturday aftyernoon by the time we decided to check that out. Freddie Avner fopund a great bakeshop that Tim and I frequented for breakfast on Friday and Saturday (it was pouring rain Thursday AM, so we ate at the hotel' a bit pricey but perfectly good, and again on Suinday - the bakeshop was closed on Sundays!). 

Overview of part of the Dealer area., seen from windows in the hallway of the level above it. 

    As others have noted, the Lancaster Convention center is a vertically organized affair. On the bottom level  (suitably) is the space occupied by Wally's Basement (the Flea Market/Bring and Buy). it seemed perfectly adequate, although I only visited it on Thursday night and Sunday AM. 

More dealer area...

    The next level has the Dealer area, about 1/3 of that space being occupied by the Tournament games. All of the (always limited) Sunday AM games were also held in that space.  Registration was also there. There is a fairly spacious lobby with much natural light where I dare say a large  game or two could be staged. The main entrance to the historic building incorporated into the Convention center, where the War College presentations took place, was also on that level. 

Still more Dealer area Many old friends were present, with a few new faces, and a few missed as well. 

    The next level above that (the third level if you count the basement, but termed level 2) held a huge ballroom where all of our games took place, plus Games registration and a small judges area, plus evening food options in the spacious and bright hallway. The awards for each session were posted on a white board, which was a nice addition. There were also some small conference rooms on this level that we did not use.... at least this year!

The level above THAT (termed level 3) had another large room that had many more games held in it. This view of the hallway outside the room from Level 4 shows the much apprecaited water coolers, and in the distance, the free board games that could be checked out and returned. 

The highest level of the Convention center, termed Level 4, was only accessible from the main hotel elevators, and had several small rooms that were used for the Hobby University. 

They were just setting things up when I took these photos on Thursday AM. 

More Hobby U..... 

Next are a large number of random shots of some of the great many games on display, taken from Thursday AM until mid afternoon. I spent part of Thursday PM browsing the dealer area, and making a small number of purchases, all of them previously planned. 

This blurry picture, taken before the figures were placed, doesn't do justice to this great looking game, sort of a Pulpy affair, that ran next to the table where Tim and I ran most of our games. I believe it won a well deserved award. 

Just being set up, but looks to be in keeping with the "Jungle Warfare" theme of HCon 2019.

Friends Thomas and Alex Neuhart are captured awaiting the start of this ? Dark Ages game. 

Blurry shot of the Miniature Building Authority table.

Nice terrain, but who is T-Rex having for lunch? 

A huge, very well done table.

A blurry Stargate... ?

An exquisitely done Old West table; another well deserved awards winner!

Simple but effective terrain awaiting figures...

Blurry shot of the table for a HAWKS Dragon Rampant game. 

"To Catch a King!:", run by the Little Wars TV guys; multiple sessions and another well deserved awards winner. 

Winter C-o-C game. This and many of the following shots were in the large gaming room above us; note wooden tables in use here. 

Dunno, but table looked interesting!  :-)

Blurry shot of Ken from The Portal/Time Machine in Manchester, and a big Sci fi spaceship game, ? Star Wars X-wing? 

"Khaki" era something...   :-)

Abundant and effective use of scatter terrain, and heaps of flock. I saw quite a few tables with flock sprinkled on them. Looks pretty good, but must be a mess to clean up, and ? reuse potential!

Big piece of teddy bear fur!

Castle above, Dungeon below. I think this one won an award as well. 

This game was being set up. It took me a while to figure out the Napoleonic battle depicted. 

Some nice 28 mmm Austrian Cavalry.

Eye level shot...

Another shot...

Aspern-Essling!  If you go back to the first picture, the Granary is clearly evident in Essling.  The villages are much too close together and relatively oversize as well (I researched this one a lot for my own scenario book), but from a game and table standpoint it works very well.

Tanks on the move...

Blurry shot of a nice ACW game, 28 mm. 

? carnage and Glory (judging by the laptop)

Medieval Scots and English??? Lots of  ? sawdust, used effectively over the felt table cover. 

Amphibious landing terrain set up.

These three guys ran a seemingly non stop series of Sci Fi games on a table near ours; they seemed to be having a great time!

Part of the "To Catch a King" table with troops added. 

Another view of same

And yet another; a lot to see here!

A final "shot". with LED "blast markers" in use for the broadside!


  1. Lots of good looking games there!
    Sounds a bit rotten about customs!
    Best Iain

    1. Yes, there were, Iain. I am sorry for my country that the US has made coming here unpleasant for many. Tim has traveled to US many times and has children and grandchildren here. Not exactly a terrorist suspect!

  2. Great-looking games and I would love to be let loose in that dealer area. I too am not certain about the sprinkled flock look - I can't see many friends of mine thanking me if I sprinkled it over the table in their gaming rooms. I thought I was going to have a bit of trouble last time I was in the US when they asked me when I my previous visit there had been, and I totally forgot I had been there two years earlier. Lead to an uncomfortable moment or two until my memory kicked back in.

    1. The dealer area is pretty awesome, especially the first time.
      It is necessary for the TSA to do their jobs, but it doesn't make international travel much fun... even for returning Americans!

  3. Nice convention report that captures the feel of the show. You need too work on steadying your camera though. 😄

    1. The problem was that my cell phone died the day before the show, and I was using my Ipad as the camera, which is very difficult to steady, especially when taking pictures rapidly! :-)
      Hence the more blurry than usual pics!

  4. Very impressive games and venue, Peter. I just saw a short YouTube video on the event. I understand this is a new hotel? They video hosts were very pleased with the location. Maybe someday I can make it to this premier event.

    1. This is a new site; the hotel itself just opened a new Tower with an additional 100+ rooms. The hotel itself is fairly new, I think.
      A Trip to Historicon sopme year is well worth it; it works well with a tour of ACW and/or revolutionary Wars sites, or a host of other options.

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  5. Excellent coverage of what looks like a fun event.

    1. It was a great convention; I have a lot more to post, but that ios specific to the games I ran or was otherwise involved with.

  6. Wonderful overview Peter. Some beaut looking games. Rooftop bar sounds good too!