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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keeping calm and carrying on at Historicon. Pete's H-con AAR.

     This year I had the awesome opportunity to be able to attend Historicon with the crew, which I just could not pass up. With permission from my (most excellent job) I began packing for what would end up being an absolutely amazing, fun, exciting, and exhausting weekend.

I loved it.

    My primary mission this year was not only to go around and shmooze with some great people, but also to cover the I-95 EW Tournament as well as the EW Nationals run by the ever amazing Joe Krone.I met a ton of really cool folks, including all the I-95 guys who are always awesome, Mike McMann (it's all luck!), Shawn Morris and his Wife, Chris Hecht and crew, and so many more incredible folks!


     Being able to cover the tournament, for me, was an excellent opportunity to get back into the swing of things and watch some amazing players playing some amazing games. For me, I find it very informative to be able to converse and watch some of the Nations (and Worlds) top players duke it out.
Now, first, a little background. I used to work for Games Workshop and have covered and worked at a few tournaments (including attending one Grand Tournament as a player) as a judge and general peacekeeper. I have been around the block a few times, even though this was my first 'major' Flames of War tournament, so I admit I already had a preconcieved idea of how it was going to be. I was completely wrong. I couldn't have been more wrong about the general attitude of the players, quality of terrain, friendly atmosphere, and the amount of rules disputes. I can't say enough about how these two tournaments over the course of my Historicon Adventure blew away all the dusty misconceptions I had held over from my days at GW.

     What really stood out to me was the amount of times I saw or overheard clear declaration and acceptance of intent ("hey, these guys are on the edge of the woods, or hey, these guys are over the crest of the hill"), as well as one player helping another. I will right now call out Bill Wilcox and mention that more than once I caught him reminding his opponent (this is at a national tournament) to not forget to shoot his vehicle MGs - even out of turn sequence. That little 'incident', even while seemingly minor, is a huge nod to the sportsmanship I saw from everyone. Another example was Mike McMann helping one of his opponents with mathematical probably involving an armored assault - which resulted in the loss of Mikes unit. Again, a seemingly minor event that spoke volumes to someone as jaded about tournaments such as myself.

     Not once did I see a single 'That Guy' out there. Not once did I hear anyone raise voices and argue rules, or throw models, or flip a table (yes, I've seen that).

     I loved it, and can't wait to attempt to qualify for next year and attend. I may not take home a trophy, but given the attutude of the entire event I don't even mind.
Moving on, I would like to talk about the quality of some of the armies and the workmanship put into them. I would also like to state that Bruce Oberst is a robot, sent from another dimension to teach us all how to model and paint a very characterful army. The mans army is beyond amazing, and inspired me to up my game.

     The minor details I saw in almost every single army absolutely floored me. I saw BAR's with historically correct squadron recognition flags, unit decals. I saw SS panzergrenadiers taking cover in bathtubs and scale model dining room tables. I saw a ton of polish cavalry using a very well painted Armoured Train as cover, as well as sweeping behind enemy units to capture them wholesale. I saw Shawns fantastic display board (I really is that nice, yes). I saw Brien Dulanis amazing polish infantry army with his custom sculpted large cobblestone bases. The hobby dork in me was overjoyed to see all of the hard work that everyone put into their armies. It just, to me, shows a love for the hobby that all of the players have.

     In closing I will honestly say that the two tournaments over the course of Historicon felt more like a beer-and-pretzels weekend of gaming with your group of buddies than a high-stakes National Tournament.

     And I couldn't be happier to admit that my preconceptions were hilariously incorrect.
I would like to thank the entire WWPD Crew for talking me into coming up to Historicon, I had an absolute blast. I would like to especially thank Luke for letting me bunk up with he and his son. I would also like to give a shout out to all the folks that came up to us (me) and mentioned how much they enjoyed the podcast, and how much they were looking forward to the live 'cast.
And yes, that beer I chugged was really pretty damn tasty.

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