Saturday, July 13, 2019

Historicon 2019 - Friday's Tables of Interest

I'll establish a couple things ere I get going here: first, I'm mostly a day tripper/shopper and never gamer so I didn't play in any of these. I was here from about 9-5 or so, so very well have missed some games, perhaps even a room of games. Second, I loves the venue and think it's preferable to what the Host has been in the past. It's nice to not have to go outside in the humidity if you don't have to.  Climate control was in excellent shape, staff was helpful and knowledgeable, and bathrooms as I needed them were well maintained. Third, downtown Lancaster was charming and had a fair amount of diversion of it's own - especially the farmer's market bazaar across the street. I've been coming to Historicon for almost two decades and had never been anywhere near the downtown so it was a pleasant surprise. Let's start with the Dealer Hall, the demo games therein and other displays.
1. Blood and Plunder was well supported and there were several games of this going on throughout the day and around the convention.

This looks like a ton of fun. Beautiful presentation too.

2. I'm not trying to knock this company with any malice or ill will, but I think the fur on these mats is way too long. Yes, you can (and should) trim them down for scales other than 25/28mm and possibly 40mm too. Especially as pictured, the artifice is hurting my eyes. It just creates a world engulfed in gray flames. Preferable than billiard table felt maybe but still hard for me to like. I do love the accessories atop it though - great stuff but out of my preferred scales.

3. Cigar Box - I do prefer these and decorated with 3D modular terrain can make a great set up. My only objection the them is the portrayal of 3D items like hedges, walls and trees. It works in a pinch, but I'd prefer they model a forest floor if necessary than the trees. Leave off walling and hedging, standing corn, etc altogether. Two cents.

4. The theme of the Con was jungle warfare - this one had a lot of little interesting vignettes hidden it its depths - neat!

5. Hadn't seen these painted up before - these were at Brigade Games

Even a Putin! Funny

And these were nearby

6. Shanty town from Miniature Building Authority. I've been priced out of acquiring their stuff for years, but great, ready to play pieces.
7. From Sash & Saber's booth: I don't think any of these are new, but they are just terrific - beautifully painted and arranged models.

8. Now we move to the Tournament area - these games look better and better every year. These must be more Blood and Plunder set ups.


9. I like these Team Yankee ones a lot. Note the little car parks.

10. Nice wintry mix here. In general these little FoW boards are terrific - they get rolled out every year and are solid, practical and look great adorned with terrain features. all are edged in black laminated wood and look really sharp.

11. That's right Ma, skulls! All skulls.

12. I think this is for a LOTR game? In any event, I like these dead tree vignettes. I would distribute the grass a bit differently and trim others, but otherwise very nice.

13. Helm's Deep - great functional set piece here. But where to store it?

Lovely details

14. Ah - everyone needs The Argonath, also known as The Gates of Argonath or The Pillars of Kings,  a monument  carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, standing upon either side of the River Anduin at the northern entrance to Nen Hithoel. Duh! Everyone knows that.

A board of ONLY choke points?
15. More LOTR

Lets go back and look at 12 again.



18. Somewhere among these I'd gone back upstairs again to the main gaming floors - lost track a bit after cropping out people and backgrounds.

19. These little fields look great -- I need some at some point.

20. I also adore these flexible rubber field mats. Simple, durable evocative. Edged with lichen or low clump foliage and they would really pop.

21. This one caught my eye from a distance with its brightness. There's an article out there about using expanding foam for forest. I can't say I'm a fan of this but it was eye catching.
22. Here's where the long fur looks great!

The color appears to be a little dead to me but with 25/28s the length looks pretty good.

23. This was an eye catcher - maybe a best in show for me on Friday morning. It wouldn't hurt if everybody scaled up their trees somewhat. It won't be cheap but the more realistic height can really make a difference despite all its other impracticalities of cost, storage, getting figures in between, falling over, etc.

You are there. Looks fun.


25. I'm an unabashed Russophile in gaming contexts so I like to grab shots of games set in Russia. also here's fur that looks great to me in terms of length. Very natural and realistic to scale


This game was crowded and busy and I would have loved to move the play aid from these shots, but would didn't want to disrupt.


28. Another favorite - beautiful attention to detail here.

29. Nice

30. I've no doubt this was a fun game but a kitchen sink aesthetic is very much in place.

Opposite side of the beaches - there's that green.

32. This one also was very popular and had some very impressive altitudes - that's Romans vs Irish in there.

The difference between the highest point and lowest point on this table was around two feet - very impressive!

33. Battle Cry right?  A very fun game.

34. Beautiful, natural.

35. 6mm?


37. Yeah - gotta cover the tree illustrations with actual tree models.



40. Epic scale!

41. The only prison is in your mind

42. Another probable contender for best in show was this sprawling Western - lots of great stuff in this one.

The rock pillars and mine set pieces are wonderful. Whole campaigns can be played out on this table without moving a thing.

43. Back down near the tournament space

44. This one looked fun too.

45. There's always one thing that strikes me as eminently practical and the winner this year are these little casualty/unit ID markers. Simple, elegant, unobtrusive - well done. [Update - Reader Gonsalvo notes that these are commercially available from from Lancashire Games. Get them here]
Well that's it - I do love attending this thing - it's fun to watch games develop and see everything up close. I think the venue was a great improvement and organizers should seek permanence here in that regard. I also feel like Friday might not be the best day for spectacle games. There were a lot of beautiful set ups, and the usual turkeys but I was on the lower side of impressed this year than I have been in the past. That's not to knock anybody or anything - it takes a tremendous effort, in time, money and heart to prep and put on a game scores of miles from home and I do appreciate it.

I'm sure the Saturday games will be a step above and look forward to seeing those pics online.

Thanks for looking! Questions, comments and followers are welcome and encouraged.


  1. Wow, that' a lot of photos! Thanks for all your efforts.

  2. It is more likely Helm's Deep than Minas Tiras. Great photos and reviews! Thanks.

  3. Thanks for the report. I couldn't make it this year so appreciate the view of the new location.

  4. Excellent photos all around. Thanks for sharing.
    I agree with your observations about cigar box battle mats. 😀

  5. Number 21 looks like the cat or dog spent some time standing on the table, if you catch my drift.

    It looks like the quality of terrain is very high and indicates that gamers are spending time on the overall appearance of their games.

  6. So many inspirational games - wow!

  7. The last shot is from one of my freind from the UK, Tim Couper's Jacobite rebellion games. The Marker/dice cady's are from Lancashire Games in the UK, pained a sort of olive green that matches his basing and the background of the labels. It also happened to go really well with the table cloth i supplied. I liked them so much myself that i do plan to buy some myself within the next year. Tim afixed the label/dice cady things to the underside of the bases using Blue Tack.

  8. Thanks for that G - I thought maybe they were home made entirely, but yes there is a commercial piece under there.