Historicon 2017 was a “Historical Miniature Gaming” convention that took place in Fredericksburg, VA July 13-16. The convention hall was separated into different massive rooms designated to either gaming space, exhibitor space, a flea market, or rooms for classes and lectures.
It’s a pretty different convention with a pretty unique offering when compared to other conferences. The exhibitor hall isn’t flooded with masses of people looking for the hot new board game, but specialist gamers looking for specialist gaming companies. The flea market doesn’t have the hot new board games, but painted miniatures from different historical eras, cases of older miniature game pieces, and custom built terrain pieces.
The gaming hall was huge and walking through and seeing all the different games being played was very intimidating but also pretty awe inspiring. The terrain being used and the size of the games being played were enormous. If you’ve ever wanted to see eight people control about 50 tanks versus another eight people controlling another 50 tanks on a 32-foot long table, then this was the place for you.
One of the unique offerings of the convention was the “War College” which was a series of lectures on different aspects of warfare by experts in their fields. These included such lectures as “Destiny Can Wait – The Polish Air Force in WWII,” “Poster Boy for Evil, or Paragon of Warlords – Zhang Zongchang, the “Dog Meat General” (1881-1932)”, and “How the U.S. Army trained for war – the Dunn-Kempf system”. I didn’t attend any of these, but I heard great things about the lecturers, some of whom are professors on their subject or published authors.
Another great offering of the convention was the “Hobby University.” This included many classes teaching different techniques for painting and terrain making. Some of the offerings in this section were, “Painting Horses – Chestnut,” “Dirty and Distressed (Weathering,” “Building Ships & Shipwrecks,” and “Painting Royal Scots Greys.” As you can see the classes offered were diverse and distinct. Which is awesome, if you are into this hobby but find yourself struggling to paint Bay horses, there is a class for you.
I spent most of my time in the exhibitor hall. The highlights for me were the “All Quiet on the Martian Front” booth where I hung out for a while and got a sweet deal when buying the starter kit, hardcover rulebook, a bunch of convention demo, and they threw in a ton of special models for me. I can’t wait to play the game, and I’ll throw up a play report once I do.
Another highlight for me was “Test of Honour” by Warlord Games. It was a simpler miniature game that was still very fun and had a great cinematic effect while playing. The demo giver for the game sold it, and I will be picking up the game and a bunch of expansions. I also can’t wait to make some ancient Japan terrain to play on.
Probably the highlight of the show for me though was hanging out with Rob Oren a wargaming YouTube channel host that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. I also bought a copy of Commands & Colors Napolionics from Richard Borg (the designer of the game) himself, getting it signed by him and it was a previous demo copy used by him, so it was all assembled by the game developer and that to me is just a cool idea.
This was one of my first board game conventions, and it felt like a unique one in the sea of conventions that are going right now. I’ll return to it and maybe build up the courage to jump into a game or two.