Over the past weekend I attended my first SYW Convention, in the Tourist Capital of the World, Sunny South Bend Indiana, and I am fairly impressed with the whole thing. My wife accompanied me and I meet up with other members of the Minnesota Crowd, Fitz, the other Jeff, Brent Olson, Rolf Running, and Chris Combs and I think I speak for all of us a good time was had by all.
The drive down was uneventful, we dropped our "two" children off with Melanie's parents on the way down and made the 525 mile trip in three legs (To Melanie's Parents 200 Miles, To Chicago 200 Miles and Finally South Bend 125 Miles). I have to say the drive from Chicago to South Bend seemed a lot longer than 125 miles at that point. Fitz gave me directions for the trip home, 10 to 15 miles further (30 actually) and you skip driving through Chicago. Whether or not the drive was longer, that route seemed MUCH MUCH longer as there was absolutely nothing to see but flatland in IL, on the plus side virtually No tolls on the way home.
Of course the tourist capital of the world didn't really leave much for my wife to do while I was playing with little toy soldiers. She visited the College Football Hall of Fame, The Studebaker Museum, (A bear in his Natural Habitat), the Oliver House, and about six trips to the Fiddler's Hearth (one of four Bars in South Bend). However as a guy who grew up in a small town, it seemed eerie to walk around South Bend because there was never anyone on the streets. I do have to recommend Tom's Café for breakfast, $11 for both Melanie's and my breakfast was well worth the price since neither of us could finish our meal there was too much food.
I participated in both of Jim Purky and Bill Protz BAR games (the assault on Leuthen Church and Mollowitz) and kibitzed a number of other games. Many games had a great look to them, but I will be honest there is little chance I would be pushing figures in their games, and to be more honest I have to wonder if the scenario designer flunked scenario design 101 as I spent several long minutes scratching my head. Example, a 12 x 6 table, a game for 12 players, game played on a corner of the table using maybe 16 sq feet (8' x 4' triangle) because the center of the table had a 24 square feet of impassible terrain (dense wood). When I asked the scenario designer… "well um we didn't play test it specifically but we thought player might want to use the rest of the board."
Jeff Knudsen's game of "Paper Ships and Portly Men" was spectacular, except the players were Portly, funny thing at a gaming convention. The Swedes/Ottomans vs. Russian game by Panzeri was intriguing, the 10mm game had an okay look, A cow Too Far (skirmish Game) looked like a hoot.
On the down side my camera and I had a disagreement on it function at the convention. Most of my pictures are unusable as they somehow got over exposed (the shutter speed slowed down because the room was not the bright place on the planet and what I was focusing on was too far away for the flash, so it tried to be helpful.
We already are discussing plans for next year convention (Mar 25, 26, 2011) hopefully at the same location. We have already had some discussion about running the battle of Krefeld, Ottomans vs. Russians game AS WELL AS a potential Battle in the Wars of the Jumbled Alliances all using Koenig Krieg (2nd Edition). Additional the plans for BAR locally have been pushed and discussed. Fitz and I will be flipping a coin to see which one of us (the Prussian Players) is going to be Freddie, Brent has some figures already, Chris is painting the Swabian Circle, and Tom is painting Austrians.
I'll be posting a detailed battle report for the two BAR games later this week (hopefully with some pictures).