Gencon 2014, A New Challenge and Getting Back to the Table

The last few months have been a whirlwind. With autumn beginning to settle in, I feel like I can start to settle down and take a breath. From Gencon to a trip out to Colorado, to work and family, it feels like we’ve been 'on' all of late summer. Now that we are back to a bit of downtime, I can get back to work on hobby and on the blog.

The Challenge

Last month, a few blogs posted something called the 6-MonthMountain Reduction Challenge, which I think I am going to start myself, beginning in October. The idea of this challenge is to begin making a dent in my large collection of models, while simultaneously continuing to work on the blog and get out into the community a bit more. There are a few rules laid down, but this is the version I am going to use.

  1. No purchasing of new miniatures, unless you use a Joker. Like a deck of cards, you get two jokers to use on a purchase during the 6-month challenge. This can be whatever purchase you want, but NO SPLURGING.
  2. Gifts and gift cards do not count against you. However, overspending on a gift card does count.
  3.  Paints and other hobby supplies are exempt from the no purchasing rule.
  4.  Create at least 1 hobby related post to this blog or to one of my facebook groups each week.
  5.  The challenge begins on Oct. 1st, 2014 and will end with Adepticon 2015. (just shy of 6 months).

There are all kinds of other things that can contribute to the challenge, hashtags and whatnot, but to start with, I’m just going to implement the five rules above and see how it goes. Here’s the link again, if you’re interested in joining me.

Gencon 2014

This year, I spent Gencon looking at games I have been interested in but have never picked up for one reason or another. While I did hit my usual haunts of Wyrd and Soda Pop Miniatures, this year I spent a lot of time in the Infinity booth and at their tables in the gaming hall. I’ve mentioned before that Infinity has always felt like a game I should be playing and this year, it really seems to be picking up steam. They have a new starter box coming out, a new version of the rules and new releases that are, hands down, the best metal miniatures that anyone is making right now. They also have lots and lots of terrain, which is one of the things I find very interesting about the game. I was able to ask a lot of questions about, get some good advice about how to start and talk to some of the Corvus Belli staff who are deeply passionate about what they have created. It was a pleasure dipping even a toe into that universe. With the 3rd edition of the rules I am sure I will be visiting it again soon.

My prize purchase this year was from Poetic Earth, a satchel known as the Master and Commander. I was given a great deal on the bag and I am looking forward to breaking it in and using it for many years to come.

The other game-I’ve-never-played-because-I-don’t-know-why that I had a chance to experience at Gencon was X-Wing. Obviously, this is a huge game and I’ve seen it played a lot and contemplated picking it up several times, but just never took that last step. At Gencon however, my brother-in-law and I, along with another friend, were able to get in a demo of X-Wing. While I have had some experience with it, my brother-in-law was hooked. I’ve been trying to get him into games for ages, but this is the first one that he’s really taken on. He’s always been a Magic player, so I think this is a good first step into the world if miniature games. I’ll get him into Malifaux or Infinity sometime down the line.

With a trip to Ebay, I was able to secure what is a pretty good start to the X-Wing collection, including two starter sets and a handful of additional ships. I find it a relief to play a game for which I don’t have to paint the minis and this should be good fun to come.

Wyrd and Gencon

Normally, I find Gencon a great way to get some inspiration and because I collect a lot of Malifaux and it could be described as my primary game, I spent a considerable amount of time at the Wyrd booth. This year, Wyrd had a massive booth encircled in a bayou village, complete with a giant Whiskey Golem standing guard. It’s great to see Wyrd’s booth grow and grow every year, but there are some things about Wyrd that I find….well, weird.

This year, they opted not to bring their beautiful display cabinet to showcase their range of models in all their painted glory. I suspect this was in an effort to save space and promote their new plastics. Unfortunate, however, because all they ended up displaying were a handful of unpainted crews, only part of the plastic range. Maybe I’m getting old but, to me, painted examples of your breath-taking models are a fantastic way to bring people into the game. That’s a large part of why so many of us still play GW games; because we were taken in completely by the look of the models on wonderful battlefields that are their hallmark. If you’re going to showcase unpainted models, take the time to showcase them all, so as to give customers a view of everything they have to choose from.

The ‘unpainted’ theme seemed to carry over to two display tables as well. While I understand there was some controversy about one of the table being used for the final in the tournament, both of these board were vibrant and intricate and well put together. They were both very interesting. However, they were both only partially painted. I thought this was a strange choice, especially when so many competing games also had demo boards, complete with painted models and painted terrain.

Again, maybe I’m old fashioned, but let’s do a thought experiment.

‘You approach two tables that are demoing two different skirmish games. One of them has an intricately designed board with magnificently painted terrain and models painted professionally to a high standard. The other has an intricately designed board that has been partially painted and models that have been assembled but are still just grey plastic.’

Which is a better sales tool? I’ll use Infinity as an example here. On the Infinity demo board, there was the most gorgeous terrain I have ever seen for a demo, complimented by models that were painted to a quality that almost made me afraid to touch them. It was a completely immersive experience.

The outside of the Wyrd booth was a similar missed opportunity, flanked by TV monitors that displayed only the Wyrd logo.  Is it just me, or was that, well, weird. Why would you take the time and spend the money to build the booth and plug in a TV when a piece of paper and tape does the same work? How much more interesting would a video of gameplay or of beautifully painted models on gorgeous terrain have been? How much work would it really have taken?

Then there was the gaming hall itself. I admit that my opinion may be biased because I am a gamer who builds terrain and I love telling a story with the boards I play on. However, the tables at Gencon must have been an after-thought at best. I was sorry to see a game so evocative, interesting a colorful stuck with such bland tables, consisting of a handful of Terraclip ruins, a few trees, and a rail road track with a car or two here and there.  If there was any inspiration to be had, it was not at these tables. I don’t know what factored into the decision to host so many events on such drab and un-interesting boards, but again, as a sales opportunity, I would like to be able to sell a book or a crew to a new person and say ‘check out the gaming hall to see this game being played for real.’ As it was, I would hesitate to do that, because these boards made the game look boring. Again, a missed opportunity.

So I don’t really know what the story is behind these things, and I don’t know if anyone else felt the same way about Wyrd’s presence at Gencon, but it just seemed phoned in to me this year. It was almost as though they wrote the wrong date on the calendar and then struggled to get ready at the last minute. I guess there’s always next year. 

More to Come,



  1. Welcome to the challenge! Good luck sir, looking forward to seeing what you post up.


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