Friday, July 19, 2019

Historicon 2019

2019 saw a big shift for Historicon, away from the Fredericksburg location into the new digs at the Lancaster Convention Center. My impressions and some pics after the jump.


I've dragged my family with me to the HGMS shows for years, but a year or two ago my wife refused to attend any more at the Host. I couldn't even stand its growing decrepitude, and elected to book rooms down the road to limit the time I spent in it over the last few conventions. When I heard Historicon was going to move back to Lancaster I was concerned we'd need to skip it in the future.

We found a tasty mexican joint with an adjoining brewery. Good stuff!

Luckily, with a move to a new facility, the family was back on board with attending the show. Downtown Lancaster has a totally different vibe than the strip the Host is located on. There are tons of restaurants, cafes and shops, it's highly walkable and mixing in other activities besides gaming is easy. I was too late to book a room at the Marriott, so had to stay at an Air BnB about a block away. My wife enjoyed downtown Lancaster so much she's planning a girls getaway there next year.


An enormous upgrade from the Host, and possibly a few points better than Fredericksburg.  The large upstairs hall with skylights was a joy to be within. Games I had seen many years in the past in the dimly lit halls of the Host looked a 1000 times better within it.

Mike Tunez demoing his new WWI game.

The vendor hall was spacious and well lit (but it did seem a few vendors were shunted a side that got less traffic), but navigating the various spaces could be tricky since certain elevators didn't go to all floors. Overall, a great home for Historicon that I'm looking forward to revisiting in the future.

The Games

"To Catch a King"

This was the first year both my wife and son would be playing, so I picked games I thought they'd be most interested in, and saved a few for myself after they'd headed to bed.  A sci fi game I'd signed us up for was canceled a week before the show, so I had to scramble for a replacement. I had initially avoided Miles Reidy's Napoleonic game as I thought they wouldn't be ready for a full historical miniatures game experience, but I should have known better. Miles is a fantastic GM (he should really write a book, or teach a class or something) and we all had a ton of fun. I was the overall commander for the British, and really just in charge of the reserves and handing out extra actions, but I was totally engaged with the scenario.

My reserves, ready to pounce.

I felt the weight of the decision on when to commit my reserves, and while we wound up losing, I was on the edge of my seat with Miles calling the game just before it dragged into a hopeless endgame.

My artillery holding a strategic route.

I'm sure it would have been our favorite game of the con, but my son had an exception: the Wargames for Kids put on by the H.AW.K.S.  Each kid was in charge of a medieval force, using fairly basic rules and fighting over some simple terrain. My son has joined me in games for several years now, starting with just rolling dice for dad, then commanding  troops under my guidance, and finally taking on his own troops at my side.

This was the first con game where he took full command of an army with no input from me. The change in his demeanor really surprised me. He rearranged his units in a deployment zone, figured out a strategy and went to town on his opponents. He LOVED this game. On equal footing with kids his age, with all decisions his to make, he was ecstatic. When the game ended and he was able to take a fully painted army home, PLUS the terrain PLUS the rules PLUS a goody bag of dice and more minis he was floored. He couldn't wait to get home and show his mom, regaling her with a play by play of his adventures and looking forward to playing "the best game ever" at home. Great job H.A.W.K.S., that was good stuff.

Hobby University

This was also the first year I took part in the Hobby University. My son and I signed up to paint some tanks which gave him a chance to practice washes and drybrushing, and I took a class with Bobby Jackson about digital sculpting in Zbrush.

Bobby Jackson's digital sculpting class

I've been messing about with Zbrush for miniatures myself, but the chance to get instruction directly from Bobby Jackson, who was knowledgable, enthusiastic and upbeat was invaluable. Really looking forward to putting his tips to use!

Pics and Pics and Pics

Now the photo dump of all the other photos I snapped while I was there.

The epic Hoth game I played with Joe was a sight to behold!


  1. Cracking post Joh, loved the photographs.

  2. It was a pleasure having you and the family play "To Catch a King" and I'll always make room for you in any of my games. Your son played very well and put up a stiff resistance with his single division against elements of 3 French ones - he is a remarkable young man. It is hard to compete for best game title against those HAWKS guys - they're class acts. Now I've got an objective for next year!

  3. Thanks for the excellent pics and write-up!

  4. What is the name of Mike Tunez’s WW1 game? When will it be available?

    1. Hi Hatchitt. The WW1 game is called Blood and Valor. Not sure about the release date, but you can check Firelock's dedicated Facebook page for more info: