I have to say that even though I am most likely the scariest person on any form of public transportation, I was not looking forward to it, and was relying on my crappy old army bag to hide my valuables. I bought a return ticket at the machine and used the card so I wasn't flashing any cash. There was no one around anyway weirdo
after a few minutes waiting along came a group of obvious gamers with army cases and utilikilts, they glanced at me and never made conversation. Minutes later another unrelated group walked up and they made small talk about armies , Star Trek and exchanged Huzzahs. My normal guy disguise was working and they had no idea.
We all got on the train. I sat in the same car as the gamers, I figured it was a safety in numbers kind of deal. It was really green and muggy already and it was 9:15am, there were buzzing bug sounds and all the buildings were brick and looked like old military buildings. I thought of my time in the army and how glad I was that I didn't live here.
Finally someone asked me if I knew which stop to get to the convention center, " It's called convention center, that's the name of the stop, I'm going to the same place as you." Damn
" Are you going to any after parties?", uhh
"No I have to catch a plane right after the show, I brought all my stuff and will go strait to the airport at 6."
Where are your miniatures? success!
"In the bag, I carried them on"
"I hope you didn't have any resin in there, I heard that airport xray machines mess up resin, and it melts" just all of the Forge World stuff
" I hope not"
The train stops and everyone gets off, walks across the street and walks into the wrong building. I was wondering why it was so empty and quiet
The security guy sends us down a block, I walk in and there are people everywhere, waiting to get in. I wait in my first line to get a program, laminate, and forge world catalog, its quarter to 10 and it finally hits me that I am going to make it, I am here, on time, and its crowded.
I look around and take it all in, I unbutton my shirt and slowly reveal the Storm Wardens logo, I'm committed now, the deodorant kicks in as I start sweating through the cotton poly blend where the camera strap mashes it around my neck. The grey colored shirt only comes in cotton poly blend.
It's 80 something and muggy and I am hoping that the AC is working in there, the mass of gamer nerds start shouting Waaahhhs its getting loud. The GW guys come out and get them to waggghhhh as loud as they can, I start looking to see who is not waghhhhing, to see if I am the only one.
The doors open and everyone starts running, Its really big inside and lines start forming, the Forge World line is huge already, I start seeing cool stuff and want to take pictures, but I decide to make my way to the safety of the Jawa Balls Club tables,
Fritz and Jawa early, the youngsters will lose
I see some Blood Angels Banners and a familliar scruffy looking guy, he sees the shirt and I offer a handshake and " I'm John, Santa Cruz Warhammer"
It was like meeting an old friend, he showed me the case that Dave Taylor dropped off, we talked a bit, and people started to flood in.
I met Fritz, and a little guy named James, then Jacob, the army winner arrived wearing his special blue shirt. I had seen his facebook pics, so I knew what he looked like, he seemed a bit exited, perhaps even nervous or both, he produced the final squad and we descended on him and demanded he unbox the army.
Out of my peripheral I spot a couple more Storm Wardens shirts, and Ron Saikowski ( From The Warp) and John Stiening (Drathmare) infiltrate in with a scout move and I am surrounded..... introductions fly like bolter fire.
Ron looked nothing like I expected. We will get back to him
It took me a few seconds to figure out who John was, as he has a real name, screen name and blog name that are all different. I'm really bad with names and I associate my name with tall people, so in my head he continued to be Drathmere
Ron 's Deathwing deepstrike goes unnoticed as Jawa records Jacob claiming his army
At that point everyone was accounted for, and we stood around as Jacob unloaded the Battle Foam case and I was super jealous, as I looked over I saw Jawa's big ol Battle Foam case and I Decided right then that I had to have one.
Jawa shows me the DeathWatch book and some finished scouts Thomas did come through and it was nice to find them in the case and some other cool stuff that I had yet to see. All this time more stuff is coming out of the case, Jacob is looking everything over and I felt like we were all a bunch of kids at a rich friends birthday party with big eyes and super jealous of all the cool new toys, Jawa had Jacob at camera point the whole time and I imagine the footage will pop up somewhere in Jawaland soon.
I decided that I would unload the Death Guard at the Armies on Parade table, Ron and Dave Taylor had done the same, I made my way there and grabbed the last two spots for the Death Guard and Storm Wardens. This was a great excuse to not play and embarrass myself until I built up some courage. So much for that idea
the closest the Storm Wardens and Death Guard ever came to action
I was happy to find all the models were fine and that resin xray death was nerd legend. I will say that the crappy pluck foam case that the boys rode in did a great job of protecting them, and I didn't need to fix anything. I am still getting a custom case
As the models filled in my space, onlookers and passers bye made nice comments and asked questions and I fed them blog business cards so they could look up the build up and modeling techniques, everyone was really nice, and I was proud to have the boys on display. I guess there was voting but I didn't care at all.
I made my way over to Fantasy Flight to find Ross Watson, Creator of the Storm Wardens Chapter, my shirt gave me up and we shared greetings, I grabbed a picture and let him get back to work. Nice Guy.
I needed to find Dave Taylor to complete the list and I was ready to see some Golden Demon madness, so.... another line.
At this time I will reveal my new understanding of the gaming community and the two different types of people that make it up.
Gamer type 1
Drama or Band in High School, cargo utilikilt, tuxedo t shirt , Celtic hammer medallion, World of War Craft, live action Role play Vampire games, loves to yell WAAAAGGGHHHHHHH or some other battle cry, if someone else yells WAAAGGGHHHH, they will add to it but louder, has used the word Huzzah in actual conversation.
Gamer Type 2
Art class and history in high school, has girlfriend or wife, dresses like a normal person, when someone Yells Waaaggghh, they look around to see if anyone else is not doing it. Warhammer is an escape or hobby, and they blog about it.
I imagine there is some intermixing but if you don't know which you are, refer to the Waaaggghhh rule.
Moving on, inside the Golden Demon room I am quickly overcome by how amazing the stuff really is, and at once all my dreams are destroyed by some evil Russian artist girl.
notice the solid base for dream crushing
judges seduced by Russian witch magic.
This stuff is all glowing with fairy dust and magic, its like gods have brought us something and we are looking at our clubs and rocks and wondering how we are supposed to understand it. Its too much for me, I see Dave Taylor and I break away from the Russian witches' evil magic,
Intercontinental jet setting Ogre, Dave Taylor, and John Steining who might be high on the Russian fairy dust
Dave is shorter, younger looking and has more hair than I expected, he has an accent and he is a celebrity, but very approachable. I enjoyed the chat with him, stole a photo and left him to his station.
I was happy to find John and Ron and was informed of an evil and dark niche of the hobby I never knew existed, Golden Demon model collectors. Did you know that people pay LARGE amounts of money to collect models that have won the awards? Evil witches have cast some serious spells. I am getting out of here.
Back down stairs.
a tiny bottle of water costs 3 dollars, and there is a line to pay it. I later plugged in a vending machine in the lobby and saved a dollar
I revisited the Armies on Parade and stood around to listen to what people were saying about my army and also the Storm Wardens. Its great to get unbiased info from average people. I heard one person talking about how I just bought a bunch of Forge World stuff and that I must be a rich asshole, he may have invented the xray machine rumor.
Whenever some one would ask the nice gal behind the counter about my stuff, she would point me out and I would be busted and they would come and talk to me and say really nice things, and I would tell them about the Storm Wardens Project and they would ask me about the banner Ron painted. which is even more amazing in person
I went into the store area to claim my Games Day limited Mini and a T shirt, the lines are amazing, I figure the cash line will be faster. People are buying LOTS of plastic and boxes of minis, I don't get it, don't they ship for free? Why buy it here? Someone will have to explain it to me.
I spent some time in the Forge World, studio sculptors area and was sucked in by the greens and 3 ups for some of the newer minis, Dave Thomas was present for questions,
and I just loved poring over all the original green sculpts, I have done some sculpting work, but this stuff was amazing. post to follow with pics
Swan and Jeff hall
I was happy to spot the old GW Regional manager for my area and we had a nice talk I bitched about the local store going to hell now that he was gone, and he listened because he is now in customer service, and he has to. I also got to meet Jeff Hall we talked about another multi blog contest ala the Stegadon conversion, and he seemed like a real nice guy with a love for the hobby.
Tony Cottrell was in the booth with some great Forge World stuff and I spent a good time taking it all in. more pics later also
I also caught his Presentation in the room upstairs, and found him to be very funny and I imagined how it would be to work for him, and decided that cleaning bathrooms at ForgeWorld would be better than working anywhere else.
then more wandering and awesome game tables and models. with table pics later also
Throughout the day, I kept bumping into Ron.
Ron is a Type 2 gamer. I like to call them a Mature Hobbyist, Veteran Gamer, or a guy kind of like me.
His stuff looks even better in person, I was very impressed.
I got the idea he was soft spoken and perhaps a bit on the shy side. I could not stop giving him a hard time about not playing Fantasy and it completely does not compute that this man has an army that fits in a lunch box AND THAT IS IT!
Ron's entire Warhammer model collection.
no giant room full of stuff he will never get to, no next army waiting to be built up NOTHING.
Somehow I felt the need to corrupt him, infect him with my disease, I actually planned to send him models in the mail to " fix" him.
Ron, I hope I didn't freak you out too much, you are one of a kind, I wish you lived closer, I would force you to hang out with me and would love to drag you along to some game stores and give you a hard time.
All this Time Jawa was sluggin it out and embarrassing all comers at the club table, 8 hours of punishment and his awesome banner won him a prize.
Fritz and Jawa still side by side, this is what he did all day, he was a gaming machine
Games Workshop, when your old models don't sell, because you have made a new model that is way cooler, please do not give out the crap old models as prizes. Jawa you were robbed, you should have got a battleforce box set.
I wandered the floor amazed at the great tables and stuff to see, I took some pictures and my time ran out.
Then I went and packed up the boys.
Lots more nice comments and a guy even waited around to see who the army belonged to and had some great questions and more nice comments, I let him look them over as they went back in the case for the trip home.
After that It was back to Jawa base where I stood around the Jawa table and BSed a bit with the guys, I wished I could have stayed longer and felt like I was missing out a bit and wished for some more time to shoot the breeze, but I said my good byes and as I was walking out I heard the announcement that next year was Chicago.
My mind started tumbling it around as I started up the street on the way to the train station, and as I walked under a big metal sculpture that might have swayed in a breeze I gave it a shove and I think I caught myself letting out a tiny little
But it might have just been in my head.
I never did play a game, speed paint, or anything else, but I talked to lots of folks and shook a lot of hands. It makes sense really, as I am not a gamer, but more of a social explorer, and I really had a good time.
Everyone was super nice, next time I will plan to do more and see more and stay a bit longer.
Thanks to everyone who put up with me, and I look forward to seeing you again.
I am going to get to work on a list of things to do for next year.