[The Good, the Bad, & the Hungry] Adepticon 2013
This year marked the 4th consecutive year my crew has made the trip to Chicago (or more specifically, Lombard) for the annual 40k mecca that is Adepticon. This year was a bit more interesting than previous years, in that we had a really great plan for our Adepticon Team Tournament Army and didn’t actually finish in time, leaving us playing a previous list didn’t do as well as our planned on may have. But that’s all speculation, and quite frankly, isn’t why you’re here. We never go to Adepticon planning to win the tourney: like many, we go to have a great time with friends, catch up with the gaming community, and consume a few (I use ‘few’ very liberally here) adult beverages. Suffice it to say that, despite finishing near the bottom of the team tournament, we still had a great time. As with all the previous Adepticons we’ve attended, the good certainly outweighed the bad.
The Dealer Hall – Unlike previous conventions, this year the Dealer Hall had its own home within the Harry Carey room at the Westin (in previous years, this was home to the Historical games) and I think this was a great move all-around. It was self-contained and maintained expanded hours and hosted the usual suspects Forge World & Black Library, BattleFoam, Coolminiornot, and Gale Force 9 in the largest booths. Because of the additional space, a lot of smaller vendors also go to make an appearance, which was really nice. I literally stood in front of Jérémie Bonamant Teboul’s table and watched him sketch and paint for about 10 minutes, transfixed by how easy his talent just poured out of his fingers onto the page and brush. It was also really a treat to see Impact! Miniatures showing off their new plasti-resin in the form of their not-Blood Bowl teams and the absolutely adorable Chibi Adventurers. The Chibi Adventurers were there as a preview and won’t be available until later this year, after the Kickstarter Backers get theirs, and I’m kicking myself for not buying a few more. At $5 a pop for the basic figs and only $25 for the massive chibi Hydra and Chimera, they’re an absolute bargain. They definitely get a “Best of the Dealer Hall” for me.
Kickstarter Projects & Demos – Three active KS projects were being displayed, with MERCs Miniature’s MYTH and Ninja Division’s Robotech RPG Tactics leading the way, and I must say both were presented really well. Both Brian Shotten and Keith Lowe were there from MERCs, enthusiastic about MYTH and doing some brief demos of the gameplay as well. Based on my conversations and a quick gameplay walkthrough, I really think MYTH is going to be even more well received once the product hits early next year (as if it wasn’t obvious enough by the over $900k in funding it received). I love Lowe’s art, and his style has transferred even better to fantasy than I’d have ever imagined. Shotten continues to be a great gaming innovator and it shows in some of the unique game play elements of MYTH. I’m excited for this one. Robotech RPG Tactics, simply put, feels like it should. It’s Robotech, and it looks good so far. The short demo I played with John Cadice (of Soda Pop Miniatures—Ninja Division is apparently an offshoot/side project for him) was quick and the rules seem very clean. The miniatures also look great, and will be even better once their translated to plastic. A third active Kickstarter, Secret Weapon Miniature’s Tablescapes, was on display with the folks from On The Lamb Games, and they look pretty darn nice. Initially I was a bit underwhelmed by the thickness of the boards, but after sliding them around and putting minis on them, I think the modular nature of them is going to be great. Couple that with Secret Weapon’s other product lines and the quality they produce, and I know they’re going to be great. On the Lamb had both Brushfire (which I still haven’t gotten to demo because they were backed up!) and Endless Fantasy Tactics being demoed right in front of the secret weapon boards, and though I missed the Endless Tactics Kickstarter, it looks like it’s going to be a really fun game with nice looking models. I only caught the end of a demo, but I think it’s going to fill a really great niche in the industry. Plus, Emily and her crew from On The Lamb are incredibly likable, so it’s hard not to want to support them.
Arena-Montreal, James Wappel, and GMM Studios – I don’t know what you can really say about these three save for the fact that I’d consider going to Adepticon every year simply to see what they do for their army displays. GMM did a typically fantastic Empire display titled “Rime of the Ancient Marienberger” (a lovely ode to Coleridge, I must say) complete with gigantic boat and kraken. The esteemed Mr. Wappell did an amazing Dark Eldar display board, painted to his typically ridiculously high standards and what can best be described as the world’s best looking black-light Tomb Kings. His painting standard, especially considering he actually plays with all the pieces, is just wonderful. Despite how gorgeous those three armies were, they still weren’t my favorite; that distinction belongs to the boys (and girl) of Arena-Montreal and their Kebek III Tau-Necron hybrid army. While the painting standard may be just a touch below GMM and Wappell, each model is converted in some way, shape, or form, and the board just oozes theme, replete with an 8-page comic to go with it. Seriously, my hats go off to Jean-Francois, Dominique, Danick, Eric, and Angela for the simply amazing board they turned out this year.
The Missing Few – I was pretty sad that the folks from Wyrd continue to have no presence at Adepticon. They have a ton of events being run, and from what I’ve seen they’re fun and well attended, but the company itself never makes an appearance. It could have been a great chance for them to pimp the plastic version of Puppet Wars or for Mack Martin (who was there, and, as usual, was a jovial, excellent dude) to give a few teasers of the Through the Breach RPG that was Kickstarted. The folks from Japanime Games and their Krosmaster: Arena Kickstarter was also absent, which was frustrating because I really tried to facilitate them getting there. I think real opportunities were missed by both groups to really get some folks excited about their projects, especially since Krosmaster is still active.
The 2-Day Team Tournament – Okay, I know the 40K team tournament is the marquee event for Adepticon, but man… a two-day tournament just wasn’t doing it for me. Between the irresponsible drinking we typically partake in during the team tournament and the fact that we have to get back to our jobs on Monday, our team had no interest in playing until 5PM on Sunday. I understand some of the reasons for the 2nd day, and you want to ensure people get “their money’s worth,” but man, I’d prefer 4 games on Saturday and then let the folks that have an actual shot at winning battle it out Sunday. Drinking + Losing = No interest in Sunday. I can’t imagine my team was the only one thinking this.
The Howling Lake Winds – I’m a pretty hearty individual, but man… the winds on Friday and Saturday night made it nearly impossible to smoke a nice cigar outside. Maybe in 2014 Chicago will treat us to some better weather, but I’m not counting on it.
The Omega Cafe – I featured the Omega last year—which we lovingly refer to as the Ultramarine Café—and I simply have to highlight it again, for a few reasons:
- It’s open 24-Hours and nothing quite hits the spot after a day of drinking and gaming like the Hobo Banquet Skillet. Add some bacon to it, and damned if it isn’t nearly the perfect meal.
- It’s affordably priced. You’re not going to spend more than $10 unless you try really, really hard.
- The portions are large enough for a gamer. Almost everything comes with the option for face-sized pancakes as a side dish. If you leave hungry, you did something wrong.
- The Westin Taxi will drive you there for nearly free. You’ve got no excuse to go.