Saturday, December 3, 2011

My 1st Gaming Convention: Gen Con XIV

First an apology, I have not been very good at updating this blog. I acquired a new job and not as much free time, plus summer maintenance on our home sucked up most of my free time. Now that the snow is flying, I have more time

Secondly a shameless plug, for my best friend's business venture. We met in my wife's aunt's second grade class. Actually we had met before that. We were born three days apart and we were in the hospital nursery together. So I have literally known him all my life. Well anyway he has opened a hobby store in Ypsilanti Michigan. It is called called The Model Cave, address is

103 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Wed - Sat: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Description Your single stop model building shop
Phone 734.316.2281
On Facebook

He carries kits, a full line of Vallejo, Humbrol, Tamaiya , Testors enamels for automobiles, airbrushes inks, powders and all the tools. He does not have a web presence yet. I believe that will happen after the holidays. So if you live in Southeast Michigan or just passing through check out a nice model store.

I was cleaning the basement and this fell out of a file. 

That sure brought back a lot of memories. There were four of us from our group that decided to go to GenCon. We drove about 5 hours in a huge van pulling a 18 foot trailer, caravan for you English chaps. I watch Top Gear. I put my home stereo speakers in the van. These speakers were huge, They had a 16 inch woofers, 10 mid-ranges and two 2 inch tweeters. They were great speakers and I still wished that I had not sold them. We listened to some really loud music. The one song I remember the most was Stroke Me, Stroke Me by Billy Squire.

We drive around Chicago and set up camp. Unhook the trailer, get it level. We open the awning and set up the picnic table parallel to the trailer ( this is very important to the story). Evening sets in and starts to rain. I mean really rain, all of a sudden, we all here this big thunk and several small thunks. This camp site has a small incline and with the amount of rain we had, the chocks on the wheels start to shift. The trailer starts to roll down hill. Well you have seen four guys trying to get out of a small trailer door. It was a sight. The real scarey part was that the van was about 10 feet in front of the the trailer, parked perpendicular to the trailer . I mentioned the picnic table before. The trailer as it was shifting and rolling down the hill. It had shifted a bit to the right. The frame of the trailer landed on the seat of the picnic table and the picnic table stopped the trailers forward motion. That was a tense few seconds.

We then go to GenCon the next day. We had preregistered, so we were in no hurry to get there. We wait in line get pay our entry fee a.. We then go to pick-up our chits for the games we preregistered for. Only to find out that all the games we had been preregistered had all been canceled. Who ever was working that area said you can choose any of these games that were left. What that amounted to was nothing. If memory serves me correctly there were maybe ten games were available and we really did not want to play any them. We were not happy campers. I believe that if we had not traveled so far, we would have demanded a refund and left. As a side note many years later our gaming group had expanded. We were heavy into Harpoon at the time. We find out that Larry Bond is putting on a Harpoon game at GenCon. I tell them the a fore mentioned story and caution them. They do not pay attention to my story. Five of my friends FedEx next day to register the Harpoon game, so they are sure to get a space. And this was when FedEx was brand new, so it was novel and expensive. They go to GenCon only to find out that Larry Bond was a no show and the game had been canceled.

Back to my story. This was the first convention that we had been to and we were not aware of pick-up games, thank God for them. We had a great time after that. I played my 1st game of micro-armor there and have been hooked since.

I remember one game, it is on page 31. Modern Micro Armor 2013. It was a huge game with helo-troops and paratroopers. I did not play in it, but I watched a bit and the fellows that were playing it were having a good time. I scanned a few pages, I am not going to scan them all, the guide is 62 pages long. So here is a sampling of some of the games that were offered.



  1. Thanks for the images. I look at the rules of the various games and smile a bit. They were
    the core sets in the 70's. Good memory trip!

  2. Page 32. WRG Micro-Armor 2008 run by Dale Bley. Dale is good friend of mine and the scenario "Kampfgruppe Michaels" was written by me. Dale, Bob, and I were running free WWII games in a 2nd floor room above a corner of the main gaming hall. WWII WRG games all week. KG Michaels, a France 1940 game (that makes 4) and the fifth was our 1945 Oder River game. A good, but tiring week. Except for us there was not a lot of historical games at GEN CON in those days.
    I remember the fondly because I took out 65 T34 tanks that week and we survived the Order River game with flying colors. Always nice when a plan goes well.
    Good Memories.
    Mike Reese

  3. Wow. I was a little young to go to cons in 1981, but I bought my copy of Ral Partha's "Galactic Grenadiers" mail order from The Dungeon. I hadn't thought about them in years until I saw that sponsor image. Reading all those event entries really brought back that entire era of gaming for me. Thank you.