Sunday, February 26, 2006

NHMGS Auction a Success

Saturday we held the auction at American Eagles in Tacoma. The attendance was light, but not ridiculous. About 35 buyers and sellers exchanged some $1,300 in gaming treasures. There were no items that brought down the house. The painted miniatures were nice, but small in scope, and fetched low prices from the crowd. There were, of course, lots of rule books, some Ospreys, and many collections of unpainted miniatures. There was a pleasingly higher strata of trash this year, with nothing that fell into category of utterly worthless.

It was, of course, great to see everyone at the auction. I hadn't seen Mark Serafin since Enfilade. I had a pleasant breakfast with David Sullivan. I made future game plans with Dennis Trout. It was great to see Max Vekich, who is among my oldest friends on the planet. It was especially wonderful, however, to visit with Mike Pierce. Mike was the founding mind of Enfilade, the person who said we could make it work, and he was right. Mike ran the convention for the first two years, and showed us how it was done. It was great to catch up, share about our grown up families, and talk the tribulations of running conventions. He is now the director of Fall-In.

I liked the format of the auction. The silent auction was effective, and kept the live auction to a mere 40 minutes instead of the endless affair it usually is. I'd like to change the format a bit next year, with a silent auction lasting about two hours instead of the 4 1/2 hours of yesterday. We'll follow the same rules for silent and live auction-unless we get a lot of feedback from participants. I'm considering other sites for the auction for 2007, but everything depends on availability.

Special thanks to those who volunteered their time to the auction. Bryan Shein ran a Dogs of War game, and still managed to effectively auction off all the painted goodies in the live auction.
Arthur Brookings and Dennis Trout helped set up the silent auction, were the runners during the live auction, and reduced me to the status of door post with all of their work. Bruce Meyer was our comedian, and oh, by the way handled all of the money, devised a system on the fly for getting money from buyers to sellers, and made this one of the smoothest auctions ever. NHMGS made just under $500 through donation items and fees for the day.

Me, I got some cool stuff. I ended up with three sets of ancient and medieval rules--Revenge, Tactica Medieval and Warrior. I got a very nice del Prado figure of an International Brigade soldier, and a gazillion Ral Partha Hellenestic figures from Steve Ghan. The latter will be used to fill out my 25mm Republican Romans.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

ConQuest and Dragonflight: Mountains to Scale

Last weekend I attended ConQuest as a guest of the convention. I've never had something like that happen before and I was flattered. On Saturday I played DBA in Paul Hannah's tournament, and played a couple of pick up games too. That is always fun. Many of the other historical miniatures games languished through a lack of players. Even Bruce's Harborstorm event was poorly attended.

Later in the day I met with Gabriel Vega, the owner of ConQuest and John Wootress, a Dragonflight organizer and supporter of Enfilade. Both encouraged NHMGS participation at the two conventions. Gabriel even encouraged a financial relationship among the conventions. I responded that I would do the best I could, that the financial aspects were big picture items I couldn't make promises about, but would encourage NHMGS participation at Dragonflight and ConQuest. I encouraged Gabriel to attend Enfilade and he agreed.

On Sunday, after getting little done at home, I drove back to ConQuest to attend a dinner to celebrate the inaugural sailing of the convention. I met Allan Dyer there and hung out with the convention organizers and supporters. I had a most pleasant conversation with Nicole Lindroos of Green Ronin Publishing about school, and chatted with Allan and Chris Pramas about miniature gaming. In his introduction and remarks about NHMGS Gabriel was quite complimentary and solicitous of our support. I followed up our evening with an offer to coordinate miniatures events at Dragonflight and ConQuest.

Since the convention, I've been trying to gauge the lay of the land in terms of NHMGS support for historical miniature games at both conventions, and I've taken a two pronged approach.

  1. On our leadership group I've proposed an NHMGS presence at both of the other conventions. However, rather than focusing on the draw of pulling non-miniaturists into our games, we would have fixed game periods as at Enfilade, with perhaps 5-8 periods over a weekend. We would try to set up four games per period and perhaps pre-register players for that game. That way there wouldn't be games unplayed for a lack of gamers. Bruce Meyer also had a serious discussion about a NHMGS rate that would reflect the customary rates historical miniature gamers pay at conventions, such as Enfilade and Historicon. My view is if we can provide organized, high-quality gaming at a familiar price to our membership, show the flag to non-historical miniature gamers, and bring in paying customers to these cons, then everybody wins.
  2. On our membership group, the feedback regarding the convention has been largely negative. Those who attended the convention were frustrated by a lack of organization, admission prices they felt were exorbitant, and a lot of sitting around. I haven't shared a lot of my thinking there, hoping to do that here with opportunities for interested parties to respond.
My goal is to move this agenda head with buy-in from the stakeholders, and some guidance from our membership.