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Christmas Gift Guide 2010 (11/26/10)
PAX East 2010 report (4/9/10)
Christmas Gift Guide 2009 (12/4/09)
Games of the Ninja 2008 (12/5/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2008 (11/27/08)
Screams from the Cave 2008
Ogres' Choice Awards 2008 (9/12/08)
Christmas Gift Guide 2007 (11/30/07)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2007 (8/17/07)
GAMA Trade Show 2007 report (4/27/07)
Christmas Gift Guide 2006 (11/30/06)
Ogres' Choice Awards 2006 (7/28/06)
Christmas Gift Guide 2005 (11/29/05)
Christmas Gift Guide 2004 (12/10/04)
Night of the Living Gamer
(Halloween RPGs)

Archive highlights
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 2
GAMA Trade Show 2008 report, part 1
Frag Beta Capsule Review (4/14/01)
Battle Cattle Minis Preview (2/28/01)

Convention Report: Chicago Game Day 2002
by Joe G. Kushner

So I decide I'm going to head over to Games Day. Why, you ask? Well, I love miniatures. I don't play with 'em, don't assemble armies of 'em, and I certainly don't know enough about painting 'em to make 'em look top notch, but there is something in painting a well crafted piece of pewter that brings a strange joy to me.

exhibit hall It starts at 10:00 AM at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Hall D. For those who haven't been to Chicago in a while, that's the Rosemont Convention Center. I drag my poor mother along with me. Why? Because they're giving a free miniature that's unavailable anywhere else, that's why! Now sit down and let me tell my story.

Well, I get there a little after 11:00 AM. Parking is something like $10 so already I'm in a bad mood. Here's a little info about my mom that makes the story worse. She's not quite handicapped where she can't walk, but she does use a cane to move about. Suffice it to say that the convention center is very unfriendly for older people who'd like a place to sit on the walk over. Not a single chair or bench between the garage and the hall room. I felt terrible for dragging my mom out there at this point, but she's already got the attitude of, "Hell, I'm already here. Let's see what all this nonsense is about."

What it's about is a forty-minute wait in line. That's right. I get there just a little over an hour after it's started and it's a friggin forty-minute wait. It's hot in the main hallways, don't let anyone tell you different. Even better, they've got another convention going on, so the whole line is moved. Real nice. The only good thing is the people in line with you. Some dressed really weird, others just hauling around tons of miniatures. One guy behind me had his whole family carrying dragons by hand. Very nice paint jobs on 'em. About this time my mom's ready to bust some one in the head with her cane but thankfully, we've moved on.

battles There are wide age variances in the people who enjoy Games Workshop products (at least of those that turned up for the show). The other thing I noticed is that most, I'd say a good 90% of 'em, are men. Hell, the women I saw looked like they were there with their significant other. Worse, a few were mothers, like my own, who cast pitying glances at my mom like some friggin unknown dialect. I guess with no Vampire, Buffy, or other female based Tabletop games, women just aren't that interested in getting involved in miniatures. Maybe Games Workshop needs a few more unique armies instead of just one army choice in 40K? Nah...

Well, I go to get my tickets and ask about the different choices available. I recalled reading about different package deals, and wanted Package Deal #2 where you get a t-shirt, figure case, and your ticket. This woman at the service desk has no idea what I'm talking about. If I hadn't already been in line for over half an hour, I would've taken the time to enlighten her, but I sucked down my rage and bought two tickets and got my free miniatures and even some cards for a game I'm never going to play.

The badges are stringed but no attachments. Guess you're supposed to tie the thing together (I thought these things were usually on a pin). I don't bother and hold it up to the guy at the door. He just waves me in. Once again, my mother, at this point cursing like a sailor, is about to kick my behind as she's struggling with the thing.

exhibit hall Joining the Metal-Painting Masses
Two life-sized statues of space marines in blood red armor guard the entrance to the hall. The area is broken up into the Games Workshop Store to the left of the entrance, and the special guest area where they've also got all the Golden Demon goodies. They had a lot of previews of Tomb Kings and the new figures look great. I walked around the Golden Demon area for a while just seeing what was new and cool and wandered past the open game table and the 40K CCG into Fanatic Alley. Here, they've got all the old, generally non-supported games that Games Workshop has done in the past. While I'm not familiar with most of 'em, including Warmaster, Necromunda, and Epic 40K, I do know Mordheim and the sets there were fantastic.

I didn't even notice the section for speed painting as behind that was Mount Doom. There was some huge game for Lord of the Rings going on, but I didn't get too close. It was a living swarm of small children and unwashed grown men. To me, the structure of Mount Doom, taller than myself, was very, very cool. Behind that was the Sleeper Awakens, a huge Necron event and to be honest, I didn't care. Mount Doom was the bomb. I curse my malfunctioning camera for not showing it to you.

swarming beasts Now past the Games Workshop store, there were over twenty tables, done up in high style with various armies battling on both sides. The first set of tables were for the Warhammer 40K setting and man, it just looked great. It also made me hate these people for having a job this cool. I mean how would you like to go to work and say, "Hmmmm... I think we need to redesign this set up so that we can fit another fifty Necrons over here and another twenty Orks here." Don't get me wrong, the Warhammer stuff was great too but it didn't have the massive variety that the 40K stuff did.

Finally, after about an hour and a half, two hours of looking around, I decide to see what the hell the store has. It's packed. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't see any big sales. Now I know that seeing all of this stuff in one place is enough to drive anyone into a shopping frenzy, but outside of the rare stuff like bits and Forge World, I couldn't see the point. Sure, it's nice to see the oldies and goodies and maybe get them before they're gone, but I guess the web has spoiled me with some really great stores out there.

exhibit hall I struggled out of that trap without buying anything. I figure that the pics will provide me with some great color schemes and the unique miniature will provide me with some great painting challenges. As a matter of fact, I'm probably going to keep one as normal and try to convert the other one. See, I was a little teed off that they didn't include multiple pieces because I definitly recall them showing some optional bits with the figure so that you didn't have to have the massive gauntlet crushing some poor soul, but hey, I figure that's just more fun for me to have.

In short, despite the fact that I didn't play any games and had to wait almost an hour, and be greeted at the door by someone who didn't know the different package deals, I enjoyed the wide variety of pawns, scenarios, and set ups.


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