Sunday, April 7, 2013

KingdomCon 2013

The alarm went off at 6:00 AM.  Darkness.  Phone.  Shower.  Clothes.  Caffeine?  Yes.  Warmachine army, Infinity army, other Infinity army, terrain box.  PB&J.  Caffeine again?  Yes.  Money?  Yes!  Still dark outside.  Kiss the family g'bye.  Drive.  It's gaming convention day!

First stop: a breakfast eatery, where we were met by an ominous door.

Midvale School for the Gifted

Fortunately, we had Pathfinder and reached the objective.  Breakfast acquired, we headed over to the convention.  KingdomCon in San Diego has been growing and getting better, year after year.  2013 is no exception.  Even early Saturday morning , the convention was hopping.  Hundreds of people were shopping, trying out boardgames, hocking gaming and geekery wares, and beating the tar out of each other with swords.

San Deigo Society for Creative Anachronism Demo

But inside... oh, inside... were the players, the games, the dice, and the armies... Let me give you a little glimpse.  This is maybe a tenth of the armies that were on display and a thousandth of the games being played.

First table I see is...

Why yes!  It's Bartolo Montador and Galleon!  What are the odds?  But you know who we didn't see on a table?  At all?  The Mountain King.  Maybe this one stupendously painted one scared the rest off.  Or maybe Galleon did.

Was quite impressed with the painted Warmachine models and armies, so I decided to take a quick lap through the Broadside Bash area, scanning for anything worthy from the GW camp.  Boy, was I in for a surprise.  Each army was more amazing and jaw dropping than the last.  Full paint.  Custom boards.  Custom sculpting. Themed dice towers made to look like siege equipment.


An entire Chinese-themed Ork army, complete with Jade dragons and, if you look carefully, a Giant Squiggoth being led forward by a goblin tied up on a string and hung out in front, carrot-style.

Ogres!  Check out the tree/forest underneath that three-headed griffon (?) there on the left.

And speaking of three-headed griffons: how about a fully aquatic-themed Tzeentch army replete with kraken, flying squids, monstrous sea horses, and ... stuff... with tentacles... that's scary... and beautifully made!

Whatever that is... that's amazing.

Warriors of Chaos are so evil, they sucked all the light out of this exposure.  Check out the amazing custom beast things crawling out of the stone there in the back corners.

I had heard the new Warhammer 40K rulebook had introduced allies support, but since when does the Harbinger of Menoth lead Grey Knights painted gold and Sisters of Battle into combat?  You know what?  Who cares.  This army was spectacular.  Check out the power weapon effects, and the beautiful blending of the gold armor.  Wish I had take a photo of the 60+ seraphim and sisters of battle who were just out of frame.

Beautiful and simple carnifex-to-tervagon conversion in the back there.  But what really set this army apart was the glistening varnish on the carapaces.

Mega Nobz.  Twenty four Mega Nobz.  Metal ones.  And I don't even know what Forgeworld evils were rolling behind them.  Three giant Squiggoths.  A Looted Baneblade?  A double-rotor ork copter with tiny orks carrying shells to load its cannons.  And I love the "ork happy face" masks on the Lootaz.  This army was so beautifully painted and presented you almost hear the orks shouting.  WAAAGH!!!

This guy had meticulously converted his Imperial Guard army into Meiji-era Japanese mechanized army, complete with cherry blossom decorated flight stands and sashimonos for the troops and Ogryn modeled as Oni.  Just beautiful.

This wall was twelve feet long.  And those teensy little 6mm-scale archers... were not intimidated.  I believe these guys were playing Warhammer Ancient Battles Chariot Wars.

There were Ork armies.  There were Ork bikers armies.  There were Ork bikers armies with Forgeworld warboss biker models.  And then there was this guy.

Figures from the Crystal Brush display case.  When I  check out convention reports and people apologize for the terrible photos, I nod politely and move on.  Now, I understand.  Each model in this case was a phenominal achievement.  Some unholy combination of iPhone camera, shooting through glass, overhead fluorescent light and beige walls brings the photos to a mere, "that's nice."  I tell you, the glory of these pieces is simply ruined by my photographic efforts.  Still, here they are, that you might go next year and see for yourselves.

This tree was haunting.

Over in the far corner, behind the Gettysburg re-enactors and the ten-thousand 6mm-scale archers sieging the twelve foot wall, were these guys with their ten-inch Star Trek models, minis, consoles, and planets.  They told me this was a home-brew game.  Each player has a starship, a console, a team of minis, and objectives on each planet.  Next to each planet you can see away team missions, some in progress with minis.  The starships were moving in three-dimensions using four-foot extendable aluminum pointers, and everything was beautifully painted.

Here's the bridge "console" for one of the players.  Quality on everything was superb.  It look

Outside in the lobby, the Infinity guys had their own painting demo case.

Galleon!  And... he's been using that harpoon.

There was a little bit of Retribution there, perhaps three players.  This one had fully painted army.  I really enjoyed the detail in his mage hunter strike force.

Galleon... with an avenging angel masthead?

Quarter-finals between Jason Flanzer (Zaal, left side) and a Legion player whose name I did not get.  Maybe it's on that tournament sheet.

In addition to the bragging rights, and an all-expense paid trip to Warmachine Weekend and automatic entry into the Masters tournament there, the winner would go home with this beautifully painted 50-point Minions army, complete with display board and faction book.

Some noobs playing Infinity... on a Warmachine tournament table... with unfinished Warhammer 40K terrain.  Whoever set this up for them did a terrible job.  (Sorry, guys!  ^_^)

Chad getting Flanzer Tech involving Hexeris2, new Cataphract Incendiarii, and Black Spot, while Sam teaches Infinity.  Beware of Chad's Hexerix2 lists from now on.  You were warned.

This is the board gaming and demo room.  This guy's shirt says. "I have CDO.  It's like OCD where letters are in alphabetical order, like they should be."

10:00 and time for the Warmachine finals.  Jason Flanzer versus Craig Conroy.  Jason picked his Zaal tier 4 list and Craig took (no surprise) Morvanha2.

It was a terribly close game.  Last Stand'd Immortals killed a warpwolf stalker and a full unity of warpborn skinwalkers plus alpha.  Then Morvanha2 feated and brought them all back to life.  Extolers blasted anything that left stealth.  Morvanha2 cut herself to keep her infantry alive.  In the end, Flanzer boldly ran Zaal up to dominate his flag and was threatening to win on control points.  The only way to stop him was assassination.  Conroy crafted an heroic run with Morvanha2 out of thin air and put Zaal down by one point using her ability to take damage on herself to force a re-roll.  Amazing game.

Then the place started to clear out.  Here's a good shot of half the tabes in the minis room.  Great space. A bit crowded, but plenty of terrain.

played a couple games of King of Tokyo, a quick, monster bashing, dice rolling game -- one of my favorites.  Doug is easily the most aggressive player of this game I've ever met.

And, at the end of it all, some amazing guy cracked out his notebook, a projector, setup a wifi network and started a game of Artemis.  This is a Star Trek-like multiplayer cooperative spaceship bridge simulator.  There were two people on notebook computers, one on a Surface Tablet, and three others using iPads.  Each had a bridge station (Engineering, Weapons, Helm, Science, Captain, Comms) with their own screen and responsibilities.  They worked together, shouting out stations under attack, supply deliveries, incoming threats, shield frequencies to target, and ... on and on.  It was amazing.

We played until about midnight, then piled back into the car.  Good Con.

KingdomCon was well organized, smoothly run, and full of prizes for everyone.  Everyone had a good time.  The organizers should be proud.  You should make plans to attend next year.  Hope to see you there.

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