The next big miniatures wargaming convention is only 3 weeks away! FALL IN!, the wargaming convention run by the fine folks at HMGS East, is being held from November 9 thru November 11 at the Eisenhower Convention Center in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
I'm one of those fortunate folks who lives in Central Pennsylvania, affording me the opportunity to easily travel to all 3 of the HMGS East cons, since they're each only a 40-45 minute drive from my house just outside Harrisburg, PA. I've gone to so many of these conventions over the past 25 years that I've lost count of them.
All three of the HMGS East conventions are similar in many ways, but there are a few key differences worth noting. For those of you who have never been to Fall In! but have attended Historicon in the past, here's my comparison of the two cons.
Historicon, one of the largest (if not THE largest) miniatures gaming conventions in the world, is 4 days of jam-packed wargaming goodness. There are always tons of vendors selling cool wargaming toys, scads of participation games covering every period imaginable, and a busy flea market area. If you've never been there, GO!! The only real downside of Historicon is that it takes place in mid-summer and is always very crowded. That combination of high temps and scores of hefty gamers who look like they've eaten the entire salad bar at Ruby Tuesday's means that you'll be sweating and bumping into guys covered in that slimy film of sweat that makes my skin crawl. Plus, the Lancaster Host's air conditioning system is prone to flutter in and out of commission at times. At this summer's Historicon 2007, the AC went out in the tennis barn (vendor's area) and it was like shopping in a sauna. Not one of my more pleasant convention experiences to say the least. Quibbles aside, Historicon is a must-go convention.
While smaller in size than Historicon, Fall In! still has a lot to offer miniatures gaming enthusiasts. For starters, it's only a 3-day convention rather than a 4-day affair, and it's held during the fall season (usually in November) meaning that kids have gone back to school by the time this convention rolls around. Those two factors help keep the crowds at more reasonable levels than the sometimes overflowing throngs at Historicon. The autumn temperatures outside are also much more pleasant. Walking from the main convention center to the All-Star building to shop is often refreshing -- although they have a shuttle bus for those folks who need to ride (usually because you've purchased too many toys!). In other words, you can stroll around Fall In without having to fight the crowds and get slimed by beefy gamers covered in "gamer funk". Hallelujah!
There's still a large variety of vendors at Fall In, although fewer than at Historicon. But all the regular biggies are there: Old Glory, Brigade Games, Age of Glory, On Military Matters, Crocodile Games, Gale Force Nine, The Last Square, Crusader Minis, Pictor's Studio, and Miniature Building Authority. A few of my lesser known faves are here too (Albright's, Evil Bob's, Eureka, Marx Man, Acheson's Creations, and Scale Creep). I'm also looking forward to checking out some new guys who have escaped my eye in the past (Splintered Light, Old Rivertowne, and The WarStore). So if you go to these conventions primarily to shop, which is really what I do, you'll be plenty satisfied with the selection at Fall In. You can get a complete list of vendors here: Fall In Exhibitors List.
Online pre-registration is available through October 25, so there's only a week left to sign-up. If you're an HMGS East member, like me, it's definitely worth registering online as a full weekend pass to Fall In is only 10 bucks!
One last thing... While looking through the convention newsletter, I noticed an ad for Fernando Enterprises Miniatures painting service in the back of the pamphlet. Lo and behold, there was the expertly painted giant Lizardman archer/hero that I bought from Fernando at Historicon 2007 gracing the page in all his reptilian glory! It's always cool to see one of your prized figures in the limelight. That was the first figure I ever bought from Fernando, but I'm planning on doing more business with these guys in the future. They are a mini-painting service based in Sri Lanka. Their prices are excellent, and based on what I've seen first-hand, their showcase quality minis are outstanding. I'm trying to convince some of the fellows from my wargame group to pool together a bunch of minis that we'd like painted, send them to Sri Lanka, and share the cost of the shipping. I'll probably do a separate post on Fernando Enterprises sometime down the road based on my experiences with them.
See you at the convention!