Skip to main content

Scrum Con 2020: A Leap Forward!


Scrum Con 2020 was held last weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland on Leap Day, which seems fitting in that the convention itself took quite a jump forward from 2019: More than double the number of games, more than double the number of attendees, double the number of convention t-shirt designs, and three times the space.

And we sold the show out again! 

We had about 215 registered attendees and filled almost 275 seats in the 35 games we offered over the course of the day. We had folks come from some distance to attend, including Philadelphia, West Virginia, New Jersey, and other exotic locales that I'm sure I'm forgetting. As always, we organize the convention as an equal split between miniatures games and role-playing games, and I was pleased to see even more attendees this year sign up for one of each type.

We're admittedly small as far as these things go, but I think the quality of the experience we offer is a cut above, and we put a lot of effort into everything from the printed program to the badge design to the GMs we hand select to run games for our attendees. "Curated for quality" is the motto, and based on the preliminary post-convention survey results, folks seem to dig what we're offering. As of this evening, we're edging toward a 50% response rate to the survey, with 93% of those describing the convention as "Excellent" (72%) or "Very Good" (21%). It's hard not to be feel good about that sort of feedback.


Scouting out part of the new space for Scrum Con last August.
None of this would even be possible without the time and talents of our amazing game masters, who all brought their A-game to give folks a fun day. The only downside to the convention for me and my fellow Scrum Club organizers is that we don't usually get to play in any of these excellent games. But we do get to catch snippets of them all, and we couldn't feel luckier than to have these GMs want to be part of Scrum Con. 

In addition to the ever-amazing Dave "Zeb" Cook, we were honored this year to expand our slate of Guests of Honor to include Bill Slavicsek  (Star Wars RPG, etc.) and Ed Stark (D&D 3/3.5, etc.). They all three ran great games, and hopefully they'll be able to join us again for future Scrum Cons, giving more folks a chance to play in their very popular sessions.

We also got a boost of confidence from the board of the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, who liked what we pulled off last year and wanted to support our efforts. Thanks for believing in us, and helping us build an even better convention this year. We hope you liked what you saw! 

Another debt of gratitude is owed to the fellas at Little Wars TV who made a point to mention Scrum Con 2020 on an episode back in January. Certainly feels validating to get plugged by you esteemed fellows!

I was also frequently touched these past several months by folks who took it upon themselves to help promote the convention, especially Eric Engelmann who runs the quarterly Congress of Gamers conventions in Rockville, Maryland, James Brosch of Washingcon, our pals in The HAWKs who cross promoted it with their convention Barrage, and folks like Ed Watts and Charles Mark Carroll who would take fliers and distribute them around town or post notices on their MeetUp pages without us even asking.

Finally, the best part of the day for me is seeing all of the attendees over the course of the day, lost in their games, laughing with each other, making new friends, snapping selfies, and volunteering their thoughts on what they liked about the day and what we can do to grow this thing. I end up revisiting the photos of you all multiple times throughout the year when I need a boost of motivation as we take on the work of planning this thing. Thanks for bringing your buoyant spirits to the convention.


Fellow Scrummer John turned the facility layout into a classic D&D map for the printed program!

Getting all of the tables numbered before everybody arrives. We had 18 games going at once in each session.

Two Wayward Adventurers Reunited

The personal highlight of Scrum Con 2020 for me was gaming with my friend Sally Mittler (née Remmers). I hadn’t seen Sally since 1990 (at a brief grade school reunion when we were 20). We grew up together playing D&D starting around 1980, and often went to tournaments at the Tin Soldier in Dayton, Ohio. Jump ahead 30 years, and Sally flies in with her entire family from New Mexico to play D&D with me again at Scrum Con 2020. What a special day with a beautiful friend! Here we are the last time we saw each other in 1990 and then again last weekend, rolling funny dice and having the kind of good times we did back in the day when we were D&D-loving Montessori grade schoolers.

Sally and Joe 1990 / Joe and Sally (2020)

Thanks, Zeb, for being our DM for our reunion.

The Games

Below you will find descriptions of the games from Scrum Con 2020 followed by photos from the session. I'll occasionally intermix some shots of various attendees.

A good 95% of the photos are by my talented wife, the Scrum Club's official photographic chronicler, Ellen. A few other photos are by myself and a few people who have posted online, including Jason Carter, a new pal I made at the convention. [Click on any of them to enlarge.]


Message From Space?
Role Playing Game    Sci Fi
Rules: Star Frontiers    Players: 8
GM: David “Zeb” Cook
A wealthy collector has hired you to investigate a report of an artifact found on a distant planet. Is it real or a fake? Or is it a trap? Isn’t it always a trap? Grab your laser pistol and blast off for old-school adventure!

















Necropolis of the Mailed Fist
Role Playing Game    Fantasy
Rules: Dungeons & Dragons 5E    Players: 6 

GM: Paul Aparicio
For 13 generations, the Tiefling Empire of the Iron Falcon has interred its sacred dead and mythic relics in the Necropolis of the Mailed Fist. Now the sins of the first emperor have finally brought down hellish retribution, as something unimaginably old and evil has settled within the Necropolis.  As the scions of royalty, can you defeat the evil and lay your ancestors to rest before all is lost?  Pre-generated characters provided.


Game Master Paul Aparicio 














Return to the Barrier Peaks
Role Playing Game    Fantasy/SF 
Rules: Dungeons & Dragons 5E    Players: 6 
GM: Ed Stark
Modern meets magic in an unusual mash-up of fantasy adventure and modern intrigue. Spells and swords, guns and technology must work together to explore the deadly secrets of the Barrier Peaks.

GM and Guest of Honor Ed Stark (standing)





Star Wars: Jungle Prophet
Role Playing Game    Sci Fi
Rules: Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, first edition    Players: 6
GM: Peter Schweighofer  
To secure a senator’s support for the fledgling Alliance a Rebel team travels to a tropical gas-mining planet to retrieve her errant, eccentric father from a zealous spiritual quest.

GM Peter Schweighofer 
Sunken Crater of the Sahuagin Lord
Role Playing Game    Fantasy
Rules: AD&D    Players: 8
GM: Keith Sloan  
The Sea Lords have been dead for centuries, but these coasts are hardly free of evil.  Evil tidings of Sea Devils are rampant, and a war between sea and land may be coming, unless you can somehow stop it. A sequel to the Forgotten Grottoes of the Sea Lords. Pre-generated characters of levels 6-8 will be provided.







Dragon Hunt
Miniatures Game    Fantasy
Rules: Blood & Swash    Players: 10
GM: Eric Schlegel of The HAWKs
The dragon spawning ground has been located and many intrepid adventurers are heading there in order to reap the substantial rewards offered for dragon skin, blood, eggs or most of all, a live dragon.











======================================





======================================

Fury Road “Oh What a Lovely Day!”
Miniatures Game    Post-apocalyptic Road Wars 
Rules: Home Brew    Players: 10
GMs: Peter Megginson and Jeff Hoffman
Mad Max and Furiosa have escaped from the War Lord Immortan Joe with his War Rig and his five wives. They are pursued down the Fury Road. If you get the wives and the War Rig back, you will ride shiny and chrome to Valhalla carried by Immortan Joe, himself! If you fail you will be called “Mediocre,” live in shame, and have to live in the desert with the poor other smegs. Starring: Mad Max, Furiosa, the Five Wives, the Vuvalini, the War Rig, Immortan Joe, Rictus Erectus, the War Boys, and numerous custom War Boy vehicles.



GM Peter Megginson



















Gaslands Refuelled: Death Race 2020
Miniatures Game  • Post Apocalyptic Vehicular Mayhem
Rules: Gaslands Refueled    Players: 8
GM: Michael E. Colton
“Through the shimmering haze of the broken, streaming asphalt, we see our steel-eyed competitors lined up, with engines rattling and teeth gritted. Tonight’s race is incredibly important to the teams... it’s the last chance for a shot in the big leagues. Can you survive long enough to win.” Join us for some vehicular mayhem. All materials will be provided.










======================================





======================================

Once Upon a Time in Japan
Miniatures Game    Historical Skirmish
Rules: Test of Honor    Players: 6
GM: Ed Watts
Samurai hijinks in medieval Japan! Steal the Emperor’s koku rice tax to gain followers, steal it back to curry the Shogun’s favor, rob the monks’ shrine using hired ronin, thrash the bandits who would violate your temple. There is a reason they called it the Period of Wars.












Case of the Disobedient Digits
Role Playing Game    Weird Urban Danger
Rules: Over the Edge, 3rd edition    Players: 6
GM: Nathan Bruinooge
In the world of Over the Edge, weird science, strange magic, and baffling conspiracies are all very real, and the place to see them in action is the mysterious island of Al Amarja. The players will take on the role of insurance investigators, hired to track down a world-famous concert pianist who visited the island and managed to get in way over his head. Where things might go from there is anyone’s guess. 





Stonehell
Role Playing Game    Fantasy
Rules: D&D (B/X)    Players: 8
GM: Rich McKee
Welcome to Stonehell Dungeon! Seek fortune and glory in Mike Curtis's mega-dungeon. Return to the early days of the game as you listen at doors, carefully map the level, run for your life, and die in the dark.



GM and fellow Scrum Club member Rich McKee


Rangers of Shadow Deep
Miniatures Game    Fantasy
Rules: Rangers of Shadow Deep    Players: 6 
GM: Josh O’Connor (Scrum Club)
Heroic rangers and stalwart companions wage desperate battle against the ever-encroaching Shadow Deep! Learn how to play Joseph McCullough’s (Frostgrave, Oathmark) hit groundbreaking cooperative party-based fantasy tabletop miniatures game, blending the best aspects of wargames and RPGs.



GM and fellow Scrum Club member Josh O'Connor














======================================



======================================

Space Ghouls of the Cursed Moon
Miniatures Game    Sci-Fi
Rules: Star Schlock    Players: 6
GM: John Sears (Scrum Club)
Hordes of undead space ghouls have overtaken a remote moon colony. Now the desperate defenders must claim the last transport that could provide an escape from the clutches of the shambling creatures!

GM and fellow Scrum Club member John Sears




















WaT a Nice Village
Miniatures Game    World War II
Rules: What a Tanker     Players: 8+
GM: Brian Cantwell
The Soviet drive to Berlin is underway, and the Wehrmacht throws their last tank reserves into the line to hold back the Red Steamroller. The forces are converging on the hamlet of Kleinesbrennendesdorf.  Take command of a tank and fight it out with enemy armor, or provide some support to the grunts in the battle for the town. The winners sleep in comfy beds tonight, and the losers sleep under their tanks in the mud.













A Dead Man in Deptford
Miniatures Game  • Fantasy
Rules: Frostgrave/Ghost Archipelago (modified)  
•  Players: 12
GM: Jeff Wasileski
An arcane civil war is being waged in Elizabethan England. Playwright/spy/magician Kit Marlowe has just been killed, ostensibly in an argument over a tavern bill. But he really died for writing a work of magical dramaturgy that would open the door to another dimension. Various court factions are now racing through the dark streets of London’s notorious theatre district to find the manuscript. Who will obtain it first?





































































































======================================



======================================

Incident at Space Station Accipiter
Miniatures Game    Sci Fi
Rules: Blood and Swash    Players: 8 
GM: Duncan Adams (HAWKs)
In the 25th Century, at Space Station Accipiter space travelers of all kinds come to rest, plot, escape, or seek revenge while Buck Rogers and his friends try to keep the peace, right wrongs, and defend their honor.










The Necropolis
Role Playing Game   Horror
Rules: Call of Cthulhu 7th edition    Players: 6 
GM: Jared Smith (Scrum Club)
Your 1924 archaeological expedition to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt has finally unveiled the entrance of an ancient structure buried deep into a cliff face. Before entering, you pose proudly for a photograph at the base of thirteen steps descending into the entryway. What treasures could lie inside?







GM and fellow Scrum Club member Jared Smith (right)

The Lightless Beacon
Role Playing Game    Horror
Rules: Call of Cthulhu 7th edition    Players: 6
GM:  Jared Smith (Scrum Club)
The lighthouse on Beacon Island has gone out and your ship has foundered on the rocks. Can you survive the night?





Beneath, The Inverted Church
Role Playing Game    Low-dark fantasy 
Rules: The Black Hack    Players: 6 
GM: Justin Sirois
“Beneath challenges the conventional idea of the ‘dungeon crawl’ in so many ways and succeeds in them all. It is radical yet well crafted, it is shocking yet thought provoking, it is familiar yet intensely alien. If roleplaying is a tree with all the various games and genres spreading out from it, then Beneath is one sick and twisted branch that waits for all brave travelers who dare to tread their foot upon.”  — Jay of Colosseum Rex (U.K.)




In Search of the Brazen Head of Zenopus
Role Playing Game    Fantasy
Rules: Original Dungeons & Dragons 
 •  Players: 8 
GM: Zach Howard of the Zenopus Archives blog and Scrum Club
Meet at the Green Dragon Inn for an old-school dungeon delve under the ruined tower of the doomed wizard Zenopus to search for his legendary talking mask, forty years after adventurers first braved the passages.








It’s Not My Fault!
Role Playing Game    Fantasy 
Rules: Fate Accelerated    Players: 6 
GM: Fred Hicks
Things were going great until the rest of your crew completely screwed up. You had this job lined all up. Everyone just had to do their part exactly according to plan. And besides, how could you know that the thing you were doing was exactly the wrong thing to be doing in this situation? It was part of the plan, after all. It’s not your fault!





Journey to the Rock
Role Playing Game    Fantasy 
Rules: Basic Dungeons & Dragons (Moldvay) •  Players: 6 
GM: Erik Jensen
Trek through the wilderness to the mysterious Rock in this 1985 adventure from TSR.  A low-level outing for Basic Dungeons & Dragons, characters will be provided and rules will be taught — all ages welcome!  Experience the classic ruleset once again, or for the first time.


GM Erik Jensen




A Hot Day in the Cavaliere de Strada
Miniatures Game  • Pulp
Rules: Mad Maximillian 1934 (Grande Tour Expansion) •  Players: 12
GM: Walt O’Hara (Scrum Club)
Inspired by the chariot races of ancient Rome, the modern Autodrome excites the same passions from its audience with death — defying feats from its modern-day charioteers, the Cavaliere de Strada! Come test your mettle and your metal in Il Duce’s Grand Arena of Death! This is the first scenario of the Grand Tour Supplement for Mad Maximillian 1934, which should be released later this year.






















======================================



======================================

A Little Myth-Adventure
Miniatures Game  • Dark Ages
Rules: Blood Eagle  Players: 6
GM: Kelly Armstrong of the AOCM
Viking and Anglo warbands meet at a tavern to hear a plea for help, riches, and glory, and then answer the call.

GM Kelly Armstrong (right)










Captain Bertin’s Miracle!
Miniatures Game  • World War I
Rules: When Tradition Meets Technology  
•  Players: 8 
GM:  Neil Carmichael of the AOCM
The German 10th Division’s drive from the (woods) north of Ethe resulted in the scattering and pinning of elements of the French 7th Division in the village along the mainline of the French resistance. Will the Germans succeed in breaking the French line? Will the French hold the front? And will Captain Bertin stall the relentless assaults on the town of Ethe by the Germans?



































======================================



======================================

Dungeon Hack: Capture the Artifact
Miniatures Game  • Dungeon crawl
Rules: Dungeon Hack+  Players: 10
GM: Noah Guilbault of the HAWKs
The forces Weal and Woe have tracked the final bone from the avatar of Vecna and seek to obtain it, restore their avatar, and ensure 10,000 years of darkness. The forces of Weal seek only to destroy it. Get ready to capture the artifact, Dungeon Hack style.






























Star Wars: Scum, Villainy, and Empire
Role Playing Game    Sci Fi 
Rules: Updated D6 Star Wars RPG    Players: 6  
GM: Bill Slavicsek
Join Bill Slavicsek, designer of The Star Wars Sourcebook and author of A Guide to the Star Wars Universe and Defining a Galaxy, for a new adventure set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Using an updated version of the classic D6 RPG system, this action-packed session features crime lords, spice smugglers, and more stormtroopers than you can swing a lightsaber at. No prior rules knowledge required.



GM Bill Slavicsek









Rendering Judgement
Role Playing Game    Weird West 
Rules: Dark Trails / Dungeon Crawl Classics  
•  Players: 7  
GM: Scott McKinley
The decent folks of Ash Bluff, a small but upcoming town in the Dakota Territories, have been actin’ a mite strange lately. Even mild-mannered church-goers have been tusslin’ with one another and spoutin’ nonsense. Little Jimmy Granger dang near bit the deacon’s ear off last Sunday! Father Benton and Sister Mary Elizabeth are at their wits’ end when a party of white hat strangers wanders into town. Help unravel a dark mystery that could lead deep into the dusty wilderness or even to the big city! Choose from a variety of pre-generated 3rd level characters: gunslinger, mad scientist, gambler, huckster, priest, medium, or even a famous luchador.




GM Scott McKinley



Tekumel
Role Playing Game    Fantasy 
Rules: Empire of the Petal Throne    Players: 9 
GM: Rich McKee (Scrum Club)
Tekumel is the first published campaign setting. The Humanspace Empires spanned the galaxy. In an unexplained event, hundreds of planets were pulled into alternate dimensions. Tekumel is a strange world that is like no other. You will take the role of young members of a clan that has been targeted by a serial killer.









The Devilish Dealings of Angels
Role Playing Game    High Fantasy
Rules: Dungeons & Dragons 5E    Players: 8
GM: Elizabeth Ferrara
A streak of blinding light in the sky. A thunderous boom. What could possibly have caused such a cataclysmic event in the Ghostpeak mountains? Residents of the town of Whitesparrow have been all a-twitter. But when a half-dead angel stumbles into town... well, that’s when heroes must step forward. Which begs the question — what chance have mere mortals where angels fear to tread?














It's All Your Vault
Miniatures Game  • Post-Apocalypse
Rules: This Is Not a Test  Players: 6
GM: Joseph McGuire
The time of receding waters has come to the wasteland.  The Great Vault, an ancient ruin of the Last Americans has once again become accessible. Despite being entered many times, it continues to give up mighty treasures.  The price for them can be quite high in blood and bodies, though. 





















======================================



======================================

Medieval Mayhem
Miniatures Game  • Historical skirmish
Rules: Medieval Mayhem  Players: 8
GM: Rob Dean of the HAWKs
In the marches of France, a company of English archers and knights attacks a French-held village to seize desperately needed supplies and spoil French preparations for a siege of their base.


















Tekumel Treasure Hunt
Miniatures Game  • Science fantasy
Rules: Modified Mortal Gods   Players: 6
GM:  Steve Braun (Scrum Club)
Take command of a small band of warriors on Tékumel to find a secret cache of energy weapons stolen long ago from the Petal Throne. There’s sure to be a few other groups looking, too, but that shouldn’t be a problem...



















======================================



======================================

“I Am Spartacus!”
Miniatures Game  • Gladiatorial combat
Rules: Sons of Mars  Players: 6
GM: Joe Procopio (Scrum Club)
Pit your school of gladiators against all comers in a bid for fame and glory!

NOTE: Separate blog post to come on this game and the prep and crafting I put into it, but here are some teaser pics in the meantime.

































Scrum Con 2020 T-Shirt Designs




Flea Market



Bummed out that one of the only things I didn't manage to participate in was the flea market. Actually sold and bought some stuff in it last year, but was too busy with convention prep to gather together anything to sell, and was too busy running around on the day of the con to browse for anything to buy. It was popular and appreciated by attendees, though, according to the post-con survey, so that's good...

Post-Con Drinks and Food at McGinty's

We invited everybody yo migrate to McGinty's, a nearby Irish pub, for drinks after we shut everything down around 8:30. I was glad to see about 25 people showed up. I personally had a lovely Guinness and a delicious cheeseburger while chatting with old friend Sally and new friend Justin Sirois. It was a great way to bring the day to a close until about two hours later when when some guy eventually took to the stage and started bleating out Matty Groves, which was the cue for each of us to wander toward our homes and beds for some much needed sleep.



Closing Thoughts and Parting Shots

The success of Scrum Con 2020 has pushed us to an impasse where we'll need to think hard about where we'd like to see this convention go in the future. There's a lot to be said for keeping it at its current, mostly manageable size: it stays "intimate," we've proved that we can break even at this level, and we get to continue to curate the GM selection, ensuring a certain standard of quality.

We've fallen in love with the location and facility in which we held Scrum Con this year, but growing the convention in size while staying in the same facility would require us to take on twice as much space (i.e., renting the great hall) and double the current costs. Filling that space isn't inconceivable, especially if we made room for vendors to exhibit at the convention.

And then there's the question of lengthening the convention either by adding games on Friday night or Sunday, or by lengthening the day by adding a third session to Saturday (which would make for a 14-16 hour day). Again, this would also involve adding significantly to the outlay without knowing whether we could double the attendance to cover the increased cost. Jumping from 100 to 200 attendees feels a lot easier in my mind than jumping from 200 to 400. And without the grant money we received this year, we would have barely broken even again.

But these are good problems to have because it means people actually like what we're doing and we like doing it. I'm pretty proud of the Scrum Con crew, stepping up even more this year than last to help make this con happen. If we brought a little light into people's lives in these trying times, then I judge it all a success.

Awesome fan art drawn by one of our talented GMs, Justin Sirois, in between games at Scrum Con.

Until next year, there are several ways you can keep up with how we decide to evolve and refine Scrum Con for 2021, and we hope you'll hook up with us at one of these below:

Our Mailing List is probably the best way to get Scrum Con specific announcements, especially about the date for registering for Scrum Con 2021 and claiming game tickets when they're available. It's also where you can easily leave comments, like the desire to GM or volunteer to help with Scrum Con in some capacity.

We have an official Scrum Con Facebook page that is used for sharing Scrum Con-specific information and links, and we have a Facebook group called Friends of the Scrum Club, which is where the Scrum Con's organizers like to share information and links on a broad panoply of gaming topics on a regular basis with our fellow gaming friends like you.

We have an Instagram account and a Twitter feed where we post photos and links on Scrum Con-related activities and announcements.

You may also want to bookmark our soon to be redesigned web page.

As for more coverage of Scrum Con 2020 besides this blog, some of my fellow Scrum Club mates have posted their own recaps below:

Walt at Third Point of Singularity
John at 1,000 Foot General
Zach at Zenopus Archives

If you attended Scrum Con 2020 and have any thoughts or photos to share, please do so at any of the social media channels listed above or reach out to us at info@scrum-con.com.

Thanks again to everybody for their support and interest in Scrum Con! As my good pal Jared likes to say whenever we drag ourselves across the finish line on something like this: "Never again...until next year." Hope we see you all again next year!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Comments

  1. Great stuff Joe! Congrats to you and your entire crew on a successful convention 😃
    That was really fun to hear about your friend and her family making the trek across the country to play some games again like when you guys were young!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Really hoping we'll see you at Scrum Con 2021, friend!

      Delete
  2. Great report, and fantastic photos! So glad someone was snapping pics since I didn't have time to check out all the great looking games while I was GMing. Looking forward to next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told Ellen she had to be my eyes at the con and take photos of every game because I knew I was going to be tied down with everything else. I think she did alright.

      Delete
  3. Wow, what an event! We'll done.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Epic con report, Joe! Thank you for all of your work as "Prime Motivator" behind Scrum Con. I do believe that is the most photos I've seen in a single blog post. Thank you, Ellen, for taking most of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I passed on the thanks to Ellen. I actually pared this down from the 1,400 she took that day. Crazy! Sorting them alone was an afternoon-long job.

      Delete
  5. Looks like a great convention, some really good looking games, although the standout to me is the Deptford game! Think you were also pretty lucky with your timing in making it before everything goes into lockdown !
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not kidding about making it just under the pandemic wire. A couple of weeks later, and I think I'd argued we should postpone the convention indefinitely. As it was, we had a great time, and the attendees seemed to, as well. And, yes, that Deptford game is a stunner, with little stories unfurling on every street corner.

      Delete
  6. I second that and the Deptford game. I also like the racing game with Mussolini's bust. But I'd want to be able to play as Ezra Pound in a Mad Max style car. Good stuff!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you as always, Mike! That Mad Maximillian 1934 game is fun (Walt O'Hara, a fellow Scrum Clubber, runs it), and Ezra Pound racing around the track would be completely in the gonzo spirit of this game.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Well-thumbed posts

Chainmail: Battle of Emridy Meadows

In my imagination, Chainmail has always been that shadowy precursor to Dungeons & Dragons that I was both intrigued by yet leery of. I loved the idea of a game involving mass battles in a fantasy setting akin to those depicted in the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but I also had a sense that Chainmail, released in 1971 a mere year after I was born, was likely a clunky wargame that would be too frustrating to bother mastering. It also didn't help that my first inkling of its existence was around 1980 or so when I could never dream of amassing the miniature armies needed to play out these massive conflicts. No, back then I was pretty sure Chainmail was the province of grizzled old grognards who had started wargaming before I was even born.

Even after my gaming rebirth decades later in 2016, I was fine with letting the dim past remain so, and was more than content during my first couple of years back in the hobby exploring rules of a more recent vintage and manageable scale…

Take the High Road: Making Cheap and Easy Dirt Roads

I have wanted some good roads to add to my games for a while now. My first attempt was a couple of years ago when my standards were a bit lower and I wasn't sure how much I was interested in investing in this new hobby. I bought some PDFs of cobblestone roads that I sized, printed, and glued to felt. The result was okay, but the way my laser printer  produced the roads ended up being quite reflective to the point of almost being glossy looking. The combination of glue, paper, and felt also meant the roads had a wavy consistency and almost always curled at the edges. I used them once or twice but was never happy with them.


I've been meaning to take another crack at making some roads now that I have more terrain-making experience under my belt and find the process less intimidating. If I had to pass on any advice to newcomers to terrain making it would be to watch a number of YouTube tutorials or check out a site like my pal John's 1,000 Foot General, and then just jump in …

Lost Art of D&D: Alex Nuckols

Artist Alex Nuckols made what disappointingly ended up being a minor yet still evocative contribution to the visual history of D&D with a series of paintings he was commissioned to produce for a school supply company named St. Regis. It seems he painted nearly a dozen pieces that graced the covers of D&D-themed notebooks, folders, and three-ring binders in 1980-81. As a D&D-obsessed kid of 10-11 years old at the time, I owned three or four of these and have never parted with them. 

Here are some examples I found online. I’ve always regretted that Nuckols didn’t produce work for any actual gaming material released by TSR (or any game company) because to this day I think he captured the gritty feel and texture of how I imagined these fantasy worlds in my mind’s eye. He was certainly a more accomplished artist than many of those who ended up in the stable as staff at TSR at the time. Artistically, his compositions are always compelling and typically eschew the over-heroic pose…

Historicon 2019: New Digs, Epic Games

Historicon is turning into one of the highlights of my summer. I've developed some fond friendships over the past three years of attending and feel like I'm beginning to be more a part of a community and less a neophyte or spectator. It was at the first Historicon I attended in 2017 that I met future fellow Scrum Clubbers Walt O'Hara and Steve Braun, and the circle of gaming friends has expanded significantly from there to include great guys like Ivor Evans, Miles Reidy, Jeff Allen, Joe Bloch, Eric Schlegel, and a bunch of the HAWKs gaming group (Don, Duncan, Buck, Chris, Greg, Bill, et al.).

The two hour trip up to Lancaster Friday morning made for a lovely drive with the convertible's top down and Spotify blaring out a summer tunes mix. I had found a great Airbnb condo five blocks from the convention, but I decided to go straight to Historicon without checking in (which finally happened a bone-weary dozen hours later and well after midnight).

I spent most of that fi…

All Together Now: 'Sellswords & Spellslingers' and the Pleasures of Cooperative Gaming

I've always enjoyed a good competitive match as much as the next guy, whether it was sports in high school or video games (HALO, etc.) in my thirties. But regardless of the game, I've always been partial to team play, and the best cooperative games put all of the focus on succeeding as a team. That's one of the reasons I was enthusiastic about getting Andrea Sfiligoi's latest release, Sellswords & Spellslingers (Ganesha Games), on the table for this month's Second Saturday Scrum Club gathering.

Last year I had organized a Halloween game (recap) to beta-test Sfiligoi's Run From the Dead, which is built atop the same cooperative mechanics as Sellswords. I was surprised when I discovered these rules were re-skinned for the fantasy genre and released last December ahead of Run From the Dead. Hopefully, the zombie apocalypse version of the rules is not too far behind because I definitely think Run From the Dead is the best tabletop miniatures rule set I've …

Crazy for Khazad-Dum: Barrage 2019 Con Report

I wasn't at all certain I was going to be able to sneak off to the Barrage Convention this Saturday due to crazy work commitments this time of year, but everything fell into place on Friday to allow me to spend Saturday gaming with old friends while making some new ones.

Barrage is the convention put on by the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers (HAWKs), and this was something like their 23rd year organizing the event. I readily admit that the first Barrage Con I attended in January 2018 was a significant inspiration for me in proposing to my own club that we should start Scrum Con. The HAWKs are on the whole an exceptionally amiable group of gamers, as I've written many times on this blog in the past, and I've mixed with them enough times now that I feel pretty comfortable calling them pals (whether or not the feeling is mutual).

It was fun getting to bump into some of the stalwarts from the area who attend these conventions, including a few folks who either attended or ra…