I went to Adepticon / by jean-francois dubeau

So here we are, back from Adepticon 2013. I'm not going to go into details as to what Adepticon is, you can explore that by yourself by visiting their website. Suffice it to say that it's a miniature wargaming convention. A pretty big one. Angela (my wife), a few friends and I have been going to this convention with the goal of playing some games, hanging out with friends but mostly showing off the products of a full year of labor. So take a trip with me as I reminisce about events of the last few days. If you're unfamiliar to war gaming and the miniature painting and modelling hobby, I highly recommend checking it out. It's a fascinating past time and at the very least will make the rest of this post more intelligible.

Our display was crowded with awesome models

Adepticon 2013 : Day one, Wednesday

Let me set this up a little first. In 2012, my team and I were still reeling from having secured a 'Best Imperial Team' plaque at the Warhammer 40K Team Tournament that we were already making our plans for 2013. We spent a full year plotting, planning, modelling and painting and yet, at 3AM on Wednesday morning, I was still slapping some last licks of paint onto my models, rushing to get a few hours of sleep before heading off to the airport around 9AM. This isn't unusual or unexpected. Getting the roughly sixty models ready, with display base and other collaterals, is a major undertaking, one that can never truly be finished. There is always a detail to add, an error to correct or a piece to highlight.

The trip itself was uneventful except that Chicago (and by extension Lombard where the convention is held) was hit with a major storm which led a lot of planes being grounded. We were lucky enough to squeak in just before the worst of it. However, almost the moment we got to the Westin in Lombard, things started to get interesting. We ran into Teras from Geek Nation Tours who my brother, Phil knew from having been on one of his tours before. This got us invited to the Geek Nation Tour welcome diner because several attendees couldn't be there as a result of the weather. There we ran into several people my Phil had traveled with. We also ran into Joe from the Screaming Heretic podcast who had interviewed me and one of my team mates a few weeks ago and Victoria Lamb who is one of my all time favourite miniature painters. In short, a quiet evening of settling into our hotel room soon turned into an awesome social affair.

Adepticon 2013 : Day two, Thursday

This one tuned out to be as uneventful as anticipated. We went shopping and attended a seminar by the very entertaining Chris Borer. The seminar was about how to take one's miniature painting to the next level. As it turns out, I learned precisely nothing from the seminar, yet, at the same time, it was by far the best painting seminar I have attended so far. Chris is as talented a teacher as he is a painter and I recommend anyone interested in getting into competitive miniature painting find a way to attend one of his class. His class was a great way to confirm that I was on the right track.

Adepticon 2013 : Day three, Friday

This day is a bit of a blur really. I do remember spending a lot of money. Essentially, the event store opened its doors and Angela and I went wild in there. We picked up several figs just for the pleasure of eventually painting them as well as several others with the goal of learning new games. There are some neat products out there my friends. Eventually, some of my team mates started to arrive at the hotel and we spent a few hours putting the finishing touches on our presentation table.

We also went to a small party hosted by Screaming Heretic where we met some awesome people but only hung out briefly. Saturday was going to be exhausting and we knew it.

Adepticon 2013 : Day four, Saturday

Go time. At the crack of dawn, we all gathered in front of the main hall doors. Setup was quick and uneventful blahblahblah, you don't care. What you do care about, assuming you're actually following this, is that we got judged first and were quickly told, before the judges even saw another presentation table, that we should keep our evening schedule open for the army showcase. That's a showcase where each team puts their models on display for the general public and a panel of celebrity judges to look at. The judge for thematic also left us with the comment: "You guys crushed it." Best of all, Victoria Lamb and Jeremy Bonamant Teboul (another miniature painting luminary) dropped by and had nothing but good comments about our army, thematic and painting. In short, things were looking pretty good.

Angela got to distributing the comic (which you can read on this very website) which attracted a lot of attention and many a flattering compliment. Meanwhile, my team and I were witnessing a near endless parade of curious people taking photos of our display, asking questions and enjoying the comic.

The games themselves were, in my easily amused opinion, generally fun. Though I lost the first one miserably I had no one to blame but myself. I'm not an amazing player to begin with but during that game I lost sight of the objective. Combined with bad rolls we got crushed. Second game was an extremely cinematic massacre where our opponents, two awesome guys who were playing Tyranids, sent wave after wave of alien monsters to die on our firing line. Third game was less fabulous but truly came down to the wire, literally being decided by one. Final. Dice roll.

By the end of the third game, we had been confirmed that we were indeed part of the showcase, which meant we had to scramble to set up our presentation table again. It also gave us an opportunity to see the competition and I'm glad to say that there were some awesome armies there. I'll bore you with the details at another time.

Since we couldn't be there while the judges were doing their thing, we went out to diner. While we ate, the dice were cast and by the time we got back to our display the judges had done their thing. Phil and I stayed with the display, chatting with other attendees until they closed the doors to the hall. Then we went to yet another Screaming Heretic party. This one was much larger. Epic even and the five minutes we hung out were fun, but again, we had a long day on Sunday.

Adepticon 2013 : Day five, Sunday

When we got down to the main hall, one of the organizers quickly asked me if I had taken my Orca (a large, expensive display model) off our table the previous evening (I had). Seldom have I seen a man so relieved to hear any news. I think if that guy is ever acting in a movie and the director needs him to show relief, that is the moment he will go back to.

Anyways, we tore down our display as fast as possible, got our table assignments for games and got on to play two long games, constantly distracted by the uncertainty of our final results. Despite all that I like to think we acquitted ourselves nicely. I lost my first game but crushed the second. Both games were fun but what we really wanted to see was the award ceremony. Especially considering that there were a lot of rumours flying around. Good rumours. Rumours of victory.

So we tossed our game results at the judges and packed our miniatures which we brought back to our room. By the time we got back, the announcer was close to starting his monologue and we sat down with the team and some folks from Screaming Heretic. Tension was high as the announcer went through the results of a couple of other events and some acknowledgements from sponsors before finally going through the winners of the Warhammer 40K Team Tournament. To keep the suspense, the announcer went from least important award and slowly ground his way to the most prestigious ones. The more awards we were eligible for that went to other teams, the more nervous we got. Eventually we got to the Best Appearance prize, which is the only category that was left to us (we sure as hell weren't going to win Best Tactician or Best Overall) and then the announcer went on a long rant about how the winning team had not only secured a majority of votes from the celebrity panel but had been chosen unanimously. Let it be known that our little group was at the edge of it's seat at that point.

Well, as you might have guessed by now, they called our name and we walked away with that plaque and a few prizes.

We build our armies with the aim of bringing something original and great looking to Adepticon. We originally wanted to go only once and not necessarily win anything but be remembered as 'that cool team with the great looking army'. When we started winning prizes though we got addicted to the rush of creating something stunning and being able to share it with as many other people who are passionate about the hobby. The prizes and accolades serve as confirmation that we succeeded in our endeavour.

So there you are; we won. I'll be putting up some more posts regarding war gaming, this event and the evolution of our project for next year. It's not literature but it's definitely something creative and we are insistent on having a narrative in there. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.