UPDATED: As mentioned in the comments below, Tobias from Mind of the Geek pointed out that the Warhammer 40k demo I witnessed was actually put on by someone from the Beltway Gamers group. I've adjusted the post to reflect this. As I stated last week, last weekend Ashley and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. We went up to DC and spent the weekend relaxing together, enjoying the remaining cherry blossoms, etc. However, Saturday morning she really needed some time alone to work on a paper for one of her classes. It wasn't a problem, though, as I had tickets to AwesomeCon DC, a new comic book and pop culture convention for DC this year. Did the convention live up to its name? Ill spill the beans right after the break.
I had been hearing a lot about AwesomeCon over the past few months - I've met both of the organizers multiple times over the years. One of them is Steve from Third Eye Comics in Annapolis/Prince Frederick, MD (my favorite comic shops ever), who I've always regarded as the most knowledgable comics guy I've ever known. The other guy Ben started up the Annapolis Comic Con with Steve a couple of years ago - I met Ben at the first one when I bought a table at the show (the first and only time I've ever had a booth at a comic con...so far).
To say that I was pretty pumped at the idea of another comic convention being started up within driving distance would be fairly accurate. I showed up at the con just a few minutes before the con to make sure I got the full experience. For the first 30 minutes, I roamed the con floor checking out all the retailers, artists, guests, etc. For its first year, they really were able to pull out the big guns by having names such as Phil LaMarr, Billy West, and Ernie Hudson at the show. Even on the comics side, big names like Ben Templesmith and Larry Hama were there.
Due to a couple of reasons I'm not going to go into here, I was a lot more reserved in my buying that I normally am when it comes to conventions. Therefore, I did not spend a whole lot of time out on the "main floor" of the conventions. There were some panels that I wanted to attend, but they didn't start until 12, so I had some time to kill. I decided to go check out one of the other cool things that I wanted to check out: the gaming room. Hosted by the website Mind of the Geek, it was a smaller room next to one of the panel rooms solely devoted to playing various board games. They had a stack of board games that people could check out and play on some of the random tables they had in the room. There were even a couple of people from the website willing to show people how to play these games.
When I walked into the game room, there were already a couple of events beginning. In the middle of the room, a group was getting ready to play Pathfinder; led by a volunteer who appeared to be affiliated with Mind of the Geek but I wasn't positive of that. Up in the front of the room, two people were learning how to play the X-Wing Miniatures Game from Fantast Flight Games. I decided to go and listen to that for awhile, as I've been very interested in that game for a little while. Once I got the basic gameplay down, I moved on towards the back of the room where a massive display of Warhammer 40k was set up.
Having been in quite a few game/comic/hobby shops in my life, I've known about Warhammer 40K for a long time. Yet, I had never actually seen a game played before. So I walked over to the display and watched as
one of the Mind of the Geek guys a representative from the Beltway Gamers group was teaching a random person how to play the game. He had set up the game and had everything that was needed to play; they were simply going through a few rounds battling it out to give the guy a feel for the game. I watched them duke it out for awhile, flipping through the core books that were on display to get a sense for the game. I gotta say, I see why people get into this game. Had I the money and the free time to get into all the painting and creating the landscapes, I could totally see myself getting into the Warhammer gaming. Heck, Ashley's even told me she would enjoy painting the armies and scenery when I showed her some of the pictures I took.
As I was watching the Warhammer demo, people started getting organized for the X-wing miniatures tournament that was being run. However, there did not appear to be that many people participating. Seeing an opportunity here, I walked over to the organizer and asked if there was any problem with me entering even though I had never played before. I knew the basic gameplay and was willing to purchase a core set so I could play. Unfortunately, I found out that the core set does not give you enough miniatures to play in a tournament. But a couple of the more experienced players offered to loan me a couple of ships to fill out my squad so that I could play.
I quickly rushed back to the main floor of the con and bought a core set from one of the vendors there. Mind of the Geek had some stuff for sale in their room, which I would have purchased to support them had someone in front of me not bought out all of their X-Wing supplies so he could enter as well. I got all of my stuff unboxed and got help setting up my squad. I'm not going to go into a full review of the X-Wing game here because I expect a full video review to come soon, but overall I had a blast playing the game. I lost in the first round of the tournament, but it was anyone's game up until the very end.
Out of the tournament, I looked at my watch to see I had missed one of the panels I wanted to see and the second one had already started. I decided to go ahead and depart AwesomeCon so that I could go back to celebrating with my wife. For the 3-4 hours that I spent at the con, I had a wonderful time. There wasn't as much for me on the main floor, but the gaming room made the trip completely worth it. My hat's off to the fine folks over at Mind of the Geek and the various gamers that showed up for being the perfect example of what gaming is all about. I'm sad that I missed out on some very interesting panels (including a Futurama panel on Sunday with Billy West and Phil LaMarr), but I had fun hanging out in the game room learning about a couple of new games to geek over. I cannot wait for next year's con, which I hope is even bigger and better than this years. If you are near the DC area, you need to mark your calendars for next year's con - April 19th and 20th!