Sunday, November 2, 2014

If you build it.....Oldhammer USA weekend!

For those that have known me a long time, they know that I have always been crazy about the old school citadel miniatures and products. When I worked there, not only did I buy tons of the new stuff, but I was always on a mission to track down an old product or two ;)! So I've always been a follower of the old school vibe, and when I saw Realm Of Chaos 80s and others, it was right up my alley. But then they had an event - Bring Out Your Lead - and I got very jealous. Its ok, getting jealous is the sign of the truly passionate collector, or so I have been told. But this was just too much. I wanted a weekend, a game, just a time to get together with some others who would be willing to lay out some old stuff, play, trade, have a great time. I started this blog with this in mind. Its why it is called Oldhammer in the New World after all.

At first I struggled, how could I get a group together? Who could I get that would be able to host big games? Where would this thing be - after all I am in the arctic north of Michigan - basically a state entirely made up of peninsulas. When could we have it? Sure, some of these are basically challenges that most events have, but unlike the UK, the USA is a rather large place. Could we get enough people in one location to make it an event, instead of just some friends getting together to game? Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but we wanted something cool, something bigger than just one game.Also, where would be big enough to host it, willing to do so, and have some connection for us? Of course, BOYL 2014 was being planned at Foundry, again. So we knew they were going to have all of the cool things that you get there: great space, good food, Bryan Ansell's amazing collection. you know, ho-hum. :)! Seriously, the pictures from year one were enough to make me drool, and my wife to think I am more nuts than normal. So what could we do that would even come close? Well, Luckily for me, several of my ex-GW colleagues have started a store in the old Baltimore Bunker location - Dropzone Games - managed by Tom Gruhala, who used to manage the old Battle Bunker. You have to believe me, I KNOW these guys know how to run a store, and events, and just about everything  in between. And they are in the old US factory, so there is some connection to me at least to old school. Luckily Tom was willing to let me schedule it with him when I wandered out of the crowd, stumbling on my cane at Adepticon - a perfect example of an Oldhammer figure myself - crazy and deranged and going on about this great event.

I started talking to Rusty over a year ago about all of this and I also sent Richard Hale (Orclord from StuffofLegend) an email asking if he could attend or run a game. Where, When, Who? just went over and over. And I got some great advice from Orlygg himself - just make the date. If they can they will. So we planned it to make sure BlueinVt could make it, Rusty and I could make it, and we had our date. Tom was willing to set aside the date - and - now we just had to make the thing.

Of course then we had to start getting ideas for games together. Rusty wanted to do a Warband game, and I wanted a siege to be there (I believe my term was a big, freaking siege game ;) ). Luckily at this time, Andrew Dyer got on the forum and offered to run the painting competition. I was also able to get a friendly guy on the forums offer to run a Rogue Trader game. This was perfect as I knew I would be pretty busy, and then we could have a great RT game as well. Of course, the man with three alias's confused us all a bit by talking about his game so that we thought there were two games ;) Don Sargent wanted to set up his 3D Space Hulk board, which was another cool addition! Then Richard let me know he had his siege game, and he'd bring it along!

So we went from an idea to several people hosting games. My wife commented that anytime I talked about October, I'd get a smile on my face. So no matter what we had our little event to look forward to - but then doubts start creeping in. What if I throw this party and I am the only one who shows up? (Ok, I knew Rusty was going to be there, but what if it was just those of us running games?) How many people are going to travel far enough? Several people were SO enthusiastic, but always ended comments with "if I can go" or "maybe". Rusty set me straight on this - "if it is just us, we will all have fun playing some games". So thanks, buddy for holding my hand through all of that!

All of this was made worse by my new position - where I am currently under training- so I could not have any of the leave I had planned (originally to sell this to my wife and family it was going to be a trip to Washington DC for them, and my event for me ;) ). I was going to have to leave at 5pm Friday night - when we had planned on getting there at 6pm! Rusty had a bit of surgery, and then he caught an infection, so he went back into the hospital just days before the event! The whole thing was scary, and I was worried - about to go sideways. I left Friday night finally convinced I would at least make it, even if I would not arrive in Baltimore until 6:30 am! Rusty calling to joke that noone but he was there did not help ;) I'd also like to point out that my copilot Kyle went to sleep at 10pm, and did not even wake up when I almost drove off the rode several times in PA and WV! By the time I got to my friends house it was 7:15, and I finally laid down for a bit at 8:00. A partial undead, I wandered to my car and headed out for the day, still wondering just what would happen.....

 Tom and the crew had us all set up and everything prepared! We had tables (with Richard furiously putting out models for his Siege game), and space and chairs. It was just great! To give you an idea, at the same time that we were setting up our side, Tom was also getting a Warmachine tournament together (and while regular readers of my blog have little idea of what that curtails, it is some form of miniatures game, kinda like a shadow, and somehow requires lots of metal, cards and white things). In the ends, I think Tom was pretty happy with the fact that we brought our own terrain, could set up ourselves, and be pretty self reliant! At least I hope he was happy - we wanna do this all again, ya know?

One of the biggest tasks of the weekend was getting the siege game set up out of the boxes!
Rusty's table, all set up in its glory - Man was this fun to play on!

We had planned on setup and meet and greet time on Saturday morning, so our first games were scheduled for 11:00. This gave us some time to enjoy Rusty's warband table, Don's 3d Space Hulk pieces, and basically all sit around and wonder at Richard's big game. In fact we all really wanted to help him, but I think we were all nervous about his models (getting the figs out and into their boxes is one of the most dangerous parts)! But we had our group of core guys, and when Andrew and then Darrin Stephens (he of three names) showed up with a great Rogue Trader table, we were well on our way. I'm going to put a lot of pics up in a few future posts, but I just wanted to say a few thanks first:

Thank you to Tom, Dan, Josh, and the whole Dropzone Games Crew! We all had a blast, are so very thankful for you allowing us to be there, you had a great place for our event, treated us so incredibly well (even opening early Sunday!) and I only hope you enjoyed it and we baought enough paint and snacks to keep you happy! Thank You!

Thank you to Richard Hale, Orclord of Stuff of Legends fame! I asked for a big freaking Siege game.....and you more than delivered! It was huge, and for those who did not see it in person, not only was it just impressive in size, but all of the figures are just so pretty! While a lot of groups have done big games before, I have never seen a larger, more well painted display by any one person - the Perry's after all are two people! ;) Thanks so much - this was the HUGE game we needed for it to be an event, rather than just a group of old guys swapping lead!

Impressive - as every figure Richard put out for the Siege game was! Not only this signed Perry giant, but one unit of Orcs was 500 models at the start of the battle......ONE UNIT!
 Thank you to Chris Stephens, Darrin Lopez, Bulldogstephens...or what ever your real name is. We now all know that you must be wanted by a lot of people for that many alias's and that you put on one kick-ass game! I do hope that Bryan see those pictures of your Cult and limo - it would be so cool for him to comment on it! Thanks for bringing the Rogue Trader and getting us all so jones'd about doing something cooler next year! And we have to throw down next time!

Thanks to Andrew Dyer for running the painting competition, helping sort out all of that took a huge load off my mind! Getting Dave and everything set was just a job well done! I know mine was not too great this year, I just promise better paint job from me next time! A job well done, and without enough credit - so Thank you!

Thank you to Don Sargent - the 3D board was terrific and gave people something smaller and fun to play in the wee hours! Great stuff, and I can't wait to play it myself soon! Thanks also for the great attitude, great laugh, and just a joyous look. It was how I felt all weekend - and I can not wait for more! - but may have been too tired to express. Thanks!

As for event hoster's - I also want to Thank Rusty Gouldman! What can we say? His own personal bout with Nurgle, surgeries by some Mad Doc, infections, long travel, exhaustion, medicine that knocks out horses.....and he was still there throwing dice and having fun! The board you made was brilliant, it was so great to play the Warbands game over it, the buildings...the trolls under the bridge, just crazy! Even if the cats won't let your stuff alone! Thank you bud, this all would never have happened without you pushing to make it happen. Thanks so much!

For everyone who showed up to see, play, trade, drink, whatever - thank you! I had a great time seeing Steve and Vincent's love for all of this stuff (I'm sure having Dad's cool models to look at won't hurt!) Playing Thomas and Ken in Warbands, Running the Siege Empire against Dons and Kyle, Seeing such great painted models, BlueinVT for bringing so much along to show off! Just thanks to everyone! 

Of course we had some extra special guests and others to thank as well -

Mr. Graeme Davis was kind enough to let me know he definitely wanted to attend, and I've been pretty thrilled ever since! So thank you so much! It was great having you there, hearing some of the cooler bits of the good old Workshop days, and even hearing about those 19 one's against Bryan! Thanks for being so excited to join us, and it was a thrill to see you throw some dice and save my bacon at the Siege game! Thank you!

Graeme takes over the Empire artillery....see that Giant and the Squiggoth? They are gone moments later and I am breathing a big sigh of relief! Great fun, and great shooting Graeme!

Mr. Phil Gallagher was also kind enough to say he would come, and that has just been great to know - after all this is the guy who invented Sigmar and Karl Franz! But seriously, thanks for coming and sharing, I hope it was a bunch of fun for you! I'm also glad we could get you two together after 24 years - I sure hope it is not that long again!

As I said in our little post event speech, Thank you both so much! For a lot of us, this was our childhood, our Thunderbirds, and where a lot of our concepts, dreams and imagination sprang from, thanks so much for helping by giving us all you did!

Mr. Dave Taylor - thanks so much! It was great to see you at Adepticon, but when I heard Andy had roped you into judging, I was not sure if you knew what you were getting into! Thanks for the mention on your blog, Its such a huge draw from the more modern stuff, but tons of people ahve been checking us out because of it - so thanks! Also, great job on judging, well deserved champs and I really appreciate it! Thanks also for the kind words to Kyle about his painting! It means more coming from you, and you gave him so much to work on, I know he's just bound to get better and better. But a 15 year old getting advice one on one from a Golden Demon winner is just about priceless,  and he is already adding some of the things you mentioned to his Azhag model! Thanks for everything!

I also want to personally thank Bryan Ansell and Kev Adams for the BOYLdrick models for our event! It was just incredible, and I was happy to give as many away over the weekend as I could! They have all found happy homes, and I am just so thankful! To all of the stories in our heads, the incredible idea and passion of Realms Of Chaos, and the incredible history of those wonderful Orcs. Just thank you - I sure hope to support all that stuff you have planned from Foundry! But thanks for this - it was an incredible gesture, and we are ALL so happy and thrilled - Thanks!

Also, of course, thanks to my family and wife, who not only let me go on this crazy adventure with Kyle at my side, but put up with all the crazy planning and painting for it!

Here are some interesting facts of our weekend:
We had 5 very cool games, a painting competition, pickup games at a great place!
We had 31 attendees (not counting the hosts and guests)
Countless drinks and snacks were consumed
Richard's Big Siege game almost ran Tom out of tables ;)
Each of Richard's bins holds 270 infantry or 130 cavalry. (1000s of figs on the table)
Those bins leave just enough room for one Richard in a Volkswagen station wagon.
We had attendees whose average drive/travel time was 6 hours. (isn't that the length of the UK?)
It takes 14 hours to get there from my house.
Rick H made it all the way from Hawaii (surely the longest travel for any Oldhammer attendee anywhere!)
Teenagers can sleep through just about everything - including the car leaving the road no matter how many Red Bulls they drink.
Hundreds of figures were seen, traded, collected.
All leftover BOYLdricks are being sent Southward to our brothers down under - Thanks to Martin Ansell for that!


Plans are already in the works for MORE, BIGGER and BETTER next year! Can't wait!

I know this is just my thank you - still trying to get my bags unpacked and pictures sorted out due to insane hours at work this week - but for some great reports and info check out these:

Day 1 Report : Oldhammer USA Day 1 What BlueinVT saw!
Day 2 Report : Oldhammer USA Day 2 BlueinVT

Warbands Game Report: Beware the Trolls - Warbands Game Report
WFB game Report : Airbornegrove takes on BlueinVT

I'll be posting more later on! Thanks everyone!