6mm-Minis is Maksim-Smelchak's blog to discuss gaming, miniatures, books, movies, food, Israel, Judaism, life in general and other funny crud. My favorite scale of miniatures is 6mm, which is also called 1/285 or 1/300 scale. I enjoy many different kinds of games including ancients, Napoleonics, WWI, WWII, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Car Wars AKA Autoduel (a sort of crash'n'derby automobile combat game), 6mm Godzilla AKA Kaiju games, and science fiction games. I'm open to everything though!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

GAMING NEWS: Back From Conquest-SF-2007!

Hi All,

I'm finally back from ConQuest San Francisco 2007 and it was both exhausting and fun. I took a bunch of snapshots and will share those later. In a few words, the con was very good, but I think this year will be a watershed for the convention in that I'm seeing some big changes in how the gaming community is relating to the convention.

ConQuest San Francisco
AKA Pacificon AKA the Labor Day weekend gaming convention in the Bay Area has always been known as the premier miniatures gaming event in the Bay Area. Dundracon is known for its RPGs and Kublacon for board games and ConQuest San Francisco for miniatures, but the times are changing. This year, attendance seemed to be down again and yet while I noticed what seemed like less events this year, the events I did see were very well attended as opposed to having many events with some of them not picking up any players. I saw games that in past years had no player interest packed this year. And I thought about that...

I think what we're seeing is a change in the ConQuest brand name...

The "Big Kahuna" on the ConQuest conventions is a very affable gamer named Gabriel "Mondo" Vega, a big bear of a man bursting with lots of enthusiasm and even more to say. And "Mondo" is very much a RPG and board gamer, but not a minis gamer. That has shown in the guests of honor that have been brought into the con... all RPG and/or board game legends (...but no miniatures guys). And there have been some incredible guests of honor such as... James "Cheapass Games" Ernest, Ken Hite (writer of numerous RPG products over the years), Dave Arneson (D&D & Blackmoore RPG games among many others), and this year Richard Borg (creator of the board games Memoir '44, Battle Cry, C&C Ancients, Battle Lore and many others).

So, what I'm getting around to saying is I see ConQuest turning into a board game and RPG convention and competing with Kublacon and Dundracon for those names in the community while mini games may be relegated to the periphery of the convention. However, I could easily be wrong... there were lots of historical miniatures games at ConQuest San Francisco 2007, but very few new gamemasters... with a few exceptions, almost all of the gamemasters were old grognards. Only time will tell...

And in the interests of full disclosure, I've been volunteering as the sci-fi / fantasy miniatures coordinator for many years running now and my position has been eliminated from next year's convention. I have no regrets about that though... I gave what I could and am glad of the opportunity. I've always enjoyed being a part of the gaming community and wanted to give back and ensure that we'd have a gaming convention next year. I also need to send many thanks to Dave P. who was the senior miniatures coordinator this year and a fine man. Thanks, Dave!

Now having gotten over the part where I blather the most, I had a very good time at ConQuest San Francisco 2007 and took in several great games:

Friday: Six-person 6mm SJG OGRE game hosted by Jim K., the "Gypsy Comet."
Saturday: 15mm "Screaming GI's" - WWII D-Day Allied paratroopers in the bocage scenario.
Sunday: 15mm "Screaming GI's" - WWII German "break out" scenario.
Sunday: 28mm Warhammer Fantasy battles, 1,500 point Lustria campaign game: My undead vs. John R.'s lizardmen.
Monday: Memoir '44 Overlord (board game) six-person scenario hosted by Richard Borg.

I also got to watch a 15mm "I ain't been shot yet, Mum!" game on Monday... very cool game and a great gamemaster. Thanks, Tim!

I should also thank Kevin E., the senior board games coordinator, who managed to get Richard Borg to travel all the way from Florida to join us at ConQuest. Richard Borg, is, to use a Yiddish term, one heck of a mensch... the kind of guy who speaks using the terms "gamer" and "friend" interchangeably, who can put back a couple of mugs of beer, who enjoys hosting games, who has no problem taking criticism about his games and much, much more. I really liked him... one heck of a mensch! In one conversation, I mentioned that I really liked C&C Ancients, but didn't care for Battle Lore. Without even a pause, he told me to play Battle Lore and allow battle backs and eliminate the shooting/mana problem (...the tendency of players to snipe at each other from a distance and accrue mana to come in in a massive spell-supported charge rather than fight along Medieval lines with heavy knights charging en masse) in the game to make players combat more... and those were exactly the aspects of Battle Lore that I didn't care for! At any rate, I really liked Richard Borg and have Kevin E. to thank for this "Golden Geek Bragging Rights" experience. Thanks, Kevin!

And now a few helpful links:

ConQuest San Francisco convention site:

Dundracon convention site:

Kublacon convention site:

Gabriel "Mondo" Vega's blog (ConQuest's "Big Kahuna"):

I hope to write more about my ConQuest experience later this week, but I need to sign off for today!

Have a great Tuesday!

Update (5 September 2007 @ 9:10pm PST):

Gabriel "Mondo" Vega was kind enough to write in and correct some oversights I made... The ConQuest series gaming conventions apparently have had miniatures guests that I overlooked and "Mondo" is apprently a DBA fan. Thanks for the correction, "Mondo!"


Notes regarding photos / pictures / videos: These are not all my images and videos. I am using various images and videos from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images and videos under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).

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  • At 3:33 PM, September 05, 2007, Blogger Gabriel Vega said…

    Hi Maksim,
    Sure do appreciate your help with the convention. Just want to make one big correction, and a minor adjustment.

    1) Two years ago we had big miniatures guests. One was Phil Viverito with his massive City of Troy! It was simply amazing, and we were the first convention to ever bring him out to the West Coast. (We flew him and his prodigious models out from the New York to our show.)
    And that same year we had Don Perrin out running some of his stuff as well.

    That being said, last year was the big Role Playing guest with Dave Arneson. And this year was the big Wargaming guest with Richard Borg and Rodger MacGowan. See the pattern? And we are already working on a big minis guest for next year, Maksim.

    (James Ernest and Ken Hite are regular yearly guests to our show. They make good panelists, and James has a background in many areas of gaming, while Ken's humorous nature make him a hoot at seminars!)

    So, as far as judging emphasis of the convention based on special guests, one can see our balanced approach.

    PS. I am, in fact, also a miniature gamer. If we had had some DBA action going on, I might have stepped in with my friend Peter, but I don't think we had any this year. Strange. I generally play games at conventions I run (when I get the chance) except some boardgames, as they are easy to step away from when I have to deal with some convention business. I'd hate to do the same to a table of 8 or 9 minis guys. I've only played one RPGA round at ConQuest in three years. Only boardgames with very forgiving friends. :-)

    (2) Adjustment. We are not eliminating SciFi Fantasy Minis gaming at SF. Far from it. In fact, we realize that we need to more aggressively pursue GMs to run these games, and have a plan in place to do just that. I imagine that we will see almost double the games we saw this year. We are also bringing back to the Bay Area, with the help of Doc Dragon's crew, the Two Day WH Tournaments!

    So, it's all good, this thing of ours. And like I said at the show, Maksim, you have been a real mensch! We appreciate your service, and look forward to working with you at ConQuest SAC.

    Be well,
    Gabriel "Mondo" Vega
    ConQuest Conventions.

  • At 4:43 PM, September 07, 2007, Blogger Paul O'G said…

    Gday Maks,

    sounds like you had a good time. Interesting observations, the Australian cons (there arent many!) are very much a mix of Minis, board games, RPGs and increasingly Collectable Mini games like Mechwarrior, Pirates and clickies.

    Any Kaiju action this year?

  • At 7:14 AM, September 09, 2007, Blogger MaksimSmelchak said…

    Hi Tas,

    Thanks for writing.

    I didn't see ay kaiju action this year and had planned to run some of my own, but didn't have enough prep time... too many other distractions.

    Hope that you and yours are well.


  • At 7:16 PM, September 09, 2007, Blogger MaksimSmelchak said…

    Hi Mondo,

    Thanks for writing... appreciate the better info you have although I think that you may have made at least one unintentional error so I'll also share a correction with you:

    (Quoting & paraphrasing a friend or two... who would like to remain anonymous...)

    "Phil Viverito first brought one of his magnificent pieces of terrain to SoCal in 2003, when he brought the Siege of Tyre game (using "Classical Hack") to the HMGS-PSW mini-con in Glendale:


    As Phil has noted, it was Steve Verdoliva of the Adventurers Guild of Riverside who invited him out, and I believe Steve bought the Tyre terrain from Phil.

    Phil subsequently took the Siege of Troy game (using "Holy Hack") to Conquest SF in 2005, and to both Conquest LA and Orccon (Strategicon) in January and February 2006. I'm not sure of the current disposition of the Troy terrain.

    So certainly Gabriel Vega, followed up on the connection which the SoCal community had already made with Phil. But the statement "We were the first convention to ever bring him out to the West Coast" is… inaccurate."

    I've spoken with several of the involved folks and have this on good information from reliable sources.

    Thanks again for writing!



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