Now, its Time to begin planning for Next Year’s Cardboard Wars in Tempe, Arizona!
As regular visitors to this blog may or may not already know, I was not able to really participate in this year’s convention — at least, not the way that I would have liked to — because of logistical issues that popped up, unexpectedly, just days before CSW Expo 2011 was ready to start. I won’t bore my readers with all the sordid details of my travails except to note that, for me to have attended the whole event from beginning to end, it would have required that I drive a bit over 120 miles each and every day of the convention. Putting aside the issue of gasoline prices, the sheer amount of travel time required by such a project was ultimately enough, by itself, to dissuaded me from making the attempt: forty years ago, maybe; but not now; not at my age.
|Tempe Mission Palms entrance.|
|Tempe Mission Palms courtyard.|
As I and my wife strolled through the various gaming areas, one fact gradually impressed itself on me; that is: if convention-goers want to truly get the most out of their once-a-year trip to Tempe, they need to plan well ahead. In the case of the different “big” games associated with MonsterGame.Con this is pretty obvious; it is also why the CSW Expo registration website offers pre-convention game sign-ups. However, not so obvious (at least to me) was the fact that — because the Expo is not a tournament convention — for those attendees who plan to play some of their favorite games, it is probably a good idea to use the various CSW game forums to line up a few of their matches in advance. Certainly open-gaming opportunities abound, and "game-systems" oriented convention-goers should have no difficulty finding pick-up opponents for most of the newer titles from major companies like Avalanche Press, Clash of Arms, Columbia Games, Decision Games, GMT, Multi-Man Publishing, or Victory Point Games, as well as those from the usual collection of "Euros". However, if a player has his or her heart set on playing a specific, older title such as HAMMER OF THE SCOTS (2002) or BITTER WOODS (1998/2003), or an even older (long out-of-print) Avalon Hill, GDW, Conflict Games, Victory Games, OSG, or SPI/TSR game, then setting-up a few prearranged matches is probably a good idea; if nothing else, it will save an attendee from wasting a lot of his or her precious convention time, roaming around looking for pick-up games in their preferred titles. [John Kranz, it should be noted, did set up a sign-up sheet for SPI games, but I still think that firming up a few "guaranteed" matches is a good idea.] On the other hand, because the CSW Expo offers its attendees such a broad spectrum of different game-related options, mapping out too much of one’s convention schedule in advance is also probably not a good idea.
|Frank Chadwick playtests a game.|
|Die hards seated comfortably with courtyard view.|
To find out more about next year’s CSW Expo/MonsterGame.Con and its many fabulous game-related activities, visit the website.
For those readers who would like a "player's eye view" of this year's convention, I strongly recommend Ric VD’s Consimworld Convention Walkabout Video .