Wargames - GMT weekend fall 2010

After our weekend in Sedona Sandy flew home but I drove to California for a wargame convention - the GMT weekend. This is an event held twice a year by GMT Games, the largest (which isn't very large) wargame publisher. They are located in Hanford, California which is about twenty miles south of Fresno. There are usually about seventy five gamers who attend for four days. Most of them are from California but a few come from Nevada, Arizona, and sometimes even Idaho. I had planned to attend last spring but a bad storm made me cancel out. So this was my first GMT weekend.

I drove out to GMT games early in the morning, anxious to get started. Even though I had directions and had looked at both Google maps and satellite view, I drove by GMT twice before I figured out where it was. I didn't expect much but it turned out to be in a brick warehouse that looked like an old airplane hanger. It even had a big sign saying "Collins Air" on it - an air conditioning contractor that is next door to GMT. I had to admit to being a little disappointed to see what intergalactic headquarters for wargaming looked like. I guess that is how they keep prices down.

Once I got inside everything was different. Everywhere I looked there were wargames stacked to the ceiling. There were thousands of them. Sedona may have its New Age energy vortexes but I was soaking up the energy from all those wargames. I went through the warehouse and counted thirteen different games that I would have liked to buy.

But more important than buying wargames was playing wargames. Since this was my first GMT weekend I didn't know anyone. Most of the people who come are regulars so they know each other. So at first I watched/kibitzed some of the games going on. I spent a while watching a game of Normandy '44 which I had been learning myself. Watching other gamers play a game is a good way to learn both the rules and the tactics/strategy of the game. Soon I had an offer to play and was into a game of C&C Ancients. Most of the people at the event were very friendly and approachable. The games were for fun and were not overly competetive.

During the weekend I met quite a few gamers and played a lot of good games. Between games I could watch other games being played. There was a lot of discussion about old and new games. Good fun.

My games for the weekend were:

  • Commands & Colors (won)
  • Hannibal (won)
  • Washington's War (lost)
  • Epic Ancients (won 2 scenarios)
  • playtest of new 4x game from Victory Point Games (squashed badly by the designer)
  • Wellington (won - as the Spanish, eeehah!)
  • Epic Ancients (lost 2 scenarios)
  • C&C Ancients (won 2 scenarios)

After playing lots of games for three days I did sneak back to the hotel to watch the Boise State game. I thought that I would have to watch it on my laptop via slingbox but the Fresno station actually carried the BSU game on the WAC network. I wonder if the Fresno people were cheering for or against BSU.

Saturday morning was special because that was when attendees had a chance to buy games. Of course, GMT had to charge full price for everything or else they would get in trouble with their distributors. (wink, wink). But I did buy Washington's War. And I bought The Battle for Normandy. Nolan has it and no way am I going to let him get ahead of me. It is a monster game of the Normandy campaign. On Friday I was listening as someone went up to the stack of BfN games and said "You know, every time I come here there are less and less of these games. I suppose that I should get it before it is too late." Good enough for me.

The GMT weekend was a lot of fun. I did decide to skip the last day to go up to the mountains - the weather was just too good. But I am hoping to go back next spring for the next GMT weekend.

I was surprised to find out that the banner that got posted on the Consimworld forum by the GMT graphic artist to represent the event had - me! in the photo. I included it at the top of this post. I'm just a wargaming Star!