Adepticon 2022 – The Adeptining?
Twenty-twenty...too? No way! Let's get back to where 2019 left us and delve once more in to what is likely the best miniatures wargaming convention in the states: The return of Adepticon!
This article will be a pic-heavy drop recapping my experiences at this year's convention. I'm always like a kid in a playground at this one, so I gawk and wander and have a grand ol' time. Hopefully you all do too, whether at the con or vicariously through these images. 🙂
First stop -- The convention itself.
One of the best feelings for me is when I first walk in to the convention halls. Just seeing the sheer amount of tables and people having such a great time rolling dice and letting their imaginations recreate epic battles and conquests sparks my own excitement for the hobby.
The main central hall is dedicated to vendors. There are so many amazing products out there. The hobby keeps growing so it's awesome to see what people are putting out there. This year, I didn't get to spend much time in the vendor hall due to scheduling, so my take-home swag was a bit sparse compared to prior years, but I still found a neat trinket or three during my brief expeditions.
I adore the dedication of these hobbyists. Especially the costumed ones!
Sure, online shopping is easy...but to hold all of this stuff you wondered about in your hands is an experience in itself. Great sales at a few of these booths as well.
Another fantastic part of the vendor area is the many demos and displays. If you're curious about the hobby, even with no experience, you can just go up to these tables and someone will give you a nice demo of their product. This approach really makes wargaming accessible and appealing, and honestly is how I've been drawn in to quite a few different systems over the years.
One of my favorite booths is the Warsenal/Corvus Belli booth. There's something about the sharpness of their terrain and mini designs that draws me in. This year they introduced a PRE-PAINTED terrain line! The Warsenal studio painter(s) are so amazing, it's daunting to try to recreate their schemes on their kits. This let's you assemble and throw it on the table looking great right away!
Another booth I enjoy perusing: Creature Caster. Their sculpts can be really twisted and weird in a delightful Chaotic way. I've really got to assemble and paint a few of the kits I've purchased in the past.
This classic cyberpunk setup was really fun.
Blacksite Studios new game release: Don't Look Back. This is a retro 80s horror style co-op system that looked like a lot of fun and seemed quite popular. Their demo table was amazing. In general, BSS usually has some great display setups. They didn't let down this year.
This was some 3d printed terrain. Sadly, I can't remember the name of the vendor but I really enjoyed the light-hearted fantasy vibe of these buildings. The print job was really nice on these too, and once painted would look amazing on a table.
There are so many creative individuals in this hobby. It's always a joy for me to see how people piece together a gaming board to tell their story.
I've got to admit, as I get older I find myself enjoying these historical tables more and more. I really love how they integrate hills and terrain in a way that seems very natural. I also think large battles on a smaller scale works really well. It's like being there.
Mantic's tournament section was really lively this year. I feel they're upping their game presence at cons and that's a good thing. These Armada setups looked really fun and the players painted fleets were inspiring.
Kings of War, a CSW favorite.
This young player was about to crush her opponent. "No mercy, boomer!" ;D
The Warhammer/40k section was absolutely bustling. So many great looking armies and tables.
This was a Rivenstone demo that was put in the tourney section for some reason. Maybe they couldn't secure a vendor booth. The table looked fantastic though in it's relative simplicity. It's a Kickstarter that is ongoing as of today. The models looked somewhat WoW-ish. Quite nice. I didn't have time to demo it unfortunately.
During my first Adepticon, I tried a demo of Freeblades. I really liked it and they gave me a coupon for some starter Freebands, so I picked up a few models. I quite like the line and the rulebook is immense and consistently updated. This year, I was pleased to see their booth had basically tripled in size since then and their player base and community seems quite enthralled and active. Their dedication shows in the tourney section tables at this years Adepticon. Some really amazing setups. In the few weeks since attending, I was actually inspired enough to paint up an entire 16 member freeband of figures I've collected because of seeing these! Next year maybe I'll jump in on this more. 🙂
This display base was simply awesome!
Another display base with a handcrafted waterfall.
How fun would that be to play on?
Such a cool tower. I might have to make one of those.
Somehow I totally missed the Infinity tables as they were hidden behind Star Wars stuff I guess. I did love the Spider District setup Warsenal had though. I own a few of these pieces because they trigger my fondness for all things Bladerunner/William Gibson. This was so good.
Of course, what Adepticon would be complete without CSW running a few games. I know a member or two held games at the satellite location for historical events, so I did not get to see those :(, but I did run in to Karl's always-a-treat Mech Attack setup.
Karl working his magic on toy ships and train scale buildings to really put on a show.
28mm mech battles! Awesome selection.
To truly appreciate the massiveness of this you need to take a step back. This is how I met the group years ago. Stumbling upon something of this magnitude and needing to know more.
I also ran a game.
As in a past article, I quite enjoyed the Planet 28 system and decided to use the fantasy version, Brutal Quest to create my own event game. Inspired by AD&D and Zelda dungeons, I made some tweaks to the core rules to make my own trap-filled dungeon.
I went with sort of a Temple of Elemental Evil theme with these. Players had to retrieve 3 cubes (their choice) from different hazardous areas to unlock the boss door. This was also competitive, where you get Brutality points for attacking/blocking/killing other players and can use those points to manipulate these hazardous rooms. This kept the players engaged and bloodthirsty.
The acid room. Basically, where all of the Bruh-Guy (He-Man) group ganged up on poor ol' Wanbi-On tired of hearing his worn out life lessons. The acid caused damaged if you were pushed in to it. The statues emitted linear pushing beams during certain times in the game phase.
When there are water tunnels in the middle of a dungeon, there are *always* tentacles! Always.
A slippery ice room. If you changed direction, you had to roll an agility test or slide out in a random direction. Hopefully towards the spikes. }:D
I was quite pleased with the backstabbery that occurred as the players reached the boss room. In fact, instead of choosing to fight the boss they chose to have a massive brawl and attack one another! Everyone that joined was very good humored, adding to the experience with snarky puns and impressions. It was a blast and I'm glad to see how much fun they had.
They possibly made the right choice. These guys didn't get to come out to play. ;D
Brutal Quest worked out great at the con. It's such a simple system to learn, character creation is easy and easily understood. (I had pre-made lists, to maximize teaching and playing time, but it was fairly quick to do.) The system is also sandbox-ey enough to add in extra rules for thematic elements. I may have to do a more formal add-on for my extra game rules but I enjoyed coming up with them and how they played out.
Intermission: Dinner break
Stopping at Kuma's Corner for a burger is a tradition for me when I'm at Adepticon. So amazing and indulgent. The sheer amount of calories will get you through the day. CSW member Josh and I had a fun hangout here. Yes, that is chicken and waffles on a 10oz burger. O.O
I'm a big painting fan. It's undoubtedly the most fun I have in the hobby and where I spend the majority of my time. That includes appreciation of what other artists do and the fact that this year's Adepticon brought the return of the Golden Demon was a huge deal. Since the dissolution of the Crystal Brush, it seemed like quite a few companies held independent painting contests, so I browsed through a few different cabinets and snapped shots of models that really caught my eye. This most definitely does NOT cover all of the amazing painted pieces that were out there, but is a fraction of what was on display. Truly jaw-dropping stuff.
These first four were from a studio art booth, Stiff Neck Studio. They did some really amazing work...and quite grotesque! Look at the blue water base...and the blood & milk Kingdom Death model...o.O
The entry-way to the Golden Demon displays. While this is strictly GW models, the mastery of model painting is a sight to behold.
When I used instagram, I used to follow this painter. She's got such a distinctive spider-webby like style. I really enjoyed seeing her pieces in person.
Love the colors used on this.
Another artist I've followed for many years. He usually does only a few custom diorama pieces a year, but they are always inspiring.
The unique colors on this didn't get enough attention. One of the standouts imo.
Sam Lenz' distinctive free-hand bannering.
I believe this was one of Vince Venturella's many entries. The tattoo work really caught my eye.
Fly you fools!
A custom sculpted Mephiston at a larger scale. This was one of those "technically not a GW model, but since it's coherent with the universe we've created it can be displayed". Awesome work.
You destroy planets for this guy? Another amazing custom piece.
Creepy conversion, but I like it!
Dreadfleet ship...in a bottle!
I run a local hobby group around my region, and this was one of a member's entry. It was fantastic!
Probably my favorite duel piece. I love the colors and vibe of this one.
The rad floor of a Blackstone Fortress.
Neon synthwave guitarist...yes. So much yes.
The basing and sharp execution of this was very eye catching as well.
The other of the local group member's entry. He's an Ork fanatic, and nailed it with this one.
Francesco Farabi, a great Italian painter. This is all free-hand! The armor and everything. O.O
This piece was also truly eye-catching. Amazingly well executed.
This was Ben Komets duel entry. He's also a reknowned mini-painter and you can see why.
Creature Caster also held their Resin Beast contest which is picking up momentum and had some great entries as well.
Look at those maggots! This piece was truly great.
Display Boards: Armies on Parade brings some truly dedicated crafters. Imagine not only painting your gigantic army to a high standard, but then some equally immense board to show them at the ready!
This thing was like 6+' tall. Drachenfels castle?
Somebody built a golden throne!
The castle above, with it's army of undead and vampires.
People even go so far as to put on a light show.
This display had these amazing pulsing neon lights showing up like cracks in the earth. Jaw dropping.
Why yes, that's Uncle Atom (Tabletop Minions), Vince Venturella and Scott (Miniac) spectating and teaching people to play games. (Reign in Hell, I bought a book and want to give it a go). Not pictured behind me were Eric (Eric's Hobby Workshop) and Lyla the Mini-Witch. The collective youtube subscribers from the people in this room probably adds up to a huge number. ;D Check out all of their channels for great info on basically all aspects of the hobby.
Since I'm the painterly type myself, I enjoy signing up for some classes. This year I didn't spend as much time in typical painting classes, but I took one from Aaron Lovejoy on basing and a mini-painting sketch class with Anthony Rodriguez. (Pirate Monkey Painting). They're both US based artists that I really admire and had fun in each of their classes.
In Aaron Lovejoy's class, he basically gave you a baggy with some random pieces in it to create a modern/apocalyptic/sci-fi base. He went over some tips on layout, shaping, putty and texturing alternatives. I created the above base with these pieces...the hand coming out from the rubble might be hard to see from that angle but I thought it was a fun addition. It will be exciting to see what I use this base for.
I've been an admirer of Pirate Monkey Painting for quite a few years. I don't think he gets the hobby buzz of some other artists, but I really enjoy his bold color choices and more of a sketch-like feel to his technique. This class was interesting in that he tried to get us out of our comfort zone while painting and focus on the volumes of the model more. This is similar to Matt DiPietro's sketch style, and can result in some very dynamic lighting rather quickly. Once you have those volumes covered, it's only a matter of using thin, transparent filters for color over it and you can really crank out those ideas.
Well, there you have it folks! Another Adepticon in the books. I've been eager to get back to one for the past 2 years, and this one did not disappoint. While I didn't have as much time to spend browsing the vendors and table areas, I'm also quite glad I set aside more time to spend with friends and new acquaintances. I feel like in one way or another each year I attend my enjoyment grows partly because of that. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year! Cheers!
Adepticon left a little piece inside me, and with the help of Xacto, I left a little piece inside it. ;D
Thanks for putting this post together! My son and I were only able to make it daytime on Saturday and much of our time was spent running Mech Attack. You photographed alot of stuff that I would have liked to have been able to spend more time looking at. Especially the Golden Demon entries I did not have time to see at all.
I’d forgotten you found us via our Mech Attack game. So glad you did!
Your Brutal Quest game looks very nice. Was the rewards-for-brutality your own invention or something extrapolated from the ruleset?
No problem Karl! I enjoy sharing my experiences, but of course witnessing it all personally is better.
I’m glad I met all of you guys as well, it’s nice to have a group of such variety and creativity as well as being open to many game systems.
In Brutal Quest there is already a system for gaining "brutality points" by attacking/blocking/etc. You can spend those points in-game to get rerolls or varied bonuses like extra damage or an extra action. To keep players devious, I ran with the theme that the dungeon sort of fed off their fury, and gave them the option to spend those points to activate the respective room traps. For most of those rooms I rolled a d10 at the start of the round. That was when the room would activate. So for instance, in the pictured acid room the statues would fire their beams when that round came up. If a player spent 2 brutality, they could reroll the die. This could potentially cause the room to activate more than once or maybe not at all…sort of a risk-reward mechanism that allowed influence over the game board itself.