TMX 2022- Thoughts and a Mech Attack Gallery
This June 4th and 5th, my son and I attended the Tabletop Minions Expo (TMX) in Oshkosh WI. It's a very small affair put on by Adam Loper, host of the Tabletop Minions show. Differing from most conventions, it's arranged as a gathering without tournaments in which gamers can hang out and showcase and demo their favorite games. I was unsure how a large, relatively unknown game like Mech Attack would fare, but it was a HIT!
I borrowed this picture from Adam's Twitter feed. Tabletop Minions on Twitter: "The Tabletop Minions Expo (TMX) 2022 is underway, and for a post-pandemic “rebuilding” year, the games are still running great! #warmongers https://t.co/fW583pV51l" / Twitter
We immediately filled all 8 spots for a game that -as usual- took a bit under 3 hours to teach and play to completion. Probably a quarter of the attendees at that time were suddenly at our table when I announced the game was to begin.
Though we did use a slightly smaller table than usual, and left the elevated train system at home, it was still the largest and one of the most impressive-looking (I do like a spectacle...) tables at the event and we had been given space right at the entrance! No detailed report, but below is a gallery of the event.
I'll put my thoughts on the event as a whole at the bottom of this Gallery.
One of the objectives completed was the destruction of the drop ship!
The game went well and all players seemed to have a good time. A very similar game and experience to our other recent game except that we added a Mech armed with a close combat weapon that functioned as a heavy laser. Also, the winners each got to take something out of the $5 box of stuff I had brought to sell and the most deadly general got a pull from the $10 box. I think that at conventions to come, if there is no prize support I will again bring a box of gaming extras and let the winners take a pick.
Tabletop Minions Expo In Review.
Overall I had a very positive experience. The convention was as small as an already-small convention could be expected to be in a post-Covid rebuilding-year. There were perhaps a dozen tables occupied with games with room for several more. Adam was welcoming and friendly, though between running my game and keeping my son occupied, I didn't have time to engage in the sitting around and hanging out with other very-friendly gamers that seemed to be one of the main focuses of the convention. Games seemed to run the gamut. Just from memory, I recall seeing Necromunda Ash Wastes, Full Thrust, Grimdark Firefight, Car Wars, County Road Z, Warcry, Heavy Gear and Dropzone Commander.
It should be noted that the location in Oshkosh is low-key but fantastic. Very cheap (around 40 buck) dormitory rooms are located in the same building as the convention and just across the street is a whole suite of restaurants. The town of Oshkosh itself has two wargame stores and a couple of comic shops. Also there is enough shopping, dining and points of interest that bringing non-gaming family along for a day or two could be a good option.
There does seem to be some room to grow within the space (a large room under a dormitory). I'm only an occasional listener to Tabletop Minions so perhaps there was more on-channel promotion, but my biggest -and probably only- criticism would be that the event seemed to be largely not-promoted. On the one hand that did lend itself to a small, intimate gathering. On the other hand, the attendance was such that while Saturday was reasonably active, the event seemed to have pretty much petered out by Sunday morning. I talked to a couple folks who decided to pack it in Saturday night though they had seemingly planned to stay longer. Perhaps it picked up in the afternoon, but no one was around for a Mech Attack Arena Fight on Sunday Morning and little other gaming was happening so we packed up our stuff and headed out around noon to head to the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum (definitely worth a visit) before heading home to Chicago.
My conclusion is that I would definitely like to attend next year but I hope that a bit more promotion is done. It was worth the trip and lodging even for a single day but I believe there are many more wargamers who would enjoy the experience of going to an event where they can try new (and old), interesting games in a very chill environment. A place like TMX where buying and competing take a backseat to community and narrative gaming is something the hobby needs more of.
Looking forward to next year,
PS: We also had fun trying playing Grimdark Firefight, a small-skirmish version of the 40k substitute Grimdark Future rules my son and I have been playing. A gentleman named Adam (a different Adam) running the game was kind enough to stat up my son's Tau who proceeded to thoroughly trounce the provided Krieg troopers I was using. He was friendly and also adept enough to keep it running fast enough that we were able to finish the game in the 50 minutes we had before running Mech Attack. The whole experience was very much a microcosm of the sort of positive experience that TMX is.