Adepticon 2023 – A Madcap Recap (image heavy)

Welcome once again to an Adepticon recap! While this is just my perspective, other members of CSW may share some of theirs in future posts.

First off, I get hyped for this convention! It's wondrous to me and I enjoy myself every time I go. I also feel like each time I go I stay for longer and see more things, this year I attended for 4 whopping days! Regardless, time passes by so quickly and before I know it, it's over. Then I'm left sorting through piles of swag and browsing images of all of the amazing tables and players that attend and participate. The creativity witnessed absolutely rejuvenates my hobby passion!

I shall recall some fine memories through these shared images so that you too shall be hyped and salivating to attend next years!


First off, Adepticon has usually been FREE to attend! (Last year was a little odd with the covid restrictions, but this year it went back to normal.) That's right, you can just walk right on in and navigate through vendor halls, look at all of the events and tables, participate in paint-N-takes and demo games. It's highly recommended, even if you're just browsing for a day.

This year, once you scavenge for parking...and I do mean you have to be ruthless and diligent to snag a spot during peak hours, you walk towards the main event entrance. I was greeted this year by a giant inflatable urban mech from Battletech. Awesome! I think this guy shows up at Gen-Con as well, so it was cool to see.

This year, instead of going to the vendor hall right away I initially walked the main ballroom. So many games being played. I believe this room contained Age of Sigmar, Infinity, Warmachine and a few others. Infinity tables in particular always catch my eye because they can be so elaborate. This year's tables were expertly done. My jaw dropped at a few.

Marvel Crisis Protocol. This had a very large crowd this year as well, so it's nice to see the game growing.

Kill Team tables. They seemed to go with a boarding action style this year.

Nice Battletech area. It's awesome to see the resurgence of this game. I had a 2nd ed box set back when I was 13 or so, so it's nice to see this game sticking around for so long. Congrats to Catalyst on their Kickstarter as well...something like $7M raised! O.O

One of my memories from an early Adepticon I attended was the Kings of War mega battle. Glad to see it's still around. KoW is a great game! This group is fond of it, and once you play a few turns it's easy to see why!

Well, here are some of those Infinity tables I mentioned earlier. The neon lights on the Warsenal terrain were phenomenal!

Aristeia dome!

This table also blew me away. I'm a huge fan of Warsenal's MDF terrain, in particular the XiGuan series which is very reminiscent of Bladerunner/Ghost in the Shell. This table was decked out with amazing painted and pre-painted versions. So cool!

This was an interesting direction for Infinity tables - incorporating trees/forest terrain with some high tech installations.

Like this Mech graveyard! Awesome!

I also really like the mix of multi-cultural looks in Infinity. Haqqislam troops have some Middle-Eastern style terrain lines that are really fantastic. They could probably be utilized for a Dune game too.


I know CSW members like their ships - I thought this one was expertly done.

Age of Sigmar Displays. I took this pic as some inspiration if I ever wanted to incorporate animal skulls in to my terrain, haha.

Star Wars Legion also had a large presence. One of my earlier Adepticon experiences was seeing how many active X-Wing players there were. Now the Star Wars miniature line has grown quite a bit, so the tables are a little more split, but it's really cool to see so many iconic Star Wars settings recreated on the table.

Eventually, after browsing the tables, I did a quick walk through the vendor hall. This year was a little weird with my own scheduling and the fact that most of the events I was interested in sold out really quickly during pre-registration. As a consequence, I freed myself from most obligations and tried to play some demos or talk with vendors a bit more.

Star Wars Shatterpoint demo. I didn't get to play this but watched it for a bit. (There was a signup to play.) This actually looks pretty cool to me. I'm not a Star Wars fanboy, but there could be some potential here for this one to get big.

This guy at the Tablewar FAT Mat booth had some infectious charisma. I'm also a big fan of Tablewar's mat designs - they keep things kind of simple but that look great on the table. I picked up a small KillZone sized mat for small indie skirmish battles that I thought looked really neat. (Unfortunately they didn't carry the sizes I generally want, but the mat was pretty cheap and will still work fine for something like Planet28, Space Weirdos, 5 Parsecs from Home.)

I've also been curious about their background mats for mini photography. I experiment a lot with this for my own painted works but couldn't quite pull the trigger on their mats intended for this because they're a bit pricey. They had a demo out though that I experimented a bit with my phone camera. My opinion: Came out pretty nice! But I think my own solutions have been just as good.

Blackheart Models. They make some great classic sci-fi / horror busts. I have a few from past Adepticons, but it seems they have expanded their range GREATLY since then with more IPs!

Apparently this GW Forgeworld model is a gigantic clump of resin and very expensive! Cool to see in person.

Warlord Games with a wide selection of their lineup. They have so many games now it's hard to keep track of.

They also had this old WW2 style jeep. It was super noisy when they were running it and really stunk up the place.

One of my favorite booths and one I hit up EVERY adepticon - Gale Force 9. This is the best chance to get some of their products at a discounted rate. They all look great and I use quite a few of their pre-painted terrain pieces regularly. (Battlefield in a Box stuff, it's great!)

But aside from terrain I *always* stock up on mdf bases! For $20 they give you a quart container that you can FILL TO THE BRIM with bases of various sizes. As long as you can tape it up it's $20. I've honed my strategy over the years and wind up with tons and tons of bases that I use pretty regularly. This year I was in need of some Warmaster and Epic 40K sizes (roughly.) I still need to empty and sort this container. 🙂

There were quite a few paint and display modeling companies there this year. Scale75, AKInteractive, Monument Hobbies, etc. Since I'm a painting nut, I use a lot of different brands so it's nice to browse so many options and even try some out depending on the vendor.

I tested out the AK Interactive booth with their newer 3rd gen acrylic paints by slapping some colors on this mini.

TTCombat had some cool convention promo minis for sale. I'm honestly not sure what game some of these are for but they looked like a neat sci-fi setting.

I loved this Elder Scrolls (Skyrim) based demo table. I still need to try this game, I own the rules but haven't given it a shot.

Fallout Wasteland Warfare. I've played this and enjoyed it. It's token heavy, but captures the essence of Fallout quite well.

Of course the Warsenal Infinity demo table was a jawdropper. There's that XiGuan stuff again...*drool*
I played a refresher demo of this. I've played N3 ruleset in the past, but haven't tried N4. From my demo, this is still a solid ruleset - and the decisions in-game can be so agonizing but in a good way. It's very tactical and tense like a hi-tech firefight should be! This is a game I still want to try to be more active in.

Crocodile Games had some minis and displays for their Wargods line. Really nice minis and an awesome Greek style demo table. I don't know much about the game however but I've heard some good things.

Upcoming Kickstarter for a Mutant Chronicles Game.

The elephant in the room....a new WH40k edition was announced! What kind of surprises this display table wasn't all that amazing. I feel like so many smaller vendors had much more elaborate setups and display paintjobs.

They did have some awesome props though!

Similar to small vendor paint lines, there were a lot of indie scale figure makers here too. Mindwork, Neko Galaxy, etc.
Most of these had some amaaaaaazing painted samples in their cabinets. That witch was jaw-dropping!


Tinker Turf does some awesome all-cardboard terrain which makes it relatively affordable and ready to do with minimal effort! I loved the look of some of these. My only complaint was that some of the pieces were difficult to move around without parts falling off. I would expect the cardboard to get weaker with use as well.

Awesome cyberpunk looking models.

Paul Bonner is one of my absolute favorite fantasy artists, so to see this piece come alive in 3d was a joy.

There were quite a few 3d printing and mdf vendors as well.

Another cool booth that seems to be a staple - Victoria Miniatures. I was really tempted by those Ogres! I thought about grabbing the set, but waited until the next day to go back...and they were sold out. 🙁

The Baron 'Orkonnen' model seems like something I need....

I've been a fan of Avatars of War models for the last year or so. I'm a patron of their 3d printed stls - they do awesome classic warhammer style sculpts. (I believe the founder used to be a GW sculptor in that era, so it shows.)
Here they had some cool resin models on display - Arnold Schwarzenogre. Hah!


Reaper had a Paint-N-Take, which are free and fun. I killed an hour or so with this odd Bones assassin.

Ok, Blacksite Studio is KILLING it! They are getting bigger every year, and displaying more and more models, mdf terrain, and games! This lunar table was amazing and artistic.

Don't Look Back is getting pretty huge too.

Yafsiga is a neat settings. It's a miniatures agnostic game, all you need is the rulebook. The game is diceless, uses a deck of poker cards to resolve things. The gameplay to me was very reminiscent of Malifaux, but with a more D&D-meets-Annihilation setting.

I perused the Mantic booth a few times too for some deals. I really like their giant, and the model is the size of a Barbie doll. I might have snagged one of these for a good price. ;D

Another company I'm a big fan of is Death Ray Designs. Their terrain has so much utility and modularity that it's hard not to want boxes and boxes full of the stuff. I really like their sci-fi and dungeon walls and own a bunch already (I used the dungeon stuff in the game I ran last year.). Here, they made them a bit thinner for Kill Team - but what I really liked was all of those tanks/tubes you could put on the end via a slot and tab. The older sci-fi sets I have had 2 tabs because they're wider, but I tested some of those pieces out and they fit pretty hopefully DRD releases a set of just those sometime.

They have also started doing Battletech and Steel Rift terrain for mech combat. Awesome stuff.

This gate had a really cool mechanism for opening and closing. That hazard striped floor piece would automatically fold out or in as the door was being lifted or dropped in to place. It was really cool looking.

I was interested in Malifaux 2E a while back because I kept seeing their models go on clearance sales and they looked really cool to me - so I own a bunch but have never played. I decided to get in a demo this year of the 3E ruleset...and it's rather good! It uses poker card based resolution, but the cards are multifunctional. You have a hand you can 'cheat' with to change results, but the symbols also determine extra effects. It's a really slick, character-based game...and the rules/model stats/season mission upgrades are all FREE on an app! Also...the app is *really* good and very interactive which was kind of a surprise. This comes with the caveat that the models are a bit pricey - but you also don't need a lot of them. I came away pretty impressed with my demo of this and have actually painted a pretty full Gremlin crew or two since the con because of that impression. I need to try to get this to the table more in the future.

My first night I snuck in to the Trapped Under Plastic podcast recording with Miniac (Scott) and Ninjon (Jon Ninas). Both are excellent youtubers and great fun to watch/listen to. They've got a natural charisma and enthusiasm for the hobby. Recommended to check out their channel(s).

Ok, remember how I said parking is savage at the main hall....well, there was a satellite venue for Adepticon this year (and last year). The game I ran this year, was more of a historical setting so they placed the event in the satellite venue. Well, it turns out there is a really excellent free shuttle service that goes between the two venues basically all day and regularly. So on day 2, I got frustrated looking for parking for about 30 mins I decided to just drive over to the other venue to check it out and take the shuttle back and forth. It worked out excellently!
The other venue is quite a bit smaller and less populated. There wasn't a ton to see there, basically one or two vendors, and about 4 or 5 conference rooms/ballroom where games were taking place.

Still worth seeing however, because the tables were really great there too!

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game tables were fantastic! People are really passionate about their LotR armies and lore and it shows in the detail these hobbyist displayed. This is a other game I need to try - I hear often that it's "the BEST GW ruleset." I need to find out!

This was a huge, small-scale (hmm...that sounds weird) battle. I love the detail in the history, rules, and setup these guys put in to everything.

You can see the main ballroom isn't quite as huge as what's on display at the Renaissance, but the tables were still very well done. Mostly Bolt Action and Flames of War / Team Yankee.

Blood & Plunder had a presence at both locations. I think they had overall cooler setups at the Hyatt Regency though.

It snowed on the 3rd day...because Chicago-land.

This made Frostgrave tables more immersive however!

Stargrave also had some presence.

My game - This year I wanted to try to allow for more players so I went with a ruleset that can support 8! Steel & Steed (God's Eye Games) is a ruleset that's supposed to represent a proper medieval tourney. There are combat events, archery event, jousting. The rules are relatively simple - but I did need to rework the player aids for clarity and additional details.

There was a slight mix-up as to where exactly the game was supposed to be held. Because I mentioned in the description of the game it was a medieval tournament, the Adepticon staff assumed it was an *actual* they reserved something like 4 tables for me in a bigger ballroom instead of where the listing said it was going to be. :-/ I did leave a note in the other room about where it was located, but only 5 / 8 players showed up. This was ok however, and made the game a bit shorter - which for a convention as expansive as Adepticon is, nobody complained about.
This was another game where after a turn or two, the players seemed to pick up on the flow really quickly and could almost self-manage. I think it went down pretty well as a demo. The game also supports a pretty robust campaign system where I think the real meat and bones of the storytelling potential lies. You can progress your knights, your house, and run in to all kinds of interesting events, court maidens, earn titles for yourself, ransom captured opponents. It seems like a game that beckons to be played over the course of a year - maybe an event every quarter with your club.

This guy was brutal and won every event he played in - so we deemed him the World Champion. I don't know of anyone else playing this game and can't find much in the way of batreps or other information as far as I know, he is the World Champion of this game right now.


Display Models - Adepticon has been known for it's amazing painting competitions as well. This year there were several sponsored by different vendors. I'm a painting nerd, so these are always stunning and appealing to me to analyze and snap photos for inspiration.

This included the Resin Beast from Creature Caster (who make wicked chaos based monstrosities).

Great OSL on this. Up close it was executed really well.

I think I own this model. It's quite possible the most complex and detailed model I've ever seen....I'm honestly a bit scared to build and paint it, but I NEEDED it when I saw it. 🙂

Oh my, that psychadelic effect was trippy!

Atomic Mass Games also had a painting contest for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Surprisingly there weren't a ton of entries, but the ones that were in the cabinet were all quite excellent.

This whole diorama / display board was nuts.

The obvious 5000 lb gorilla....the GOLDEN DEMON.
Oh man, this is a prestigious one and it draws out some fantastic artists. This year's entries were truly excellent - it was hard to decide personally...although I do want to say my two early predictions on Thursday both won golds. 🙂 So...maybe I should be a judge GW if you're reading this?

I believe this dragon diorama was KAHA's. She has a very distinct spacey-energy-web technique that I haven't seen other artists recreate to the same effect yet. You can see it on the wings here.

We all live on a yellow space marine? Haha...maybe not.

Cool recreation of the book art.

This was awesome and super smooth. I would love having this piece on display.

Awesome and the visual was very effective as well.

Whoa...the LotR figures really knocked it out of the park this year. Everything was so excellent in that category.

This funny little ork/gobbo diorama was made by someone in a local group I'm in. He's got a true passion for Orks! These are great fun to see when he does them.

The base was awesome on this.

Great overall image.

Insert Super Mario Bros. theme.

I've been painting Nighthaunts lately and this moss/grass effect was a cool twist on a scheme!

One of my Thurs predictions - this won a gold (Andy Wardle). I could tell as soon as I saw this that this piece was special. So smooth but atmospheric with a ton of detail.

Zoomed in with my phone camera...the fact that it looks this excellent even with bad lighting through a glass case says something. In particular, things like the bounce lighting on those big pearls really caught my eye. So well done.

Great grime and grit!

So yeah, that happened also. Lol

This was the Slayer Sword winner Dark Angel. Quite well done....although I did not predict this one.

The other of the local Ork fanatics pieces. Look at all those hand-sculpted teeth on the base! O.O

This was my other thursday prediction. (Also won a gold...also Andy Wardle. Apparently I'm a fan of Andy Wardle now.) This was simply eye-catching! The smoothness of the NMM blends. The horse hair striations. *chef's kiss*

Classic color scheme and execution that seems kind of timeless to me.

This was nuts. It was a bit weird to see in person, but once you hit the right angle it really conveys the whole dynamic! This had to have been nerve-wracking to execute. First to paint it perfectly...then to cover it with all kinds of resin or glues. It boggles my mind.

Stunning free-hand.

I knew this was a Sergio Calvo piece the instant I saw it. He's got such an interesting vibrant style.

Another amazing action piece.

Hand-crafted iconic Warhammer scene!

This totally captures what LotR feels like to me.

This diorama was way underrated in my opinion. It tells a whole story! The kid almost praying to the Space Marine statue for help or salvation, while there's a guy about to dump trash on a vagrant sleeping on the streets...all the while, battles in the underhive are taking place below.

Other stuff - I only got a pic or two of Karl's famous Mech Attack game. Again an extensive almighty setup with a large group of players engaging in 28mm mech shenanigans.

The open play area. Lots of tables you can try to get random games on. MOST of these just seem to be Warhammer style stuff - Warcry, Killzone. I did see some Epic 40K though. I wish there were more indie style games at play also, but I didn't see much.


CSW Member Terrence got a demo of Space Station Zero from the authors: Uncle Adam (Tabletopminions) and Vince Venturella - both popular youtubers and hobby extraordinaires. Terrence had some cool and effective paper-craft terrain and great retro sci-fi minis.

D&D Onslaught is another up-and-coming big IP game. I didn't get to demo this either, but it seemed to be popular at the convention.

28mm Knight/Titan battles!

Armies on Parade.

Sadly, I missed this event. I *thought* it was supposed to be at 7pm on Saturday, so I waited and wandered around but didn't see anything set up at that time. Eventually I got hungry and decided to leave. Apparently it happened at 8! Gah! I did manage to catch a few left-overs the next day, which were great, but I would have loved to see the whole parade. :-/

This Gondor thing was mostly 3d printed. I have no idea how long that would have taken, but it looks insane!

Fort Wappel painting area, busy as usual.

Well, I think that's enough pictures for this year's Adepticon recap. Sorry for the bombardment. 🙂 For me it's a very visual convention because that's the major draw for me in this hobby. I hope you all get an inkling as to what the convention is like if you've never attended and I highly encourage you to try to make it to see it for yourself and potentially walk away with the same inspiration I get from going.

It was another great year and it was great seeing people from this club, and from other groups engaging and enjoying themselves.

One response to “Adepticon 2023 – A Madcap Recap (image heavy)

  1. Amazing post Chris.
    Once again my time at Adepticon was severely curtailed but your post makes me feel like I didn’t days there!

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