2012 After Action Report

AAR

AT THE ARDEN PARK HOTEL
MARCH 23, 24 & 25, 2012

Elvis sighted at Hotlead 2012!

Another exciting Hotlead has come and gone, and this year was a record breaker. Dice were rolled, tables shook, shields were sundered and beer was spilled as tiny hordes rode to ruin and the world’s ending…. or at least the table’s edge.

Plus Elvis made an appearance to fight some Chthulu Cultists!

We had in the end 63 open participation games. 6 ancient or medieval games including the Circus Maximus chariot racing, but not including the 5 DBA events. 6 Tricorne era games and 7 Napoleonic land battles and 2 naval games. The size of four of the Napoleonic games was also impressively large. The War of 1812 theme also generated 5 more land and 2 more naval games.

The intervening century was pretty sparsely represented with only 4 games until we got to WW2 which returned to top spot with a vengeance; 13 land games, 1 naval and 1 air. Post-WW2 was also well represented with 4 games this year. Science Fiction came on strong with a host of Battletech games giving that period 8 events in total. The Fantasy/Pulp period also came in with 5 games. Not a bad spread, about what I’d expect, although the American Civil War was surprisingly weak with only one naval game this year.

Most games seemed to have at least some players. I did not hear any complaints of “There’s nothing to play” or “No one signed up for my game” this year, and the lineup for the game sign ups was rather long, but better behaved than the shark tank of some years!

The War of 1812 theme created a pleasing amount of buzz and the games were all really well done. It was hard to choose the winner but we finally went with the Battle of Sackett’s Harbour put on by Jim Hill and Mark Anderson from the Bytown Barbarians club of Ottawa. Jim and Mark get to fight over a lovely plaque featuring a period shako plate donated by Don Cameron of Five Arrows Figures and Art [insert link] and a box of figures donated by J&M Miniatures. The theme also prompted a couple of re-enactors to wear their uniforms, even if they did end up playing in Dan’s French Indochina game. The media liked them and they provided some good quotes for the article about Hotlead that appeared in the local newspaper.

The Bring and Buy did more brisk business. Rick and Joe and the crew handled some $9-10K in transactions in about 7 hours and raised $1000. So this year we’re donating $500 each to the Strathroy and West Lorne Army Cadet Corps and the Stratford Central Scouts (Hotlead staffers work with these three units). We’re also donating $500 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. 
The dealers I talked to also seemed quite happy this year. One indicated that sales were back up to pre-2008 levels which is a positive sign.

The convention went quite smoothly this year. I had the usual trouble sleeping and fighting off headaches, but really any problems that arose were small and easily surmounted. A couple of GMs had to switch their games at the last minute, and the one cancelation gave me enough notice that the slot was easily filled.

Friday and Sunday were quite well attended. I’m toying with expanding on the Friday night to accommodate some more dealer space. It was pleasing to see how many stuck around to play on the Sunday too. We could start booking a few games for Sunday afternoon, although I’d probably have a mutiny since the Hotlead crew are pretty thoroughly bagged by lunch time on Sunday and mostly just want to go home.

I have some pictures posted on my blog:

An overview of the whole show: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/hotlead-2012-first-pictures-and.html
 
Friday: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/more-pictures-from-hotlead-2012-friday.html
 
Saturday part 1: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/more-pictures-from-hotlead-2012.html
 
Saturday part 2: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/more-pictures-from-hotlead-2012_30.html
 
Sunday: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/more-pictures-from-hotlead-2012-sunday.html
 
and a special thank you: http://www.rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2012/03/love-among-lead.html
 
The Hotlead Padre flew down from Alberta and recorded his convention experiences here: http://madpadrewargames.blogspot.ca/2012/03/my-weekend-at-hot-lead-part-1.html< and here: http://madpadrewargames.blogspot.ca/2012/03/my-weekend-at-hot-lead-2-victorians-on.html

Plus Andy Gamer has started putting some Flicker albums up: 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28981624@N02/sets/72157629712438765/show/ 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28981624@N02/sets/72157629711616975/show/

Thanks to Elizabeth, Chris, Steve, Rick, Joe, Dave, Barry, Mike B., Mike P., Patrick, Ian, Dan and Don for helping out this year and making it huge success.

Thanks also go to the GMs who share their collections with us and run the games to provide the entertainment.

I’ve already phoned the Arden Park and booked the venue for next year

Reserve your rooms now!

See you then and in the meantime, good gaming!

James