2018 After Action Report

AAR

AT THE ARDEN PARK HOTEL
MARCH 16, 17 & 18, 2018

How do I encapsulate my Hotlead 2018? Friends and gaming combined into one perfect weekend of awesome!

Everyone was pretty excited that my long time friend Don (almost 40 years, jeez we’re old) was able to make it this year, flying in from Las Vegas, where he lives now. 
“How are your 15mm Canadians doing?” he says. He’s building 15mm WW2 Canadians as well for Flames of War.
“Fine, I guess. Why?”
“I think they need these” he says and pulls a box of Plastic Soldier Company M5 halftracks from behind his back. “Got them in the Bring and Buy. They were too good a price to pass up. But I already have 2 boxes and don’t need a third.”

Another Red Shirt (Hotlead staffers wear red shirts), Dave, hands me a grocery bag wrapped around a book. “This is for  you.”
Inside is a first edition of Flashman and the Mountain of Light which he found at Attic Books, very excellent used bookstore in his home town. He already has a copy. I think he has a full set of first edition Flashman’s actually.
But Mountain of Light is one of my favourites, having read it many times. It was the first Flashman adventure I owned.

I was gifted a jar containing sweet pickled baby corn, a Waterloo County delicacy which is impossible to find anywhere else. My paternal grandparents were Waterloo County German stock and it is a taste of Grandma’s house. I made this observation at the funeral for my uncle, who had been Red Shirt Dan’s (aka Pasha Dan) Graduate Advisor. The funeral being held at a very old world traditional Catholic church (same one I’d been baptised in) featured sweet pickled baby corn along with the Catholic Women’s League egg and tuna salad sandwiches. So Dan brought a jar to Hotlead for me from a very nice deli near where his daughter works.

Don bought two cool Legio XX Valeria Victrix tee shirts for himself, then gifted me one of them. These were being sold by a new vendor at Hotlead. A young man who’s been tagging along with his dad, one of our regular GMs for many years.

I also made some great purchases at the Bring & Buy

Three nice Hirst Arts pieces; two barrels and one tub. All three cast in dental plaster and nicely painted with water effect added. Got all three for $5. Another small dealer, who is selling off a large collection of stuff had a 1/72nd scale T-62 going for $5. It wasn’t in great shape but that’s OK. I’ve been looking for a used T-55 or T-62 to turn into a wreck for  my Afghanistan terrain for a few years.

An Osprey Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. It might give me some scenario ideas at least. But holy acronyms Sergeant Major! Every sentence is stuffed full of letters which aren’t all covered in the glossary at the front and sometimes leave me flipping back through pages to find the first usage. “The AFO and CAG met with ODA 567 and AMF to conduct SSEs on the AOR. Meanwhile SASR conducted SR ops in the Pokara area.” Get the idea? But the thought of my SF operators storming an opium factory sounds kinda fun.

Finally, a rule book. The Chicago Way,  by Great Escape Games. Saturday night I played an uproariously fun game put on by Matthew (see his blog Oldenhammer in Toronto) using Dead Man’s Hand. Well The Chicago Way is just Dead Man’s Hand with cars and tommy guns. So I thought maybe I could resurrect my neglected gangsters and G-Men instead of selling them off, and like Matthew, create a nice tight game for 4-6 players. Matthew has posted a very nice write up of it, with many pictures here on his excellent blog. I’m going to steal his blackjack activation too.

This year went stupendously well thanks to Mrs Rabbitman on Registration and Admin, and Michelle on Event Coordinating. Records were broken in attendance, games played and dollars moved at the Bring & Buy. The team of Red Shirted Minions are now just doing their thing with minimal direction and I’m not sure what I do anymore except look good and act as ring master. 

Hotlead 2019 will be from the 29th to 31st of March at Best Western’s The Arden Park Hotel in Stratford, Ontario.

See you there!

James