Wednesday, May 30, 2018

KublaCon 2018 Report

I've returned from another KublaCon.  This is the bay area's largest gaming convention by far - and it was nice to see a marked expansion in attendance - up by several hundred people I'm told.  While still not massive, the convention is now pulling in 4,000 people and consumes two hotels.

"Sauced" during Waterloo :-)

Combined picture of the three main
miniatures games we hosted/played

Personally I had an absolute blast - staying longer than I normally do.  Generally I arrive early Friday AM and leave late Sunday - but I staying through Monday AM this time - and even considered going on Thursday night, although I couldn't get away that early this year (the convention runs from Thursday afternoon to Monday afternoon).

We hosted/played Bunker Hill (AWI), Waterloo (Napoleonic's), and Kursk (WW2) - as well as many boardgames.  More on these in a sec ...

The new and excellent surprise hit for me for the weekend was a new game called Giant Killer Robots.  My buddy Dan Kerrick funded this through the Kickstarter and so we dove right into this game first thing upon arrival on Friday.

While not technically miniatures, it is a boardgame that uses miniatures :-)  If you haven't tried this game out you are really missing out.  This is potentially the best boardgame I've played in current memory.  The rules are well done and the game plays easily but with good tactical options.  Miniatures are pre-painted and the game components are top notch!

Just the right mix for my style.

Essentially, in the future cities need to be destroyed to make way for new construction.  Corporations are hired to do this using massive mechs and drones ... but why not make a sport out of it?  So, while wrecking the cities, paint sponsor logos on things and fight against the other corporations to win.  So, robot fighting arena with marketing.

Ok ... enough ... on to the pictures!

While I took many pictures - a special thanks to John Lantz and Alan Sissenwein for sharing pictures with me to include in this post.

Bunker Hill - June 17, 1775

Matt Hilzendrager from our group put together a game for the battle of Bunker Hill that was inspired by Pat over at Wargaming with Silver Whistle.  Matt has some plans to expand the troops and scenario for PacifiCon in September - but this was an outstanding first run of the game.

We used a modified set of rules based on Brother Against Brother.  While the British has a steady advanced, and the patriots took heavy casualties, the British got the worst of it and while they did make it to the hill they couldn't hold on to it.

28mm - mix of models from Foundry and Perry Miniatures.

Waterloo - June 18, 1815

The Waterloo Group

Waterloo.  It ran *exceptionally* well this time and I credit that to the players.  We had 20 players who all started with us at 11:30AM and ended with us at 9:30PM.  That includes a 1 hour food break and a couple of shorter snack breaks.  We played to completion - call it 7.5-8 hours of actual gameplay.

I would have started earlier, but the tables didn't get configured correctly and some administrative measures had to be taken to rearrange some things.  That delayed me by about 1 hour - and the game is a 2 hour setup so I missed my 10AM start time as a result.  Nonetheless, the players all stayed engaged throughout and we had a great time.

Rules: Empires At War ... this is a free download from my blog here ... see downloads on the right-hand side of the page (in the full web version, mobile site doesn't show the side bar).

Roy (left), John (center), and myself (right)

The most excellent John Lantz surprised Roy and I with Napoleonic hats - a British Shako for Roy and a bicorn for myself.  This is was amazing and a total surprise that made my day!  THANKS JOHN LANTZ!

At the end of the game we took the group picture above and I took everyone to the bar and bought a round of drinks - what better way to end than that?!

Whoops, port rations taking effect ...
Napoleon ... or a pirate? ;-)  Arrrgghhh!

But where's all the port?!

Finding common ground with the enemy ... lol

Not that I needed more booze - cause I had a steady intake of port rations during the battle - as can be witnessed above :-)

28mm miniatures - mix of Front Rank, Perry Miniatures, and some Warlord Games.  Buildings are from Hovels.


John Lantz ran this game for Kursk using Bolt Action with group activation.  I ran the Panzer 4 unit ... poorly!  I bought new dice and it still didn't help!  The German advanced was slow, until Russian artillery started dropping every turn ... then the pace of engagement quickened ;-)

A lone German Tiger made it into the town - which was the objective - only to be promptly blown up by Russian anti-tank dogs!  LOL!!!

Last action and roll of the game ... Russian mine dogs attack the one Tiger tank that made it into town and rolled a 6!  Kaboom!!!  And the crowd went wild ...

Other Games

Here is a mix of other gaming that I encountered throughout the weekend.

Demo games for Blood and Plunder

I played the new version of Epic Spell Wars - in which I took on the roll of "Rear Admiral Pat Mehiny" - and during which I got a card called "President Asshole" ... which is clearly Trump spewing poop all over lady liberty.  I'd laugh if it wasn't so ... ummm ... current.

Below is an impressive setup and game for Mordhiem.

I played in a chariot racing game.  I've concluded I'm a terrible charioteer.

This was an epic weekend and overdue for many reasons.  I saw some long time friends, some friends I've not seen for some time - and it was awesome!  I'm already looking forward to next year.  But, before that is PacifiCon --- and more gaming in the man cave!


  1. Some magnificent looking games on show. What a great range of beautiful looking photos and the Waterloo game looked sensational!

  2. Thanks for that Hudge report !
    Beautifull pictures !
    The place to be this week end ! :-)

  3. Great looking games, but AARRGh! people crawling more than half way over the table, did they not think to just walk round the other side?


    1. lol ... well, I see French players on both sides of the board while that is happening ... for what it's worth, I designed it so people could crawl across it :-)

  4. Another brilliant KublaCon report 😃
    Not going to lie, my heart stopped for a moment seeing the photos of those guys literally kneeling on the table - I would most definitely have been off to the side, head in hands mouthing "no no no no no no no" lol!!

    1. We'll get you out one of these years! Just wood and foam under the fur ... no miniatures were harmed during the game :-)

  5. Nice Kubla AAR. Looks like all the games went great, even with the late start. I bet everyone was just excited to play in such a massive game. 😀 I had to miss Kubla but I will be at Pacificon, so I’ll be sure to say hi.

  6. That looks like one heck of a show - and looks like you had a great time. For us Brits, this makes everything we hear about the States true - you definitely do things bigger and better over there. Marvelous stuff. Marc (who wondered how you moved troops in the middle on FB)

    1. Thanks Marc! :-) It's interesting. I see some excellent and large looking game pictures from Salute and similar, but nobody playing games --- just on show. If you are gonna roll out the miniatures, get people playing IMO :-) But whatever works for the local gamer population ... you can always come over and we'll be happy to get you gaming at KublaCon :-)

  7. Waterloo looked fantastic... although I cringed at the sight of gamers crawling on the table to make their moves! Good weight bearing capability for the tables, clearly!

    1. Lol, that's how you know it is a serious gaming experience :-) lol

  8. Thanks for the mention Jay. Looks like a great weekend and gaming at its very best.

    1. No problem Pat - thanks! Hopefully you had some deja vu looking at the bunker hill pics :-)

  9. Well done on the Waterloo game, though if I had played I would have had to hire a young lad to climb over the table to move my troops OR put in charge of an artillery battery in the rear;)

    Happy to hear you were able to blow off some steam.


    1. lol ... the grand battery is a thing of beauty ... you could have done some serious damage without the need to *actually* march across the table :-) lol

  10. Amazing spectacle! Superb looking games, and the Waterloo one is a particularly exceptional effort!

  11. I’m not a Napoleonics guy, but, WOW that table is amazing! Nice work. How did you manage to GM that and stay sane?

    Were the pre-painted robots a part of the Kickstarter? I don’t think they’re painted in the retail version.

    1. Thanks! I had a lot of port to keep me going ;-) Actually, in all seriousness, the rules are easy to learn and we had 20 excellent players who needed little to no help after turn 2 - it was actually fairly easy. I spent more time watching and tidying up here and there more so than anything else.

      Robots are prepainted in the retail version as well. The Kickstarter had a "painters" edition with unassembled/unpainted robots ... but other than that everything is prepainted.

  12. Beautiful tables and photographs. I cannot belief I see grown men climbing upon the Waterloo table.

    1. lol ... we all had to let the kid inside loose on the tabletop! :-) lol Thanks!

  13. Great looking ww2game, lovely AWI game but wow the Waterloo game is just epic!
    Best Iain

  14. Looks like a really good time. Good games. So who won Waterloo? Need to find some good games like those near me.

    1. This time it was the French, but it was a close run thing :-)

  15. Thanks for getting so many wonderful pictures to the blog.