I’m going to attend Enfilade Convention in Olympia, Washington, USA from the 24th to the 26th of May 2013. I’ll be covering the convention for Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy (A very big thank you to Mike Evans, Pat Lowinger, Dean Motoyama and the people at Enfilade for making this trip possible).
It all started with a conversation with Mike on Facebook (the jury’s still out with me whether Facebook is a useful tool to keep in contact with your friends or a dangerous time waster). He suggested that I should pop on over to Washington state and come along to Enfilade. I replied that while I’d love to, there was no practical way I could. An editor’s salary is enough to live on but not go ‘jet setting’ around the world. Mike replied: what if he were to find people to sponsor my trip? A great idea, I could cover Enfilade for the magazine and meet some great people.
At first I didn’t think it was going to happen. But bless him, Mike came through. At this point I must thank Jasper my boss too who was very supportive, as long as I managed to complete WSS 67 in time!
So what is Enfilade? It is Northwest Historical Miniature Gaming Society’s annual wargaming convention. I’m told it is the largest historical miniature gaming event west of the Mississippi, drawing nearly 300 attendees who participate in almost 200 events. Impressive!
There will be a mix of Miniature Gaming, Retail Vendors, Bring & Buy and a Painting Competition.
This year’s theme is ‘Warfare on the Silver Screen’. A prize will be awarded for the best game based on a movie.
At Enfilade, each game is a participation game. You sign up before the beginning of a weekend to which games you’d like to play. This is in contrast to British and some European shows where demonstration games are more common (where club members will turn up and run their own game, however, there is no specific invite for others to join). Another less common type is the static display; where the soldiers are laid out ready for battle but no game is played (I find this a little baffling to have a game fenced off like a rude screen in a Catholic church). While a static display can look great as dioramas, I always feel they’d have been so much better with dice being rolled and units moving (an entirely personal opinion, who am I to preach?).
Let us play devil’s advocate for a second; looking at the sheer number of participation games US shows, have the Americans (deep intake of breath!) got it right? The primary key difference between the American and the European model is due to the size and length of shows. American shows typically are weekend events and will involve accommodation while UK shows (at least in theory) are usually local events which can be driven to, attended and driven back from in a single day. Even so, I have to ask, have the Yanks got it right? I can think of no better way to promote the hobby than getting people involved, than to let them participate.
Expect further reports on my blog on Enfilade and an article in a future issue of WSS!