Sunday, June 14, 2015

NJ Con - This IS Your Daddy's Miniature Convention

There are people who like large, noisy, sweaty, smelly conventions - 
I am not one of them.

And that's why I like NJ Con in Edison, NJ, where I've just spent two relaxing, enjoyable days. Plenty of parking, nice helpful staff, modest but interesting dealers room, and past time with good company. Nice convention site with room to grow.

NJ Con recaptures the simple fun of playing miniatures as was done in the Golden Age - there's really No School like Old School.

The NJ Expo Center is located at the end of a quiet business park, near the nexus of three major highways (NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and I-287), making it easily accessible for drives from north, west and south. 

Minor downside - the convention center is about 1/2 a mile from the nearest hotel.  That's not much of a problem in my opinion. Another debatable downside is there was no integral catering, but there was a BBQ van with some very good hot sandwiches which was there from about 3:00 PM to about 8:00 PM.  And being Edison there are plenty of restaurants, some of which will not be Indian.  

NJ Con Vendors Room - photo courtesy John R.

(Edit 15 June): Thanks to John R., there are now pictures:

NJ Con Game room - photo courtesy John R.

For a touch of controversy, I understand there are those in HMGS who have dubbed NJ Con the "Anti-Historicon" - I find this difficult to credit.  The first NJ Con was run at Fort Dix in 2008 - well before the current Historicon move and unfortunate fallout.  With a full month (and attendant pay-cycles) between event dates NJ Con is not in direct competition with H-Con - it is, at best, a soft or indirect competitor.

That said, the success and inevitable growth of NJ Con does prove that there is life outside of HMGS for the miniature wargame hobby - something which the current HMGS leadership might not want to hear....Ω


366_Zoh6 said...

I'll never understand the "anti-Historicon" comments. NJ Con is a great convention run by some really great gamers. These people running NJ Con should be applauded.

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Too bad there are no pictures ;-)

kmfrye2001 said...

Yes, I thought about taking some pics of the venue, but forgot. I'm hopeful that there will be some new pics up on their website.

I don't have much of a vested interest in H-Con - I've been once in a decade, and that was at Valley Forge. That said, as far as participation numbers goe, moving it further from New York/Boston was probably a bad decision. OTOH, if they can make it work with reduced numbers, they may have wanted that all along.

I think NJ Con may be positioned to take up the slack, eventually.

366_Zoh6 said...

Moving HCon may have been a blessing in disguise. This gives NJ Con and The Weekend time and space to grow and really establish themselves. I hope NJ Con really expands and grows!

J Rebori said...

A good part of the enjoyment of the convention were the excellent games you ran. Not that I might be a bit prejudiced about that.

I do have one picture I took of the gaming room, and one I took of your mining town table before we started playing. I'd be happy to email them to you so you can see if they are worth using. I don't actually have high hopes of that.

kmfrye2001 said...

Hi John - thanks for the kind words. It was great meeting you. Sure, send those pics along to kmfrye2001(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Tales of that not yet. said...

Over the past two weekends my son and I attended both Origins(TM) and a local convention NOWScon.(Northern Ohio Wargamers Society) (Local for us near Cleveland) We had a great time at both, but for different reasons. Origins(TM) is great if you are looking at what is new and want to talk to the game designer or at least someone that knows how to play the game. It was loud and at times there were some unpleasant smells, but you can get that wherever people gather. NOWS on the other hand was about 3-40 people and was almost all miniatures, a few board games did get played. There was about two tables of swag for sale. You could hear what was being said without having to strain and all the games were explained in enough detail to be played with minimal down time.