Goonhammer Historicals: The AdeptiCon Historical Experience, 2024

AdeptiCon 2024 – the best four days in wargaming – has come and gone, and it has reinvigorated me beyond my wildest expectations. I put in a ton of work starting around November, an hour a night or more, to get everything painted in time. Unlike many attendees, I was running events that required I provide models – Sharp Practice and Silver Bayonet – so I had to paint a ton; it wasn’t just about getting one army finished.

We have our own sign now! Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I really had an epiphany on Sunday when I was leaving the con – I talk to a lot of the folks I gamed with on Facebook/Discord/Twitter every day for months, then finally see them, and it’s like we’re a brotherhood (or sisterhood) at the event. Asking how each other are doing, catching up, helping set up, talking about our families, etc. Like we don’t live hundreds of miles from each other.

When we were running Lard America games on Friday and Saturday I just felt extreme satisfaction and pride of what we had done. It takes a lot of time to organize – gathering game masters, organizing tables, working with the overall Hyatt organizer to make sure we had space and all of our events were registered in the system so people could get into them. All of our tables looked great – some of the best at AdeptiCon for sure – and minis were painted to an extremely high standard. TooFatLardies puts out amazing rulesets and we met the standard there with our participation games.

I’m going to run through each day of my time at the convention: What I saw, what I did, what I bought, and my thoughts overall of that day’s activities. Then I’ll go over what I thought was great, good, and what could be changed about the con.


I usually leave my house in Michigan around 9-10 AM on Wednesday and travel down to Chicago. It takes about 4.5 hours, and it’s in non-hell-traffic time so it’s an easy ride. I get to see the square hole in the earth that looks like an Exterminatus and all the lawyer signs on the highway. I stopped for lunch at an upscale bar and grill in New Buffalo and paid a lot more for a burger than I wanted to, but it was good.

This year I stayed at the Hyatt, the site where all the historical stuff was happening. In addition to that group of games, there was Star Wars Armada, Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, A Song of Ice and Fire, and a few others. I usually don’t stay in the site hotel – I just thought it was cheaper to stay elsewhere and I hate paying for hotels, but this year it was fine. It was nice to be able to bring all my stuff in and house it in a room instead of having to lug from a car every time. The rooms were pretty standard; the elevators worked. I didn’t really eat there because it was expensive and Portillo’s and other places were close. I brought food for breakfast and most lunches because again, I hate spending money on that stuff, and would rather spend it on 28mm barbies and I have a limited budget.

My Battletech purchases. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

Since AdeptiCon made the pro move of allowing us to get our badges by mail, I didn’t have to wait in the forever line to get my badge Wednesday night (also nice if you’re playing at the Hyatt all weekend – no need to try to park at the main site). This gave me time to peruse the BattleTech stuff and find the Alpha Strike rulebook, two premium resin mechs (Mad Dog and Rifleman) and an Inner Sphere Command Lance to add to my collection.

The Battletech video game pods. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I wandered for a bit, looking at all the places setup at the time – I checked out Bins from Toledo and they didn’t have any new Beasts of Chaos stuff I wanted. The GW Preview didn’t start until 8, and I didn’t really feel like wandering around more, so I decided to call that one off this year and went back to the hotel to watch college basketball and finish some bases for Friday. I didn’t really feel like I’d missed out on anything, I got to see the previews on my tablet.


Lard America didn’t start until Friday, so on Thursday I went over to the main hall to walk around and buy stuff. Thursdays at this site have usually been lighter – most people come in for Friday through Sunday. Thursday morning around 9 am the parking at the main site was already almost entirely full. The halls were full, too; I really think AdeptiCon has just grown at a huge rate and is rapidly becoming too large for these two sites. I respect AdeptiCon’s ability to make the tent bigger every year, adding new games and systems, but they need more space.

I walked the vendor hall and actually stopped at GW first. I usually don’t spend money there because I can get stuff at a discount at my local places, but I couldn’t pass up the Event mini – a Cities of Sigmar guy – and the Necromunda Propagandist and Agitator. I have no idea if they’re good in game or worth taking but they look sweet. It was something like $80 for three minis but I tried to clear my brain of that quickly. There wasn’t a line, which was surprising.

I had a few goals in mind for stuff to pick up:

  1. 1930s terrain and cars and minis for The Chicago Way or other gangster style games
  2. Cold war minis for Seven Days to the River Rhine / O Group
  3. Sweet Battletech stuff
  4. Mantic stuff
  5. Silver Bayonet minis
  6. Something from Black Site Studios, the best MDF terrain on the market
  7. Airplanes in 1/200 scale

I couldn’t find anything for Chicago Way, which was disappointing, but I did find Cold War minis at the Battlefront booth. I bought a T-72 Warsaw Pact starter – it comes with T-72 tanks, T-55s, transports, Hind helicopters and two jets. I also grabbed the Warsaw Pact book for TY. I’m planning to paint up a small Czechoslovak force and try some different rulesets. If nothing strikes my fancy, they’ll be in a display cabinet. Just wanna paint tiny tanks.

Some of my historical purchases. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I stopped by the Mantic booth to speak about Halo and The Walking Dead. While they didn’t have releases for those games yet, I did grab another Halfling army box for Kings of War – after a few more cons I’ll have basically everything for that army!

Hanging out with Andy and Ronnie from Mantic. Fantastic lads. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I did end up finding a few minis for The Silver Bayonet. Badger had the entire line of Bad Squiddo Games minis so I grabbed Nadja the bat person, two female hunters, and some Victorian witches. It’s safe to say I love these minis and they’ll get a lot of play time in my TSB games. I also grabbed some plastic SAGA sticks that look great.

We made it on the bottom! Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

The Black Site Studios booth was swarmed when I got there; just tons of people buying and browsing. I managed to grab a new box for Don’t Look Back and a sweet gas station for moderns, Walking Dead, Fallout, TNT, etc. I’m excited to put it together.

The last thing on my list were planes for Bag the Hun. I chose 1/200 scale as that is what Blood Red Skies minis are. I ended up finding Soviet I-16 planes and German BF109s – minis that will help me setup a game where Slovak pilots are flying into Ukraine and Russia to fight in 1941/1942. I’m also painting up some Avia B-534s for the Slovaks to fly. The price for the two boxes was not what I wanted but it was a long day and I swiped my CC.

I purchased two dice trays for my son and I for Age of Sigmar from Baron of Dice – they’re amazing. After seeing a demo of Fallout Factions, and knowing Goonhammer is really high on it, I picked up some guys for it and pre-ordered the main box.

After shopping, I got some lunch and then went to the hall where Battletech was located. Unfortunately (in my opinion) it was in the main AOS hall, so it was LOUD in there, and very crowded. In a perfect world Battletech would have it’s own room, but maybe they wanted to be in there anyway to grab people from other systems.

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I played in two Battletech Grinders – from what I’m told in the Goonhammer Patreon Discord this scenario is based on a game mode from the 2002 Xbox game Mechassault (the GOAT). You’d spawn in on a certain number and then fight everyone. If you died, you’d go a level up, get a heavier (and fightier) mech, and respawn. You could keep doing this until you reached the highest level. In four hours I managed to reach level three and got a Hunchback. Folks, we love our Hunchbacks. Don’t we folks. That AC20 really hammers mechs. I had a ton of fun and I’d definitely recommend readers try it out at cons you attend. It’s also drop-in drop-out, so if you don’t have a ticket sometimes they’ll find you a spot.


Friday was the first day that Lard America was running games at the Hyatt. Lard America is an informal club of players from all over who run Too Fat Lardies games at conventions or home clubs. I’ve helped organize the club for AdeptiCon for a few years and help organize the Facebook group. It’s been hugely rewarding as we show up with more players every year.

The first table I setup for US-Mexican War Sharp Practice. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I planned to run my US-Mexican War game twice that day, with results from the first scenario affecting the second scenario. We also had other games of Sharp Practice, Bag the Hun, Chain of Command, and Pickett’s Charge that day.

The first game I ran had the US forces pushing through a small town, attempting to get their horse artillery to Mexico City to help the fight there. They had two formations of regulars, one group of dragoons, and one group of skirmishers. The dragoons are not only great at skirmishing, they can legitimately smash stuff in fisticuffs when mounted. The Mexican force had a large formation of light infantry, a formation of Grenadiers of the Supreme Power, a group of Lancers, and a group of light infantry skirmishers. The Grenadiers are not amazing but look sweet.

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The US forces did a great job of moving up and separating some of the enemies, even screening their troops as they moved the horse artillery up the road. Unfortunately for them, they took a ton of fire from formed up Mexican troops and lost a lot of force morale. At one point Mexican skirmisher were pouring flank fire into the US formations and causing a lot of withdrawal. Eventually the force morale was down to Mexico 3, USA 2 – then USA lost the last two. It was a very close run thing with a lot of maneuvering and fighting – definitely a great participation game!

The second scenario’s board with a farmer herding his goats. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

Our second game had the US forces almost the same, but would have an artillery piece arrive later in the game (if they had managed to get it off the board in game one, they’d have it from the get go). Mexican forces had an extra formation supplied to them. The Mexican forces had a secret mission – move to each building on the board and secure church valuables so they could remove them back toward Mexico City. They managed to get two of the buildings secured but not the third.

They did, however, setup a good firing line across the center of the board. Mexican powder was very bad, so at close range they actually have a disadvantage vs the American forces – but the US forces didn’t take advantage of that. They were happy to slug it out and had fewer troops, and a few lucky rolls from the Mexican forces had them gathering huge amounts of shock. Overall the force morale didn’t really change much but it was a clear Mexican victory.

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I didn’t expect the Mexican forces to win; they’ve actually not won a game before in any of my playthroughs. They’re outgunned and have worse leadership, but the players that day definitely had a better strategy. In game one they got a little lucky, but game two they were solid. Overall it was great – the players had fun and learned a lot. I was happy with how my games looked and played, and will writing up a short campaign for Lard Special this year.

You can find my unit and commander cards here:

Here’s a gallery of all of our Lard action from Friday:

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In the Lard America area on Saturday we had Bag the Hun, Chain of Command, Sharp Practice and Strength & Honour. I took Saturday off from running games, choosing to play instead. I had scheduled myself for Bag the Hun and Chain of Command DMZ (Vietnam).

We have a Lard America sign! Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

Bag the Hun is a game I’ve wanted to play for a while – I am not much of an aviation aficionado but I’m always willing to learn more. I was mega-interested in learning about the Pacific War in particular, with American aces vs Japanese aces as my starting point. Evan from Iron Dice Gaming ran an Eastern front game where Yak 1s ambushed BF109s, JU87s, and JU88s. I flew a Yak squadron – our goal was to stop as many bombers from getting to Stalingrad as possible. The Soviet air force was in a bad way during that time, but we did have an initial advantage with the ambush.

German bombers escorted by fighters. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

We started the game and I immediately took out a JU87 bomber with a long burst of gunfire – it felt pretty great! The crew weren’t even able to bail out. My partner dove in on the bigger bombers while I engaged in a dogfight with the BF109s and used a pair of planes to take down JU87s. Eventually one of the 109s was able to get on the tail of one of my veterans, and I couldn’t shake him – I was worried until my regular pilot, his wingmate, came in and absolutely annihilated the junior ace who was on his partner’s tail.

Yaks ‘bounced’ the bomber flight. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

The bombers couldn’t do a ton to fend us off, but we did lose aircraft to the 109 pilots. Eventually I did get on the tail of a JU88 and was taking it down until it got lucky on a crew shot and blasted my top ace with his crew served guns. My top ace managed to bail successfully and then land successfully – a true hero of the Soviet Union.

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Overall, I loved the game. It does a great job using the TFL formula for friction where you can’t just plan out your whole turn – by the time it’s your turn to move, that plane you thought you were on the tail of might have moved away, climbing into a turn. Or your firing card might come up early, when you don’t have a target, then you might move in behind a bomber later on. All in all it reminds me heavily of my time flying WW2 planes in War Thunder – you always have to be on your toes, re-making your plans as you go.

The game started with a massive smoke bombardment from NVA mortars. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

That afternoon and evening we played Chain of Command Vietnam. I played as the NVA – we had just ambushed a US forward firebase and blew up a bunker. You can read more about the battle here. Liam had planned the scenario out exactly to the number for each force.

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We had some initial success, blowing a few positions up with our sappers, but eventually ran into superior firepower from entrenched American squads. At that time our fuses went bad as well, making it very hard for us to move up the board. I think we did pretty well overall – we blew up a few positions, a bunker or two, and a jump off point. At one point I did a human wave attack that effectively deleted an artillery squad, an officer, and another small squad. The US team was very far down its force morale – one or two bad rolls and we would have had them.

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Lard America was a huge success at AdeptiCon this year, with tons of games running and people asking where they can buy the rules. I can’t wait for HistoriCon where I’ll be running a game of Sharp Practice and one of Bag the Hun!

Sunday – The Silver Bayonet

Sunday was entirely dedicated to one of my favorite new games, The Silver Bayonet. We’ve been covering this game a ton recently as it’s a great start into the historicals side of hobby wargaming. I don’t need to explain why I love the game so much – it’s in the review.

All of our sponsors and trophies ready for the day. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I really started getting into the game somewhere around October of 2023 and ordered basically everything for it. Around the time AdeptiCon started taking event submissions I decided I would try to run an event for it. I’ve run lots of events in the past at MIGT and AdeptiCon, but the last one I tried to run where players showed up with their own historical force was Sharp Practice and we only had four of us playing.

Getting ready for a fight with some bandits in the area. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I was worried about turnout – especially because I had it slated for Sunday, the only day that worked with my schedule (lots of people leave on Sunday to drive home). I set it for six players maximum and 14 extras signed up for the waitlist (I did mention to waitlist yourself and we would see if we could add more on TSB Facebook page). As is natural on a Sunday at a con we had some drops and some who didn’t sign up from the waitlist, so total we had ten players, which was great for a first time event.

Our row for The Silver Bayonet. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

I emphasized to the players that we were playing an event day, not a tournament, and my goals were for 1) learn the game, 2) have fun, and 3) bring the game back to their clubs and get more people involved. I feel like our goals were met – everyone was laughing and having a good time. We ran the event from 10 AM to 3:30 PM-ish, and I wish I had planned for more time, but lots of players had a ride home to make after. Next year I think I’m going to run it on Thursday, starting at 9 AM and maybe finishing at 5 PM, with plenty of time for players to finish their games. You can find the Event Pack here, including all painting scores, schedule, scenario, etcetera.

A few things I learned:

    • Players get Frostgrave / Stargrave and TSB mixed up. Make sure to provide quick refs so they can figure out the hit rolls, damage, etc.
    • Because most of the countries available are on the allied side (non-French), you’ll really have to beg players to play France, or have some as double agents or deserters if you’re wanting it to be France vs Allies like I did.
    • The rules really aren’t that complicated – one game in and most players had it.
    • BLUE is Power die and RED is skill. Make sure to enforce that so players remember!
    • Have a lot of monsters on hand.

I had painted probably fifty monsters, which felt like plenty. I had them set at the end of the tables and if someone needed one because of a random encounter, they rolled a d10 and found the corresponding one. I provided playing cards for each table as well as clue markers. I asked players to bring their own dice and reload tokens, many used cotton.

Most of the monsters available for games. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

If you look at the packet, you can see how I had the players advance their guys. It seemed like it worked well – it was basically a full campaign of experience for a few of your guys and your officer. This included the ability for the officer to increase their recruitment total – so I made sure to let players know they could bring extra guys to add in for the last game if they had the points.

The first scenario was pretty easy going, the second one had vampires in it which were pretty hardcore – and the third had a demonic goat in it (BLACK PHILLIP BLACK PHILLIP). He chewed people up as did his dark satyr friends populating the dark woods. The first two were variations on scenarios from the main book while the third came from the author’s Patreon here.

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The level of paint on display was amazing – not something I had expected, to be honest – mostly just because I knew quite a few players joined and painted their guys at the last minute. I would say all the units were tabletop standard with more than half of the units being very well-painted, and two units scoring full points according to my rubric.

I managed to secure a few sponsors to provide some goodies for our players and bring some mats:

  • TableWar provided mats for us as I don’t have 3x3s in my garage. These will be used going forward for more TSB action next year! They were very generous – you can check out their charity for autism here:
  • Badger Games provided gift certificates for our three award winners. They support many of the historical events at AdeptiCon and we were very proud to have them as a sponsor. Check them out here:
  • Gray Matter Gaming (a Michigan company!) provided some mats as well. Huge props to them – check them out here:
  • NorthStar Miniatures provided a mini for each player who took part in the event – check them out here:

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Overall I was very pleased with how the event ran, and hope to make it bigger with more time and effort next year. Please check out the gallery below for more shots from the event.

What Was Great About AdeptiCon 2024

  • Enthusiasm: I worked a LOT over the last few months to get stuff ready for this con and to see all the players enjoying it, telling me about their units and how hard they worked, swapping stories with gamers I see a few times a year, and everyone complementing each other on their work is huge. On Saturday evening after playing Vietnam COC I was swelled with a lot of inspiration going forward for 2024.
  • Atmosphere: In Lard America, TSB, and all around the Con there was so much good paint going on. Extremely high level of hobby that I think is inspirational for anyone who attends. In particular, our Lard America tables looked great with terrain and minis!

Dark Satyrs ambush Silver Bayonet units. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

  • Organization: AdeptiCon did a great job this year with signage at the Hyatt, pointing everyone to where they should go for different games. Our organizer for the Hyatt, Mike R, did a great job shifting resources and keeping us informed. Huge props to him and his buddies who helped.
  • Vendor Hall: As always, there is so much great stuff to look at and purchase in the Vendor Hall. It’s laid out well and has lots of space. I wasn’t prepared for the mondo line for the Monument Hobbies paint release – I had no idea even what it was. I should probably work harder to stay informed.
  • Games: there was a HUGE variety of games available for anyone attending. If it’s a semi-popular minis game you can probably play it at AdeptiCon, even if it’s a dead game.

Dark Satyrs charge a lined up unit. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

  • The Hyatt, overall: I have complained before about being put at the ‘off site’. I really don’t mind it at all anymore – actually it’s pretty great. It’s a super nice venue with great lighting. Like minded peeps are nearby.

What Was Good

  • Shuttle: My clubmates to the shuttle to the main site from the Hyatt and said it was pretty good and had no complaints. They left early in the morning and came back later at night and didn’t seem to have a problem.
  • Hyatt parking: It wasn’t overcrowded and people didn’t make problems. It’s nice to be there.
  • Battletech area: I had a blast playing Grinder missions. The Battletech staff were engaged, enthusiastic, and helpful. The only issue I had was it was in a room with a TON of other games and it was very crowded and loud.

Black Phillip! Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

What Could Be Changed (In a Perfect Scenario)

  • Space: The Mahogany room, the main event space at the Hyatt, was very crowded. I believe the Hyatt had to take a few large tournaments at the last second and it pushed us who are usually there into less space.
  • Games That Aren’t Taken Down When Not In Use: Some grogs like to setup their participation games and leave them up all weekend for games that may or may not happen later – in a perfect world, that’s fine. We in Lard America put up and take our games down when they’re done. It crowds everyone. I feel like a reasonable ask is one 6×8 or 6×4 table per GM, no more, and for a half day per game only.

Dark Goat takes on a firing line. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

  • Parking at main: I don’t think there’s anything they can do about it, but it was way more crowded this year than ever. I can’t recall them running out of space on a Thursday before as long as I’ve been going to that location.
  • CM Chicken: It’s a Korean fried chicken joint (I guess it’s a chain) near the main site and I was excited to try it. It’s okay, but holy cow, it cost $25 for chicken and waffle fries. I’d rather have Portillo’s twice.

Vampires fight hand to hand vs unflinching Silver Bayonet troops. Credit: Michael O “Mugginns”

  • Game masters and event organizers being cranky: Not a great thing to have to say, but treat your AdeptiCon organizer volunteers with respect and grace. They’re doing their absolute best and not taking a salary for it. Not having internet in a room for a short period of time might suck but that guy is juggling a dozen other things right now. ‘Nuff said.

The End

I really don’t have much else to say – if you’re free at the end of March in 2025 you need to go to AdeptiCon. It’s the best four days in wargaming. Huge props to all the event organizers and Lard America for showing up and putting on amazing games. See you in 25!

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