I have returned from Adepticon and, holy shit, did I have a great time. After 3 years it was great to see so many familiar faces, some I knew by name, many that I didn’t. If you’re not a regular of conventions it might seem weird, but it is not uncommon for you to build up a list of recognizable faces if you attend the same event year after year. Often these people will greet you as one would an old friend, despite likely having long forgotten your name, or perhaps you were never formally introduced to begin with, but still sharing the comradely spirit that comes through attendance repetition.
Wednesday – Arrival and Assault on Precinct 42
After loading my car I picked up my roommate Christian and we departed on a three hour drive to Schaumburg, arriving right around 1 P.M. Wednesday. We quickly checked in, dropped our baggage in the room, made contact with other locals in attendance, and helped setup tables for Thursday’s 40K Champs Event. Before I get into each event it is worth addressing a couple things here.
First, Adepticon is an event that runs primarily off volunteer help, and every minute one can donate to help setup and teardown is vital to its efficient running. Half the reason I show up early and leave late is to aid in this process. It also serves to give one a better understanding of what goes into a huge event like this, a worthwhile experience in itself. If you are thinking of attending in the future I strongly encourage anyone reading to help with one or the other.
Second, as fellow contributor James Kelling has pointed out, the terrain at Adepticon has been a point of contention ever since the transition to 8th Edition. Most of it was built in previous editions where terrain rules had been more uniform. The initial critique about the terrain not being up to the standards of the current edition is not entirely without merit, specifically the necron tables, and that is on the judges that directed that setup. In fact, I had the displeasure of playing on the aforementioned Necron ones in 2018, so that gives you an idea of how long some of that terrain has gone unchanged.
However, in defense of the organizers I felt overall the tables had been vastly improved since 2019. There was a large amount of citadel ruins present that had not been present three years ago. Obviously this does not excuse the lesser tables, but it does show that staff had recognized the need for changes, and had attempted to remedy it. It also would’ve helped if the staff had made it clear that players could move to vacant tables if they found the terrain setup more to their liking. There are always drops prior and during such events, and I saw more than a few empty tables that had superior terrain arrangement.
Moving on from such controversies let’s get into the fun stuff. Many people arrive at Adepticon on Wednesday, but most of this day is still given to final setup, registration, preview events, painting classes, and good ole socializing. In terms of games available to play the selection is utterly dwarfed by the rest of the convention.
With this in mind I managed to sign up for Assault on Precinct 42, a four person Necromunda Narrative Event. Based on the title I had a pretty good idea what this would turn out to be, and I was not disappointed. A friendly man named Joe ran Pete (the only other person who showed up) and myself through several hours of a really fun raid on an Enforcer station, where the goal of the invading Cawdor was to liberate their boss’s girlfriend from the isocubes.
Normally I’d take up the call to throw the Enforcers into the sump, but I felt like they would be more fun to play from a narrative standpoint. Without going into the play by play we had a really fun time forging the narrative and sharing drinks. The end result was the precinct was defended, and the invading force was roundly pushed back down the toilet drain they crawled out of. We ended this game shortly after 10 P.M. and I decided to return to the room to get a good night’s rest. Turns out my *roommates snore, and I forgot to bring noise canceling headphones…oh well.
*We added a third roommate, Daniel, 48 hours prior to the convention. Daniel was a swell guy, and I hope to see him again at next Adepticon.
Thursday – 5-Round Kill Team Tournament
The first and longest competitive event on my schedule was a 32 person Kill Team Tournament hosted by GamesWorkshop beginning at 8 A.M. and ending at 8 P.M. Waking up rather early and donning my Cult Of The Swole Armed Emperor tank I gathered my models and supplies, and headed down to the Adventure Hall.
This was a really fun time, and I learned quite a bit about the game. It is important to note that almost everyone playing was fuzzy in some way on the rules, which is not surprising given how long the game has been out, and that this was the first large tournament for most of us. The most important thing I learned was I finally got a good idea on what GamesWorkshop thinks a standard Kill Zone should look like, and I must add, these tables looked great.
My Wyrmblade served me well as I managed to win my first 4 matches, defeating many teams I had yet to experience in person. In Order: Talons of the Emperor, Grey Knights, Kommandos, and Warpcoven. All my opponents were fun to play against and each match was a great learning experience for both players. I then squared off with the team I was worried about most, Harlequins. Unfortunately, I have to report I was defeated as Harlequin dominance isn’t isolated just to standard Warhammer 40K. Once again I will go into the specifics of each round in a future article, but I will say that they don’t feel as brutal to play against in Kill Team as they are in 40K, and my opponent (Rob Poirier) was very knowledgeable of the game and a gracious opponent. This would not be the last time we crossed paths at Adepticon.
Soundly defeated by my opponent I was knocked down to the third place slot where I won a fancy trophy. Honestly, I was more than happy with this result, while I am always on the prowl for victory I am never the kind of person to poo poo a lower place on the podium. I then met some friends for dinner at the hotel restaurant, which had excellent food at decent prices, although a staff shortage would make waiting on a table an issue for most of the convention. My original plan had been to go to Kuma’s, a metal themed burger grill and bar, but the event ended too late for this plan. Satisfied with the day and riding high on a good performance I decided to return to my room for the night.
Friday – 40K Friendly and 40K Trivia
Another night of snoring passes and it’s Friday morning, now we are in the heart of the convention schedule. As I mentioned in my previous articles the 40K Friendly is known more as a beer and pretzels tournament than anything approaching competitive. If anything your job is to be overly enthusiastic and do your best to ensure your opponent has a good time.
We assembled at the front of the Adventure Hall where we were handed different colored handkerchiefs to represent our teams, I found myself on team purple, and shortly after was “elected” team Captain, since no one else seemed eager for the position. We then gathered around a hoarse voice Jeff (the TO) where we were handed a Ring Pop and a packet of Jam. It was explained that the Ring Pop was our “Schwartz” and it granted us a number of once per game psychic power-like abilities, and that in addition the Jam could be used to “jam” any single action an enemy unit performed, essentially preventing them from moving, shooting, fighting, etc., but in return we had to give them our Jam packet, allowing them to use it against us in return. In addition, we were given a mission packet filled with silly stratagems and unique primaries and secondaries to replace the normal tournament selection. I quickly decided that all my CP would be spent on these event specific abilities with nary a glance spared for my codex or chapter supplement.
We were paired up against another team, and I quickly set about finding the opposing Captain, so that I could challenge them directly, after all…what kind of leader lets his subordinates fight on their behalf? Not me! I promptly found myself paired up against a friendly 16 year old who had apparently volunteered to be Captain for his team, simultaneously reflecting well on him, and poorly on the adults on his team. He brought a fluffy Iron Warriors army consisting of demon engines and cultists with a smattering of Chaos Marines to round things out. We shook hands, I took a couple of drinks, anddddd…promptly walked right over him with minimal casualties. Now when I was writing my list for this event, I thought to myself… “Gravis Marines are pretty fun and fluffy”, but I had kind of forgotten that they still rank above what is available to the avg CSM players. Despite this thorough drubbing my opponent and I had an enjoyable game, shook hands, and took a break for lunch.
After a quick snack we were matched up against our next team, and I found myself squaring off with Devil Dahl from my own gaming club. Devin and I have played against one another quite a bit over the years, and at first he protested playing me, but I insisted as team Captains we were obligated to fight one another. Devin had brought his excellently painted Crusher Stampede Tyranids, basically balanced out by him taking most of the bad options from the Tyranid Codex minus a single flying Hive Tyrant kitted out to wreck shit in melee.
This led to a very funny knockdown fight in the middle where Marneus Calgar and his Honor Guard got locked in the Tyrant and the Swarmlord for basically the entire match, both us liberally using our new stratagems and other special items to keep our respective heroes going well beyond when they should’ve died. The specifics of the mission basically required me to have units escape the table, and him kill my units, and while the battle was largely a bloody stalemate in the center I had the points lead come the end. Not that any of that matters in the Friendly.
After Round 2 the teams were once again called to the front by Jeff who proceeded to explain that Team Captains would now have to demonstrate “the power of their Schwartz” where they would duel one another to gain more Jam Packets and Ring Pops that they could then use to aid themselves directly or their teammates in the final round. There I engaged in a savage battle narrowly defeating a rival Captain, proving my mastery over the Schwartz, and in addition gaining a cute little Lonestar trophy as a result. This was perhaps the highlight of the convention for me, just an utterly silly little thing, but I have to say I was totally into it.
We then moved onto the final round of the tournament, and there I squared off against Clint. To anyone who has been to Adepticon Clint is a pretty noticeable return guest. Otherwise known as “The Guy in the Bathrobe” he fittingly enough wears a white bathrobe and a booney hat throughout a vast majority of the convention. One of those people with a perpetually cheerful attitude. Sporting my own bathrobe for the day I couldn’t let the event end without us going head to head.
After exchanging several shots we began the game. Clint sported an awesome Sisters army proxied almost entirely with Judge Dredd models, and had even replaced the Cannoness with a model of himself in his bathrobe. The mission was very straightforward, and involved us rushing into the center. We promptly did so, and after several rounds Calgar and his Honor Guard stood victorious over Cannoness Clint and Judge Dredd (Celestine). It was a fun and mindless round of dice rolling, and basically exactly what I had participated in the Friendly to enjoy. I had more to drink in that final round than I had the entire morning, and promptly awarded Clint maximum Sportsmanship score and we concluded the event. Team Purple did not end up “winning’, but Clint did end up winning the award for the Friendliest player, the most coveted award of the event. Despite my team not winning anything I had a great time, and recommend it to anyone who wants a casual time at a convention.
Me and some of the boys went out to grab dinner, and then returned to our rooms to refresh before the most important event of the entire convention. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the 40K Trivia was definitely the victory that I desired most. Sadly, many of the brilliant minds behind 2019’s victory were unable to attend, but fortunately fellow Goon Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen was able to return and provide his powerful mind to our team, and in addition Goon Kevin “CathexisZero/ContemptorKevin” Stillman was also present who is a noted trivia hound. If we are being real these two most certainly would’ve been able to win by themselves, but they had a combination of two teamless individuals (sorry guys I forgot your names!), Devin, who wandered down from his room, fellow Goon ffoecaf, and myself to back them up in case there were any knowledge gaps.
Needless to say thanks to the Craig/Kevin brain trust, and despite me failing to answer the one question I actually should’ve known that the other players didn’t, we took the top spot. A special mention to Matthew King who was actually beating us at the end of the second round, and ended up taking 2nd place. It is safe to say the questions weren’t as hard as last time, but the final question still proved to difficult for a single team to answer, and with our experience of 2019’s nearly impossible final question we erred on the side of caution while most the other teams bid big, and as a result sailed to a comfortable final score. Dishonorable mention to James “Boon” Kelling for leaving us before the first round ended, get your priorities straight bucko.
Sadly, victory in the Trivia did not amount to the same enthusiasm to go out afterwards as it had done last time, and most of our team returned to their rooms for the evening.
Saturday – Necromunda: Dark Uprising
Finally, a slow day. My next event wasn’t set to begin until 2:00 P.M. and with this I was able to promptly sleep-in for the first time, and properly explore the rest of the convention. I hit the vendor hall and saw some fantastic merchandise for sale, stopping by the GW booth, and a few others. I will take the time to mention that I was particularly impressed by the SquadMarks booth, who were showing off collapsible terrain that used magnets to hold their structure, appeared to lay completely flat for storage, and had the appropriate durability for tournament play. Honestly, as a small time T.O. it seemed exactly what I would want to fill out my store: Cheap, Looks Good, Light, Durable, Minimal Storage Space required…it looked like the total package.
I then moved on to check out the Golden Demon cases where I was promptly reminded that I have a lot to learn about painting.
Anyway, after I cleaned up all the drool I gathered up what I needed for the event and once again made my way down to the Adventure Hall. The Necromunda: Dark Uprising event was basically a tournament style event, but with the usual Necromunda goofiness tossed in. With 16 players we played 3 rounds and were scored not only on our missions but on how fair our opponents felt our lists were, our painting, and our sportsmanship. It was a fun little event in which I managed to not only defeat all three of my opponents, but also scored very well on my gang’s appearance winning Best Overall for the event.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming Necromonday article where I go into further detail on this event!
Another medal for the pile! As you can imagine at this point I am riding pretty high on the convention. In 2019 I managed to get 3 awards throughout the convention, and I had now officially tied that number. With one more day and one more event I had a chance to break my previous streak.
Craig and Christian agreed to join me in an attempt to hit the local karaoke bar, but Christian being twenty meant he was not allowed to enter, and we disappointedly returned to our rooms to hang out for a little bit before calling it ourselves. I suppose there is always 2023 for karaoke, but despite this disappointment the day had been fantastic.
Sunday – 3 Round Kill Team Tournament and Clean-Up
As Sunday rolls in, the awareness that the fun times are drawing to a close begins to weigh upon me, but I have one last event for the weekend. A final chance to claim victory for my Wyrmblade Operatives. As the tournament begins, who do I find myself sitting across from? It’s Rob Poirier! The man who’s Harlequins thwarted me on Thursday. This time he has brought Pathfinders, a team known for its power, but had just recently received a few appropriate nerfs. I was able to defeat Rob’s Pathfinders and I immediately got my hopes up that I might be able to take the top spot if I was able to defeat one of my chief rivals right out the gate.
In game two I narrowly defeated a very nicely painted Heretic Astartes team that my opponent played very well, and that I played very foolishly against. Despite my major errors I pulled off the victory, and found myself sitting at the top table for an event for the third time that weekend. Would I succeed where I failed last time?
Sadly it was not meant to be as I faced off against Veteran Guardsman, and due to poor play on my part at the start of the game I managed to lose one of my Cult Agents on my opponents first activation, a pretty important loss I was not able to recover from. Soundly defeated once again I was knocked out of the top 3 placing entirely! Fortunately for me I received Best Painted for the event, and still managed to walk home with a 4th award, Hell Yeah!
After this we hung around to see all the Team Tournament Awards get handed out with the Chicago Kamikazes taking the top prize for the third time, and with that Adepticon’s events had come to a close. Since I didn’t plan to return home until the next morning I joined a small posey of volunteers who proceeded to help tear down every table and piece of terrain in the Adventure Hall, and load it all up on semis. A task that left us more than a little tired for the evening, but as a reward everyone involved was given a VIG Bag from the unclaimed pile. I spent the rest of my night hanging out with the remainder of the staff and other individuals whose flights didn’t depart until the next day. For me Adepticon officially ended at 3:00 A.M. on Monday as the last revelers packed it in for the night, and I walked drunkenly back to my room and proceeded to nearly sleep past checkout.
Another Adepticon in the books as this makes my 5th one, and honestly it was the best one yet. It is hard to say how much of that claim is simply based on being kept away for three long years. There were certainly a few things missing, the absence of certain individuals who had been present in 2019 was certainly felt, and the number of large displays present for the Team Tournament was certainly less than in previous years. I assume a lot of this can be laid at the feet of COVID which certainly derailed a lot of individuals’ hobby projects.
Lastly, I have to give a shout to everyone that I saw, and who spent time with me. I got a chance to finally meet a large number of Goonhammer Patrons for the first time. Special mention goes to Craig Sniffen, Kevin Stillman, and Christian Delong who spent a significant amount of their time at the convention keeping me company and cheering me on when they weren’t busy with their own stuff.
See you all in 2023!
I took something like 200 pictures at the event. Below is just a sample of them, many I neglect to share simply because I can’t give credit to who painted them, because I am a hack who didn’t take the time to find out. If you see a picture of yourself and would like to be credited in this article simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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