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Posted on Jul 11, 2005 in Stuff We Like

Game Convention Report: Tiller Con I

By Mark Adams

Tiller Con I – June 17th – 19th, 2005

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Tiller Con I was not supposed to "officially" start until 1000 hours on Friday the 17th of June. However, nine people "unofficially" started the convention on Thursday night. Thanks to the advent of the internet and e-mail, some cell phone numbers were passed around and thanks to the cell phone nine of us were able to meet, some for the first time, at Applebee’s.

Now remembering that we’re all war gamers you would think that all conversation revolved around gaming. That’s not entirely true. Although we did ask what games the others might be interested in, the conversations eventually turned to things like, where you’re from, family, other interests, and other things like that. Some of the guys even brought their better halves!


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We came from all over, Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia (of course), Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Canada, Alabama, and other places. The prize (although we didn’t actually give one) for farthest distance traveled to get there went to a gent from England. I have seen people when they meet someone else for the first time and usually there is a lot of nervousness and hesitation. None of that seemed to be present at all during this event.

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Friday the 17th of June; the set up for the convention began at 0800 hours and five guys showed up to help Rich Hamilton initially. As more guys showed up they jumped right in to help. Scheduled to start at 1000 hours, it was much like a family reunion…a few people start setting things up while others begin to show up over time. Also akin to a family reunion were the inevitable introductions….sort of like when you don’t know or can’t remember an aunt or uncle and they have to be introduced. As for the numbers….at 1000 hours, there were 21 guys present and for the most part all systems were a go!

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The logistics for this event were arranged by Rich Hamilton who also coordinated the entire event. There were forty computers present set up in pods. There were pods of eight for the Panzer Campaigns games, Civil War Battles, Napoleonic Battles, and Early American Wars games, while the Squad Battles, Naval Campaigns / Modern Air Power were set with pods of four computers. These computers were networked together within their pods to offer the chance for multi-player games.

As each new guy or guys arrived, after signing in, they would go around and introduce themselves to the others already there. Many were the times when one would introduce himself to another only to find out that this is the person who had been kicking his butt or been getting his butt kicked by over the last few years.

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The first match-ups were quick to start. Jim Gleason and Jim Cobb squared off at Gettysburg while Bill Peters took time to show Jesse Cheng some Napoleonic action. George Kasnic and John Longstreet are long time Civil War gamers and decided to try their first ever Panzer Campaigns game. I do believe they now have another vice. Right guys? Of course they played it with no Fog of War just to get the hang of it. Because of the pods being networked together three others were able to play in multi-player mode two against one in a Panzer Campaigns game. These were Gary Cobleigh, Rick Bancroft, and Mark Mazer.

Two new games were launched at Tiller Con I. One of them was the game that John and George got their first taste of Panzer Campaigns with; Salerno ’43. Salerno also includes the Battles in Anzio and Crete. And for the American Civil War aficionado; Campaign Shiloh is out, which also covers the Battles for Forts Donelson and Henry among others. Shiloh and Salerno ’43 saw a lot of action during the convention.

At around noon a multi-player battle of Shiloh broke out with John Longstreet and George Kasnic as Johnny Rebs and Ernie Sands and Ken Miller as Billy Yanks.

John Tiller arrived at the convention at around 1200 hours and although he wasn’t swarmed over, he did have many people come make his acquaintance. What gamer out there hasn’t had that dream of meeting the man who provides his fix? John took the time to talk with anyone who came up to him, but also made a special point of meeting his "team members" face to face…many for the first time.

At 1700 hours The Battle of Gettysburg broke out in a six person multi-player game. The three Rebs were Dave Moser, Jim Gleason, and I against Rich Hamilton, Don Adams, and Den McBride. All of John’s games are great for multi-player play. They allow all players on one side to move and fire in their turns. There is also a communication dialog that allows a person to type to everyone in the game or just those on his team. It sure makes it easy to taunt those guys when you come and take eight of their guns…Right Rich? And yes, we remember all the cavalry you decimated. For those interested in trying this style of play over the Internet, check out this tutorial. For most of the participants it was time to go around midnight, although if anyone wanted to stay later than that they could.

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