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Posted on Jun 6, 2011 in Boardgames

Summer Game Conventions

By Armchair General

16 Ironclad Extravaganza

Picture 16 of 16

The river battle was set near Memphis, 1862.

Every Memorial Day weekend, we unchain our senior online editor, Gerald Swick, from his desk and let him attend the Nashcon historical miniatures gaming convention. It beats giving him a raise. This year he came back with the photos in the slideshow above.

Gaming conventions take place year ’round, but in summer they blossom like the zennias in your Aunt Matilda’s garden. If you’re a gamer but have never been to a convention, you’re missing out on a lot of the hobby’s fun. For a few days, you can surround yourself with people who understand and share your hobby, and you’re likely to make some lifelong friends. A list of just a few conventions that are held every summer appears below, with dates for 2011. Ask your local game store about others in your area.


Gen Con, August 4–7, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Mardi Gras of game conventions. Some 30,000 attendees roll dice and walk starry-eyed through the vast array of dealers.

Heat of Battle, August 12–14, New Orleans, Louisiana
This convention’s claim to fame is unique—it’s held in the National WWII Museum! Look up from the scale-model tanks blowing each other up on the game table, and there’s a gen-u-ine big honking Tiger tank staring back atcha. Gaming continues nearby after the museum closes.

Historicon, July 7–10, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
The granddaddy of historical miniatures gaming in North America. If you can’t find a game set in your favorite historical period, you just ain’t trying. This year’s theme, to mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, is Brother Against Brother.

Nashcon, May 27–29, Franklin–Cool Springs (near Nashville), Tennessee
Ya done missed this one for 2011 (see pictures above), but mark the calendar for Memorial Day weekend, 2012. Primarily historical miniatures with some SF & F and the occasional zombie thrown in. A relaxing atmosphere in which to blow up your opponent big-time.

Origins Game Fair, June 22–26, Columbus, Ohio
If there is a way to play a game, you’ll find it here: board, card, dice, minis, roleplaying, etc. This year’s theme is Victoriana! Oh, ruddy good, old chap.

PAX Prime, August 26–28, Seattle, Washington
If you haven’t already registered for this event, you’re outta luck. The Website says they’re sold out of the 3-day badges, but at this writing they have a few one-day passes left. Mark the calendar for next year.

World Boardgaming Championships, August 1–7, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
America’s biggest gathering devoted solely to boardgames, ranging from Afrika Corps to Circus Maximus to Rio Grande. Don’t let the word "Championships" scare you off. There are games for players of every level of familiarity and skill.

Tell us about your favorite conventions, in the Comments below.


  1. cannot 4 the life of me find any miniature wargaming clubs in saint paul/minneapolis area what’s up with that everyone is texting nowdays

    • Issac, you should try The Source Comics & Games in Falcon Heights. The place carries a ton of games. They have a bunch of tables available too. They’re pretty busy on weekends, so you might want to call ahead if you need a table.


  1. Nashcon on « HMGS-MidSouth - [...] I posted a slideshow of Nashcon images on the main page of the ArmchairGeneral Website this morning,, or…