Home Board Game News Adepticon 2024 Recap

Adepticon 2024 Recap

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Billed as the “premier wargaming convention”, this past weekend was the annual Adepticon. Held in Schaumburg IL, Adepticon is going on 22 years strong. While not a huge convention compared to Gen Con, PAX U, or Origins, It still attracts a sizable crowd.

One interesting thing about Adoption is how it’s hyper focused on a specific niche in tabletop gaming. If you are into miniatures games, either playing or painting, then this is the place to be. While some conventions cater to the omnigamer, Adepticon is really aimed at the minis wargammer. If that’s you, then you’ll be right at home with this con.

Most of the time when I go to conventions, it’s to cover it for the site. At Gen Con, I’m usually running around like a chicken with its head cut off from meeting to meeting. Rarely do I get time to do events and just casually play things. However, Adepticon is usually my gaming retreat where I go simply to have fun, talk to people, and try new things. So with that in mind, here was this year’s Adepticon experience for me.

Notable Events and Games

Battletech Grinder

Battletech Grinder
One of the few “lifestyle” games I actively try to keep up with is Battletech. I got hooked on it after playing the turn-based video game and have since gone all in. I enjoy both Classic and Alpha Strike, and have always been intrigued by the Grinder. Catalyst Games is always promoting thier most popular BattleTech event, so I was happy to give it a try this year.

The premise is that you are dropped into a combat zone with 7 other players in a chaotic free-for-all. Over the course of the day, everyone starts in a light mech, and once you’ve been blown up or disabled, you go to HQ and get a better mech. Players go from Light, to medium, to heavy, to assault (or thereabouts). While I only had time for one slot, I had a blast and will definitely be signing up for more slots next year. In my single 2-hour slot, I controlled a light Thorn mech and held my own. I only got blasted at the end of the session, so I would be able to start the next session in a heavier mech (if I had time to play).

But if you are new to Battletech, this is a really good way to learn the ins and outs of the game. They had an experienced player running the session, and light mechs are pretty easy to run, so you have tons of time to get your feet wet before you get into the heavy and assault mechs.

Star Trek Into the Unknown

Star Trek: Into the Unknown
Coming out this year from WizKids is Star Trek: Into the Unknown. While it reminded me a little of Star Trek: Attack Wing, other than some ship-to-ship combat, it’s very different. The person running the demo told us that this is a wholly new game built from the ground up to be 100% Star Trek. And after playing the training wheels scenario, I feel like they nailed it.

The demo scenario had a Defiant Class Escort Ship facing off against a Jem’Hadar Fighter. Each ship has different stations (helm, tactical, engineering, etc.. )that you man with a crew member (either unnamed or lore-specific). Characters have their own stats and skills, such as Benjamin Sisko’s “Inspiring” ability that lets him help in tests.

Star Trek Into the UnknownOn your turn, you choose one of your crew members, exhausting them, which allows you to activate their station. So if you want to move your ship, you activate the crew member manning the Helm station and can move around on impulse. If you want to go to Warp, you activate your captain “Engage!”.

Scenarios are also held over 2 acts and feature branching paths. In our demo, We had to warp in and scan some anomalies. Once done, Act 2 started and, depending on which faction had the most influence in the region, it determined what happened in Act 2. I was running the Federation side and controlled influence, so Act 2 turned into a rescue op. We had to fly to a broken-down freighter and transport crew members to safety.

Interestingly, not a single shot was fired by either of our ships during the scenario. We started the mission “at peace”, so taking the first shot at someone would switch us to “at war”, and impose a victory point penalty. The winner of the scenario is determined by the most victory points, which are earned from accomplishing goals, and passing skill tests with extra icons. That being said, the table next to us was firing shots left and right, so clearly diplomacy failed for them.

The game was a tad overwhelming at first, but once we got into the turn structure it flowed really well. I look forward to trying the full game later this year. I also appreciated how it’s not a straight-up dogfight, which feels more appropriate to the Star Trek universe.

Star Wars GNK Racing

Star Wars: GNK Racing
As a special event at Adepeticon, Atomic Mass Games ran an event called GNK Racing. You know those goofy trash can looking droids that go “Gonk” from Star Wars? Yeah, they created a race on Tatooine where 8 of these silly droids need to race through 4 gates. While the game is really silly, the mechanics were quite impressive. They really pulled in the theme of running one of these slow, boxy droids.

GNK RacingYou had two tracks for each of your legs, and how you allocated power each round would determine if you went straight, or turned (using X-wing style movement templates). Where things got crazy was when the droids eventually bumped into each other. Doing so pings whoever they bounced into off in a different direction. Think bumper cars or Mario Kart. You also earned wobble tokens for going to fast, hitting things, or spending too much energy. These caused you to have to roll dice to see if you topple over, resulting in you careening off in a random direction before resetting your speed.

Passing through gates, required to win, or hitting powerup spots, earned you one of 4 powerups. These were different from the 3 types of droids (Light, Heavy, or Custom), but let you do unique things like Charge through other doids, drop an oil slick, or help stop you from wobbling.

The person running the demo stressed that, as of right now, there is no plans to make this an actual product. It was just something fun they did for Adepticon. That being said, it was really well fleshed out, but I also think it’s probably better as a convention game. With 8 players, it was nutty and chaotic. Playing with 2-3 players at home would definitely lose some of its charm.

Painting

Slap Chop – Let’s Get Messy
I like to do painting classes at Adepticon because there are a lot of great teachers there and the class sizes are nice and small. Last year I did Airbrushing 101, this year it was Slap Chop – Let’s Get Messy. Taught by expert painter Chris Suarez, this was a seminar all about how to get tabletop-quality minis painted quickly. It involved giving a mini a zenithal highlighting and then hitting areas with contrast paints. Once we got to the bare level you’d want for tabletop quality, he instructed us on ways to take it to the next level. This method worked really well. While it’s not going to win you any awards, for getting paint on your minis really quickly, this was a great technique. Over the course of about an hour and a half, we patined a Games Workshop orc from a black primed stage to something that definitely works for tabletop play.

Omicron Potocol

Omicron Protocol Demo
Omnicron Protocol, published by Dead Alive Games, is a competitive or cooperative skirmish game set in an apocalyptic future. People are enhanced with cybernetics and something has gone horribly wrong. You play as a few members of a faction, trying to accomplish the goals of the scenario. In our demo, it was to collect food resources. What was interesting is that there is a 3rd faction in the game, the Cyber-Memetic Sociopaths, or CyMS. Basically cyber zombies. They are a neutral faction that just wants to kill everyone.

ElephantSo on your turn, you can spend actions, usually moving and attacking. You can attack either your opponent or the CyMS. Killing either helps you earn VPs. After you go, depending on how much noise you made, you’ll attract the attention of nearby CyMS. What’s interesting is that they are slow, so if they can’t get to you, but can reach your opponent’s character, they’ll happily attack them.

After my short demo, I was hooked. Especially once I found out you could get an expansion faction that contained a sentient, cybernetic-enhanced elephant wielding a lead pipe. I picked up the bundle and look forward to trying out a full game.

Convention Observations

While I mentioned above that Adepticon is mainly for wargamers and mini painters, it does appear that they are branching off a little. One of the main rooms had a game library where you could demo all kinds of games (from war games to euros). Many were also “play to win”, so you could come back Sunday to see if you won the copy of the game. I saw tables to Ticket to Ride, Terraforming Mars, and other euros being played. It’s good to see other genres expanding out into the convention.

For those that are super competitive, Adepticon is also host tournaments from just about every major minis war game. Age of Sigmar, Warhammer 40k, X-wing, Star Wars Legion, Shatterpoint, Armada, Marvel Crisis Protocol, BattleTech, and Kings of War (among others) all had multi-day tournaments running.

Speaking of Games Workshop, Adepticon is also host to the Golden Demon. It’s a miniature painting competition held by Games Workshop that seeks to find the best-painted minis. It’s held in both the USA and UK, and every year I can’t help but be impressed at the sheer amount of talent on display from minis painters.

Golden Demon

While I don’t have the attendance numbers for this year’s convention, last year’s con had about 6,500 attendees. Obviously, that’s nowhere near the 10s of thousands that big conventions get, but Adepticon still seems to be steadily growing. I’ve been causally attending for about 5-6 years now and can definitely see the growth it’s made.

Games Workshop also used this as a launching point for several new product announcements. Same with Catalyst Games as they did a number of live streams, and Gale Force 9 used the convention to announce some new terrain they are releasing. Atomic Mass Games also had a major presence and had an entire hall of tables set up for demos, games, and tournaments.

I do wonder if the convention will outgrow the center soon. Some of the rooms felt a bit cramped, and parking was something of a nightmare. If you don’t get there early, your chances of finding a close spot are pretty slim, so you are looking at off-site parking and taking the shuttle in. It’s not ideal, but at least it’s only 5 minutes away. If the con keeps growing though, I could definitely see them looking for new space soon.

If you enjoy war gaming or mini painting, then this is a convention worth traveling to. Whether it’s for seminars, competing in tournaments, or just trying out new games, there is plenty to keep you entertained for a few days.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Tony. This line made me laugh. Gotta love autocorrect, but if only ‘adoption’ was as simple as that. “ One interesting thing about Adoption is how it’s hyper focused on a specific niche in tabletop gaming “

    • Hah, oops. The editor shall be flogged. I’m going to leave that typo though, because it’s pretty funny.

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