Saturday July 25th, 2009 saw myself and my compadre’s Evan, Colin and Joe heading (in rather cramped conditions) up to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont to hit up Games Day/Golden Demon 2009. To the uninitiated, Games Workshop have a huge event which has displays, speed painting competitions, Forge World and GW sales booths, costume contests, banner contests and the Golden Demon painting awards, all crammed into one, long, overwhelming day.
I think there was a definite suppressed excitement as we made our way down there, thinking about all the great stuff that we could pick up for our respective forces. It was obvious that the main highlight of this jaunt was the fact we could get our claws on lots of Forge World goodness, without having to pay shipping costs on a ridiculously overpriced product.
So, we are dropped off outside, but not after pointing out the other people on their way there who were obviously wargames players (are we that easy to spot?), and also wondering what else was running alongside Games Day. (Apparently there were some ’empowerment conferences’ going on, I later found out).
We head in, get registered and step into the hall, facing a rather large, inflatible Space Marine (a bloody Ultramarine, no less). The first thing I noticed was how empty the hall looked. Upon closer inspection, it was due to the fact that the hall was SO immense, that the hundreds (if not thousands) of people there looked like a small handful. Odd! I bumped into Dan, the manager of the Woodfield Mall store and chatted to him briefly, he was overseeing some super heavy tank battles, which, by the way, was the noisiest section of the whole venue.
It only took a matter of moments for us to scope out where Forge World was, and where the end of the line was to get in there, so, we wombled on over and got in line. Colin graciously offered to stay in line and hold a spot for us, if we wanted to go take a look at the sales booth. Evan and Colin hung back while me and Joe headed over to the sales stand. It’s certainly evident that Games Workshop are wanting to move fully to a plastic range, as all the eye could see where stacks of boxes on tables. It reminded me of a flea market. I had a look around at the stuff they had, which was just all the stuff they have in the stores anyway. With the exception of some ‘Direct Sales’ collector ranges, and the Games Day exclusive mini, there was little to get excited about. There were no price deals, or even things like ‘buy 2 get one free/half price’ affairs either, which all made it seem like an anti climax. Joe and myself did happen to see a table which had a ‘yellowshirt’ dump a big box of markdown blister packs onto a table, into which a ravenous horde of kids scrambled to see what they could get. It was essentially a bunch of crap they could’nt shift in the stores. I saw a lot of Warmaster and LoTR stuff in there, with a couple of 40K/WHFB bits thrown in for good measure.
I snagged a Chimera, Joe snagged some paint, and we headed off back to the line to rejoin Evan and Colin. I’d say we’d been gone about 30 minutes or so at this point, and the lads had only just got to the sectioned off part of the line. I lost track of time eventually in the Forge World line, as we were there so bloody long. It was a great opportunity to yap about anything and anything, and to also make fun of the awkward nerdy types that would go up to the young lady dressed as a Dark Elf and wanted to take a picture of her. Think of Princess Leia in her Slave outfit after listening to a lot of Goth, and that’ll give you an idea of the attire she was wearing. We also were eyeballing t-shirts, or display models or whatnot that we thought were cool, and devised many plots on how to rumble their respective owners to make off with their swag. This usually started with ‘i’ll create a diversion…’ Eventually, after what seemed like a millenia, we made it to the Forge World table. I already knew I wanted the Exorcist missile launcher upgrade kit for a Rhino (as I already have the pipe organ version). The lady who was helping me went and looked, only to find they were all out. Which kinda stumped me, as thats all I really needed at this point. So, to at least make the wait worthwhile, I asked for the Death Guard Terminator upgrades. Nothing. So, I asked if they Had any Blight Drones, which they did have. I looked at it, and it really is a beautiful (?) model, but at this point I couldn’t justify dropping almost $70 on something that won’t see the light of day for ages. Joe was standing with me and we were talking about inducted Guard/Marine forces for Sisters of Battle armies, to which the lady suddenly blurted out some bizarre piece of info that was clearly wrong. Me and Joe exchanged a ‘wtf’ look and carried on browsing the catalogue. nothing else was jumping out at me (that I could use). Heavy hearted I left the FW table empty handed.
Colin, on the other hand, emerged from the FW booth resembling what can only be described as Santa Claus on christmas eve. The bag of stuff he bought was HUGE, and I shuddered at the mere thought of what he just dropped in there. Games Workshop love this man. Evan snagged some very tasty renegade militia models, and the uber sexay ‘Blood Slaughterer’, which looks like a mechanized very angry bug. The detail on this thing is amazing, and i’m looking forward to seeing this bad boy on the field.
We had worked up an appetite at this point, so it was decided that we should go in search of food. We could’ve gone to the restaurant, but lets face it, conventions are notoriously expensive as it is, why would you go down that route? you’d probably have to re-mortgage your house or something for a plate of fries. so we hit the concession stand. We had been talking while in line about each of us entering the terrain building session, as you get to keep what you make, and that would sure help us out with our terrain selection we had. We were going to do this, until we saw the line, which was really, really long, and there was still an hour or more before the next session, so we nixed that idea.
Thankfully the line was virtually non existant at the foodstand, at which I purchased a slice of cheese pizza and a >small< pop for $8. Colin did the same, and Evan picked up a hot dog, at least thats probably what it wanted to be when it grew up. I honestly don’t know how these people can look you in the eye and charge you those prices, as the food was crap. The pizza was like a piece of rubber attached to a piece of very hard, overcooked/stale wood. I couldn’t even bite through the crust! argh!
We floated around the painted army section, and voted for our favorites, then ambled over to the open gaming tables. There were some very nice setups that gave me a lot of inspiration for terrain. From there we went over to this small table that had examples of changes through the ages of various GW games, like the WH40k formats, Space Hulk etc etc. It all seemed a little half-hearted really, like they had found a few bits and pieces and decided to throw together a display. Even the Golden Demon Entries seemed sparse, but i’m not sure if that was maybe because they were scooping up the minis’s to photograph them. There were some truly stunning entries though, which made me want to take a hammer to all my stuff. 🙂
We decided to call it a day after that, as there really was little else to do. I think we were all a little disappointed by what seemed to be a lacklustre event. We all (well, nearly all) achieved our purchasing goals, but it would have been nice to see a little more going on, and a little more for people to check out that weren’t there to play a game. It seemed pretty unanimous that we wouldn’t be returning next year, although I am considering maybe putting an entry into Golden Demon, just to see where I can get 😉
And thats that! I do have pictures, which I will upload and put here, but I wanted to get the blurb up first.
Flamers! Fisting! and a whole lotta 40k…