Tag Archive: “conventions”

DayCon, February 18 at Rona Banquet Hall

by Josher Lumpkin

“H.G. Wells wrote the first miniatures gaming rules, called Little Wars.” Randy Miller says enthusiastically, even manically.

The event Randy had been working on for the better part of a year, DayCon Game Day 2017, was about to finally go down, and he had reached the point in convention preparation where he was ready to drop knowledge about mini gaming.

“So the whole ‘tin soldiers’ kinda thing—where they were pouring tin into molds and that was a play toy for kids—that whole thing morphed into H.G. Wells saying, ‘Hey what happens if we made some rules and we played it with these on the living room floor?’”

You couldn’t meet a nicer guy than Miller, and does he ever know his stuff. He’s the kind of person you could just listen to talk for an hour.

“And so over the 20th century it really evolved into quite the hobby in the U.K., and they have a very strong gaming community there.” He continues, “Here in the United States, Dayton happened to have a nexus of gamers, but also guys who were willing to start casting miniatures and selling them. So that obviously created a community of gamers. That’s how I got exposed to it.”

“There’s a tradition here,” Randy says. “In the meantime, though, circumstances have changed. New generations have come in. It’s the golden age of the board game.”

Randy and his friends, who mostly play huge, table-sized battle games, wanted to put on a convention where tabletop enthusiasts of all types could bust on a table, regardless of what they get off on.

Turns out, he didn’t have to worry much about attendance at DayCon.  The show went off without a so much as a hiccough, with a good turnout, and people chucking dice on all kinds of stuff, from RPGs to historicals and tacticals, to games board and card and even euros. (Okay, those people were pushing cubes).


DayCon had all the fixin’s of a hometown con. There were games of every conceivable genre and subgenre. Still, DayCon stayed true to its purpose, which was to hopefully attract other types of gamers to historical miniature war gaming and make HG Wells proud for once and for all. I mean, beyond that whole War of the Worlds thing.

I think Wells would have smiled upon DayCon. Every U.S. military conflict of the last 300 years was represented there. And many non-US military conflicts, too. (Like anybody gives a shit about those.)

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I found some real-life Vietnam veterans playing a cool-looking Vietnam mini game, and wondered if they found it somehow therapeutic. I should have asked those guys.


Of course, some gamers prefer their battles to go down between fantasy races, instead of real-life military conflicts. There was plenty at DayCon for orc-and-dragon crowd to feast their eyes at!

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One person had built a massive table to represent the surface of the Death Star. They were playing Star Wars X-Wing, reenacting classic trench battles from Episode IV. The attention to detail and impressive. The guy told me he built it sturdy, “so fat guys like me can lean on it!”

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There were even people playing shit like this:


I think it’s called “Hotwheels with a Ruleset.”

It was a gorgeous day outside, so of course, I had registered for long, boring euros. The belle of the ball was a gorgeous economic board game called The Gallerist, where the players use a simple worker placement mechanic to discover artists, take contracts, self-promote, and other actions. The victor will have a high reputation score and an appealing gallery. The money is the victory points.IMG_20170218_101543910 IMG_20170218_101608265 IMG_20170218_101554923

I lost my ass off, but it was fun AF.

Many game creators local to Dayton were at DayCon showing off their wares. The developers of the games Robot Rise, Galatune, Bellum, Daikaiju Director, and the role-playing game Cold Steel Wardens were all at DayCon, teaching people how to play. Here are pictures of two of them, Bellum and Cold Steel Wardens.IMG_20170218_123730384IMG_20170218_125659030_HDR

The people at DayCon were super interesting and welcoming. This guy had a cool hat!pjimage

I accidentally called the Mogwai a “Gismo” like some kind of idiot.

To round out the day, I taught 6 people how to play Lords of Waterdeep with the expansion.


It was a really great day with a lot of incredibly cool and fun games going on. I can’t wait until next year!


ORIGINS GAME FAIR, July 11-15 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center

by David C. Obenour

The annual warm up for Gen Con, what Origins lacks in size it delivers in less crowded halls and less hurried play-testing tables. Having to awkwardly defend your space behind a fellow gamer for 15 minutes while they finish their play-test isn’t much fun and neither is having someone lurk over you when it is your turn to play. So taking advantage of this more laid back convention, Ghettoblaster was able to get in a whole lot of gaming! Not all of the games featured here are brand new, but they were new to us and maybe you too.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot more to do at Origins besides just playing games and some of our past reviews have covered all of the great food and fun that surrounds this five-day event (see Origins 2012: Day One).

But without any further ado, onto the games!


KAOSBALL (CoolMiniOrNot, 2014)

CoolMinisOrNot lives up to the first half of its name with the new, Kickstarter funded, Kaosball! Sure the base set with a board, rules and four teams retails for a hundred clams, but as a parental figure may or may not have told you growing up: you get what you pay for. Fantasy teams made of trolls, lycantropes, valkyries, cowboys, steampunks and more, all battle for your insatiable appetite for blood sport. Players control runners, bruisers and ringers as they fight, steal and tackle their way to possessing the ball and holding on for dear life, and points, atop of the scoring zones. Each team has their own special rules, and cool figures too, so Kaosball can potentially be a dangerous cash sink, but when you’re having this much fun…


RIVET WARS (CoolMiniOrNot, 2013)

2 rivet wars

Let’s time warp back a year (and to last review): CoolMinisOrNot lives up to the first half of its name with a previously successfully Kickstarter funded project, Rivet Wars! While steampunk is a pretty polarizing style, the World War I fashioned robo-minis made for Rivet Wars are pretty undeniable awesome looking. Infantry, artillery and vaguerly tank-ish looking contraptions fight through trenches and over hill and dale as provided by the nine double-sided battlefield terrain tiles. Unlike some military tabletop games, the rules are fairly uniform and simple, plus the battlefield is grid-ed out so you don’t need a tape measure for shooting or movement. Again, retail for this starting game set is $100 (though Amazon has it new for only $70) and again with a number of additional expansions with more cool minis it’s a potential cash sink… but also again, fun.



10 xenoshift

The ‘get your attention while walking through the Exhibitor Hall’ pitch is that Xenoshyft Onslaught is a cooperative, deck-building, tower defense game. For those of you not fluent in geek, that means you’re using a starting deck to acquire more and better cards, using those cards to stop your enemy, and all working together as a team. Concept-wise, Xenoshyft is pure Avatar. Humans have scoured the galaxy, seeking out resources, and in this case, are mining a planet dry of its inhabitant’s main food source. Players take the role of department heads (Med Bay, Weapons Research, Science Lab and Armory) for the company, NorTec Military. Each round a new wave of sunken-eyed, famished aliens assault the base and players must work together to defend each other and the base. It’s not easy, and you can tell the designers wanted you to feel torn about what it is your actually doing, but it’s still fun.



4 freedom

Freedom: The Underground Railroad is a remarkably well-made game. For all of the mindfully-done and historically influenced mechanics that it employs, once the turn order is ran through and understood the game plays fairly intuitively. Not getting bogged down in complex decision making minutia allows players to appreciate Freedom both as a game and as a look back at a time when America was most divided. Taking on the role of historical figures from the abolitionist movement, players work cooperatively to help guide escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad while evading slave catchers, and work to raise funds and support for the cause. Each character has his or her own special abilities, so a smart group utilizes their individual strengths to help the team. The main possible flaw for Freedom comes with this, as it does with most cooperative games, in an overly controlling alpha player can easily takes the reigns if not checked.


STAR REALMS (White Wizard Games, 2014)

6 star realms

A head-to-head deck builder, Star Realms is deceptively simple and insanely addictive. Players take on the role of star fleet admirals and amass ship and base cards. Most all cards come with an alignment (either The Trade Federation, The Blobs, The Star Empire or The Machine Cult) and the more cards you’re able to play in a turn from the same alignment the more bonuses you receive – drawing more cards, additional attacks, higher purchasing power, etc. The starter set for a 2-player games is only $15. Want to add a third or fourth player? All you have to do is buy another set! There’s really not much else to say about Star Realms or maybe there is but writing about the game just makes me want to go play it again… I’ll be right back.


QUILT SHOW (Rio Grande Games, 2014)

5 quilt show

Admittedly, a game about competitive quilting doesn’t sound all that exciting at first but then a new game from Rio Grande sure does! Designed with the help of longtime quilting advocate and designer, Judy Martin (having published the most number of original patterns, she’s the Robert Pollard of quilting) Quilt Show is a fun little game. Players collect scraps of different colored fabric, much like collecting different colors of trains in Ticket to Ride, and use these combinations to acquire quilt square tiles of varying intricacy and point value. After a set number of quilt squares have been made, the first of three quilt shows is triggered. Players arrange their squares in patterns either different or alike, add up their quilts’ point value and ribbons and cash prizes are awarded. The fun twist here is that your unused fabric cards and quilting squares carry over to the next show, so while you might not have done well this time you’re in a much better position for the next show.


COPYCAT (Rio Grande Games, 2012)

9 copycat

The overall concept of Copycat matches its theme completely. Designer Friedemann Friese took all of the best mechanics from some of our favorite games – Dominion, Agricola, Through the Ages, Puerto Rico and Power Grid – and implemented them for a game about political campaigning. Benefit from and then take credit for the work of others. Perfect, right? Friese’s work isn’t completely void of it’s own inspiration though. While a lot of games can suffer from this sort of direct… copycatting, Copycat borrows enough different mechanics and uses them in a way that you never find your mind wandering to thoughts like “this is fun, but I’d rather just be playing…” or “I already kind of own this.”


TSURO OF THE SEAS (Calliope Games, 2012)

7 tsuro of the seas

Tsuro of the Seas takes much of its game play from the classic 2004 puzzle game, Tsuro. Players place tiles with interweaving paths, trying to keep those paths from the edge of the board for as long as possible. However, with the seas come monstrous daikaijus that add an element of randomness to play by devouring ships whenever their paths cross. The Veterans of the Seas expansion (2013) adds even more twists with Tsunami, Uzushio (Whirlpool), Taihou (Cannons) and Mystic Portal tiles. Ultimately, a lot of the original Tsuro’s beauty lay in its simplicity so Tsuro of the Seas’ variants, while interesting and beautifully designed, only clutter the concept.


RARRR!!! (APE Games, 2014)

3 rarrr!!

The Zombie tide has crested (or at least plateaued) and rising from the murky depths to challenge the undead’s pop-culture dominance is the mighty daikaiju. While a constant staple, over the last few years Godzilla and the Godzilla-like have been gaining more and more favor as the next big nerd theme. The aptly named Rarrr!!! starts with players building their Japanese movie monsters by drafting single syllable cards (creating fun names and divvying out electrical, toxic, radioactive and fire powers). After your monster is created another round of drafting creates your starting hand of power cards and you’re ready to clash over the major cities of Earth. Though different in its play mechanics, there did seem to be a fair amount of similarities in the look and feel to iello’s 2011 game, King of Tokyo. That said, there’s probably enough room for two hulking monsters on your gaming shelf.

Steven Griffin, aka Griffin Cosplay is a new cosplayer based out of Dayton, Ohio. This blog follows his successes and failures as he immerses himself in the culture both behind the scenes and at the conventions. You can find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GriffinCosplay and Twitter @GriffinCosplay.

I am just a few days removed from Lexington Comic and Toy Con, which was my very first convention in costume. I will say that I did have a blast! Overall the experience was amazing. Here’s a rundown of how the day went.

I think that the hardest part of the whole experience was making sure that my wife and I had everything together and ready to go before we left. I got on part of my costume and then double and triple checked that we had everything we need before we take off. The last thing we wanted to do was drive two and a half hours only to find out we had forgotten a very important part of the costume. The drive there was not bad aside from the fact that the closer we got the more nervous I became. By the time we arrived I was just a big pile of nerves.

When we arrived to the convention it was packed. There were lines all over the building but no one really directing traffic at all. It took us about 20 minutes to figure out which line was the preregistered line. This is where the small complaint comes in. The preregistered line was extremely long and weaved around the building 4 or 5 times with no clear beginning or end and none of the volunteers seemed to know how to help or where people were supposed to be going. After finding the end of the line it was about an hour-long wait to get checked in and get your wrist band. The line for people who had not preregistered was about a 10-minute wait and then you could just walk right into the convention hall. I have a feeling that the people in charge of Lexington Comic & Toy Con learned a valuable lesson from this year’s fallout, as there were a lot of very unhappy people.

One of the best moments came while standing in line when we ran into Knightmage (@Knightmage). He is a cosplayer who has given me a lot of advice and has just been an all around great guy and not to mention does amazing work for charity. When we saw him he stopped and posed for a picture with us and I gave him a print to say thanks for all the help he had given me (he seemed truly happy and excited to get the print too). It was a really great moment for me to meet him in person finally and had completely put my nerves to rest. I also don’t even have to mention how amazing his Blade and Deadpool costumes were. Holy cow!

@Knightmage as Blade
@Knightmage as Blade

Once we made our way through the line and got our wristbands and headed into the hall the fun began. The hall was packed and it was very slow-moving but everyone was friendly and excited to be there. I was met with lots of “Awesome Costume,” and “Wow, nice work,” complements that you can’t help but feel great getting. I was also humbled by the amazing costumes people had put together and just how awesome everyone was. Whether being asked to pose for pictures or I myself requesting to pose with people, everyone was willing to drop what they are doing and rock a cool pose.

One of the highlights of my day was coming across the very well known Ani-Mia’s (@Ani-Mia) booth and having her light up when seeing me costume and saying “Wow, really nice!” She was incredibly friendly and took the time out to talk to my wife and I and pose for some pictures. I will say I had a bit of a geek out moment when meeting her. Very cool.

@Ani-Mia as Jessica Rabbit
@Ani-Mia as Jessica Rabbit

After hours my wife and I were invited to go to dinner with Comic Con Cutie Hailey (@CCC_Hailey) and her friends at a local place called the Village Idiot. There we met up with some of her friends including a photographer that I had talked to a bit on twitter in the past Wesley Smith (@ThePortraitDude). The Village Idiot had an amazing burger called the Idiot which I cant recommend enough. That paired with a West Sixth IPA really hit the spot but after the hours walking around the con we were all just exhausted. So after dinner we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. My wife and I double and tripped checked everything again and then we piled into the car for the long drive home.

@CCC_Hailey as Poison Ivy
@CCC_Hailey as Poison Ivy

This was a great experience for me. I went in not knowing what to expect at all and came out really excited for the next convention and ready to meet more amazing people. I want to thank everyone whom I met at Lexington and the people who put on the Con as well. Other than the hiccup at the beginning it was an amazing time and I came away with some great new friends and an overall great outlook on my future as a cosplayer!

Thank you guys again for taking the time out to read my blog. Your input is valuable to me so please feel free to contact me on Facebook or on Twitter and give me your input.


Hello everyone,
My name is Steven Griffin – otherwise known as Griffin Cosplay on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GriffinCosplay and Twitter @GriffinCosplay – and you have run across my new blog for Ghettoblaster. This is my very first entry so I thought I might start out with a small introduction to myself and what my posts will be about.

As I said my name is Steven but I like to go by Griffin or Grif. I am a Cosplayer from Dayton, Ohio. I am very new to the world of cosplay and have only just begun. I commissioned my first couple of costumes a few months ago and then decided that I wanted to learn how to start building all of my own props and costumes. This blog will follow me as I learn how to do this. It will document my successes as well as my failures. I will go into as much detail as I possibly can so that maybe someone can learn from my mistakes or maybe even give me advice on my next project.

In addition to following my progress I will also be going to conventions and documenting my experiences there. This will give people a chance to see the conventions through the eyes of a cosplayer. I have been going to conventions for years but never in costume so this will be a very new experience for me.

My very first convention in costume will be Lexington Comic & Toy Con. I will be documenting this convention and taking pictures as well so you will get to follow me from the very beginning! Let’s hope I don’t scream and run away.

To top it all off, I will also be writing up features in which I will be talking to other people in the community. Cosplayers, event organizers, photographers, etc. We will talk about their experiences as well as finding out a little more about where they come from and how they got started. I am very excited to work on this blog and give everyone a glimpse inside of my world. I hope that all of you will follow me on my journey and enjoy what do!