My kind of town

Pretty city

So that was Adepticon 2012. My first experience of a major gaming convention, as well as first time in Chicago. Now back in rainy England and with several hours of sleep under my belt, I can start to make some sense of it all.

First off, Chicago is amazing. It’s got all the architectural interest of New York but with a bit less dirt. We were lucky with the weather, and everything sparkled. Millennium Park, the Field Museum, the Art Institute – they were all superb (and huge). I can’t really see myself ever upping sticks and living anywhere but the lovely West Country, but if I did then Chicago might be a contender. Some bits look like Gotham, others like Necromunda, and others like Coruscant. The whole place is very sci-fi, which makes it a splendid location for Adepticon.

Lombard, the suburb where we were based, is slightly less awe-inspiring (unless you like car parks), but the hotel was very swanky. We needed somewhere to recover after a hellish wait at O’Hare’s passport control and an amusingly suicidal taxi ride along the freeway. I’m sure it’s not entirely safe to drive while reading a hotel directory and talking on the phone, and I think it’s generally agreed that staying in lane at least some of the time is sensible. Still, we made it.

The Emperor of Mankind. And statue.

We were pretty busy the whole time. Thanks to all who came to the round table seminars and who visited the Black Library stand in the main hall. Good to chat, as ever. Adepticon was a little different to events I’d previously attended, in that it was primarily a tournament gaming event rather than a mix of hobby and book stuff. I don’t think that really changed the atmosphere much: perhaps people were a bit more earnest than I’m used to, with fewer casual fans hanging around, but there was plenty for the non-gamer to enjoy.

The armies, to my eye at least, were painted to a fantastic standard. I was particularly chuffed to see the winning entry in the Black Library competition, which was a Heresy-era Thousand Sons force. This included two named characters – Temekh and Aphael – who both appeared in Battle of the Fang. Great to see them immortalised in plastic, and congrats to the Capital Imperialis team from Springfield, Illinois for such a splendid job (they were very nice guys, too).

We were kept busy with signings on all three days, and it was especially pleasing to see copies of Wrath of Iron making their way into the hands of readers. After all those long nights hammering away at the keyboard, it was a good feeling to see the finished article released into the wild.

I was accompanied in the stand by fellow authors Clint (C.L.) Werner and Andy Smillie. The latter is a relative newcomer to the fellowship of BL scribes whose debut stories can be found in the Gotrek and Felix anthology and as part of the 15th Anniversary celebration collection – well worth checking out. I’ve long been familiar with Herr Werner’s fantasy books as a reader, but it was my first chance to meet the man himself, and it was an absolute pleasure. As well as being a fan-favourite author, Clint is a real gent, and I hope our paths cross again in the future. In the meantime, as well as the Skaven-tastic Dead Winter, you should definitely look out for his upcoming Siege of Castellax Space Marine Battles book at the end of the year – it’ll be stellar.

So long, Chicago. We barely knew ye.

Thanks must also go to Eddie and Mike from BL, who looked after us marvellously and worked furiously hard to keep up with demand on the stand. I hope they’ve both managed to catch up with some sleep and recover in time for planning the next one. Thanks to the guys from the GW Chicago Bunker who helped out and were cool to chat to. Honourable mentions also to the various podcast people and bloggers we met, all of whom were reassuringly enthusiastic and full of questions.

It was a memorable, surprising, friendly, exhausting trip away, which is, of course, just as it should be. Roll on Canada.