Brant Guillory, 9 July 2021
HistoriKC Fest is coming up pretty soon, so if you’re in the market for an in-person wargaming convention, and you can get to Kansas City, these guys have you covered. And if you happen to be in the market for a new second-favorite podcast (after Mentioned in Dispatches, of course!) then, well, History on the Table has got you covered there, too! Matt Peterson is the genius behind both of them, and he stopped in for a quick turn through our interview booth.
First things first – tell us about the podcast! How’d you get started, and what can listeners expect from your show? What’s the key standout feature that you’re aiming for?
History on the Table is a podcast primarily about hex-and-counter and similar wargames but will often conclude with us (my co-host, Richard Trippeer, and me) talking about the things we are enjoying in our lives in addition to wargames (RPGS, biking, books, tv, hockey, drinks). We start off each show with general updates about the games we’ve been playing, the books we’ve been reading and then dive into a featured game or two. Each featured game ends up on our “Every Wargame Ever” which is a list of every wargame ever made ranked from best to worst. As of 7/7/21 we have ranked 39 games and have at least 39 games to go. (For those interested we keep an up-to-date list here)
The show launched in January of 2019 and started as a solo podcast. Richard joined me as a co-host in 2020. From time to time I also host “Designers on the Mic” which are separate recordings featuring interviews with designers.
HistoriKC Fest is coming up imminently. What’s your involvement in the convention, and how long have you been working with the convention? How’d the convention adjust to the new post-plague realities of large gatherings of people?
Yes, HistoriKC Fest is coming up quickly (July 30-August 1!). I am the creator of HistoriKC Fest which has been a project I’ve turned around in my head even prior to launching History on the Table. The real work began when Mitchell Land and Kris Miller approached me about hosting Next War Con in Kansas City in the summer of 2019.
Next War Con itself was dedicated to playing GMT Games’ Next War Series. We reserved ½ of a local game store’s game room and played on their tables over 3 days. We were a little tight on space but overall it was a great event and featured great bbq and non-stop Next War.
During the same time (pre-COVID) I was also hosting the Kansas City Historical Gaming Group (KCHGG) and we were having a great turnout with players from the metro and even some driving down from Ft. Leavenworth. Riding a solid wargame high, I decided to press forward and later that summer I started looking at venues to expand Next War Con into something bigger, HistoriKC Fest, for 2020. Like other gaming conventions, we postponed the debut event for 2020 and rescheduled for this summer. As a result of that, I’ve been working on this project for over 2 years at this point and can’t wait for our first ever event.
Where does HistoriKC Fest fit into your pantheon of game conventions? Preferred destination? Convenient local con? Nostalgic favorite? Family reunion? How does it compare to any other conventions you’ve checked out?
I haven’t attended or had much of a desire to attend any of the large, big dog conventions. The conventions I’ve attended in the past have all been smaller (relatively) conventions where I know I’m going to be able to play the games I want and not be distracted by other events or overwhelmed by the crowds.
At first glance Kansas City may seem like an odd destination choice but I think we are a great destination for the historical crowd with plenty to check out: WWI Musuem and Memorial, Negro Leagues Museum, Jazz Museum, Union Station, Truman Library and Museum… I’ll find you something to do if you come out this way.
The Truman Museum is an excellent museum for military history buffs. We took a day off from a Warfighter exercise at Ft Leavenworth one year to drive over there and check it out. Absolutely worth the trek.
Oh, we also have the best BBQ in the world (something we’re leaning into with the convention and our ASL Summer Sizzler).
I have some family in Texas that are gonna fight you on that!
This is our first year, so it’s hard to say how it will compare to other conventions.
One of my favorite Next War Con memories was the group dinner at Jack Stack BBQ with Mitchell Land. That is why I decided to offer the Dinners with the Designers for both Mike Denson and Mitchell.
One of my favorite Next War Con memories was the group dinner at Jack Stack BBQ with Mitchell Land. That is why I decided to offer the Dinners with the Designers for both Mike Denson and Mitchell. It was a really cool experience to sit around the table, share some BBQ and pick everyone’s brain at Next War Con and I wanted others to have that experience. I don’t know of a lot of other opportunities to be able to do that. Our dinner with Mitchell is full but we have some spots left for our dinner with Mike Denson. You just need to sign up when you register.
I will say in the Kansas City area, outside of March Madness put on by the Kansas City ASL Group each year, there isn’t much in the way of board wargaming conventions. Recruits is, or was ( I believe they merged into a larger convention recently) was a very fun (and cheap!) convention that was aimed at teaching kids how to play primarily miniature wargames but wasn’t really the same type of event we are going for.
Tell us about a time that you find a particularly cool something (game, accessory, terrain, dice, minis, etc) at a convention and got to show it off to your gaming buddies. Bonus points if you’ve got pics!
Speaking of Recruits Convention, one year I attended, someone had setup and was running a miniatures based Battle of Helms Deep. There was also a very detailed Battle of Stalingrad. Both had amazing table presences. At the time I wasn’t interested in miniature gaming so I didn’t stop to play or check them out but they certainly looked impressive.
What’s a game that someone had to talk you into trying, but that you really enjoyed once you actually got into playing?
I’m usually the pusher of games, especially when playing with family and non-wargame buddies. Maybe not the game your readers are looking for but Dominion came to mind immediately. I swore off Dominion for years but then my wife took a strong interest in deck building games and now it still ranks as one of our favorite (if not favorite) deck builders. The staying power of Dominion is incredible. That game is 13 years old and still holds up!
As someone who is addicted to the Androminion open-source mobile version of Dominion for a decade now, this definitely checks out.
For wargames, Advanced Squad Leader is something I talked myself into. For a long time I swore it off but kept walking by the window, tempting myself to go in. Eventually I did and have no regrets.
Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with HistoriKC Fest!
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