I recently made the annual trip to What-Khan in Illinois. It’s not GenCon, but for a regional Con, it has something for all gamers, including the Grimdark.
I started attending What-Khan in 2008, at the urging of a friend from our local 40K group here in Milwaukee. Our local group, D-Company Milwaukee, usually has a strong showing; about 8-10 guys hanging out playing 40K with abandon all weekend. Beginning Friday morning with a traditional “shotgun” start, the gang gets the 10 tables we are allotted kitted out with the buckets of terrain required. For the first time since I started heading down to Rockford 8 years ago, I did not play any 40K. I have sold off Hive Fleet Prometheus, and am rebuilding an Iron Hands/Mechanicus army. All good though, as I have diversified into board games, and What-Khan has a plethora of those. Attendance? Usually 300-400; a pretty good turnout for a regional gaming event.
40K open gaming starts in earnest in the early afternoon, most games being the range of 3000-4000 points. Several grudge matches get played during the course of the weekend. The most interesting for me was between Kevin’s Eldar and AJs Necrons. Both armies were kitted out with as much cheez as these guys could pack in. Kevin’s Eldar have a nasty reputation in our group, having been defeated only a few times in the past several years. It took my Tyranids four tries before some Flyer spam finally got the better of him. For the game this weekend, the Eldar just weren’t able to overcome the Necron resurrection abilities. Putting eight AP2 shots into a unit and not causing a single model to be removed can get a bit depressing!
In another corner, Joe and his Orks were rippin’ it up against Night Lords and Blood Angels. Among other things, he had two 15 Loota mobs. I don’t think the Orks stopped stompin’ up the battlefield for two days straight. Every time I walked over to that table, Joe was rolling dice and things were dying on both sides. Best of all was all the Orky terrain. A certain Ork Warlord was not going to let anyone spoil his Mungustown! Plenty of other action…Iron Warriors, Salamanders, Grey Knights, Blood Angels and Chaos minions. By the way, Mike and his traitor scum will pay when I get my new army built!
As for other features of the Con, lots of action on the rest of the floor. A 40K tourney with at least 12 players, a Malifaux tourney, plenty of Pathfinder, historical minatures and a bunch of board games. When I wasn’t painting or watching the great D-Company games going on, I was roaming the gaming floor looking for some board game action. Found one of my favorite board games, Formula D, and the guy who runs it, Tad, comes ready to roll. He has taken a 4 square foot board and changed it into about 24 square feet of racing awesomeness. I last played here at the Con in 2010, but got in another 3 games this weekend. Lost 1, 2nd Place, and FINALLY a 1st place finish! There is also lots of X-Wing. Pretty much anything for your gaming pleasure.
Finally, there is the “after gaming” evening shenanigans in the meeting room at our hotel. 8-10 guys hanging out, enjoying adult beverages, slow-cookers full of tasty chili and playing games. Friday night from 11PM-? we played Super Fight. Craziness indeed, especially after too much food and drink. Saturday found us back in the meeting room playing Red November, a great game about drunk Gnomes trying to save a sinking submarine. When we Con, we Con right!
What-Khan is a real highlight for many of us who don’t have the time or resources to get to a major tournament. We get as much 40K as we can handle, and just a great time hanging out with fellow Grimdark fans.
Have you gone to a regional Con recently?