Here are my notes of the meeting. Visit the HMGS website for the official minutes, etc. Any errors are mine. --RL
This being Friday night, I attended the always informative HMGS membership meeting. OK, that's an overstatement, but you never know what you're going to learn. As before, I scribbled notes as fast as I could, so any errors, spelling or otherwise, are mine.
I counted 23 members, which was enough for a quorum, and the vote to accept previous meeting minutes passed 22-0 with one abstention.
Elections are coming up for four seats on the seven-member board. Nominees were: Tim Broome, John Spiess, Dave Waxtell, Chris Bennett, Dave Enteness, Doug Kline, Todd Pressley, James Stanton, and Jared Fishman. Ed Miller was also nominated, but cannot serve because he is on the Election Committee. Whether these folks know they are nominated or not is another question, for many were not in the room. They have to tell the Election Committee they want to serve and pass a background check.
Background check? Apparently, you can be disqualified if it turns up a significant issue. The previous background company, AICR, had closed, so HMGS will use a new company, EBI. The Election Committee planned to use the same electronic voting method as before.
HMGS finances are still in good shape. The official written report is on the web site. The verbal report using rounded numbers noted that in 2018, income was $310,000USD and expenses were $277,000.USD Overall, that's $10,000USD more revenues in 2018 than 2017. Membership dues held steady at $42,600.USD
Cold Wars 2018: $77,000USD in revenue and $59,000USD in expenses for close to $18,000USD in profit (up from $2,600USD profit in 2017). That's partly due to reduced expenses for printing, T-shirt, and publicity.
Historicon 2018: $119,000USD in revenue and $86,000USD in expenses for about $32,000USD in profits (up from $2,965USD profit in 2017).
Fall In 2018: $69,000USD in revenue and $57,000USD in expenses for about $12,000USD in profits (didn't say 2017 numbers).
Bank Account: $382,000USD (almost all in cash) left after $27,000USD was paid out for initial 2019 convention expenses.
Cold Wars 2019
A Facebook advertising campaign went to 300,000 people and is at least partially responsible for 77 new attendees. This number is about 4% more than something, but I missed the 4% of what. Perhaps total attendance? In addition, CW lured back 3% of gamers who had not attended CW in the last five years. Again, I'm not sure of 3% of what. Sorry. The 'what' will probably be in the official minutes.
Some of the extra cash is being invested in what organizations call member services. The swag bag, water bottle, and hook thingee (?!) for convention goers and GMs is one part. GM swag bags contained dice, tape measure, and other items.
The Saturday afternoon beer and appetizer soiree in the dealer hall may be another, although that may have been paid for by the dealers. I am not sure.
The teacher program, which helps teachers use miniatures in classrooms to teach history lessons, is another HMGS initiative that seems to be bearing fruit.
On that last point, I later gamed with a parent who brought his kid in to game due to this program. So that might be two of the 77 new faces at the convention. He expressed amazement that his kid wanted to game with toy soldiers instead of videogames, but that was OK with him.
Cold Wars 2020
Cold Wars 2020 will be held at the Host (now called the Wyndham Host). There was a thought about moving to Valley Forge, but the board wanted to see how Fall In 2019 (being held at Valley Forge) goes before committing to that venue again. Besides, we've already been through the pain and dislocation of renovation, and we're starting to see the end results. Whether the management thanks us for sticking with them by not pricing us out of the venue remains to be seen.
Unlike GenCon and Origins, HMGS does not nickel and dime, er, $1USD to $10USD, you to death for every event. Our convention needs lots of space, but lacks the table fee generation, although I imagine the 'free' space is tied to hotel room occupancy.
Valley Forge will have a different lay out than when we were last there, but is sufficient. It also boasts a food court with 24-hour Dunkin Donuts, as well as a variety of eateries within a few minutes' drive.
HMGS is covering the $7.00USD per day cost of parking it its entirety to convention goers. This does NOT include in-and-out privileges. You show your badge, it gets stamped, and you get a voucher. Those staying at the Marriott get one free parking voucher per room. Eateries abound within a 10-minute walk, so you can leave your car in the garage. Historicon 2019 is July 10-14 at Lancaster Downtown Convention Center.
The Lancaster Convention Center in downtown Lancaster is about 17 minutes away from the Host. HMGS will have extra volunteers to help GMs and flea marketeers unload their vehicles at four different areas and watch over your stuff. Carts will be available to help haul your minis to your rooms. Secure, locked storage rooms will be available for those running multiple games.
The two large Distelfink-sized gaming rooms have been renovated with carpeting and other sound-dampening measures to reduce the noise that plagued Fredericksburg.
Fall In 2019
The convention director is reconciling various maps into one set for gamers. I am unsure, but it sounded like the dealer area and flea market was to be close together instead of at opposite ends of the convention center. Or maybe that's just a goal. Stay tuned. Fall In 2019 is November 15-17 at Valley Forge.
Room rate is $139USD, presumably plus the usual excessive taxes, with 105 rooms blocked out at the Radisson Hotel (closer to the gaming area) and 45 at the Bally tower (closer to dealer area).
By law, a State Police substation is manned at all casinos. I have no idea if it's a high crime area or not, but I never had any problems at the previous HMGS shows there. Valet parking is available in addition to the free parking.
HMGS is still working on reconciling bylaws and policies. For example, HMGS would like to tape the War College lectures and provide them in the members only area of the website, but that depends on the speaker and the legalities.
HMGS plans to use the blog function of its member-only area of the website instead of a quarterly newsletter. Articles will be accepted. Additional plans for posting of content are being explored -- stay tuned.
And with that, the meeting closed at about 9pm. Not bad. Only an hour and a half and plenty of time for more gaming.