Oh, I had a good plan. But any wargamer knows that a good plan doesn't stand a chance against really bad luck.
Tuesday I had a really severe headache, but I thought (hoped) it was something that would soon pass and I went ahead with my arrangements for going down to the WBC.
I was going to drive down late Wednesday to stay at a nice lodge in Maryland about an hour away from Lancaster. I planned to go in early Thursday and Friday and put in full days of gaming. I wasn't planning to be too tournament-heavy this year. Instead I hoped I'd get a lot of open gaming in. I was planning to take part in the Up Front! tournament Thursday and the Memoir '44 tournament Friday, although I wasn't expecting to go too far in either.
Well, things didn't get better Wednesday at all. It was very painful, although not steady. It would wax and wane, giving me hope that it would wane into "all better" eventually.
I started driving Wednesday night and didn't get too far when I decided this just wasn't a good idea and turned around. I was in too much pain to face five hours on the road at night and tired.
Better to see what the morning brought.
Well, the morning brought more of the same, but I really, really wanted to go. So in the bright light of day the pain didn't seem so bad and I was relatively fresh, having managed to get some sleep eventually. Truth be told, the drive wasn't all that bad, but a lot of the credit for that went to Bayer.
So I arrived far too late for Up Front! and actually, there aren't a lot of tournaments that start in the afternoon, so I took one of the few available and played in one of the opening heats of Acquire. I played credibly, considering it was only my second or third game of Acquire and I was still in pain. I have in third out of four, and the other three were more experienced. I could tell that it took all my mental effort to keep up with the game mechanics, though, and I had no capacity left for any real strategy.
Well, it didn't seem like playing any longer would be productive so I headed down to the lodge in Maryland. Just before I got there I saw a walk-in clinic. It was closed due to the hour, but I decided that if the morning didn't bring a major improvement then I would forgo the Memoir '44 tournament as well and see what the doctor had to say.
Well, the lodge was really nice, but I wasn't disposed to enjoy it much, although I would like to go back sometime when i am feeling better.
Another bad night, morning finally came. I had a light breakfast at the lodge (It was a B&B) and got to the walk-in clinic when it opened at 10. I was the fourth person to sign in and the doctor worked very fast. I was impressed and grateful.
Turns out he had special expertise in sinusitis, which by this time I was pretty sure I had. I had pain in all the right places (eyes, cheek, upper teeth) facial swelling and nasal drip. Did I mention I was going to go into details?
Well, to make a long story shirt, he gave me a prescription nasal spray and an antibiotic and most importantly, let me know I wasn't going to feel better immediately.
So I went back up to Lancaster because I wanted to at least check out the vendor hall before I left, but I couldn't even say that was all that enjoyable. I picked up a couple of small things from GMT as they were offering a nice convention discount and I got Gallic Wars (a block game) from Worthington Games. I guess they decided that the German-style box was too expensive to continue and they returned to regular American style game box.
I was disappointed because in past years there's been a vendor there who sold some cool wargamer t-shirts but that store wasn't there this year. Overall the vendor area didn't seem very exciting to me, but that probably says more about the state I was in then the state of the hobby.
By the way, attendance seemed fine. I think Greenwood said that pre-regs were up and I wouldn't be surprised if the WBC set a record this year. They expanded the open gaming into a big theater-like room I've never seen used before.
When I tried to spend a little time getting familiar with the rules to Gallic Wars, though, I could tell my head was still far, far away from where it would need to be to play any kind of game. So I decided it was time to cut my losses and head home. It was the middle of the afternoon, the nasal spray was helping and I had a window of opportunity to get back home before nightfall. So I went.
As it turns out, traffic kept me from making it home before dark, but the last gleaming of twilight were on the horizon as I drove up the hill to home, so I was close.
So I got one game of Acquire in, bought one new wargame and a couple of accessories. So I can't say it was a complete waste of time, but it was pretty damn close to one.
I can't say I'm disappointed yet, but maybe when I feel batter I will be.