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Welcome to the SWA Web Site

The Schenectady Wargamers Association, Inc. (SWA) is an Adventure Gaming club serving the Capital District area (Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga) of upstate New York since 1974. We support all forms of adventure gaming: Role Play * Board Games * Miniatures * Card Games (Collectible and otherwise) * Computer Games * Live-Action / Interactive Literature * and whatever else you've got. We sponsor a three-day convention every year, Council of Five Nations, usually early October or late September. We also sponsor a one-day Game-a-thon every month. Even if you're not local, we've got news and content representing what's going on with the Adventure Gaming hobby all around the Northeastern United States. Welcome to our web site! Feel free to stay and browse around for awhile. If you have any questions, please contact us and ask.

Council of Five Nations XXXIV: Convention Report

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We've had a few weeks to rest, recover and wrap things up on another very successful Council of Five Nations. 

To be honest, the SWA Planning Team was concerned about attendance this year.  With the economy in an extended slump and gasoline prices hovering around $4/gallon, we were worried these factors might conspire to keep our long-distance attendees away.  We were estimating a 10% drop.

However, we are very happy to report those concerns were unfounded.  Overall, we had an increase in attendance of about 7%!  We even had someone fly in from Reno, Nevada to attend our Star Fleet Battles tournament (the biggest in the whole world).  Many thanks to all of you who attended. 

Very special thanks to our Game Masters and Reg Desk Volunteers:
Eric Alexopoulos, David Alfano, Tavis Allison, Philip Armstrong, Bill Ashbaugh, Aaron Bandstra, Robert Beaver, Vickey Beaver, Chris Bernardi, Tracy Bloom, Dan Boggs, Dan Bostwick, David Bostwick, Carey Bostwick, Crystal Brown, Christopher Brown, Bernard Bryant, Ben Bunday, Mildred Cady, Thomas Carpenter, Matthew Chambers, David Cheng, Jonathan Choy, Tersha Choy, Jeannie Compter, Aaron Cordes, Greg Croff, David Cuatt, Chuck Davis, Bill Dickerson, Frank DiNola, Ron DuBray, Raymond Dumas, Troy Ferris, Jarrod Ferullo, Chris Ford, Devin Fortman, Kevin Gallagher, Matt Gallinger, Brian Gass, Mike Haggett, Deric Harrington, CJ Henderson, Alex Jurkat, Ken Kazinski, Mike Keenan, Stephen Kent, Jessica Kent, Robert B. Kinkead, Rob Kirker, Matt Kornher, Pete Landry, Andrew Littlefield, Art Lobdell, Jonas Lowery, Frank Luberti, Jr., Ralph Mabb, Ben Maggi, Tom Marli, Dan Masucci, Brett McLean, Michael Moon, Leo Murphy, Chris Nichols, Ben Ossenfort, Mike Paine, Matt Papa, Eric Paperman, Jennifer Paperman, James Parks, Steve Petrick, Mike Reynolds, John Rigley, Rob Rodger, Michael Rogozinski, Vince Romeo, Robert Rowe, Jr., Andy Roy, Mike Russman, Mike Sanchez, David Santana, Karen Seiz, Gerry Seypura, Rodney Sheldon, John Stevens, Robin Toll, Christopher Tosh, Mike Tracey, Bernie Trombley, Michael Tutt, Ben Uticone, Marvin Veeder, Jamie Veeder, William Walker, Steve Watts, Niko White, John Whitehead, James Wilhelm, and our apologies to anyone we missed listing above.  There would literally be no convention without you.

There was a phenomenon at this year's Council that we think needs to be mentioned.  This happens a little every year, but for some reason, it seemed to happen a lot more this year.  Hopefully by talking about it now, we can cut down on it's occurence next year.

That phenomenon was people pre-registering for events, having the ticket in their posession, and both:
(a) not showing up for the game, and
(b) not returning their ticket.

A lot of people ask us why we don't have a flat entry fee, and deal with the hassle of separate costs for each ticket.  The full answer would take several paragraphs, but suffice it to say that we think it's the best system we know of.  And one of the virtues is that it gives people more of an incentive to return their tickets to the pre-reg desk if they are not going to attend an event.  You get your money back!  Or, you can trade it for another ticket.

It seemed like we had many more games than usual this year where we sold a lot of tickets (some even selling out), and then a surprising number of ticket-holders did not show.  What's up with that?  Anybody have any insight?

We know the problem will never totally go away.  There are always a few no-shows for a variety of reasons.  However, it is especially dispiriting for our GMs when we tell them their game is full, or almost full, and then they have a whole bunch of empty seats when the game is set to start.  We hope to see less of this in future years.  Please help us keep this to a minimum.

We're already thinking about how to make not only next year's con better, but our monthly Game-a-thons too.  We hope to see you all at many of our events throughout the year.  We also hope to see many of you at Carnage next weekend - one of our favorite conventions.

Watch your email box for more SWA news soon:
  • A survey on how we can improve
  • The SWA is recruiting new officers - interested in helping out?
  • The Northeast TITAN Championships this Spring
  • Lots of other good stuff.
Thank you again for helping make Council a great success again this year!


p.s.  We're still looking to reunite some Council Lost-and-Found items with their owners.  Please click here and see if you can help us.


Wanted: Old-School Hex Gamers

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The Schenectady Wargamers Association has been around for a long time (since 1974, acutally). 

Some of us old-school guys lament over the decline of traditional hex games.  Classics like Avalon Hill's Third Reich, Panzer Blitz and Squad Leader.  We remember Strategy and Tactics magazine, with a new hex game in every issue.  We miss the games with big rulebooks, hundreds of cardboard chits, and big maps that take multiple 8' tables to display.

We know that some of you reading this have a whole shelf (or several!) of these games that just don't seem to get played too much any more.

One of the primary missions of the SWA is to bring gamers with common interests together. 

If you're an old-school hex gamer, we want to hear from you.

Here is what we can do...
  1. Create a separate email discussion list for the group.
  2. Give you your own section of our online discussion forums.
  3. Give you a place and time to meet with lots of elbow room and big tables (our monthly Game-a-thons).
If you'd like to be on the SWA's Old-School Hex Game email list, please send an email to OldSchool /at/ swa-gaming.org.  We'll get you on the list, and see how things go from there.

We also encourage you to use the SWA Game-a-thons as a central time and place to meet and play.  We know many hex games are 2-player.  That's OK, we're happy to host you.

Euro-games, with their tiny rulebooks and two-hour play times, might be dominating the field these days, but that doesn't mean old-school hex games are totally dead.

Please send an email to OldSchool /at/ swa-gaming.org if you agree, and want to be part of the effort to keep them going.


(With both email addresses above, please replace the /at/ with the typical "@" sign.  We apologize for the annoying anti-spam measure, but spam just seems to be getting worse these days.)

Report on Council of Five Nations XXXI

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The results from Council of Five Nations (three weeks ago, for those of you who missed it) are in.  We thought you might like to hear about how things went.


ATTENDANCE
We had about 225 attendees this year; up 18% from last year's 190. 

Of special note, forty (18%) of you got $5 off your entry fee by registering in a group.  We love that kind of group commitment to attending Council.

Also, nineteen (8%) attendees got in at the heavily-discounted student rate.  Today's students are tomorrow's gamers, and we're happy to make it easier for students to attend Council.


EVENTS
We had roughly the same number of events as last year (125).  We're very happy to see so many of them filling up, and there were far fewer "did not run"s this year.  We'll keep working to build attendance and have even more run at full in the future.

Highlights: Our Star Fleet Battles tournament was, once again, the largest in the country - even larger than the national championships at Origns.  RPGA D&D and TC Realms D&D were particularly well attended. And most of our historical miniatures events ran at full or near-full.


THE FACILITY: PROCTORS CONFERENCE CENTER
This was our second year at Proctors, and we learned from the mistakes we made last year.  Registration and the dealers area were on the ground floor, making them easier to find.  RPGs were upstairs, to better manage the sound levels.  We had fewer tables down in the basement, again to mitigate sound issues.

We've received mostly good feedback about the facility and how things went this year.  We're finalizing our report to Proctors' management; do you have anything you think we should add?  Please reply to this email and let us know.

After things went well last year, we entered into a three-year agreement with Proctors, so we're very confident we will be there at least two more years.  And since there is more space for us to grow into, expect us to be there even longer as long as things continue to go well.  The Schenectady Wargamers Association is happy to be part of the Downtown Schenectady renaissance!


PROFITS
Even with the expense of about $800 for all our GMs to receive a Council logo t-shirt, we still made a decent profit this year.  Thanks to all of you for your support!  Having a nice little treasury means we can do good things:
* not worry about spending a little extra money to make everyone's Council experience better
* do even more to promote Council & the SWA so attendance at all our events improves.

Watch for even more good stuff from us in the future!


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many, many thanks to all the Council of Five Nations XXXI Game Masters:
Jonathan Abrams, Eric Alexopoulos, Philip Armstrong, Bill Ashbaugh, Gene Beirne, Eric Belser, Paul Bennett, Chris Bernardi, Grant Bolling, Dan Bostwick, David Bostwick, Carey Bostwick, Mildred Cady, Veronica Cano, Tim Carleton, David Carr, Tersha Choy, Tom Ciampa, Michael Crossman, David Cuatt, Brian Damour, Charles Davis, Troy Ferris, Joe Fox, Jaime Francis, Mike Griffin, Mike Haggett, Austin Hogan, Alex Jurkat, Robert Kirker, Art Lobdell, Frank Luberti Jr, Ralph Mabb, Tom Marli, Chris Martino, Dan Mazzola, Ben McFarland, Brett McLean, Ewan McNay, Dage McNitt, Robert Mulligan, Doug Neet, Chris Nichols, Ben Ossenfort, Mike Paine, Jennifer Paperman, Steve Parenteau, Jane Pattison, John Robb, Andy Roy, Mike Russman, Karen Seiz, Gerry Seypura, Rodney Sheldon, Christopher Tosh, Bernie Trombley, Michael Tutt, Marvin Veeder, David Waxtel, Nathan Whitchurch, John Whitehead, Mark Zaslavsky & Andrew Zorowitz

The SWA Leadership Team organized the event:
Jonathan Choy, Bill Dickerson, Jarrod Ferullo, John Fitzpatrick, Stephen Kent, Stephen Keyer, Nick Klercker, Jason Murphy, Eric Paperman, Mike Reynolds, John Rigley, Eric Rocque (currently serving in Iraq, but with us in spirit), Vince Romeo, Robert Rowe Jr., Robin Toll, Joe Tomasulo & David Cheng

And Thank You to our local retailers in attendance:
Zombie Planet
Coopers Cave Games & Paintball
Silver Eagle Wargame Supplies


COUNCIL XXXII in 2009
This is the time of year when people buy their calendars for the upcoming year. Please mark October 9-11 as Council of Five Nations XXXI.
We'd love to see you there.

... and we'd love to see you at our monthly Game-a-thons.


SWA is recruiting new Officers

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As we bask in the warm afterglow of Council of Five Nations XXX, it's time to turn our focus to the future.

We currently have a team of eleven guys who bring you the monthly SWA events. While these guys are doing a great job, we're always looking to recruit new blood.

We've got a page on the SWA web site that outlines all the different offices we're looking to fill.  Please check it out here:
     http://www.swa-gaming.org/swaleadership

If you're interested in any of the positions listed, please email us at admin@swa-gaming.org and let us know. Even if it's one that's not currently listed as "Open", that's OK. If you're willing to volunteer, we'll find a way to work you in to the group.

What's the commitment?
  • Most of us only put in an hour or two per month. It's a commitment very easy to work into your other gaming activities.
  • Receive emails via our private SWA Planning email list. Share your opinions. Help us make decisions.
  • Attend a few meetings a year, if you can. Share your opinions. Help us make decisions.
  • Volunteer onsite at Council of Five Nations each year.
If you have specific questions, please email us at admin@swa-gaming.org, or call Dave at (518) 464-1977.

Thanks.

The SWA Leadership Team
of the Schenectady Wargamers Association, Inc.

Report on Council of Five Nations XXX

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Hello Northeast Gamers,

The results from Council of Five Nations (less than two weeks ago, for those of you who missed it) are in.  We thought you might like to hear about how things went.


ATTENDANCE
We had about 190 attendees this year; down a bit from last year's 220.  We were really surprised by this, as our pre-registrations were up 30% over last year. The walk-ins just didn't show in the numbers we expected (down 75%). Some theories as to why:
  1. A good show last year convinced more people to pre-register (this happens with many conventions)
  2. We didn't do as good a job with non-mailing-list publicity
  3. Changing the location led to some drop-off.
We will definitely do a better job with publicity next year.

Of special note, we're happy that 14 different groups took advantage of the pre-registration group discount. Fifty of you got $5 off your entry fee by registering in a group.  We love that kind of group commitment to attending Council.

Also, 24 attendees got in at the heavily-discounted student rate. That's over 10% of our attendees. Today's students are tomorrow's gamers, and we're happy to make it easier for students to attend Council.


EVENTS
We had 30% more events than in 2006. We pushed to make this happen, because last year we noticed a lot of the events sold out. We wanted to be sure you had lots of good choices. With attendance dropping 14%, that meant more events went unfilled. A big "Thank You" to all our Game Masters who ran games, and to those who prepared to run but whose games didn't end up going.

Highlights: Our Star Fleet Battles tournament was, once again, the largest in the country - even larger than the national championships at Origns.  RPGA D&D and FCS D&D were particularly well attended. And most of our historical miniatures events ran at full or near-full.


THE NEW FACILITY
There were a few bumps in the road, as we were one of the very first groups to use the new Proctor's Conference Center facilities. We got feedback from several of you that the registration desk was hard to find.  But otherwise, things seemed to go well with the facility.


PROFITS
The final accounting is not yet done, but it looks like we made a few hundred dollars. While we had some extra challenges with the facility and staff being so new, one benefit is that we got a really good deal on the space by signing-up early. That helped keep us in "the black" this year.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many, many thanks to all the Council of Five Nations XXX Game Masters:
Bill Ashbaugh, Eric Belser, Paul Bennett, Chris Bernardi, Dan Bostwick, David Bostwick, Carey Bostwick, Mildred Cady, Tim Carleton, Matthew Chambers, Jonathan Choy, Tom Ciampa, James Damour, Ron Dubray, Jarrod Ferullo, Peter Fett, John Fitzpatrick, Bill Flanders, Chris Ford, Brian Gass, Jason Greeno, Mike Griffin, Mike Haggett, Zeke Jakub, Mark Jerard, Jeremy Jordan, Alex Jurkat, Mike Keenan, Brian Kelly, Robert Kirker, Nick Klercker, Peter Landry, Art Lobdell, Frank Luberti Jr, Ralph Mabb, Ben Mcfarland, Dage Mcnitt, Charles Morehouse, Robert Mulligan, Chris Nichols, Ben Ossenfort, Mike Paine, Jennifer Paperman, Jane Pattison, Robert Rodger, Robert Rousse, Andy Roy, Mike Russman, Karen Seiz, Rodney Sheldon, Mycroft Sowizral, John Stevens, Robin Toll, Joe Tomasulo, Bernie Trombley, Michael Tutt, Roger Van Dusen, Marvin Veeder, Nathan Whitchurch

The SWA Leadership Team organized the event:
David Cheng, Jonathan Choy, Bill Dickerson, John Fitzpatrick, Stephen Keyer, Jason Murphy, Eric Paperman, Mike Reynolds, John Rigley, Eric Rocque and Vince Romeo.

And Thank You to our local retailers in attendance:
Zombie Planet
Two Tin Soldiers
Flights of Fantasy


COUNCIL XXXI in 2008
This is the time of year when people buy their calendars for the upcoming year. Please mark October 10-12 as Council of Five Nations XXXI.
We'd love to see you there.

... and we'd love to see you at our monthly Game-a-thons.


SWA Leadership Positions Open

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About six months ago, we put out a call for some new blood on for the SWA
Leadership Team. Several of you responded, and Council preparations were
especially smooth this year as a result.

We're writing today to let you know that there are several spots we'd still
like to fill. Here's a quick list:

  1. More Council Czars
  2. Another Game-a-thon Czar
  3. SWA Web Site Czar
  4. Regional Retailer Czar
  5. Iron Right Hand of the Benevolent Dictator
  6. Local School Gaming Club Czar
  7. Internet News Group Czar
  8. Prize Support Czar
  9. Web Ring Czar

For a more complete "job description" for each of these positions, please
click
here
to go to the page on the SWA web site. This page also talks about
our expectations, what we're not looking for, and the benefits of
volunteering.

If you're interested in helping out, please call Dave Cheng at (518) 464-1977,
or email him at dave@swa-gaming.org.
Let's talk about how you

Here is the current roster of the SWA Leadership Team:

Steve Bachman
Game-a-thon Czar, Web Calendar Czar

David Cheng
Benevolent Dictator, SWA Web Site Czar

Dave Cuatt
Web Promotion Czar

Bill Dickerson
Game-a-thon Czar

Frank DiNola
Internet Mailing List Czar

Steve Keyer
Historical Miniatures Czar

Jason Murphy
Gaming Club Czar, Convention Czar, Merchandising Czar

Eric Paperman
Promo Flyer Czar, Magazine Convention Listing Czar

John Rigley
Council Czar

Vince Romeo
Local Retailer Czar

We'd like to add your name to this list! Give Dave a call and let's
discuss how to make that happen.


In Memoriam: William G. Shelly

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The Schenectady Wargamers Association is very sorry to announce that we've
lost another of our Founding Fathers.

Bill Shelly and his wife Norma have been the proprietors of the Studio of
Bridge and Games for over thirty years. Bill discovered the very first
edition of Dungeons & Dragons. He attracted a group of gamers and invited
them to play regularly at the Studio. That small group grew into the SWA that
still exists today.

Please note there will be a memorial service for Bill this Saturday, October
29th, at the Studio of Bridge and Games, starting at 12 noon.

Below is the text of the obituary that appeared in the Albany Times Union.

SCHENECTADY William Gerard Shelly died on September 21, 2005. Bill was
born in Amsterdam, N.Y. on January 24, 1932.

There will be a celebration of Bill's life at the Studio of Bridge and
Games, 1639 Eastern Parkway, Schenectady, N.Y. on Saturday, October 29 at
12:00.

Bill and his wife Norma have devoted the past 31 years to promoting and
preserving bridge, chess and war games which we hope have brought pleasure
and friendships to many of our players. Bill's service in the front lines
of Korea shaped much of his life. He was a humanitarian and put his family
and everyone else in his circle ahead of himself.

He was predeceased by his parents, Michael and Mary Goska Shelly, and his
brother, Thomas. He is survived by his wife Norma; sister, Florence Kennedy
of Calif.; sons, Michael of S.C., Thomas of Fla.; daughters, Patricia Starkey
(Steven) of Fla., Dorothy of Schenectady; and grandson, Erin of S.C. He
is also survived by his extended family, his mother-in-law and companion
Brunhilde Fitzgibbons, Charles Miller of NYC, Steven Miller, Renee Santoro
(and Victor), Justin Miller, all of Esperance, N.Y., Sara Miller of NYC;
five great-grandchildren.

The family is grateful to Victoria Roberts, Laryssa Robertson, Marianna
Atwell and Glenn White, all of whom cared for him during his long illness
and, along with his family, brought love and joy to his life. Our thanks to
the staff at Ellis Hospital for their kindness.

Bill continues to give of himself even after his death. He has donated
his remains to Albany Medical Hospital for anatomical research. At his request,
donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital, 332 N. Lauderdale,
Memphis, TN 38106.

Published in the Albany Times Union on 9/28/2005.


In Memoriam: Patrick Stevens

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Patrick Stevens, one of the founding fathers of the Schenectady Wargamers
Association, died this past Sunday.

Pat was there, back in the days when the building we ~now~ know as the Studio
of Bridge and Games was still a Price Chopper supermarket, and the "Studio"
was a much smaller place around the corner.

Pat was there in the 1970s, running the original Dungeons & Dragons
when it was three little booklets in a white box. He went on to develop
a reputation as one of the best Game Masters the SWA has ever produced.

Pat was there back in the days when Saturday gaming at the Studio regularly
had 20-30 people attending. He was gracious in welcoming newcomers,
even us young "rugrats" who have since grown up to become the old-timers of
the SWA.

Pat was there at every Council of Five Nations, running several events.
Only last year, as he battled cancer, did his name not appear on the GM roster.

Please consider joining us to say goodbye this Thursday afternoon at Pat's
memorial service in Schenectady. The details are outlined below.

=========================

Here is the text of the Obituary that appeared in the Times Union:

Patrick A. Stevens, 56, of Keyes Ave., died suddenly on Sunday, June 12, 2005
at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Mr. Stevens was born in Schenectady
and was a graduate of Mont Pleasant High School. He was a US Navy veteran
and had been employed with the New York State High Education Security Department
as a systems support aid for many years. Patrick's favorite pastime was fishing
and he was an avid gamer. Patrick is survived by his wife, Stephanie Pearson
Stevens; a son, Anthony Stevens of Green Island; a stepdaughter, Sarah Irvine
of Schenectady; his parents, Daniel and Sylvia Smith Stevens of St. Petersburg,
Fla.; two brothers, John Stevens of Staten Island and Daniel Stevens of the
Poughkeepsie area; a sister, Margaret Baker of St. Petersburg. A memorial
service will be held Thursday afternoon at the Daly Funeral Home, Inc., 242
McClellan St., Schenectady at 4:30. There will be no calling hours. Memorial
contributions may be made to the Strong Memorial Hospital Blood and Bone
Marrow Transport Program, 60 Elmwood Ave., P.O. Box 650, Rochester, NY 14642.


New SWA Web Page

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We're up and running! After what seems like years (well, I guess it really was years...), the SWA has implemented a fully-functional, interactive website. Many thanks to Nick Codignotto for his effort and technical expertise, and to the folks behind PHP-Nuke for the free, open-source code that makes all this possible. Why don't you create a user account and play around with all the cool fuctionality? Feedback is warmly appreciated.


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