Sunday, April 24, 2022

Little Wars Convention - Best In Show IMHO

Roaring Twenties 28mm gangster wargame

Click on all pictures to enlarge the view.

I attended this year's Little Wars Convention in Lisle, Illinois over this weekend, and I thought that I would break my report down into two separate blog posts: a general report on what I saw and a report on the game that was far and away the best game of the whole show.  Little Wars is the "showcase convention" sponsored by HMGS-Midwest. I ran my Bread & Croats SYW skirmish game on Friday and Saturday and I will report on that in the second Little Wars posting.

This 28mm Roaring Twenties gangster game might very well be the most spectacular terrain that I have ever seen, bar none. I will let the picture captions tell the story. Click on each picture to enlarge your view and take in all of the little details (and the big details too) that are plentiful in each picture.

The game was hosted by Michael Konwinski and friend, both  from Ohio and I apologize for not getting the name of the second gentleman. Both of them did all of the modeling that you see in these pictures. They told me that this is just one part of the terrain that they have for the 1920s. There are SIX MORE SECTIONS! For example, there is a residential section of terrain, a downtown (city center) section, and many more.

The boat model is what catches your attention from across the convention hall. You can hear other gamers talking about it "you have to see that giant boat over there". When you actually get to the table you realize that there is so much more to see. I talked with both of the game judges for awhile and they told me that they have been working on the terrain for over 20 years, adding a bit here and there over the course of these years.

I don't know whether Little Wars awards a "best in show" award, but if they do, this game is it. It's the bomb.

Here is an explanation of the game that I pulled from the Little Wars registration site

Your shipment of "product" has arrived from overseas. All you have to do, is meet the ship, offload onto your trucks, and deliver it to your warehouses. Your competition believes that they can increase their profit margin by applying a "Five Finger Discount" toward your shipment. Prudently, you have armed guards to discourage this idea. Perhaps, we can ALL get along...Perhaps, Perhaps not.

The Boat

This is not just any old boat, it is "The" Boat and it is spectacular.

This boat, called "Black Adder", is a spectacular work of modeling.
It breaks down into two parts and all of the roofs and floors lift off to accommodate the placement of figures.
My guess is the the model was about four feet long.

The wharf side view of the Black Adder with lots of hustle and bustle of delivery trucks bringing cargo to the ship.
Note the traveling crane and the railroad tracks.

Street Scenes

An eye level view of one of the streets in the city.

The "Diner" light is actually on and the letters "I, N, E, and R" flicker on and off.

An old auto junk yard. This was one of my favorite vignettes in the game terrain.
Note also the railroad box cars on the tracks.

The Sinclair gasoline station.

Can you spot the "Easter Egg" item in this picture?

A crap game going on in a back alley. You can't see it in this picture, but the fellow rolling his dice has the dice in midair/mid toss.

A very life-like street level view. Note the mail box.

The cargo crane was another magnificent piece of modeling work.

There are even some garbage cans in the alley. That's what I call attention to detail.

The Rivoli Theater.

Close up view of the theater entrance. The marquis lights actually light up powered by a hidden battery pack.

Sweet level view of the corner barber shop.

Hmm, Crusty's Crabs sounds like an interesting place.

Some of the wharf detail.

Within a couple of days I will post pictures of many of the other games that were going on at Little Wars. I have to say that the terrain presentations across the gaming hall were top notch and as good as you will see at other conventions around the world.


  1. That does look pretty cool, thanks for the pics!

    1. You are most welcome. Thank you for your comment.😀

  2. Wow...fantastic layout...of a similar quality to a model railway ...perhaps these guys are into that hobby too? Look forward to seeing the rest of your convention report!

    1. I think that they told me that they were model railroaders before becoming war gamers. It shows in their work.

  3. A Great board! I think I saw some of the related "downtown" sections at the Host a few years ago. All kinds of potential for Interwar skirmish and RPG.

  4. Sounds like you had a really great time which is excellent


    1. I had no people show up for my Friday game, but I think that a computer glitch was the cause. However, I still had fun setting up my terrain and treated it as a British demo game display. It also gave me time to look at the other games and talk to the game masters. On Saturday I had a full house and two extra players. I always keep a command or two in reserve to accommodate people who couldn’t sign up but would like to play.

  5. Thank you for the excellent photos of what looks like an amazing piece of scenic work. cheers Chris G

    1. I’ve got to get to work on my town of Altefritzenburg.

  6. What a fabulous dockside/downtown setup; something to aspire to :)

    1. If anyone else could do it, you would be the one. 😀

  7. Wow! You were lucky to see that! I have got to get to a gaming convention one of these days...

  8. I agree with you 100% on best game - I have played in 3 games of theirs, always a lot of fun too but the table (and all it's details) is amazing!
    I was glad to see you had a full house your second game. Yours looked superb too. Nice talking to you also.

  9. A splendid sight! It seems that you had a good time at the convention too.


  10. Anyone who wants a chance to play on this gaming set up, Gordon Andrews (the other GM) is bringing it to Advance the Colors 2022, Oct. 7-8, at the Clark Country Fairgrounds in Springfield, OH.

  11. Anyone who wants a chance to game on this masterpiece will get a chance at Advance the Colors 2022, Oct. 7-8. Gordon Andrews (the other GM) is bringing it to run at the convention and plans to run it both Friday and Saturday.