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at Gateway 16

Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for — the annual Gateway report!

Gateway was at the usual spot (the former Airport Hyatt, now the Airport Wyndham) over Labor Day weekend. The convention started out rather slow, and we were starting to get depressed about the whole thing.

But then Robert Posada and Jose Salcedo carted in this huge 3-D Insecta map, complete with gigantic bugs the size of our usual prizes as playing pieces! Apparently Robert, Jose, Cristiana Ratti, Mechele Hunt (who did most of the work) and Steve Cook (of Games of Westwood) had worked on this thing for a couple of weeks, and the result was amazing.

The overall terrain was sand, with hexlines sprayed on top. The Root Cellar was filled with HO flocking, and the tunnels were painted a different color. Mechele had built hexagonal prisms to place in the "cutout" hexes of the Parlor, so that the tunnels on the far left became true tunnels, cramped and difficult to see into. There were enough giant rubber bugs that we always had an appropriate one for every Hive creature in addition to the players. All of the components were laminated, and a clipboard provided for each player so they could walk around the map freely.

(It was pointed out that this isn't really "miniatures" gaming, since the playing pieces are actually bigger than life size. We coined the word "macrotures" to describe it, and the event is now known as "Macro Insecta.")

Jose weirded out even the most die-hard conventioneers with his medfly outfit. His Warhammer cronies kept questioning his sanity aloud. Several people took photos as well. We couldn't understand why everyone was so affected by Jose at a show that has elves, wizards, vampires, and Waffen SS regularly walking around, but whatever.

Insecta die-hards showing up for the tournament included Sylvia Shupe, her son Eric Valoff, Curtis Nelson, and Strategicon dealer room coordinator Jim Foster. They were joined by two newcomers — Flying Buffalo staffer John Brasell and entomologist David Hanken. Sadly, Jose had to disrobe or risk heatstroke, and so the tournament players didn't have to face the Evil Hivemaster in his proper garb. But he beat the heck out of them anyway, cornering the group in a grueling 2-hour fight in the Parlor against a bunch of beetles and wasps. (David warned them to pick the Root Cellar instead, and deal with the lepidopterans and flies there. But no one listened.)

John came in first, winning the foot-long spider, with which he tormented the Flying Buffalo contingent for the rest of the show. Jim went home with second place, a giant grain weevil. Curtis won the horrifying third prize, a "crikkit likkit". For those of you who haven't seen one of these, it's a lollypop with a cricket inside.


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