August 22nd is my 50th birthday and for the last couple of years I wanted to have a Gamers' Retreat planned for me and my gaming buds to last the whole birthday weekend. My initial thoughts were to have it off-site at a cabin or something--a real retreat with no distractions. But with me not currently bringing in as much income right now as I'm used to, that's not going to be feasible, although I still want to do something like that to mark the occasion.

After speaking with the Boss (aka Diane) about this odd little idea (to which she has given her full support, mainly since she won't have to mess with renting the cabin and setting it all up as a surprise for me), she came up with the idea of inviting a bunch of people over to the house for a weekend of gaming, and naming this adventure "50Con." So be it.

So, I'm hosting a "50 for 50" game marathon, where we play for 50 hours (well, at least we finish 50 hours after we start, or thereabouts). We'll start at 1:30 pm on Friday 8/21, play until late, start again early on Saturday 8/22 and play all day again until late, and do it all again on Sunday 8/23. Now, I don't think I could expect everyone to be there the whole time, and I'm not even sure what I'd be capable of myself, but I think a wide open gaming weekend for any and all comers would be a great way to help me celebrate my half-way point.

And I've organize it a bit, and set up seven 4-hour long gaming sessions, just like they have at gaming cons, so we can focus all the games around those slots. That way, we can inject some planning in the midst of the otherwise chaotic open gaming scenario, and people can count on some distinct entry (and exit) points to suit their own needs. For my part, I'll be in all of the sessions, which will be 1:30-5:30 & 6:00-11:00 on Friday, 9:00-1:00, 1:30-5:30, & 6:00-11:00 on Saturday, and 9:00-1:00,& 1:30-5:30 on Sunday. Attached is a schedule matrix so you can get a sense of what I'm thinking about.

I have a minimum of 4 tables (w/19 chairs) that are available for gaming, with 3 additional tables that could be set up for any overflow (but would need some chairs). I think that's being a bit overly optimistic on the turnout, but when I say "C'mon over!" I want to make sure there a seat for everyone. (But does this joker even have that many friends??)

Now, this is primarily a wargaming thingy, though I expect some of the harder-core "Euros" might get some playing time, as I am a big fan of heavy economic games, and the 18xx games (1856 and 1870 in particular). Plus, it's my birthday, and if I say it's "anything goes..." Rest assured there will be no damned Magic and no damned Dragons (though you might see a LAW or Sagger or two...).

All together, this would be a great little mini-con, 15-25 people to help me celebrate the Big 5-0. So when looking at your calendar for the weekend of 8/21-8/23, keep the immortal words of Jack Lord in mind, and "book 'em, Dan-o."

As my CSW tagline reads, "Most of my life I've spent gaming, the rest I've just wasted." I'm looking forward to spending another 40-50 years of gaming!

Be there!

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As the details of my "birthday bash" become more and more finalized, I decided to go ahead and set up this Meetup.com group, partially for the retreat, but mainly acting on my ideas on converging these many wargaming contact groups in the area and providing everyone with a place where wargamers can plan some gaming events (or even just their regular sessions).

If you are looking to contact more wargamers, schedule a gaming session, see who else in town plays these games, or whatever, this Meetup group is there for you. Membership is free, and open to all wargamers in the area. If you are already a Meetup.com member, just add this group to your current groups listing. If you are new to Meetup.com, just register and join this group.

http://www.meetup.com/St-Louis-Area-Wargaming/

I have set up the seven 50Con sessions on the group's calendar page, and you can RSVP to "claim" your seat at any one (or some, or all) of the sessions. If you want to run a game, we'll get your spot reserved on one of the four tables we have available, and people can see what's there and sign up.

Thanks for joining, and thanks for coming to my 50Con!

Chris Fawcett

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