Havoc XXXV (2019)

Apr 5-7, 2019


Havoc Game Convention

Sponsored by Battle Group Boston

A Brief History of Havoc

by Peter Mancini

Pre-Havoc It was during this year that BGB was formed. It was a small club of friends that met each other on a regular basis for games in private basement rooms. Jokingly the first name of the club was KampfeGroup Boston (KGB!) but wisely BattleGroup Boston was chosen as the official name. Years later the club would be incorporated as a non-profit organization (and boy does it excel at being non-profit!) as BGBoston, Inc.
Founders

Our Founders

Havoc I June 1-2, 1985

South Middle School, Waltham

The first Havoc was a small affair held in a small school and attended by a few die-hards from the old Toy Soldier store and BGB. A modest affair, it was fun for all. Someone said, let�s do this again. And they did. Havoc II was also fun but word got out and it was growing. The quest for improved space was on!

Havoc II May 3-4, 1986

South Middle School, Waltham

Havoc III June 13-14, 1987

Central Middle School, Waltham

This was the first Havoc I attended personally. I loved it. The location was another school in Waltham. It was held in the cafeteria and was modestly sized. The games were a lot of fun. Attendance was good and there were dealers there so you could buy stuff. I bought my first historical miniatures at that convention. Some modern US and Soviet 1/285 figures.

Havoc IV April 9-10, 1988

Central Middle School, Waltham

Havoc V April 15-16, 1989

Central Middle School, Waltham

Havoc VI April 7-8, 1990

Central Middle School, Waltham

Havoc VII April 20-21, 1991

Central Middle School, Waltham

Havoc VIII April 4-5, 1992

Central Middle School, Waltham

Growing Pains This was the year I joined BattleGroup Boston. I had graduated from college and had my first paying job. The steady income made me more inclined to become a miniature gamer. I became fast friends with Peter English whom I had met in 1980 and later in 1987. The first time was at a Toy Soldier convention up in Newburyport, MA. The second time was at a Havoc Convention. We probably saw each other several other times at parties and on campus as we both went to Northeastern University but it was in the gaming rooms at BGB where our relationship was bonded. We would eventually develop into a fierce gaming team. In the 90�s we collaborated with BGB to move Havoc into a bigger space. The club moved to Matignon High, and with their larger available area, it was an easy transition to move Havoc there. Havoc VIII and IX were well attended. It was when Nick Ciampa took over as Havoc Chairman that we finally had our Napoleon. Nick wanted to expand Havoc into THE big historical miniatures show in the North East.

Havoc IX April 17-18, 1993

Matignon High School, Cambridge

Transition Years Havoc moved around a lot. It was hard to negotiate space prices because April is a great month to get married and families are willing to spend a fortune on weddings at hotels. The competition was great. While we LOVED the Sheraton, it was an expensive deal for us. Oddly enough, the early Havocs were actually more profitable. There is a middle ground with running a convention. Up to 100 people you can find cheap space and make some profit. Over 100 but fewer than 300 you are forced into expensive space and making money is extremely hard, you either charge a fortune and no one comes or you cut your price and hope crowds show up. The horns of a dilemma. Havoc has for years either lost money or broken even. It is a labor of love more than anything else. If Havoc breaks through and garners more than 300 attendees then the numbers start to move our way. That is why BGB is always trying to grow the convention. Our constant moves during this time period reflect an attempt to economize as best we could.

Havoc X April 16-17, 1994

Sheraton Tara Hotel, Framingham

The Elvis Year Nick graduated the convention out of cafeterias and into actual convention space. We moved to The Sheraton Plaza in Framingham, MA. Previous attendance of the convention was topping out around 120 people. Havoc X boasted over 250 people in attendance! This was a breakout year for the club and Havoc. Most people, who know about Havoc, know about it because of this transition and not the years before. It was here that the convention became what it is today.

Havoc XI April 22-23, 1995

Tage Inn, Andover

The Year Without Dave, but with 'The Dave' All in the club loved Dave Donovan. While not everyone got along with each other, Dave brought everyone together. He was instrumental in gluing the club together; keeping us on schedule and making sure we were having fun. Dave had been there from the beginning. I met Dave in 1980 at the Toy Soldier conventions. In 1994 he died due to illness. It was a sudden shock for everyone. I wasn�t home that weekend and found out in conversation when someone was talking about him in the past tense. It was shocking and we weren�t sure how to take it. Havoc X was the last that Dave to grace in person. However, without a doubt, he was going to be there in spirit. In 1995 we created 'The Dave' Award for the Havoc Best of Show.

The first recipient of The Dave award was Edward Stevens. His Napoleonic skirmish game which featured great game play and was attended by a BGB founding father. Edward is a great game master and his personality as much as his game represented what we wanted to honor with The Dave. He has been a regular feature at Havoc.

Havoc XII April 19-21, 1996

Royal Plaza Hotel, Marlborough

Havoc XIII April 18-20, 1997

Sheraton Tara Hotel, Framingham

Havoc XIV April 25-26, 1998

Devens Sports Arena

The Peace Dividend gets cashed! In later half of the nineties Fort Devens became The Devens Commerce Center. This military base once housed Secretary of State Colin Powell. On the base was a disused Sports Arena with 3 times the space we ever had at any prior convention center. Here was the space to grow! The year before Havoc turned out 225 attendees. The first year at Devens we turned out 260. This was an important step for Havoc. We had a good space, with good facilities. There was a restaurant and bar not far from the Arena and an extremely nice Inn located on the campus. Rooms were very big, with nice fixtures (stoves, refrigerators, etc.) and it was cheap. The only downside of the location was that if you didn�t get a room at the inn you could be staying at an inn as much as 10 miles away. That�s 16 Klicks to you military types! However the S P A C E!!!! What a location! It had decent parking too. Devens served our needs for years. The last Havoc to be there was Havoc XVII where we had finally grown to 290 attendees.

Havoc XV May 15-16, 1999

Devens Sports Arena

Havoc XVI April 29-30, 2000

Devens Sports Arena

Havoc XVII April 28-29, 2001

Devens Sports Arena

Havoc XVIII April 6-7, 2002

Devens Sports Arena

Havoc XIX April 11-13, 2003

Holiday Inn, Boxboro

The Times The Are A-Changin' After Havoc XVIII we were informed that the Devens Arena was being closed pending demolition. There was no rejoicing. We were thrown into the panic of finding a similar sized space to not lose attendees, but at a reasonable price. Thanks to an intensive search by Mssrs. English and Mancini, we secured a bargain rate on the Holiday Inn in Boxboro. It was a great space and a convenient location. Havoc continued to thrive.

Havoc XX March 26-28, 2004

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

A New Beginning Unable to secure such a reasonable rate at a hotel again, the search for a new venue resumed. Finally selected was Maironis Park in Shrewsbury, MA, a roomy but cozy Lithuanian social club's banquet hall. Most attendees and GM's liked the spot for it's central location to all of New England, and it's fine selection of Lithuanian beer (one GM commented that the brand named translates to 'Stumble Home'). Havoc is once again healthy and this year looks to be even better!

Havoc XXI March 18-20, 2005

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXII March 31-April 2, 2006

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXIII April 27-29, 2007

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXIV April 4-6, 2008

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXV March 27-29, 2009

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

The year of the Drowned Rats. We had three very wet young local lads (ok, they were in their early twenties) show up on our doorstep. It turns out they were canoeing in the river behind the event hall and their vessel capsized. Naturally they had been consuming adult beverages when the tradegy befell them. This is all very humorous now, but at the time, it was actualy life-threatening because the river was very cold and they had been exposed to it for some time trying to retrieve the canoe before they sought help. After we dried them off, Mark Brown gave them a lift home.

Havoc XXVI March 26-28, 2010

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXVII April 1-3, 2011

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXVIII March 23-25, 2012

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXIX April 5-7, 2013

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXX March 28-30, 2014

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXXI March 27-29, 2015

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Record-breaking snowfalls this winter still hadn't melted by the time of the convention. On Saturday afternoon the parking lot was completely full - and blocked off because the regular access paths were snow-covered and marked parking spaces, when occupied blocked all access in or out!

Havoc XXXII April 1-3, 2016

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXXIII March 31-April 2, 2017

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury

Havoc XXXIV April 6-8, 2018

Maironis Park, Shrewsbury


Interesting trivia points by Gordon Bliss...

  • Hrolf, the BGB mascot, was on the cover of the program book from Havoc I through Havoc XIII.
  • The Havoc I cover was hand-drawn.
  • Havoc XIII�s Hrolf was different and this book was also the first newsprint one.