A bit of a quick review here, mainly as a bit of positive propaganda on my part to publicise this VERY VERY fine convention to folk outside the region.
The Quick and the short. Conpulsion is a two day gaming convention held at Teviot Union, Edinburgh University , traditionally over the Easter Weekend (although this years is week after 12-14th). 2012’s incarnation covered RPGs, LARPS, Boardgames and games for kids. It was attended by young perky student types and old crusty Grognards like myself. A gaming con for everyone! Despite being under new management, it was very well organised and atmosphere was very friendly.
The Long and the drawn out…..(with Pictures)…..read on.
I’ve wanted to go to Conpulsion since I first heard of it back in 2008. Due to the birth of my children and other events intruding on my life I had had to put it off. In the meantime various peers of mine from the Northern English conscene had been and hadn’t been terribly impressed (to put it politely). However in 2012 there was an overhaul of the organizing committee and a real reboot of the con, so there was hope things had improved.
So me and the esteemed Mr Guy Milner drove up from the North west, which was perfectly sunny for a change, straight into rainy Scotland in an epic 4 hour drive.
Man the drive was long and not entirely hazard free…..
We arrived just in time for Tea at the Travel Lodge we were staying at, a good 20 minutes drive away over the other side of a big big park.(Lesson learnt: there are hotels/accommodation nearer the con venue, next time spend time checking them out). Dutifully we headed over to the Student’s union for the obligatory pre-con drinks. Me and Guy were billy no mates in the upper bar, until right near the end when we realised everyone else was we knew were down stairs in the piano bar (which had nicer sofas and beers). DOH!
Saturday kicked off swiftly with a taxi ride over to the Teviot Union building, which is like something out of Harry Potter, a catch up with friends old and new and then onto the serious matter of GAMING!
The system at Conpulsion involves pre-registering your game with the Games Organiser. Not all your games will be approved, due to them being very tight for space – although apparently in 2013 there will be events scheduled on Saturday Evening and dedicated space for adhoc delegate games with its own sign up board. Then the attendees wander up on the day and sign up. 10 mins before the games start the GMs gather in the main hall and then take their players up to the designated rooms (complete with sofas!) Its all very civilised involving no shouting and I even got a snack/drink mid session during my GMing duties which was nice thank you 🙂
Saturday morning was me running Monkey to a full complement of six players and it ran smooth as it usually does ( well I did write the damn thing 😉 ). After the game word had got round about the game and a sale quickly followed. AUSPICIOUS!
All the game slots were a pacy three hours, which allowed for a civilized stress free lunches two hours in duration. Food was readily available in the Union Bar, which being a graduate of Scum Bag University was an eye opener with its faux library setting. Food was excellent, but people on more modest budgets may want to check out the nearby take outs just over the square. Oh and Union of Genius , a fine Soup cafe with a fine grassroots green sensiblity in action, which was open specially on Saturday (and will be this year as well as Sunday). I was never a big fan of soup as meal before, after a fine bowl at UoG I was a convert.
The afternoon was spent playing Project Darklight ( my Wordplay Cyberpunk game), and it was spot on what I wanted, a well paced techno-thriller 🙂 Here’s a full review on the Project Darklight blog.
Saturday night was spent in the bar with Guy and Peter Cakebread of CakeBread and Walton fame ( a RPG Guest at this year’s event ), crewing the fat and downing the beers 🙂
Sunday was spent in the CREATOR ZONE! Me and Neil Gow of Omnihedron Games ( Duty and Honour, Beat to the Quarters, Epoch) took over a vacated trader’s table and peddled our wares and gave out games publishing advice. A proactive way to spend a slightly fuzzy Sunday 🙂
Wrapping up was done via the obligatory but sincere closing ceremony,where the hordes of friendly helpers got their well deserved thanks and credits. Because of this ceremony you got a real sense of community that exists around the con and as a visitor it was really heartwarming 🙂
A final meal of beer n burgers in the Library bar, and then it was off to the con Pub Quiz. Even though I’m not a big fan of these, it was a very well organised and fun event ( seeing a pattern here 😉 ) and left a nice rosy memory to round off a con full of happy recollections 🙂
I went with an open mind, my expectations not really high from my peers reports of previous years, with my fall back position that if the con was a bit disappointing I could spend time exploring Edinburgh drinking fine whiskey 😉 As it turned out I spent most of my time at the con and where I was well catered for with fine beer, excellent games and wonderful company.
I expect more of the same this year in 2013!