Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Pre UK Games Expo 2016 Thoughts

So Thursday sees the return of UK Games Expo which this year is bigger than ever and is celebrating it's 10 year anniversary.

Those who've been with the blog for some time may recall that I went last year (see here, here, here, here and ultimately here for info) and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

This year I plan to approach it in a similar way to last year.  No events booked and treat it like a gamers holiday where I'll float about, chill out, play the odd game, buy some stuff and of course have a few drinks with friends (real and virtual).

That said... I will be doing at least 2 things different from last year.

My previous post about RPGLifeUK is one of those things.

The other is that they've introduced Seminars, or more precisely Seminars I'm interested in.

Namely - Hall One Events - 14.00 Teaching with Games:
How are games used to teach and learn? Games Jams, boardgames sessions and design are increasingly used in universities around the UK to help the next generation of games developers explore gaming. Come and find out how games help us learn, what academics are getting up to in various universities around the country, and where you can learn games design! 

Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart is joined by Douglas Brown, Brian McDonald, Patrick Morrison and James Wallis.

This is similar in context to a seminar I went to at Gen Con but different enough to pique my interest. Also helped by the inclusion of the phrase  "Game Jams" as there's been some chat about those at ENT of late.

So expect some sort of post-UK Games Expo assessment of how the event has progressed in 12 months.  I suspect the split-site element may bug me a little but let's see.

If you're there then pop along to the RPG Life UK meetup if you can and say hi.

Monday, 23 May 2016


So a while back I stumbled upon a Twitter chat using the hashtag #RPGLifeUK

Curiousity got the better (?) of me and I started to interact with the chat and found myself amongst fellow hobbyists with a particular interest in Roleplaying Games.

Now that's not really a surprise.   What was a surprise though was how easy I found the conversation to interact with.

Backtrack a little...

Twitter has never really worked for me.  As a medium for conversation I've mostly used it to promote ENT and for direct messages.  Very rarely have I found it conducive to conversation.

A large part of that is because I don't usually access social media during office hours, not because it's banned or anything, moreso because when I'm at work I'm almost always in "work mode".  So my Twitter use was and still is largely binge based at night when I settle down post work and post family stuff.

Anyway, as I said I discovered #RPGLifeUK and for reasons unknown I decided to make a suggestion.
Which has turned into -
So, if you're going to be at the Hilton at 8pm on Thursday 2nd of June and fancy chatting about RPGs with some random Twitter folks then let +sy matt or myself know.

See you there! I'll be the one in the geek t-shirt.  Oh wait...

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

And we're back...

At least for now.

I've kinda drifted away from the blog for a while.  I'd say it's been the best part of a year since I really blogged anything of note.  So why am I back?

I suppose you could call it a checkpoint or perhaps something more fundamental than that but I just felt the need to say - this is where I'm at - and measure that against - this is where I want to be.

So where am I at?

Twice monthly board gaming at East Neuk Tabletop continues with the regularity of a regular thing. The community that +donjondo and I have built growing regularly. Still suffers from the retention challenge that a lot of community groups experience but it's getting there.

Irregular / not quite monthly gaming (largely board gaming) at DWARF also continues albeit not with the regularity that I'd like.  That's mostly work related but other factors come into play too.  It should improve with a few of us playing Pandemic Legacy though.  If I can up my DWARF visits to twice a month I'd be happier.

And that's it.

Where do / did I want to be?

Well... I want to play more and I want to play RPGs too.  Right now that seems a distant possibility. Largely down to available time due to Real Life stuff but also I'm not convinced I have the right facilities to do it.

ENT doesn't feel conducive to RPGs, not for any particular reason other than we default to board and card games (not a bad thing).
DWARF similarly doesn't feel like it works all the time, largely down to slot size (<3 hours).

So what are my alternative options?

The artist formerly known as Friday Night Gaming (in Anstruther) has rebranded as Monday Night Gaming.  Unfortunately that's a non-starter for me scheduling wise.  Not that FNG was a regular thing for me (especially during the colder months as the venue didn't have heating...) so it's not really a loss in that sense but it has removed an option other than in very rare occasions.

Home based gaming is something that can happen albeit rarely. I had a gathering a few months ago after a DWARF Saturday session (which I'll come back to) which was great fun.  Board & Card gaming from 9am until about 3am playing a variety of games with people I enjoy playing games with - what more could I ask for?  Other than doing it more often of course, although probably not til 3am!

DWARF has a monthly Saturday meetup, the trouble with that though is my ability to plan attending is curtailed by Real Life.  In many respects a Saturday mid-morning to late afternoon gaming is the perfect opportunity to roleplay.  Harks back to my time at ORC Edinburgh.  I think if nothing else that's the most likely of options. So long as it's not on an ENT weekend I should be able to go on those occasions when the stars align.

That's largely it and it really boils down to DWARF Saturdays.  The next one is on the 25th June which "clashes" with ENT on the 26th so unlikely but maybe...  The problem with DWARF Saturdays and RPGs though would be momentum.  I want something more guaranteed or at least semi-regular.  Although in saying that it would lend itself to more oneshot style RPGs which would work for me, especially from a prep (or lack thereof) perspective.

So I think I need to consider whether any of the above are actually viable or indeed whether I have other options as yet unexplored...

Let's see where this goes.