Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Day 148 of Year 2020...

So it's been 67 days since I posted.  What's changed?  Well in many ways, not a lot.  In other ways, quite a bit.

Conventions -

The catalogue of convention cancellations has grown exponentially with essentially everything from mid-March onwards being cancelled.

Greg and I had already decided to cancel our trip to Gen Con as even if it was to go ahead (it isn't), we didn't think we should go.  Of course we are now looking at 2021...

So yeah the rescheduled versions of UK Games Expo and Tabletop Scotland (more below) have been cancelled.  As has Gen Con in Indianapolis and Spiel in Essen.

The impact on the hobby cannot be underestimated and it will be a multifaceted one.  I'll probably reflect on that later.

If you want to see the sea of red / cancelled cons go here -

Game Stores -

To repeat what I said in the last post...  If there was ever a time for you to support brick & mortar game stores, now is that time.
Many in the UK are starting the process of re-opening which means, amongst other things, they're spending money to bring in products to sell.  Your support will make that effort worthwhile.

Community -

I would encourage you all to explore the options available to you, especially as right now I'm seeing more and more people (re)turning to this hobby as an outlet for escapism.

You can do this via the various social media platforms but also through forum services like BoardGameGeek (link to Scotland forum), ENWorld (for RPGs), D&D Beyond (for D&D specifically) and there are many more.

Facebook is littered with groups.  Here are a few I'd point those in Scotland at :

Dungeons & Dragons Scotland -
Dungeons & Dragons Glasgow -
(Aberdeen) Granite City D&D -
Open Roleplaying Community Edinburgh -
Scotland Tabletop -
Board Game Player Glasgow -
Edinburgh Board Gamers -
Juniper Green Board Gamers -
(Aberdeen) Granite City Gamers -
there are lots more...

Ultimately though if you're not sure where to start get in touch and I'll see how I can help.

Looking forward - 

In many respects I think the tabletop hobby will see 2020 as an aberration and attempt to write it off.  It's never as simple as that but as we all look for brighter days and a time when we're all able to get round a table to play games again I wanted to spotlight a little on Tabletop Scotland 2021.

It's going to be a 3 day affair and we're back at our regular time of August.  What will adding a third day bring to the convention? 
Right now that's not 100% clear.  We want to enable the whole range of game playing options that are available normally as well as things like the Bring & Buy.  Exhbitors wise it's TBC how this will work and until we've discussed it with them in more detail it is far too early to speculate.

Now the trick here is we're all largely working on the assumption that by August 2021 we'll be back to "normal" from a hobby perspective.  We'll be able to sit together in large numbers again etc.  There's a fair bit of fingers crossed associated with this and in reality we have to plan on the basis of "normal" anyway.

What would you like to do on the Friday at Tabletop Scotland?
With this extra day, what would you change about the Saturday & Sunday?
I'm curious to know.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Day 81 of Year 2020...

2020 huh.  The year of the Critical Hit etc etc.  It's certainly going to be one for the history books for the saddest of reasons.  The next few months are going to be really challenging for everyone and I hope you're all keeping safe and staying well.

I'd like to focus on what effect COVID-19 has had on the tabletop games hobby for this post.

Conventions -

AireCon went ahead.  I opted against going, asthmatic and all that.
Conpulsion has been cancelled.
UK Games Expo has moved to the August dates for Tabletop Scotland (in consultation with us).
GenCon is hanging in there but I have serious doubts it'll go ahead or more accurately if I'll be able to get there.  Given the impact on the airline industry there might not be a flight for me to get on.
Tabletop Scotland has re-scheduled to the 10th & 11th October.
Glasgow Games Festival date hasn't been announced yet but I expect they'll be mid-November as usual.
Beyond that a lot of conventions have naturally cancelled.  I maintain a Google Sheet with all the UK & Ireland Board Game & RPG conventions on it if you want to see.

Game Stores -

If there was ever a time for you to support brick & mortar game stores, now is that time.
You can support by contacting them to see if you can buy stuff and get them to post it out to you.
As well as being employers, these businesses are crucial to the community they serve.  If you can't support them financially ask them how you can help and encourage others to do the same.

Here's a list of the Scottish based brick & mortar stores that we compiled for Tabletop Scotland 2019.

Aberdeen ABZ Games
Aberdeen Asylum Books & Games
Aberdeen Plan 9
Airdrie The Last Outpost
Ayr Unboxed Gaming Café
Cumbernauld   Castle Comics
Dundee Highlander Games
Dunfermline Little Shop Of Heroes
Edinburgh Black Lion Games
Edinburgh Edinburgh Game Hub
Edinburgh Geek Retreat
Edinburgh Murphy's Vault
Edinburgh Noughts & Coffees
Edinburgh Red Dice Games
Elgin The Pop Shop
Falkirk Geeks & Games
Glasgow Geek Retreat
Glasgow Geek-Aboo
Glasgow Lucky Sparrow
Glasgow Max XP
Glasgow Static Games
Glasgow West End Games
Hamilton Settlers
Inverness Ellerium Games
Kirkcaldy Kingdom Comics & Games
Lanark Knightly Gaming
Largs Bus Stop Toy Shop
Paisley Comicrazy Café
Perth Big Dog Books
Stirling Common Ground Games

Community -

This hobby is all about socialising with others whilst playing games and when that ability to socialise is limited or even removed entirely it can be very difficult.

I've never been in a situation like this before and whilst I know that between my family and other things I can keep myself busy and entertained, I will miss playing games and socialising with others.

So how does someone tackle that?

Play online.  Get organised as a group and get online together.  If you meet up at the same time every week or fortnight then try and get people to do the same but online.  It won't be the same but it will be better than not doing it at all.  It's not something I've done but it is something I will explore.

RPGs -

Wizards Of The Coast recently published this article - - and whilst it's Dungeons & Dragons centric it's useful in general for all RPG players and those looking to explore that.
In there they mention Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds as well as chat/video tools like Discord, Zoom and Skype.  It's worth noting that there are other online RPG platforms like Astral and D20Pro which offer similar functionality to Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds.  Try them out and see which one works best for you.

Update - Chaosium have also published an article -

Board Games -

There are several options here and I won't list them all mainly because I'll end up forgetting something.  So here's 5 I found whilst searching online -

Whilst many of these RPG & Board Game online platforms have free versions be aware that their services are seeing huge spikes in players and that by buying a license, not only are you getting more functionality, you're enabling the companies involved to provide a better service overall.  So if you can, do.

Closing out this post I hope everyone stays safe and well over the next few weeks and months.  Let me know how you're dealing with this exceptional circumstance and get in touch if I can help.


Wednesday, 29 January 2020

GenCon 2020 - The Prep...

Flights - Booked

Accommodation - Booked

Tickets - Booked

So pretty much sorted then?  Logistics wise yeah largely there.  What comes next is figuring out what I'll be doing when there.

Events wise there's a LOT to choose from.  Event booking goes live on Sunday 17th May and based on 2019's event schedule of 19,589 different events there's going to be some decisions to be made!

I think this time my focus is going to be on the Gen Con film festival and the seminars / panels with a selection of gaming events (probably RPG centric) mixed in.  Plus of course the exhibitor hall where all the gaming goodies will be.

After seeing Eye Of The Beholder at Gen Con 2018 and having lots of good chat with the team behind it I was able to host the UK Premiere at Tabletop Scotland 2019 which was fantastic.

Maybe I'll see something else that I can bring to a future Tabletop Scotland?

I'd be interested in seeing Seminars & Panels either by D&D twitter folks I follow or podcasts I listen to.  There might be a few others that catch my eye but that's a decision for nearer the 17th May.

Gaming events will likely involve a few RPGs.  I'd like to try and play in a game of Night's Black Agents and also will likely sign up for some D&D 5e too.  That aside I think the majority of my convention time will be spent in the exhibitor halls and playing board games.

Exhibitor wise I think I might have a bit of a RPG splurge this time as that's largely my gaming focus at the moment although I will be picking up various new releases and other games to be added to the games library for Tabletop Scotland 2020.

If you're going to GenCon let me know (not you Greg, I know you're going!).