Concord gaming con (Bristol)

Concord was this past weekend - the 3rd (?) such convention, though they used the name Conquord for the first ones. Despite some bad luck (the venue they were intending to use closed down and they had to find a replacement in a hurry), the organisers seemed on top of everything, and had even sorted out lurid green t-shirts for themselves, so you always knew who to ask about stuff.

A friend came up from Plymouth to stay at ‘Hotel Dr Bob’ and go to the con with me on the Saturday. It was quite busy on the Saturday, with board & card games being played in the pub proper, and the RPGs and the wargames/card games demos upstairs in the function rooms. Nice venue, nice staff, but it too has been afflicted by the ‘Curse of Concord’ and will be shutting down in a few weeks. The only thing wrong with the venue was the steep, narrow stairs, which were strictly one way traffic, and not at all mobility-issues friendly.

Saturday: I ran Doctor Who in the morning - a UNIT adventure during the Cold War, where the PCs have to deal with some Soviets and an alien threat and try not to accidentally start WW3. The party’s main tactic was to be Very, Very British, and criticise Russian tea-making abilities. They talked their way into and out of trouble several times, and did indeed manage to prevent WW3 happening, though there’s a certain mountain in Afghanistan and a herd of goats which will never be the same again!

My friend Gary and I were under the impression that Concord ended at 14:30 on the Saturday, because that’s what it said on the website! However, that was for the old venue, and the actual one was staying open until 18:00. If I’d known, I would have brought another game to run. Gary hastily copied out some Tales from the Loop pregens from his laptop and ran a game of that. I played a demo of Laserblade skirmish wargame (simple and fast), and chatted with various mates who were hanging round the reg desk. Then we met up with Gary’s other half for a meal out and an evening of watching DVDs. Oh and we tried the new takeaway near me - The Dessert Bar which does cakes, ice cream and puddings!

Sunday: Much much quieter than the Saturday, with fewer demos and not nearly as many people present, so the bar staff didn’t have much to do. (Perhaps Bristol isn’t ready for a 2 day gaming con yet?). I’d signed up to play Star Wars, which was the old West End games d6 system. An entertaining prison break plot, in which we took over the ship and killed the scary Inquisitor. Twice. Because the Failed Jedi forgot to check if he was really dead the first time! My character had “hot-headed” and “often reckless” as my character traits, but he paled into insignificance beside the Failed Jedi, who was a whirlwind of randomness and destruction, and had racked up 2 Dark Force points by the end of the game.

In the afternoon I ran a Squaddies game using the Cortex+ system: the stranded tank scenario which I have run before as a Hammer’s Slammers game (MGT). I think it went okay, but it was a bit stop-start, as the players kept backing off from actually doing stuff as a party.
Me: Right, so you are approaching the enemy position? Let’s go into initiative…
Players: No, no. We’re sending the drone to do that. We’re staying waaaaaay over here.
Me: OK. Well, then the only the drone pilot gets to do stuff for the next couple of rounds.
[Time passes]
Me: Right, so you are attacking the enemy position, now? Let’s go into initiative…
Players: No, no. We’re sending the NPC sniper to do that. We’re staying waaaaaay over here.

Eventually a couple of them got bored of the others pussy footing around and actually got within shooting distance of the bad guys.

Overall for the con… Good: atmosphere, venue, location, enthusiasm of organisers. Bad: 3 RPGs in one small room on the Sat was painful on the ears. Sunday they split the RPGs into 2 in each room.

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