The first time I went to a gaming con was Arcanacon 1983, in Melbourne. I went by train from Sydney with a group from the UNSW RPGA (which was a bit of an ordeal), and won the The Fantasy Trip tournament. Then I wrote the AD&D module “Escape for Fortress Fohgidon” at the UNSW RPGA’s inaugural tournament in 1983, and organised its successor in 1984. From 1987 to 1990-something I collaborated with Tonio Loewald on his ForeSight multi-forms at Cancon, and was regularly one of his GMs. In I think 1995 I collaborated with Andrew Smith to write and present Canberra by Night at Cancon, and nearly GMed a young woman to death. The following year I wrote the disappointing SF half of a pair of Jack Vance freeforms at Cancon and played the magic mirror Persilian as a ringer in Andrew Smith’s fantasy half of the diptych. And then in 1998 I returned to Sydcon (successor of the UNSWRPGA tournament among other antecedents) to write and present a large freeform called Uninvited Guests and set in my SF setting Flat Black. Which was a moderate success. In 2004 I wrote and ran at Phenomenon a conventional tabletop adventure SF thriller in disguise as police procedural set in my usual SF setting Flat Black. I consider that to have been an unalloyed success, and as a result of its reception I was invited back the next year as a guest designer. Unfortunately my health wouldn’t let me get to the con, nor has it let me get back there since.
So then. What’s your history at gaming conventions? What do you generally do there when you go? For the benefit of the less hardened members of the audience, what happens at the cons you go to? Who would you recommend the experience to?
Do you suspect that cons in the USA, cons in the UK and Europe, and cons in Australia and New Zealand might be actually distinctly different?