Tuesday, 8 October 2013

GenCon UK

In my planning and thinking about going to GenCon in Indianapolis next year I'm reminded of having attended 3 different GenCon UKs over the years.

There is no real comparison between GenCon Indy and GenCon UK.  Other than it's all formats tabletop gaming in 1 venue for a 4 day convention.

So which GenCon UKs have I been at?

Loughborough – 1998
This was my first ever games convention and I only attended for 2 of the 4 days.
My memories of the event are sketchy pretty much because it was 15 years ago!  What I do remember is watching a Black Lotus MagicTG card being burned on stage to increase the rarity of an already rare card.  This was part of a charity auction and the attendees had to bid to either save the Black Lotus or (I think) a copy of Red Box Basic D&D.  The Black Lotus had more money bid on it being the one to be burned.
I also remember the dominance of Vampire The Masquerade in the RPGs that were on offer and I think this was the first GenCon UK after Wizards Of The Coast had bought TSR.
Highlight of the weekend had nothing to do with Tabletop Games as I came 4th in the Quake tournament.

Manchester - 2000
I attended just the 1 day for this as I was in Manchester that weekend for other reasons.
The key reason for me to attend was to pick up the Player's Handbook for 3rd Edition D&D.  I also picked up a number of other things whilst there including the first published d20 Scenario for D&D - Death in Freeport from Green Ronin Games.  Didn't take part in any games at this one as it really was a drop in visit.

Butlins, Bognor Regis – 2005
This time I was there for the full convention.  I had a great time at this convention for a number of reasons but mostly because of the friends who went with me in what was a bit of an ORC Edinburgh outing.
A lot of what I did at this GenCon was with opening a shop in mind.  Not all of it was with that in mind but I started to really analyse the games on offer and where the excitement was and spent a fair amount of time quizzing the traders that were there on the business of retail.
Now it was a convention with a number of problems but all in all I had a great time.  One of those problems was a game of D&D that I played in where the DM unfortunately seemed to have a very poor grasp of the rules...  Still I managed to play a very impatient Dwarf Paladin who in one scene vaulted over the Elf Ranger to attack the Minotaur beyond.

After that GenCon UK had 2 more iterations in 2007 and 2008 in Reading but through a variety of reasons the con ceased to be.
There was a time when I thought this was a very bad sign for the future of the tabletop hobby in the UK but in hindsight I think it's actually enabled other conventions to take over not least of which is UK Games Expo which is one of the conventions that I want to attend in the future.  With 3,500 unique attendees over the 3 day event it's really showing what can be achieved in the UK when it comes to all formats conventions.