Monday, August 04, 2003


Went to the biennial Cambridge gaming con at New Hall the past weekend, with Mich and Hammy from Stabcon

Friday night - sign in, then find that the Real Ale bar isn't yet functioning, so after the Opening Ceremony, and a little time chewing the fat, head down to the Café Naz, one of a chain of curry houses that replaced the notorious Curry Centre of student days. A very nice garlic chilli chicken - just hot enough to get me hiccupping, and very garlicky.

Back at the con, do a few hands of Reaction, a sort of Snap-on-steroids, which didn't tax the brain, Carcassonne - Hunters and Gatherers, one of these recent German resource management games which seem so popular, then Trans-America, a railway game which is actually quick and simple - unlike the usual run of the genre. Then round off the evening at the showing of the Gamers - a short film on DVD about a group of gamers and the game they're running - a sort of live action Dork Tower that leaves no cliché unmocked.

Saturday - after unloading about a yard of dead RPG stuff (perhaps 10-15% of the collection) for the auction, spend the time through lunchtime sitting in on the various panels, and shoot my mouth off; then after grabbing a quick lunch, drift into town in the sudden fine weather to do some frivolous shopping (I end up with Dirty Three She has no strings, Apollo [rougher than their other albums] and Labradford E Luxo So [dreamy!]).

On my return, I kibitz the much over-subscribed HeroQuest demo. The system doesn't look much changed from when it was called Hero Wars - though the GM admitted that due to popular request, he didn't use the Action Point bidding, it was still in the new version. Otherwise it looked like the typical FRP session, with everyone going off at cross purposes, and clawing every possible bonus for each action.

That broke up about the time for the evening panels, so I went back to the lazy option. The stuff I had put up for auction went for a reasonable amount, and I refrained from over bidding on some of the items I might have liked (such as Ken Hite's Cthulhu Tarot, or Gorey-esque Cthulhu alphabet ("A is for Azathoth, who fell from the sky/ B is for Byakhee, the horror that can fly..."), and ended up with just the Mage Tarot to add to my collection of divination decks.

Sunday was much the same - panels in the morning, kibitzing HQ in the afternoon, with occasional excursions into the cooling breeze of the shaded walkway. The weather also seems to have driven a few people who were double-booked from the Folk Festival to something that could be indoors or at least shaded. (The Cambridge Folk Festival is always the last weekend in July, so Conjuration was set on the first in August, so as not to clash. And so the Folk Festival decided that starting on Thursday 31st was "their" weekend - which annoyed the con-com, and hit the attendance levels).

The strangest thing - the water-feature/moat in the central court that usually contains koi had been drained. And someone had hung up plastic fish in the empty trenches.

[Now playing - Afrocelts - Onwards]

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