Sunday, 24 April 2016

Strategygamecon - a new four day convention in England

There have been a few people asking in recent weeks if I know anything about Strategygamecon, a new four day convention being held in Telford between the 25th and 28th of August this year.

As it turns out, I do...

I met with the man in charge of the convention, Rob Hooley, a week back when he came up to ask my advice on a number of things.  In short, Robs intention for Strategygamecon is to be what Gencon was when it could still be found on these shores.

After pointing out my concern that there's only four months to the show with not much already in place, he outlined what his plans were, and this is what I'm reporting back here...

Stand prices are higher than most other UK conventions, and they have a lot of space available, so can accommodate any size stand required. They have a few smaller traders in place.

They are looking for volunteers to run games for them, Board, RPG, and all others in between, they are looking for people across all four days, but particularly Saturday and Sunday.

I need to point out here that Strategygamecon varies from almost all the conventions that I do by not extending free entry to those volunteering games unless certain criteria are met.  For those offering a game in one of the slots, you have to buy your ticket to get in, but you will be reimbursed for this upon production of the slips for the game that was run.

That does mean that if you don't any players for the slot you offered, you don't get any rewards for it either...

Rob said that he'd be happy to provide accommodation for people working the entire convention, and I need to make that clear as well, he does mean the entire convention.  That's all twelve slots, Thursday to Sunday, you can do the work either in games or slots on the volunteer board, but the above point does stand, if you offer a game that doesn't get taken up, you won't get the rewards.

I have said that I'll happily put out a call for GMs to the show (as I do for any show that needs help), but I will be informing the GMs of that particular clause.

On the flip side of that, Rob is allowing GMs to set a nominal charge per player for any games they want to run, that charge will be added to the SGC charge of £5 per person per game to find the total cost for a seat at that game, so if the GM wanted to get £5 per player for their game at the show, he charge for a space in that game would be £10.  I know this has worked well at Gencon with some of the premier events, so I can see where they're coming from.

There are a few card games tournaments running at the show, and given Robs background in the card games world, this is not surprising.  What he does need more of are Boardgames and Miniatures tournaments, particularly from companies.  From the conversation that we had, there are no hard and fast rules to the tournaments, Rob will take a view on what the tournament being run is and assign it space as he sees fit.  If a company takes a larger space, they can put on a larger tournament, but the two are definitely linked.  Individuals wanting to run a tournament should approach Rob directly regarding what they can offer.

Accommodation - There are several hotels in the area with accommodation available, no convention special deals have been arranged with them, but Rob does have access to a campsite nearby for those on a Budget.

Entrance tickets - £10 a day, discounts for doing more days at once.  Has to be noted that they're not using lanyards, they're using wristbands, and these wristbands have to stay on all the time, if you lose the band, you have to buy another ticket.

Overall, I know that Strategygamecon is being funded by MCM Expo, which is how they're starting at year one on a four day convention in a major convention centre, and they have a large presence in shows, but that's for comic cons and not for games cons.  From experience, I know that while there's some cross over between the two, there's not as much as people would like to think, and while they've got the money to put in there to make a good go of it, I'll have to see how it goes on the day before I make further comment on it.

If there are any specifics people want to know about, let me know.

The Website is at

Friday, 22 April 2016

On conventions in general, and of course, Longcon 2

So radio silence for more than a month and very little presence on most websites, forums, or other places where I'm normally to be found.  I'd like to say I was off doing something excellent, but the truth is I've been working on things for Expo, for Dragonmeet, and a few other conventions that I'll name in due course.

I'd also like to say that the job of organising the largest games convention in the UK is a joy and I'd recommend everyone take a shot someday, but this too would be a lie, it's a job, and it's now so busy that getting the time to take a breather from it, much less sit back and enjoy, is all but impossible.

In truth, the move to the NEC has given us all manner of interesting problems, the running of the largest X wing game in the world is making is break new ground to make sure it works well, and the challenge of getting in sufficient entertainment for the increased crowds that presales are showing we're going to get, well...

You get the idea...

More on that later though, I've finally managed to get my own website sorted out (not just the basics, but an actual website), and I've moved all the details for Longcon 2 to there.  I'm taking submissions for games in the next few weeks, and I'm opening bookings for the convention on the first of May around 20:00, full details are on the website at  I'll be updating a number of things in the coming days, this is more to tell everyone that I'm still alive.