Sunday, 10 July 2016

Longcon 2 - Day Two (and first review)

With more props than Hollywood and better storytelling...

Yesterday was an excellent day, today went even better...

Second day of the convention, and for many of us, a slightly later start than the first day, due in most part to many of us gaming till very late (early even) in the evening the night before.  Only five games today, with less interest in the one day events on the sunday than saturday, but we still had four games on part two of their two day event and one single player game with six players in it.

With most games in the conclusion of their arc, the action heated up today as everyone went for the ending they wanted...

Again, a relaxed pace to the day, breaks when we wanted them and no rush to get through, all of the games knew when their players were needing to be away (most of us are at work tomorrow morning), so we knew what time we had to get through things, and through the day, epic events could be heard going on in all quarters, and there wasn't a person there who had doubts that the other games were going well.

It's times like these that you remember in years to come, when you remember everyone being happy, you remember the glee from those making the rolls, and as the games started to wrap up, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that this is the way games should be.

In the run up to the con, there'd been some doubt, some strong opinions voiced on if I should allow games to be prebooked, or to have everyone randomly choose their game, todays events answered that question for me with certainty.

Going forwards, there will be prebooks for the games at Longcon, I want everyone to have a game that they want to play in. I want them to be committed to that game and playing well.  But when it comes to the end of the con, I want to find them stood around the table, all of them up and animated, engaged in matters of life and death that they've been working towards in the months previous.

My decision comes from two things...

First, seeing the conclusion of all the games and everyone leaving, exhausted, but happy, and the conclusion of Steve Ellis' Dracula Dossier game, where the players were engaged in a battle amongst themselves worthy of Hollywood, an epic ending to an epic game, and one that will be mentioned in years to come by those who watched it and those who played it.  The secret to this game?  They've been planning this for most of this year, they've all read the books, they've all got their characters in place and done all the background to them, and they came here to finish the story that they've been playing through for six months.

Second, One of the players who came in last minute to the convention, emailed me her review of the convention, which follows:

Longcon, a review

This was my first con, not only was it my first con it was my first time RPing around a table with people in around fifteen years.  I was understandably nervous.
Having picked a day and with John’s help been put in touch with various DM’s running that day with spaces I was put in touch with the wonderful Sue Wilson who was DMing Dresden Fate - Hangover City.
There were some emails exchanged in the run up between Sue and us ‘players’ so I arrived with a character idea in mind and only mild worry that I had no clue about the system.
I arrived before Sue and her husband and about the same time John did.  Everyone John introduced me to was beyond nice, polite and made me feel welcome.  Yes, it was obvious that some of these people had known each other for years but they in no way excluded anyone.  There have been some references to this being ‘clique’ con and I never once felt that.  People might not have been introduced to me or even speak to me over the day but they all smiled as our paths crossed!
We had a mild concern after Sue and John arrived that our 3rd player might not arrive and taother John immediately said if that was indeed the case we could join his Call of Cthulhu game.
The other John showed us to the ‘cells’ and we picked one and started to settle in, at this point Sam our final player arrived.  A period of character poking then ensued and explanation of the system.  We then began!
It was so much fun!!  There was fits of laughter, squeals of horror and much, much more!  The Fate system was so much fun to play.  Our characters developed as we played them which I LOVED.  Sam’s sentient pond scum AKA Barry gained the aspect ‘‘technically’ not a serial killer!!’  My character Ilsbeth gained the aspect ‘Don’t ruin the DJ’s Bliss!!!!’
We finally broke for the day well past 10pm having named the day’s play “I think you’ll find its more complicated than that….” having discovered fey burn!
It was a great day with wonderful friendly people!
The only things I would change are ‘mechanical aspects’.  While the cells do create a great small atmosphere to RP in had it been much warmer that would have been a serious issue.  Light was almost an issue also.  Some of us are old and have dodgy eyesight after all!!!  There was an option to pre-order food but unfortunate the lunch list didn’t get taken down to the venue before lunch came around.  Also the venue obviously hadn’t thought out about people wishing to pay.  It was fine for those renting a room there who simply wanted it charging to their room but not for the rest of us.  That being said, there wasn’t a large delay when ordering food at lunch time.  Lack of condiments upstairs for those of us taking our food back upstairs was a mild irritation that could have been easily avoided.  I gather the pre-order of dinner went better although once again the venue had put in little thought to the payment of meals by those pre-ordering as far as I could tell.  Once again the meals were quick in appearing for those that didn’t pre-order.
Although in the words of my Boss “If all they can think to complain about is the biscuits, you delivered a cracking event!”    

This is well deserving the title of ‘a cracking event!’


And so I have my answer, if you have six months to prep and be ready for this, it could well be one of the best games you've ever played in your life, but if you came to this with no expectations and less than a weeks worth of emails, then you can still have an excellent event.

A few weeks back, I made an offer to all those who weren't sure, but who might be willing to put faith in the event to give it a try, that they could come and play, and if they liked the convention, pay for it at the end. More importantly, if anyone already booked hadn't enjoyed their game, I would give them a refund for their entrance.

Refunds this year?          


People who handed money over at the end of the event because they'd enjoyed it?     


This works, it works both in one day and two day events, it works better with prep, but just as well with a good GM and a well prepared story, and so it'll be back next year, more reviews as I get them, but I'm going to be taking game submissions in January, and bookings for games will begin in February so the preparations can get going.

Some things to work on for next year, the heat in the cells and the lighting, food and drink, but those are all things that are easily rectifiable, and so next year will be better...

This has been brilliant, most relaxed weekend I've had in some time, I should have made this con years ago...