Friday, 14 June 2019

Volcon and Longcon

Volcon and Longcon

The announcements for Longcon haven’t gone out this year, and there’s a number of reasons for that, but I keep getting people asking, so I thought to tell people what’s going on with it.

Longcon, for those who don’t know, followed the idea of having a single game that ran across an entire weekend, as things used to when we were all younger and had the time and availability to be able to give up whole weekends just to spend with our friends.

It worked, and at the same time, it didn’t work, but I learned a lot from running it, and in some way, it will continue, but in a different form.

The first Longcon worked well, but was primarily composed of existing groups that wanted to run a longer game with a number of friends and still have the social aspect of a convention where everyone had a few drinks in the evening and just kicked back.  There was one group that decided to hold Longcon at their own house rather than coming to Longcon itself, and I can’t blame them for that, indeed, that for me was always the concern for Longcon.  If you have a group of people who want to play a game together, all you have to do is provide a room, and they can organise themselves.  They may not have recognised that they all wanted to play for the whole weekend, and if by starting Longcon I gave them the inclination, that’s good enough for me.

The problem for Longcon was always in the games being offered.  In a regular convention four hour slot, if you have a bad game session, you run the risk of having four hours lost.  At Longcon, you have a bad game session, and you’ve lost the whole weekend and ended up paying travel and accommodation for yourself for no reward.

Don’t get me wrong, when the games go right, they are the best in the world (Steve Ellis’s epic Dracula Dossier game in year two, Neil Gow’s massive Watch campaign over several years.), but the increasing risk that if the players didn’t know each other, there was more chance of something going wrong, and on the weekend, there would be nothing I could do to prevent that.

And it has been that, that played on my mind, and has been all this year.  It has been that, that prevented me from putting the announcements out.  Because there’s something about me that many don’t know, and in telling everyone, it’ll make a lot of what I do make a lot more sense.

I do conventions so that gamers, board gamers, war gamers, role players, all of us, can have a good time.  I don’t do it for the money, I do it because then there’s a place where other gamers can have a good time without worrying about anyone giving them a hard time, just for being gamers.

If there’s a chance that a convention I run will end in them not having a good time, then I get stressed about it, more than I let on, but this year, it’s been really playing on my mind.  Most of the games that have run at Longcon have done really well, but there have been two that ended in the players not entirely enjoying them.  The “Don’t pay if you didn’t like the game you were in” guarantee has only been taken up once, but still, it concerns me, and I’ve found that despite this being the one convention where I should have had no stress at all, I was looking forwards to it less and less.

Here’s where the change is going to be…

Longcon will continue, I’ll still be offering to run weekend long games and I’ll still accept submissions for day long, weekend long games if anyone wants to play them, but I want this to be something that people can enjoy, no matter what game they play.  I’ve long wanted to give something back to all the people who offer their time to conventions, some place where they can enjoy games with others like them, and know that the convention will run itself, it’s just a place for them all to come together and play games, drink, kick back and have a good time.

This is Volcon…

I’m still renting out the Garrison for the entire weekend of the 6th and 7th of July, I’m still offering weekend long and single day games, but more than that, I’m also bringing a stack of board games, and I’m making it open to everyone, with one particular caveat.

If you volunteer at any convention, any convention at all, this weekend is free. There will be no payment asked or taken for this space, this is my way of saying thank you to every person who does things so that others can have a good time.  It’s not sponsored by any other convention, it’s from me to everyone else out there.  If you want to turn up and bring games to play, that’s fine, if you want to turn up and just catch up with everyone without having to wonder about turning up on shift, that’s fine.  If you want to run games across the weekend, tell me what they are and I’ll put them on the website, submission before the end of June if you could please.

If you don’t volunteer at a convention (and there’s no distinction to which convention or in what you volunteer as, GM, volunteer, door troll, ambassador), then you can still book into games at the convention, same price as it always was, £10 for the one day, £20 for both.

And between this Longcon and next year, just volunteer at any convention and it becomes free to you as well, any of the Garrison cons, Airecon, Concrete Cow, Stabcon, any convention at all, so spread the word, this is for those that have already put their time in.  Feel free to share this everywhere.

Any Questions, just ask, if you see a game you want to play in, send me a mail and I’ll put you on the list.

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