So I recently volunteered at the UK Games Expo. It was a bigger event than ever this year with attendance up 80% and most if not all of those people wanted to play board games. To help people play as many games as possible, and to encourage try before you buy, the Expo arranged for a board games Library, run by the wonderful Thirsty Meeples Board Game Café.
I volunteered in the library all weekend, as I did last year, and hundreds of board games were borrowed. Seriously games were coming in and out so fast they had skid marks, and not just Formula D. With hundreds of board games and hundreds of people we needed a system to track lending and encourage people to actually bring our games back.
Last year we used a Board Games Passport. People at the con paid a £10 deposit and received a passport. They were able to borrow 1 game at a time and when they returned the game they got a stamp from passport control and could borrow a new game. This system meant people working in the library didn’t have to take a deposit for every game and generally involved less money handling. Reducing the risk of losing people or the con’s money is always a bonus, and it makes it more difficult for the con Director to “mind” the cashbox next to the bar.
The passport also allowed people to borrow games over night and take them up to their hotel rooms because the library could keep track (roughly) of what games people had out. People at the expo really liked the system, as much as the English admit to liking anything that isn’t tea, football or imperialism.
This year we went more high tech and our simple stamped passports become barcoded Library Cards, that could be scanned. Oh the technology. Although there were some differences and we encountered some inevitable IT issues it was again a roaring success. People really seemed to like that they didn’t have to repeatedly mess around with money, or find change.
A variation of the board game passport was also used at Leprecon. We’ll be using our own boardgames passport at this year’s Gaelcon. For only a fiver you can borrow games overnight, take them out of the boardgame area and save yourself a lot of hassle. You can buy your passport at the convention or on our website.
Volunteering – Why bother?So your all excited Gaelcon’s just around the corner. You’re planning which RPGs to play, which decks to bring, which figures to paint. Somewhere in all that plan think take a minute to think about volunteering at the con.
The 3 big excuses
1. It’s Gaelcon it’s running for over 20 years, they don’t need me.
That statement is Donald Trump levels of untrue. This convention is run by volunteers and the only way it happens is if people, people like you, help out. Sure there’s work involved but you get to help the convention happen, see old friends and make new ones. You get to be part of an amazing group of people who work hard and play hard. If being charitable for its own sake isn’t enough for you, we’ll throw in free attendance at the con, a snazzy free t-shirt and plenty of snacks. And you get the privilege of bowing to the will helping our awesome staff coordinator Ana. Email her (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to volunteer or have any questions.
2. You are new to games and conventions and don’t feel you know enough about them.
The absolute best way to join a community and become a real member is to volunteer at events. It’s a great way to get to know people and get a taste for different kinds of gaming. I remember walking into my first convention not knowing where to go or what to sign up for. There were goths, nerds and cosplayers and it was the most amazing and terrifying thing I could have imagined. Thankfully someone in a brightly coloured t-shirt swung passed me said, grab this box and I was roped in to helping out. It’s been over a decade since then (I was very young at my first con) and I still volunteer and help run gaming events. Warning! Volunteering may be addictive. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s not enough sleep, too much sugar and being part of the weird and wonderful community we call gamers. You don’t need to know your 40K from your Firefly. You just need to give some of your time during the convention to help make it happen.
3. You have a life, you’re busy you don’t really have time to volunteer for anything.
That’s fair, we’re all pretty busy but being a volunteer at a convention is signing up to have fun. That said there are other ways you can help out rather than staffing the full convention. If you have GMing experience volunteer to GM by e-mailing email@example.com. Run enough games and we’ll refund your membership.
You can also help the con a lot by letting people know about it. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter too it’s easy to share one of our updates or ugly puzzles.
Gaelcon is going to be great this year and think about how smug you’ll get to feel by knowing you were part of making it happen whether it’s letting some friends know about the con or staffing for the weekend.
My name is Rachel and I am a convention volunteer addict, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lightning hits the old tower, a deranged man in white shouts at electricity revives that which was dead moments before, he shouts “Tickets are alive!”
Check out our shop. Con passes are up.
RPG and Larp tickets are live! Check out our sweet bundles! Currently some RPGs have a table limit, but we will open these up as we confirm additional GMs based on demand. While we will be monitoring the situation, If a product is out of stock, don’t hesitate to inform us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pathfinder will be up soon! Just finalising the time table with the great people at the Pathfinder Society Ireland.
Wargames are live! 40k and the Irish Guildball Championship are ready for players! Please ensure to contact the relevant person about your participation. Guildball is password protected and there is a player limit.
Passwords! You’ll notice that some games (Higher Powers – Returning Players, Guildball) are password protected. You can get these passwords by contacting the organisers directly, they should inform you once you have confirmed participation.
Special Events! Boardgame Passports.
Our special events will be up soon! We are really excited about the Dracula Dossier and Escape Room. We are also launching Boardgame Passports.
Basically you buy a boardgame passport for five euro and you can rent out boardgames all weekend. You can even keep them overnight. At the end of the con, you’ll have a list of all the boardgames you rented, which is both a valuable memory, but also hugely helpful when trying to remember what that great game on Monday Morning was.
So go on and get shopping!
Higher Powers tickets are back in the Store. Higher Powers Players will be contacted by the Higher Powers Team with instructions on how to purchase their tickets.
Gaelcon 2016 is delighted to announce the first of our special events line up this year. We have the honour to have a long con scenario being run by renowned writer Gareth Hanrahan. And to add to the horrifying wonderfulness. Gareth has arranged that anyone who pre registers for one or all of the slots can receive a discount off the PDF version of The Dracula Dossier from Pelgrane Press!
Game Title: The Dracula Dossier
Longcon Format System: Night’s Black Agents
# of players: 6-8 per slot
In 1894, British intelligence attempted to recruit a vampire as an asset. The attempt went horribly wrong. As part of the cover-up, they released an edited, redacted copy of the operation’s notes as a novel. In 1940, in 1977, they tried again, and failed again. In 2005, they succeeded. In each case, officers involved added marginal notes to an unredacted copy of the Dracula Dossier. Now it’s in your hands. You’re burned spies, out in the cold. And the Un-Dead are hunting you. With the Dossier, you can turn the fight around, and maybe track down and destroy the King of the Vampires. Enter freely, and of your own will, into the domain… of Dracula.
Recently while having a conversation with a friend I realised I have been playing RPG games for 18 years. That realisation was harrowing because firstly it makes me feel old, secondly though it reminded me how many wonderful people I have met and played games with over that time. As I look around the internet at various groups, events and organisations for our little island it makes me very proud to be a member of this tribe we call gamers.
It’s so much easier to find a gaming group to join and have fun with these days.The convention scene is still going strong sure, but it’s nice to know that I can get a social gaming fix in between. With the likes of groups such as ALT Events Dublin running games days in Fringe Labs, Girls Get Gaming who run /tabletop Tuesday in The black Sheep pub and the IGA’s very own Games nights in Robert Reades on Thursday to mention but a few. Lets not forget there are many other groups besides all over this little country.
Having spent a number of years in and around the gaming scene I see the dedication that we have for our hobby as a community. Game Writers staying up to Silly o’Clock getting the game ready for it’s debut. Convention committee’s working all year round to put on a great event for their fellow gamers. Volunteers giving up their time to provide the con go’er with an excellently fun time. We should be proud of our contributions of time effort and energy we give to our community.
And of course it would be a disservice not to mention how the gaming community have raised vital funds to support many worthy charities. We have caring hearts deep down inside all that LARP armour and chainmail. I am so looking forward to seeing many of my con buddies at Gaelcon this year. I love how you can sit down to a table and play an rpg for three hours and many years later still reminisce the epic mentally mind boggling antics you got up to with the then strangers, who are now your good friends.
So l sit and reflect the fond memories I have had over those 18 years, The friends I have found. The games I have loved. The costumes I prepared for characters, the props I made.
And the dice bags I have sewn. Oh so many wonderful discussions I have had and the stories I have collected. Gaming has enriched my life, it has let my imagination soar and put many a smile on my face. These aren’t wrinkles I am cultivating they are the result of gaming grins, you know the one when you have that glint in your eye and a mischievous action planned out for your next move.
So I say my sincere thanks to you my fellow gamers, let us continue to invest in our hobby and community. I look forward to adding many more wonderful, fun memories to my collection. I am honoured to be your special events coordinator for Gaelcon 2016 fingers crossed I can help you have an excellently fun time. Until then roll the dice, flip the cards and may the odds be ever in your favour.
If you’ve never played an RPG or LARP at a convention before the idea can be a bit daunting. Sitting down for three hours to play a game you might not be familiar with alongside four or five complete strangers can be intimidating the first couple of times. So, with that said; here’s some tips for first time role-players looking to give RPGs or LARPs a try this Gaelcon.
One of the main differences between LARPs and RPGs at conventions is their structure. Where a lot of regular games might be long-term campaigns played over a number of sessions LARPs and RPGs at conventions tend to be standalone three hour affairs. That being said however, some game writers like to write convention games that follow on from one another, either at another convention or at a different slot at the same convention.
Deciding what game you’d like to play is the first, and in some cases, the most difficult step. There’ll usually be a variety of different kinds of games on each slot; from suspense laden horror in the 1920’s to exciting interplanetary adventures of the distant future. Some games are even inspired by popular films or TV shows such as Game of Thrones, BattleStar Galactica or Star Wars. The important thing to find something that stands out to you as something that you think you’ll really enjoy.
Either way you’re sure to find a game that will appeal to your tastes. It can also be a good idea to listen out for any gamers being particularly excited about a specific game or ask around and see what people recommend.
RPGs sound slightly intimidating but the important thing is to relax. If you are not familiar with the RPG rules or the setting of the game then you can ask the GM to give you a quick rundown of the rules (most GMs will do this at the start anyway). It can also be all too easy to get overwhelmed and accidentally let the more experienced gamers run the show, and if that’s what you feel comfortable doing that’s cool, but it’s a good idea to try and participate, you might find out you’ve got a talent for it.
LARPs can be even more daunting; they generally have a larger number of players and can often be more free-form as the players move about the room and interact with one another and the GM(s). LARPs can be a lot more role-playing focused than RPGs with less ‘out-of-character’ conversation. It’s a good idea to ask the GM(s), or even a more experienced gamer, about the etiquette, but don’t worry if you don’t get it right away; most GMs and players are very patient and helpful to new players.
On the flip side of this there tends to be fewer rules to worry about so you can focus more easily on playing out the scenario and role-playing your characters. As always, if you’re having trouble following everything you can always ask your GM(s) for advice.
Lastly, the most important thing is just to have fun, after a while you’ll get into the swing of things and before you know it you’ll be a seasoned role player queuing up for game tickets every slot.