28 Oct

Getting to the con

Map to Gaelcon

So you’ve got your tickets or the last minute people are going to buy them on the door. You know the convention starts at 5pm and is in the Ballsbridge hotel. But how do you get there?

We’ve created a detailed post on how to get to the con on our Location page.There’s several different travel options and hints for avoiding the marathon madness.  You can also save or print our handy map above.

See you at the con!

22 Oct

So many special events

special events collage

Gaelcon has been running for over 20 years and so many of you may be familiar with the events. There are riveting RPGs, wonderful Wargames, lovely LARPs, brilliant boardgames, crafty CCGs and terrific tournaments.

We want you to enjoy all your old favourites and the games you like to play. Though this Gaelcon we have a lot of scintillating, sparkling and even spooky special events. Friday night is packed with our Halloween party full of games, decorations, karaoke and costume competition.

Saturday will feature a Gaelcon classic, the pub quiz. It’s also the start of our long con game the Dracula Dossier. There are still a few tickets available for those who want to try to fit a whole campaign into one week.

Sunday is when we ask for you to reach into your wallets and “think of the children” at our charity auction. Then for the night owls Alt events are bringing us an interactive cinema club. This is an interactive gaming experience where the entire audience directs the action. Somewhere in all that activity you can also try to make a great escape with Unlocking Your Potential with Lauch & Ki Marketing, our escape room challenge, running throughout the weekend.

If you still have some energy left on Monday try squeezing in a demo from Catalyst games test your best “make it so” impression with Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator both of which will be running at various times all weekend. Finish it all up with the closing ceremony, where the Fergal wranglers have guaranteed the ceremony will be comprehensive and quick.

Gaelcon has something for everyone even those uninterested or inexperienced in traditional gaming. This year try something old, try something new, borrow some games and you won’t be blue.

#Gaelconunlocked

 

10 Oct

Gaelcon Boardgame Math Trade

Gaelcon Boardgame Math Trade

 

There will be a boardgame math trade at this year’s Gaelcon! A math trade is a great way to trade some of the games which you haven’t played in ages for other games that you are interested in. The trade itself is hosted on Boardgamegeek here. This does mean that you must be a registered member of the Boardgamegeek community to take part but registration is a quick and simple process. The deadline for submissions is the 19th of October.

 

In a math trade participants first post the board games they are interested in trading to the trade Geeklist. They can do so by clicking the ‘Add Item’ button on the top post of the Geeklist. After the submissions deadline a post will be made by the organiser which gives each of the submitted games a unique code. For example

 

001soc Settlers of Catan

002sld Splendor

003kot King of Toyko

 

All participants then submit which games they would be happy to trade their games for. This is submitted to the organiser in the format of

 

(MyUserName) MyIDName : IDName1 IDName2 IDName3 IDName4

 

Where ‘MyUserName’ is your Boardgamegeek username (in brackets), ‘MyIDName’ is the list id of the game you are trading and everything after the colon is the list of games you would take for that game in order of preference. For example, if Eoin had submitted Settlers of Catan as a game he would like to trade during the submissions period he would then submit something like the following

 

(Eoin) 001soc : 003kot 002sld

 

This signifies that Eoin’s preference would be to receive King of Toyko for his copy of Settler’s of Catan but he would also accept Splendor.

 

Once all participants have submitted their Want’s List a computer algorithm will determine which trades will occur. It does so by calculating the trades which will maximise the ‘happiness’ of all participants based on their submitted Want’s List. This algorithm is the reason trades like this one are called Math trades. The end result will look something like the diagram at the top of this page.
third-gaelcon-math-trade

The algorithm has found that to maximum the happiness of all participants Eoin should trade his copy of Settlers of Catan to Fergal. Fergal will then give his copy of Splendor to Anna who will give her copy of King of Tokyo to Eoin.

 

When submitting your boardgames to this trade you may request that trades only occur at Gaelcon. The deadline for submissions is the 19th of October and the deadline for your Want’s List is 25th of October. Much more information can be found on Boardgamegeek.com.

 

This is a great way to reinvigorate your boardgame collection for free! See you all at Gaelcon!

07 Oct

Why costume?

Committee costumes

So what is the definition of costume? According to Wikipedia it is defined as follows.

Costume is the distinctive style of dress of an individual or group that reflects their class, gender, profession, ethnicity, nationality, activity or epoch.

The term also was traditionally used to describe typical appropriate clothing for certain activities, such as riding costume, swimming costume, dance costume, and evening costume. Appropriate and acceptable costume is subject to changes in fashion and local cultural norms.[1]

As a member of the gaming community I can clearly see how costume makes an impact on adding texture and richness to the games we play, from descriptions used in RPG’s to visual representation of your character in a LARP. How many of us have been told for example by the GM detailed descriptions of a non player character so we get an understanding of who they might be and what purpose they fulfil?

“ He was a tall gentleman, richly dressed in midnight blue velvet. A nobleman’s garb indeed, embroidered with golden threads. The colour  provided a beautiful contrast to his well groomed blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. He also had an exquisitely made rapier hanging from a finely made leather belt at his side. Your eyes fall upon the crest emblazoned on his doublet. If his physical description alone wasn’t enough, the crest confirmed it. You know who it is that stands before you and what his mere presence here means for you and your party.”

As a LARPer and someone who has always had a keen interest in costume, I embrace the opportunity to use costume as a visual expression of the characters I currently and previously played. From my half-Orc who mainly wore mud brown clothes and faux fur and generally looked like she had been dragged backwards through a hedge each morning, to a political larp where I played a well-to-do lady in a black satin dress and heels. Or even the U.N. delegate who looked like a businesswoman on a mission.

Costume is not just the clothes you put together, it’s an ensemble of items to create an overall visual effect. Everything from face paint, make up, accessories, wigs and props can be added to your clothing for richness and texture to the character you are trying to portray. And it’s really fun! Gamers are awesome for complimenting each other when they appreciate the work you have put into your character. Your efforts often help others to get more into the headspace of a game and make it more immersive.

Some people find patterns scary and daunting to work with (myself included!), but there is a great sense of achievement and pride in making your own character kit.

That’s why so many choose to make their own costumes. It doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg and no great skills are necessary – it’s all about creativity, ideas and fun! I recently made a norse style apron dress from a tablecloth which I had picked up in a charity shop for three quid – talk about a bargain!

When comes to looking for inspiration, I really like this pinterest page. It is a visual feast of medieval style clothing.

Gaelcon 2016 will kick off with a Halloween Party including a Costume and Cosplay competition. If you have a costume or cosplay in your closet or want to pull something together in the next few weeks – Go ahead! Give it a go! There are prizes to be won and fun to be had. Whether you want to get your glam on or rock some creepy rags or gorey garb, do it!  Break out and have some fun!  I will be there in costume and up to no good, you can be sure of that! And as you can see from our pictures the rest of the committee will be joining in too.

For more information check out our website.

30 Sep

Boardgame Passports

boardgamesSo 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.

PassportThe 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.

30 Sep

Volunteering – Why bother?

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 (staff@gaelcon.com) 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 rpgs@gaelcon.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.