Gaelcon 33 will be online this year.

Our hopes for Gaelcon 33 changed as the news changed from week to week, but we have decided that we must have an online event. Various things influenced our decision:

  • The news about the pandemic and the vaccination rollout changes from week to week
  • We don’t know when we might have certainty about the numbers possible in the venue – we can’t predict when we might actually have solid information on which to base a plan for a physical convention.
  • Our intended venue is now part of the hotel quarantine system, and no one can predict when that might end. There is a plan for the civil service to have a team managing the process for 12 months, so that doesn’t bode well for us.
  • Given the rising cost of venues and the uncertainty about the pandemic and its aftermath, there is a significant financial risk if our numbers were to be limited – in fact, this cost is going to be an issue in the future, venue costs are the bulk of the cost of running Gaelcon, and and if they continue to spiral as they have, we may have to bump up the weekend price in future years
  • A hybrid event is technically possible, but in practice complex, and we weren’t willing to gamble the success of the convention and the enjoyment or accessibility of it trying to make major event of the year on making hybrid work successfully. That said, hybrid is the next challenge to overcome, and we might run some smaller, experimental hybrid events when we have enough people with the skills and time, without detracting effort from Gaelcon.
  • Several other events in the Fall have already opted to go online; the broad consensus seems to be that in-person events won’t be possible before December.

We have two main threads of ideas for themes, and we need to pick one soon, but I’m open to suggestions. Two strands were suggested: Resurrection/Rebirth/Renewal/Renaissance and Gaelcon with some sort of digital/online theme like Gaelcon-nected? Gaelcon Matrix, or Gaelcon Infinite. The VIP ticket holders lead on this choice, but your opinions and ideas are welcome.

I have some people already “volunteered” for the committee, and I will be approaching some other folks, but I am open to offers of help with preparing the con, whether on the committee, as writers or simply as staff. I have a form here for folks who’d like to get in the loop early, whether you want to help out form now, or just put a name down for helping on the weekend

In other news, the formal company registration to register the IGA as a Company Limited By Guarantee has been filed and accepted. Obviously, something which would in normal times have taken an hour in an office was stretched out over some time, and we have a few things to do yet like new bank accounts, but we will be able to have a genuinely open body with a wider membership. This wider membership means that we can move forward with more events and a broader range of things happening than we’ve been able to do in the past with our limited committee.

Finally, if you want to stay in touch with the IGA Community, don’t forget to Join our Discord

Mike Cosgrave

chair@iga.ie

Gaelcon Progress Update

Planning for Gaelcon Online (October 23rd- 26th) is ongoing and we have progress to report!

 

Discord

The core technology platform will be Discord. This is familiar to many gamers and has been used for several major online events already this year – Worldcon with over 3,000 people, and Gencon with far more people. We’re using a tight set of well established bot to manage roles, dice rolling and RPG scheduling, and these are running smoothly on our test server. If you want to talk about things now, We have the IGA Community server that people are very welcome to join here, https://discord.gg/JNXw8Gr .

RPGs

Lots of RPGS, unconstrained by physical rooms, free from the, ahem, odour, of people who’ve been playing for three days in a room with no ventilation. Limited only by the number of GMs and their imagination. You don’t even have to wear pants (as long as your not using video). Many of the games will use Discord in various ways, but some will also use other Virtual Tabletops.
Writers submissions are open at :
https://gaelcon.com/online/rpgs-submissions/

Gaelcon Pub Quiz in your living room (or wherever)

To be hosted by the irrepressible Graham Turner, a veteran of running several online quizzes this year. We have the tech spec and we’ll be testing this shortly on Zoom – even though we know it works

Gaelcon Charity Auction

This year we will set a new record for the most money raised for charity during an online Gaelcon Charity Auction. Last years Host, Brian Nisbet will be leading this effort – Brian has run online charity auctions internationally during lockdown, because Irish gamers are the best at everything. Again, mainly on Zoom, which you all know how to use

Radio Gaelcon

Colm Lundberg will be hosting Radio Gaelcon this year. Years ago, this was a pair of record decks in the corner of the main Gaelcon venue but now it’s going to be live to the world. Colm has lined up a gallery of gaming industry names for interviews and chats on Radio Gaelcon including Robert Schwalb, Nicole Lindroos, James Wallis, John Kovalic and Peter Adkinson with more to come,

Boardgames

Using Tabletopia and Jackbox. Buckets of games to play, and actual prizes for the most different games played, most different people played with and actual tournaments for some selected games. We’ll be looking for people to help host these.

More Stuff Coming

More coming soon- Battletech, Magic The Gathering online, traders and Artists, Game company promos and demos, cool stuff for the Charity Auction – watch out for the next update!

Gaelcon 2020 : ‘Tomorrow’s Gaelcon, TODAY!’

Friends,
Gaelcon is going online for 2020 after a long process of deliberation and consultation. This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we felt there was no other reasonable option for us this year. Below, in this post, we’re going to outline our logic behind our decision to move to an online convention, but first we’d also like to announce that the Gaelcon 2020 theme is becoming ‘Tomorrow’s Gaelcon, Today!’. Several of you pointed out that our previous theme had become less and less tasteful as the year wore on, and we agreed. Our community is built around telling stories and escapism, and the previous theme wasn’t going to give us an escape.

Now to talk about the reasons for going online.
First and foremost, the safety of our members of the community is something Gaelcon and the IGA take extremely seriously. We don’t believe that we can ensure the safety of Con attendees in the current environment, and as far as we’re concerned, any risk to our members is irresponsible. With this in mind we couldn’t see any way for us to allow the con to go forward in good consciousness.

Secondly, the financials just aren’t there because of Covid-19. Any event that would run would have to be substantially smaller, and this year, with our planned move to a new venue, we’d be taking a huge financial hit. To the tune of ‘the con never running again’. Even in a best case scenario of getting the most people into the venue we could, and negotiating a new price, we probably would be losing a lot of money, which as an event, we cannot afford to do.

Thirdly, the con just wouldn’t be fun. An in person con this year would be incredibly difficult to run, even if we could ensure it would be affordable and safe. We’d need to limit the number of traders, games, and events at the convention. Whole slates of games would be impossible to run with social distancing. The casual gaming of the event that many people come for wouldn’t be able to happen as we’d need to keep a rigid schedule. We would also still need to limit the number of attendees, which means we’d have less players, GMs and writers for things anyway. Beyond that, having to spend your entire time at the event worrying about social distancing puts a damper on anything. Also, no pints, not a chance.

Online we think we can bring you a lot of the experience of Gaelcon but without the risks. We have all been running games online during lockdown, be they boardgames, RPG’s, wargame simulations, and even parlour LARPS. We can run different types of special events and work on new things to run at the con when it’s back in person, as well as doing things like an online Charity auction.

It’s not going to be easy, but the committee is determined to give you the best experience possible for ‘Tomorrow’s Gaelcon, TODAY!’. If any of you want to help us bring this new Gaelcon to light, please email the committee at info@gaelcon.com .