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The Local Scene
Well, before we even had time to wind down after the big events of last month, we heard about another Brisbane convention heading our way. Entitled ConJure, it will be held this coming October. This is a completely new convention, and we're very happy to announce that PTG, PTB will be lending its full support towards helping it get off the ground. We're hoping that this will be the beginning of another great event in Brisbane gaming, but it will need your support. So if you missed BrisCon, make sure you don't miss this one. Anyway, enough from me, here's what the one of the organisers, Kevin Powe, has to say about it.
Summoning all Gamers!
Roleplaying games. Miniatures tournaments. LARPS. CCGs. If you're a fan of any of these, then walk over to the calender right now and draw a big circle around the 10th and 11th of October. That's when ConJure, Brisbane's newest gaming convention, is going to be running at Mt. Gravatt TAFE. It'll be a positive circus of gaming ecstasy. Convention gaming in all its forms, socialising, men in armour hitting each other for no apparent reason... ..and let's not forget sleep deprivation.
For some of you, ConJure will already be a familiar name, as you may have heard about the convention at either Briscon or Maelstrom, or by word of mouth. To the greater community, however, we are still somewhat of a mystery. So here's a bit more info about us.
Who are we?
Although the committee only met each other in full at the start of this venture, by a stroke of coincidence, we all trace our convention heritage back to Briscon '94. We'd all been avid gamers for some time before Briscon, with a collective range of experience encompassing most systems. Conventions for us, however, were an epiphany. A revelation. Something we grew to believe in.
ConJure began with a meeting. We were all involved in some way with the running of Tir Nan Con, either directly or by association. After its unfortunate demise, we attended the meeting that was held on that fateful Australia Day weekend, to see what could be done to salvage Tir Nan Con.
The people at that meeting divided into two groups: those willing to support the creation of a new convention, and those willing to attach their name to it, to take charge and bring it to fruition. The latter group is us, the committee, but we couldn't have done it without the strong support from all the members of the former.
We're a bunch of gamers who believe in conventions, and believe that Brisbane's convention scene was sparse enough already without the loss of Tir Nan Con. We were willing to back our beliefs with our reputations and some hard work. Just how much hard work, we're in the process of discovering. Our mentors in the convention circuit keep laughing at us.
We don't have an agenda, and certainly aren't doing this to make money (laughter ripples in the background at the very thought of it). What we're here to do is create the kind of convention we'd like to attend, just like so many authors write the module that they'd want to play.
Perhaps more than any other convention, ConJure also represents a "coming together" of the Brisbane gaming community. Currently we're enjoying the active support of (in no particular order) Dreamlink, Tanelorn, Hit Point, Briscon, Warhounds, the QUT Magic Club, Margaret Weis (just had to slip that casually in there!), Places to Go, People to Be and no doubt many others that I have forgotten, and still more that we didn't actively solicit. We've yet to be turned down when asking for help.
What do we want?
From the Brisbane gaming community, surprisingly little. We're running this event to give something to you guys, so turn up and see what you think. Come along, play, and have fun. That's the most critical element here. If you don't have fun, then let us know why. If you don't attend conventions, then let us know why. If it's a factor within our control, we'll do our best to address it. We're doing everything we can to make sure that we're the best darned convention that Brisbane can have. Eat. Play. Be merry.
On a more serious note, we are also seeking people who are prepared to GM games. We're willing to reward those who help make ConJure a reality, so get in touch with us if you're interested.
Why should you game at a convention?
Being part of the committee, I'm obviously an evangelist for the cause. But I fervently believe that conventions are great. They represent a meeting of minds that occurs nowhere else. When you game at conventions, you can be exposed to a variety of gaming systems, styles and experiences to which you would not normally be exposed. You have the opportunity to match yourself against opponents you would not normally meet, who naturally inject your tournaments with strategies you may not have uncovered. You'll come to know and make friends with people that you wouldn't otherwise have met.
Conventions have a buzz that just can't be rivalled, a real community feel to them. For two days, the real world stops and everyone converges to one area to game frenetically for two days straight. If you've never gamed at a convention before, then come along and see what I mean. If you already attend conventions, then come to ConJure and see what we've got to offer you.
Want to know more?
If your curiosity is tweaked (and I certainly hope it is) we're just a click away at http://bear.tm/conjure - check out our website, and have a look at what events we've got running. Our convention booklets will be out sometime in June, so keep an eye out in all the usual places. If you'd like to ask a specific question, then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Or, if you'd prefer to deal with us in person, ring our President, Tim, on 3899 0703 during sociable hours for any further information. See you in October!
Oh, What A Weekend!
Well, in more recent news, last May Day weekend was probably the biggest in the Brisbane role-playing calendar, as it played host to not one, but two huge gaming conventions. Briscon, a chiefly RPG-centred gathering was held at the University of Queensland, while Maelstorm was concentrating more on strategy and war gaming over at the Moreton TAFE College.
The PTG, PTB team were only able to attend Briscon, but it was a marvellous few days for all. The Union Complex, of the University of Queensland Union, proved a great location, with plenty of room to wander around and observe the countless games going on around you. In the main room, you could join a game, buy some cheap merchandise, chat with some vampires, play some Pass the Pigs, talk to fellow gamers, watch medieval combat, or even purchase some weapons for yourself. Once again, the Second Hand stall was a gold-mine for the carefull digger, and we managed to pick up some great bargains and some legendary memoribilia, including a few original Empire of the Petal Throne supplements!
We also managed to take part in a few games, such as the brilliant Settlers of Catan and the elegantly simple Medici. On the role-playing front, we dabbled in many different arenas, including Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Warhammer, Vampire, Beyond the Supernatural and, of course, AD&D. Personal highlights included a very intense session of The Babylon Project, and Karen Fainges' May the Dice Be With You. This was a highly anarchic and humorous Star Wars freeform, which (in my session anyway) managed to involve us shaving the Wookie (except for his feet so he looked like he was wearing Ug boots), doing donuts in a carpark with the Aluminium Falcon and coming to terms with Lewd Skycrawler's latent homosexuality. Trust me, you don't want to know the rest...
Briscon ran fairly smoothly, and provided countless hours of role-playing fun for everyone. In short, it was quite a successful weekend, and a big improvement on last year's attendance demonstrated its increased quality and appeal. Can't wait till next year!
Maelstrom, meanwhile, kicked off to an astounding success, say the organisers. Over 300 players registered, and over 150 drifted through, completely exceeding the expectations of the organising comittee. Much of the convention's profits went to Amnesty International, so this outstanding success also enabled them to raise $1700 for this charity.
Highlights of the weekend were many. Major sponsor Auran held a Dark Reign challenge, which had participants trying to outdo the programmers at their own game! The challengers lost unfortunately, but were well rewarded for their efforts. Lucky registrant Michael Mason was also well rewarded when he won a whole swag of games in the Pass the Pigs competition. As was the man who swept the board in the Star Trek CCG tournament, who walked away with a stainless steel replica Bat'leth, imported from the US.
Maelstrom's various tournaments and competitions included a whole range of games, from Warhammer 40K to Chess, and from Talisman to Scrabble, while sausage sizzles, displays and an auction of gaming memorabilia were held in between. All these were well organised and smoothly run, as was the convention as a whole. Much kudos must go to the organisers of From the feedback from both players and sponsors, everyone was most impressed and entertained, so it looks like we'll be seeing Maelstrom back next year, and many more in the future.
If your interested further in Maelstrom, a full wrap up, tournament results and pictures from the weekend can be found at their website. Both Maelstrom and Briscon are already taking game submissions for next year, so if you want to take part, get onto the organisers quick smart. For Maelstrom, you can check out the website, or email Keith Done at email@example.com To contact Briscon, check their website, or email Travis Hall at Wraith@uq.net.au
More Cons Than You Can Stand!
And if that still isn't enough for you, here are some details about some other cons that are happening or have just happened around this wide brown land of ours.
SydCon was held in April in (surprise!) Sydney, and likewise in the past was Melbourne's Conquest. Still, they're worth checking out in preparation for next year. In the future then, Sydney will host Conclave, which is also running parallel to a convention called Phenomenon, on the 10th to the 12th of July. Also in Sydney, this time in October, is the tenth Necronomicon. While in Melbourne, the 16th Arcanacon, Melbourne's oldest convention, is being held from the 2nd to the 5th of July. So you'll need to register fast if you plan to attend either of these.
Turning to Adelaide, this fair city also hosts a con called Maelstrom, but it doesn't seem to have a website at the moment. And lastly, Canberra's effort, CanCon was held in January, so it will be rolling around again a lot sooner than you think. But we have found nothing about any cons anywhere else in Australia. So if you're having a con in your town, drop us a line and we'll tell the whole world about it. And if you're not having a con in your town, it's probably about time that you organised one!
Written by Steve Darlington and Kevin Powe. If you have any Local News you feel we should know about, mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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