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The Local Scene


The biggest thing in local gaming news of late was the holding of ConJure, a new roleplaying convention which ran on the 10th and 11th of October. Here's co-organiser Kevin Powe with some closing words.

Conjure Concluded

Well, that's ConJure '98 done with. And, from the feedback, we did pretty well. All up, our registrations were a little shy of the 130 mark, which was fairly impressive for a first-time convention.

I'd have to say that the convention itself was most definitely a success. It was great to be able to see those people who normally run conventions and events (those who weren't running events for us, that is) turn up and play for a change, rather than being behind the scenes. We also managed to give something back to the community at large by raising around $300 for Wesley Mission, who look after Brisbane's needy and homeless. Thank you to those of you who gave for Pass the Pigs... (thanks again to Tonia and Hit Point for the stuff donated, too!)

The convention itself was organised superbly: registration night was a little fast-paced, but everyone left with what they needed, and in several cases our scheduling people managed to perform some fairly Herculean tasks. Leila and John selflessly manned our registration desk over the weekend, answering questions and separating Pass the Pigs addicts and their money.

All our roleplaying and wargaming events featured in our convention booklet were snapped up, and ran very well over the weekend. Our Star Trek CCG, as well as several of our board games did not run due to registrations. But it was still great to be able to offer such a wide range of games for people to choose from initially. We also ended up with an extra demonstration game over the weekend: Gunfight at the LG Corral, a Wild West introduction to miniatures using Lego, run by none other than Keith Fainges.

Many thanks to our event organisers, who created the reasons that people were here in the first place. You kept our players happy over the weekend. Many thanks also to the catering staff, who kept our players fed over the weekend. Many thanks also to our sponsors: Hit Point, (who donated a swathe of prizes to Pass the Pigs, as well as sponsoring several events) Napoleons, Ace Comics and Games, Wargames Warehouse, Visionary Entertainment Studios, and of course, Places to Go, People to Be.

I'd also like to thank my fellow convention organisers, who are far more responsible for the success of the convention than I: Tim Burke, Steven Weier, Leila Cuttle, Jason Badenoch and Guy Bonfigilio. Without these guys, there wouldn't have been a ConJure '98 either.

[PTG, PTB would also like to extend our commendations to the organisers of ConJure, and in particular, to Kevin himself. ConJure was run very well and all of us had a really fun time out there on the weekend. It was also a great chance to significantly raise the profile of the magazine, which would never have happened without Kevin's tireless liason work. Thanks also to Matthew Begun, who ran the Deadlands game which we sponsored, for his support. PTG, PTB was proud to be associated with this great convention, and we look forward to returning next year.]

Commonwealth Games

Meanwhile, in England, one of the biggest conventions of all has just taken place. Our man on the scene, Steve Dempsey, provided this report:

In the US, GENCON is the showcase of the role-playing world. Its has the glitz and the gamour. The big names like Gygax, Jackson and Stafford, the release of another dozen or so fine TSR products, the gossip about who Wizards will buy out next, and seeing just how fat the stars of Star Trek have become. This is the mover and shaker of conventions.

In contrast, we have UK Gencon, held this September in Loughborough. Loughborough is a sleepy little town in the middle of England famous for a small university and a large annual rainfall. And yet, this is the site for the biggest role-playing convention in the world, if only in terms of how many events are held.

The guest star was Babylon 5's Claudia Christian. She stormed off halfway through the Q&A, because she couldn't get a drink without the pass someone had neglected to give her. The biggest release was the new Baron Munchausen game from Hogshead Publishing. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the printers about it, and didn't actually have any copies of the game to release for the first two days. Some moron stuck the CCG players in a tent, so come the evening, your fingers were too numb to hold the cards, and it was too windy to put them on the table. The other main display, from the great British Interplanetary Traveller Society (BITS), was in a completely different building to everything else, and consequently, sold almost nothing.

Meanwhile, the role-players were all jammed into one big hall where you could barely hear yourself think. Games were going on all around, which offered a rare opportunity for some of the more portly gamers to show off their cleavage. The Babylon 5 game I was supposed to be playing has forty players and two GMs. In order to maintain sanity, I ran a game, even though I'd never even read the rulebook. The RuneQuest game which was advertised as cancelled three weeks ago and still was, suddenly came back from the dead. That was brilliant, but afterwards all I could find in the crowded hall was an AD&D game. In true AD&D fashion, it took an interesting scenario and turned it into a bunch of paladins beating the crap out of people. At least it took my mind of the food - the chips were so soggy even the dogs wouldn't eat them.

But somehow, we still had fun. A friend of mine made four hundred pounds by buying Magic cards at one stall and selling them at another. I met a GM who brought along the AD&D rules on CD and a laptop on which to run them, and another who promised not to kill anyone in the first hour. I played a Traveller game that involved a five-assed frog called Kenny, another which had us all playing mutant dogs, sniffing each others' butts every chance we got. And somewhere in between I had some of the best games I've ever had in my life. The biggest laugh came when the winner of a WotC sponsored game recieved a prize from a Wizards exec and then bellowed to the audience "Magic The Gathering: Just Say NO!".

So given all the mess, the bad planning, the terrible organisation, the inhuman conditions and all the moaning and the screaming, why did I have such a great time? The reason was simple. Collected from all over the UK were the best bunch of role-players that you could ever hope to meet. We came, we played, we had fun. And that - not the glitz and glamour - is what conventions are really about.

Convention Cornucopia

In related news, the first Convention Conference was held recently. Convening at the Sydney University of Technology on the 12th and 13th of September, the purpose of the conference was to discuss role-playing conventions. Many papers were presented on all aspects of the purpose, design, organisation and running of conventions. If you're at all interested in such things, their very smart website contains downloadable versions of many of these papers. Worth a read.

Lastly, we should mention also that Brisbane's other premier convention, BrisCon, is now taking game submissions for next year's event. You can find out more at their webpage. And if you don't live in Brisbane, check out this site for the details of all the conventions running right around this wide brown land of ours.

Written by Steve Darlington, Kevin Powe and Steve Dempsey. If you have any Local News you feel we should know about, mail us:

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