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Conventions

Kitacon Quest – The Journey Begins

A very short article, as by the time you read this I will already be on-route to Kitacon Quest 2017. I think I’ve undergone more preparation for this convention than any before, and even as a non-cosplayer I’ve undertaken more work than one might call necessary for – what some might call a holiday.

In my hubris I have elected, not only to prepare a one-shot Pokethulu game, but to create a full Pokenomicon filled with horrors of my own creation, featuring alongside a handful of competition entrants from last month’s GeekOut Shrewsbury competition. And because I am the sort to over-do things when I’m organising a game for people whom I’ve either never met or see very infrequently, I had to invest in a better audio recorder to immortalise the game for all to hear, and high quality paper just to really finish the job.

If you’re interested, come find me today (Thursday) and volunteer. I have five places to fill, and once all are claimed and we have a quiet place to sling dice then we shall begin. If asked nicely a second game may be held over the weekend.

Disclaimer – If you join in the Pokethulhu game your voice will be recorded and you are likely to be photographed. Also I stand up while I run games, that’s apparently a thing I have in common with Patrick Rothfuss. You have been warned!

I’m currently finishing a few talking points for the DMing 101 panel. After last year – where I worked through my prepared material in about twenty minutes – I have more plans and more to discuss in order to give my second effort at hosting a panel the semblance of better organisation. We’ll try and keep the panel on topic until we run out of material and questions from you guys, and then I reserve the right to have the whole thing descend into story-swapping, which can be educational in its own right.

Tim and I will be completing the Top 10 for Sunday 27th in person! Based on the results of your vote in our last list, and we will be recording the efforts of compiling the list at the Warwick Art Centre this very weekend, meaning that you will get to hear the bitter arguing, the deliberating, the nitpicking and quibbling. The Top 10 will be based on your second place winner from the last poll.

I will also be coming equipped with Magic decks, Raid passes for Pokemon Go, and a general willingness to talk to anyone.

Time draws near, I will see you soon…


Getting Social – The Kitacon Hype Train

3 Days Remaining

It’s been four years since that fateful Ayacon where Tim and I first met and this bizarre experience, this weird GeekOut journey that has changed me for the “better”. Last year I hosted a panel on how to build confidence at Amecon, and one of the best pieces of advice I had to offer was to simply go to places where like minded people are and introduce yourself, because I can personally attest to the fact that it works. After so many conventions in a fairly short space of time it has become less about meeting new people, and more about catching up with those people who I see nowhere else.

Kita and it’s contemporaries are well aware that they are a social engine, a driving force behind many people’s interpersonal experiences that brings them out of their comfort zone and immerses them in a melting pot of ideas and attitudes on a platform of common ground… they may not have thought it in those words but I’m sure they’d probably say “Yeah, that sounds about right.” They put effort into making sure that people who are nervous have the best experience possible by ensuring a convention that is enjoyable, accessible and most importantly, safe.

Something popped up on the Kitacon Official Social Group (and shortly thereafter the official page) courtesy of chairman Phil Hutchinson that can go some way to help break the ice:

The “I’m new” badge will be available at a meet and greet for new people shortly after the opening ceremony, and the “Dance” badges will be available on the door to the ball. Sadly my request for “Will Talk To Anyone” badges was declined on the assumption that I’d have done that anyway, how very presumptuous! How terribly accurate. Let this be a warning to you, I am liable to engage in excesses of social interaction.

So what advice is best for people new to conventions?

We don’t know you. Really think about it. We don’t have a clue about all the things that are making you nervous, all we see is someone who likes the same things as we do, which means you’re welcome to join us in a conversation or play a game. You can leave your fears behind, and greet us as a fresh start.

Join in. It sounds daft, because you’re already there, but if you’re at a panel that’s asking for volunteers then go for it. If there’s a board game you’re interested in playing, ask. Ask cosplayers for pictures, trust me, they’ll love you for it. Get up and dance if you feel so inclined… I don’t, but that’s who I am.

Strike out alone. You came with friends, that’s a good thing because they’ll look after you when you need it, just make sure you don’t spend the whole weekend trailing after them. If there’s a panel that you want to see but they’re going to something else, do your thing and meet up later. Or if you’re really not into the party but they want to stay, why not come chill in the games rooms?

Come back next year. During the closing ceremonies there’s almost always an announcement for other conventions on the scene, and usually that’ll include the next big summer con. Or get chatting with the regulars, there’s always more conventions because the demand is enormous.

You’ll get back whatever you put into a convention and so much more. No matter how terrified you may be, if you’re new to the game or old hat, come and say hi to us.


Don’t Forget the DMing 101 panel at 20:00 Saturday in Chancellors 2 hosted by yours truly. I’ll be dishing out advice for those who have never been a DM, GM, Story Teller, Keeper or any other form of role-play master, but as always there’ll be something for those who are longer in the tooth, and will doubtless degrade into hilarious anecdote swapping long into the night.

See you at Kitacon.


Kitacon Quest: 1 Month To Go

Kitacon is well on it’s way to coming round once again, so I sit here and think to myself ‘Damn, I really need to get on with my costumes’. Fortunately, I have been working on my cosplays (slowly), as I make my pieces in preparation for this year’s convention. But cosplay isn’t the only thing we’re all looking forward to. Here’s a look at what activities are on at the party convention of the summer.

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UKGE – The Best Bits (Part 2)

Moving on

RPGs

Chris covered some of the RPGs on show in his article last week but while he covered what was on the shop floor, I wandered the Hilton, who had mostly filled their rooms with tables equipped with DMs, GMs, Storytellers, and enough rulebooks, character sheets, dice and assorted other accoutrements to keep dozens – maybe hundreds – of people entertained all weekend. As someone who is obsessive over tabletop roleplaying it was amazing to see so many games going off at once, I mean just look at this:

Most of these photos may look like identical rooms, honestly it’s just the decor and layout. People were flooding into the sign up room, and I had to edge my way around the queue to get a photo inside.

Competitions and Tournaments

One of the NEC main halls was given over fully to competitions for the more popular games, on a national and international level. Wandering that hall I think I heard as much German, French and Polish cast around as English. There were games I expected, like the Magic tournament, the Pokemon tournament, I even fully expected to see people competing in the X-Wing miniatures skirmish game, but I wasn’t expecting to see Infinity or Dropzone.

Vikings

I already talked about what these guys got up to, here’s a few images from the guys over at the Living History Camp, and the time they went to war against a pillaging horde of small children:

Being Press

Yeah, the best part is just wondering around wherever we pleased (up to a point at least). This has only been my second occasion as a member of the press so I’m still never certain what I can and cannot get away with, but dammit if I’m getting all-access I’m going to work hard for it.

It was incredible wandering the hall before and after the horde joined us. The difference was simply astounding, the freedom to walk the floor reduced to swimming through a crowd; strange echoing silence turned to a cacophony of voiceless sound. These events are made by hard working people who put their livelihoods out on trestle tables to be judged, exhausted staff and volunteers fighting to keep every moment organised and controlled for the good of everyone involved, and by the people who keep coming back year after year to make it all worthwhile.

Here’s what we saw:

Pictures will be on Facebook soon enough, if you see yourself, tag yourself. In the mean time, so long UKGE, see you next year.


Kitacon Quest – DMing 101 The Panel

On Saturday the 19th of August at 20:00 I will be giving my second panel ever. Considerably less interesting than doing my first, but still kind of a huge deal from where I’m sat. I fully intended to bring back my confidence building panel with some rather necessary improvements, I can’t claim to have been all that organised, but sadly someone seems to have beaten me to the punch as I was declined on the grounds that someone had submitted a very similar panel before I got to it. Not to worry, I always have a fallback: (more…)


EliteMeet Bristol 2017

Every year, the community of gamers that enjoy Elite: Dangerous (the massively multiplayer space epic from Frontier Developments) come together for some face-to-face fun and gaming. However, this meet is so much more than just a gathering of Elite Dangerous fans. This year, the event is moving down to the South-West; so come along and have a look at what’s going down at EliteMeet in Bristol. This might be the event to satisfy your gaming and socialising itch!

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What I’m Looking Forward To As Press

One of the great things you get to do if you choose to write for GeekOut South-West, is to attend a convention or expo on our behalf. Of course, you have to arrange your own travel and accommodation but with a magical thing called a Press Pass, you will get into the show normally for free and also you probably won’t have to queue up too. Last year I took it upon myself to attend the Play Expo and managed to get two press passes to the show, having never entered an Expo as press before it was an exciting time. A few weeks have gone by since we applied for Press Passes for the UKGE, and just last week we got confirmation that our application has been accepted and that our names are on the list.

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UK Games Expo 2017

Last year I managed to attend the Play Expo up in Manchester, got to meet one of my heroes, played some fun games, spoke to some lovely people and in general had a really nice time. We asked you last year if there are any more Expo’s that you think GeekOut should try to attend and report on. I have already asked my niece to see if they would want me to take them to one of the many Anime Expo’s scattered around the country but this week whilst browsing one of my regular sites I saw a link that I found sparked my interest.

2017advert

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AMVs and Legality – A non-legal understanding

Anime Music Videos, yes, these are still a thing in 2016 and they’re going strong. You might have seen one or two whilst browsing YouTube, but if you’re unaware of what they are, or just want to see some great ones, join me as I look through some and explain why on earth I’m suddenly interested in them again.

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AmeCon 2016 – Timlah’s Review

I sure do love me a good convention, especially when it is everything that we wanted it to be and then some. It was a weekend of fun, friends and festivities, all within a wonderful three days (and nights) of activities. Join me as I talk about all the highs and lows of AmeCon and my verdict on the anime convention of this summer.

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