I'm informed of the entry price of GenCon UK:
Rather than pay that, I volunteer to demo Paranoia XP for Mongoose. This proves eminently suited to the con venue, as Butlins resembles a leaky Alpha Complex in many ways - but I'm getting ahead of myself. The epic started with a train to Dublin and an overnight stay chez </a></b></a>rustynails9, where Mulcabu and </a></b></a>lordkilljoy were also in resident.
I watched the third debate, Mulcabu watched half of it. </a></b></a>lordkilljoy claims it put him to sleep immediately.
Early next morning (Thursday), we set off to the airport. Some are rather reluctant to get up:
I intend to keep a rolling, up-to-the-minute photojournal of the whole experience...
...but others make a good case for this not being the best of ideas.
Anyway, after a short flight/car hire, a somewhat longer drive, and a moderately epic detour to the Mall (where I go slightly nuts in the bookstore, picking up books on Victorian spiritualism, the Tower of London, and pirates), we arrive in Alpha Complex Happy Fun Zone, MHD Sector, aka Butlins.
Pictures cannot wholly convey the horror.
The accomm wasn't bad, apart from the lack of a shower (no gamer smell comments, please) and the plastic anti-toddler-pee covers on all the matresses.
The Con was on in a big tent.
It rained a lot. It leaked a lot. The lights went out at one point. It was an experience.
Admittedly, we failed to find the con on Thursday night. Fortunately, we met up with Keith-from-Wizards who let us into the D&D 30th anniversary party thing. This gave us free food, a free D&D mini, and a cool free D&D mug. Oh, and a free DJ who was browbeaten by a combo of </a></b></a>rustynails9, </a></b></a>lainey316 and </a></b></a>ubiquitous_cat into playing Approved Music(tm).
Friday dawned wet, if such a thing is possible. I ran between the drops, but got caught by the gigantic killer death falling oceans, so I arrived at the Mighty Mongoose Stand.
It was able manned by Mongoose head honcho Matthew Sprange and demo team co-ordinator and all-round demo-type person Marc Farrimond. The whole stand was, of course, dedicated to selling copies of my new shiny Psi Corps book.
Or possibly not.
Actually, we sold gazillions of Call to Arms sets. Sterling confuses me. Matt ended up shouting "give him an orange and a green in change". Many Mongoose people wandered by, such as the Quennells, not to mention general gaming industry types like Phil Masters. I totally failed to introduce myself to Peter Adkinson, mainly because I was suffering from a severe lack of tea at that point. I suck at networking.
I ran Paranoia demos every day. On Friday and Sunday, I ran the rather excellent 'Stealth Train' adventure by Dan Curtis Johnson. More Troubleshooters died in freak third-rail accidents at platform SC44 than have ever died by laser blast or terrorist bomb. Oh, they were also introduced to the joys of Biohazard cleanup teams, surgery using crowbars, and Soy Obsessive Syndrome.
In honour of those fallen heroes of the Complex, I offer this photo, taken at the Butlin's Noddyland Ride.
On Saturday, the players had to leave early, so I ran the soon-to-be-infamous 'Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk' by Jeff Groves. They all died at the hands of medbots, Commies and each other. This two scenarios and many more can be found in the upcoming CRASH PRIORITY.
Being me, I also roamed the trade stands and spent far too much money. So did many others. Loading the car for the return journey was fun. Meanwhile, </a></b></a>lainey316 was off not-being-a-gamer yet playing Magic, </a></b></a>goblin_insane and Mulcabu were playing PleaseLetUsGiveYouMoney, aka Vs, and </a></b></a>rustynails9 and </a></b></a>lordkilljoy were playing Hunt the Wascally Galwactus.
After much toil and hardship, they were sucessful.
Which made loading the car even more fun.
The Mongoose stand was broken down early on Sunday, so I said my goodbyes to Matt and Marc, looted the stand for books I didn't have and extra copies of Psi Corps and OGL WW, and headed off. That evening, there was another session of DJ abuse. Playlists and possibly death threats were employed, but it all worked out in the end.
In the bar, many anecdotes of the con were recounted. Some were even graphically illustrated.
And that was GenCon UK 2004. It was fun - there were obvious teething problems, but this new iteration of the con has potential.
Just pray it doesn't rain quite as much.