MidCon. A boardgame Convention in the Midlands, my experience.by David Elliott. Sun, 5 Nov (Updated at Sun, 5 Nov)
Today I got back from MidCon up in Derby. Quick report on my thought of the Con and the Hotel.
Booked this a while back after speaking to one of the organisers at ManorCon last year. One of the older Cons, this was it's 44th running, I was curious to see what it was like.
Headed up and arrived at the Hotel in Mickleover around 8 and headed the for breakie. It was ok value at £9 and was standard Hotel fair, though they had run out of veggie sausages which was disappointing. The breakfast was included on the other two morning as I was staying. While I was eating I start chatting to another attendee and got a potted history of the event.
It started as a chance for Play by mail Diplomacy plays to get together to spend a weekend struggling to dominate the world. In the early years 200+ what turn up and play pretty much exclusively Diplomacy but as time went on that changed. Other games began to be played until today the Diplomacy is only a small part of the Con, though 20 odd people still keep the touch burning. A large contingent of 18xx plays take over one of the rooms, maybe 20-30, and the attendance overall is around 300. By this time it was near 9 and passes was collected I headed into the Con.
I'd arranged to play a game of High Fronteer 4 All though the games system before I came but had an hour to kill before that started. The play area was made up of 4 different rooms, one large maybe 25 good size tables and the smaller rooms with 10/15. Spotting my game I headed over to meet Peter the owner of the game.
soon the other plays arrived another Dave, colour me shocked, and another Peter so we had a 50% Pete/Dave split. Did make remembering name easier. Peter the organizer of the game, had decided to play the simplified version call The Race for Glory, removing alot of the complexity for the game. This also completely throw the faction abilities out of wack. The Space X faction was hugely over powered and my faction's power was completely denunted. I had fun none the less but all 4 of us agreed to meet up again on Sunday to play the core game.
I then got involved in a game of Hegemony, played the State, interesting balancing act but do need to play this more. We broke half way though for dinner which was...ok, not great but was only £9 and was the non offensive food you would expect in a Hotel. choices, a veg curry and a Shepards Pie with veg. After that we finished our game could of light card games and being near Midnight I headed to bed.
Saturday was another round of games. As a lone traveler sometimes it can be hard to find people to play with, not here, people welcomed you into there groups and the atmosphere of the Con was an open and friendly one. I want to ManorCon earlier in the year another long running Con at 33 years, and found it to be very cliché. Not here, everyone was very welcoming and I was made to feel very much accepted .
The discovery of the day was Thunder Alley a NasCar racing game. It has really very good. Unlike alot of racing games it was not about getting a car over the line first, but rather making sure that your team was the highest placed. If one of you cars won the race but the other 4 where no where you where unlikey to claim the W. Also the way the cars moved was fun. The game was card driven and most of the cards moved more then one car. So positioning and pushing cars of out of columns was very important, this maybe a purchase.
Other games played where Darwins Journey, much enjoyed, we attempted Weimer but I need to do a solo play though to nail the rules. The lack of any online play thoughts or teaches really hurts a Dyslexic. Final game of Saturday was Wonderland War, not one for me, it was OK but would not race for another game.
Sunday arrived and more High Frontier. The core rules this time, so much better, though it wasn't my day. 5 times I had things blow up on the launch pad which set me back and as we where play the short scenario I started to run out of time. In a final attempt to make something happen a tried an aero break maneuver with out paying the FINO cost and promptly burned up...another time, this is not over game!
I headed home after that. Over all a really fun weekend. I was made to feel welcome and play a good selection of games with some intreating people. would I go again? Yes, I think It is a definite for the diary next year. I'd give it a solid 8/10, they run out of the selection of Real Ales on Sat afternoon, Still had Midway on tap, the beer was pricey at £6.50 and the food while reasonably price was very pedestrian but I suppose your cooking to the lowest common denominator.