ALcon 2015

Last year I fully intended to attend a convention where I knew that I’d know no one, I’d be forced to interact with people without the safety net of familiar faces around me. That plan fell through and I ended up with Tim at ALcon 2014. After this year I now know that I’ll never be able to attempt a convention flying solo ever again. Let me explain:

Within a matter of moments of reaching DeMontford University I’d run into two people I knew. Having registered for accommodation and reached my room, I’d seen three more (and somehow miraculously lost my lanyard badge over an area of no more than ten foot, still trying to work that one out) and by the end of Sunday I’d added about a dozen new people to my Facebook, obtained a few new e-mail contacts, and may very well have immersed myself in an aspect of nerdom I’ve been tiptoeing around for years now, more on that in a minute.


I have also now firmly indoctrinated my girlfriend into the convention life. Not only did she vanish for hours on end into the workshops and panels that caught her eye, she has left with a list of plans for cosplays, projects, and possibly an entire business plan for the next few years. Quick thanks to everyone there who made her feel as welcome as I did at my first convention!


Sadly I missed out on Thursday, although I feel all I lost out on there was the opening ceremony, Mr. Purple’s infamous Mashup RPG and a chance to get caught up with people that little bit sooner. Sadly the scheduled screening of Repo: The Genetic Opera had to be cancelled due to technical difficulties – read: missing projector.


We arrived at about half past twelve, meaning I also didn’t get to Fun With Voice Acting, Cthulhu 101 or Con Survival. Anyone who can tell me what I missed out on please share in the comments or on our Facebook.

Arriving late did mean that we skipped all of the queues, although they were apparently not as disastrous as last year. Time enough to settle in, establish where everything would be before breaking off, her to Cosplay Prop Building and the Games Design Workshop, me to the RPG room before Filming and Editing for YouTube and Script Writing 101, reuniting at the end of the day for a moderately improvised singing workshop.

Much was learned, people were reacquainted with, and finally, on to my favourite part of ALcon, Natterjacks! Seriously cannot praise them highly enough. I ended my night with a panel on obscure films before returning to the accommodation for a game of Exploding Kittens and Ass-Ump-Tio-Ns, a game with a similar format as Cards Against Humanity, although perhaps not quite so entertaining.


I said repeatedly at Kitacon I’d run a role-play game. Kita proved to be surprisingly busy and had nowhere I could record quietly. I then told people at ALcon I’d run it on the Saturday instead – being as there was a nice calm corridor with tables and whatnot available. Saturday proved to be a very full day…


I vaulted from my bed and rushed to Indie Games Development with John Common, creator of Dead Pixels, we watched a pair of volunteers play the sequel (due out next year) while he fixed the bugs live which was probably as fun to watch as just watching a Let’s Play. Followed by an education in How To Win at Card Games by game designer, comedian and die-hard (possibly literally) convention favourite Moley. A quick breather before RPG World Building (because you can always learn more).

Lunch, breather, back into Cosplay Culture Across Europe. Aside from some technical difficulties it was quite interesting to see the kind of performance cosplayers put into their craft on the continent. Followed by an SFX makeup guide which proved to be more useful than I expected considering I generally don’t cosplay.

ktane_gameplay_2Brief stop for food and a crack at Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes on the Oculus Rift, a communication game about bomb defusing, and one that I hereby highly recommend for parties!

Biggest let down of the weekend was the cancellation of the Voice Acting Workshop. As a DM and lunatic I’d have loved to have had a stab at that! So instead we retreated to the game room again before eating. Had a fantastic conversation, put a few names to already familiar faces, and crashed fairly early…


Sunday was a great day for me. It began with a Terry Pratchett memorial, an hour long opportunity to share personal stories and memories of Pratchett, his works, times we’ve met him or even come close. It ended with a book to be filled with messages that will be sent to the Pratchett family. It was fun, it was emotional, and it was one hell of a laugh.

While we waited for hours for the LARPing 101 Guide we seized the opportunity to squeeze in some more games, mostly Magic, I stopped in on another few small-time events before finally getting to run my role-play, and what a game it was.

I stumbled across this little system quite by chance on a D&D humour Facebook page, and it had my attention immediately. You’re walking in the woods, there’s no one around you and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye, you spot him – SHIA LaBEOUF

My thanks to everyone who played, I’m sorry I didn’t get everyone’s names. I also apologise for the sound quality.

Finally, our last event of the con apart from a quick look in at the party and some experimentation with glowsticks: The LARPing 101 Guide run by a long-term LARPer soon to be running her own event, Future’s End. Suffice to say that as a direct result we have resolved not to attend any more conventions than already planned in 2016 as we will be at Empire!


Thanks to everyone for this weekend, to ALcon, to the lovely people who ran events (apologies for any names and credits missing, this article will be edited mercilessly until that is corrected) and to everyone who came and said hi. It was so nice to meet so many of you who already know about us and even about Quotes from the Tabletop.

Now I am not so great at taking pictures as Tim, for that I apologize, but two opportunities arose that had to be taken:

Hi John!!

Anyone who cares to submit more, contact us soon.