e-Collectica Games Day 2016

The thing about a town like Shrewsbury is that it would take you a full lifetime to uncover every corner, unveil every hidden gem. There are alleys off alleys, doors you could walk past a thousand times and never notice, and amongst them are some of the venues e-Collectica have used for their Games Days. The hall upstairs from a church, a hall hidden behind some shop fronts, and most recently the Darwin Community Centre, a little hall just outside of the town centre that’s innocuously concealed behind two gates and a fairly blank looking door, and a faded sign. About the biggest marker on the place is the Pokestop… or maybe the guy stood in the gate on Google Streetview?

When I led this commenting on hidden gems, I was absolutely talking about the Darwin Community Centre. As tucked away as it might be, that place has everything a bunch of enthusiastic gamers could want! Tables!

 

But seriously, there were a few issues in the build up to Games Day, namely a few of the staff being unable to attend due to illness or other engagements; this put some of the schedule out, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves. People arrived and delved straight into the library of demo games, a few people brought new things to try, including guests from the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare presenting historical skirmish games.

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I had the chance to field a playtest of a little something I’m working on for something bigger: Six Goblins in an Overcoat. Players take the role of one of six goblins doing their best to present themselves as a single normal human trying to navigate a human town and break into a cat orphanage to get at the tasty, tasty cats inside. It was short but sweet, brilliantly chaotic, limbs were abandoned, swapped, badly coordinated, and I think it could go somewhere with a few more experiments. Anyone who’s in, just say the word…

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And of course the day would be woefully incomplete without the raffle. It’s nice to hold a ticket that could win me something other than a bottle of wine, a pack of chocolates, or some ornament that’ll end up a Christmas present for someone who likes that sort of thing. A bag of dice for the first ticket, followed by Dobble, and finishing out with Back to the Future, which I did not think had a board game… the more you know.

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Finally, the most important news from this Games Day, that there will be another. It was starting to look doubtful, but the venue and the people just made for a much better time, and more importantly a much longer time. Every event so far has had to shut down by 17:00, we squeezed an extra couple of gaming hours into the evening and made full use of every minute, we were still fighting for Tokyo right up until the last call.

There is no fixed date for the next event, but keep an eye on e-Collectica’s Facebook page, or just stay with us on GeekOut South-West, you know I’ll be all over it.

e-Collectica Games Day – The Aftermath

Another games day come and gone and what a fantastic day it was. And another huge thank you to everyone who attended and took part in the many games and competitions.

The two role-plays drew a surprisingly large audience, as well as interested players. Viking Tomato was held on the main stage in the afternoon, it was a parade of heroic vegetables and terrible… terrible puns as it ever is. Daring feats by the Cranberry Saucerer, and Rhubarbarian saw victory over a band of militarised Pringles. Mike, my co-conspirator at Quotes from the Tabletop DM’d, he recently started his own YouTube channel, Bassios!

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My game started in the morning in a separate RPG room, I used Kerplunk to build an ever mounting sense of dread, and dread it most certainly created. While my attempts to implement sound failed due to technical difficulties, it didn’t stop the look of abject terror on the face of the young lady who caused a catastrophic loss of marbles.

Thanks to Goblins for this monster http://www.goblinscomic.org/03292011/
Thanks to Goblins for this monster

Here are a few pictures from the rest of the day, thanks to the owners of e-Collectica and CEO Darwin T. Dodo (I’m fairly sure T. stands for the) for providing them. These pictures will be uploaded to our Facebook page, so if you see yourself, tag yourself.

The raffle was entirely above board and free of bribery! I know, I tried. Winners left with a copy of Star Wars: X-Wing, Camel Cup, and a bag of dice, and everyone left with a bit of cake.

The party carried on to a local pub for the die-hards who just couldn’t let go. The after-party is one of my favourite parts of the day, and I hope that even when the event starts extending into the evening that the after-party still happens.

Wheels are already in motion for e-Collectica games days next year, and we want to make them bigger and better than ever. Not to mention that the the October Games Day of 2016 will be the store’s 10th birthday, so they are looking to make it a real party. We’ll keep you up to date with the plans nearer to the time, or you can follow e-Collectica on their Facebook page for up-to-date news and info on the massive array of games they stock.

eCollectica Games Day and 9th Birthday

I’m busy writing the most elaborate one-shot game I’ve ever made, using D&D 5th edition as my basic format. In keeping with the season I’m going for a horror theme with a shamelessly childish twist, but I take pride in my work! No matter how childish my source material I’m working hard to keep it as traumatising as possible. When I play for fear, I go for the throat, and everything I can bring in to build atmosphere I will be using. It’s the kind of work I only put into an event-grade game.

2576159-jabberwocky1e-Collectica Games Day is upon us, and we’re pulling out all the stops. Along with a battery of new and old games including some Star Wars X-Wing and Armada, it’ll also see the return of Viking Tomato, the ever popular fruit and vegetable based roleplay based on Quotes from the Tabletop‘s very own Mike/Bassios.

More importantly, if this games day goes well, then next year the event can get even bigger! There are speculations on taking the 9:30 – 4:30 event into the evening, and at next the next birthday party – the big 1-0 – even a mini-cosplay competition.

This is how bigger events are born, they grow from the support of the good people like you. People are coming from all over the country for this so if you’re anywhere in or near Shropshire, come down and join us. There’s still time before Saturday to get your ticket for £2.50, unless you want to pay the full £3 on the door, hey we don’t mind. Games start at 9:30 in the Morris Hall on Bellstone.

Anyway, enough of this shameless advertising. Back to work…

What I Did On My Holidays – 2015

The Diaries Of A Geek Stubbornly Dragging His Comfort Zone With Him Into The Wider World

Last year I went to Liverpool and subjected myself to its’ populous for a weekend. This year, myself and my girlfriend went to the Lake District, and for those of you outside of the UK or utterly oblivious to national parks, they’re a place of long walks up hills, along lake-shores, and through drystone wall towns and villages predominantly made of Mountain Warehouses, cafés, pubs, ice-cream stands, and tourist shops. These are not particularly places where one might find a comic book, computer game, or anywhere where geeks may gather en masse, but still a great place to unwind, just take your own games.

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It’s so picturesque I can practically hear the Midsomer Murders theme tune!

We went equipped:

  • A full set of D&D core rule books each with notebooks so that we could sit and write campaigns.
  • Mancala – an African board game that I highly recommend.
  • Eight Minute Empire – A quickfire game of rapid expansion and gathering power that takes a lot longer than eight minutes when you’re only just learning.
  • Boss Monster – A game who’s purpose seems to be to humiliate me. First of all it strongly resembles a game I’ve been working on for waaaay too long, not only that but my belovèd girlfriend utterly destroyed me repeatedly. It’s about building an 8-bit sidescrolling dungeon to kill heroes in.
  • I also took a load of Magic decks because I fully intended to get round to teaching her to play. Never happened.

We also stopped in Liverpool again to catch up with the same friends and get in some quality geek time. Turns out they had a copy of Exploding Kittens (now available for purchase according to an email I got earlier today) so naturally we squeezed in a few games. It turns out it’s exactly as awesome as the name would have you believe, although I have to say that the NSFW version doesn’t add an awful lot except scope for more players.

The next day proved a point.

After a brief stop in Kendal (that we agreed to revisit, it looked promising) we arrived, settled in to our caravan, and went out for a meal. Within minutes a family settled onto the table next to us, we engaged them in conversation, and the geekiness emerged. It took staggeringly little time for us to start discussing games, and we sat grinning at each other as we realised that gamers can find their own kind anywhere, even in tiny villages in the countryside.

That’s satisfying. Our love to that family, who may never read this, but at once we felt like we could go nowhere and want for conversation with like-minded people. It turns out that there if you’re willing to talk to anyone who’ll listen, eventually you’ll connect with someone in a place you never thought you would.

Tuesday took us into Windemere, the largest town on the edge of the largest lake in England. After about twenty minutes milling around in search of parking and truly drinking in the British holiday-going experience, we started to search in between the tourist hotspots and outdoor clothing chain-stores for a sliver of local character. And this is what we found in a small side-street bric-a-brac shop:

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  • Thirteen issues of Dragon Magazine, dated April 1988, May ’88, June ’88, August ’88, November ’88, December ’88, March ’89, May ’89, July ’89, August ’89, December ’89, March ’90, July ’90
  • Six issues of independent gaming magazine G.M, dated December ’88, January ’89, May ’89, June ’89, August ’89, and January ’90,
  • Three issues of Games Workshop’s White Dwarf, dated April ’85, October ’86, and February ’87
  • A Warhammer army list book called Ravening Hordes
  • And finally a second edition Red Box Dungeon Master’s Guide (sadly annotated by a former owner)

Now to say that the condition of these magazines is far from perfect would be fair, they were dumped in a charity shop and some of them pre-date me, in fact most of them do. Nonetheless they are amazing. Sitting and leafing through just a few of the articles was an amazing experience I’ll go into in greater detail at a later date, but they were a fascinating look into how things have both changed and stayed the same. At £12 for the whole stack and the look of slightly smug glee on my girlfriends face as I poured excitedly over her discovery, I’d say I was ultimately the one who got the better deal here, no matter the state they’re in.

Middle middle middle we had fun, and food, and played games and made our way home via Kendal, and upon re-visit my on-board geek-shop compass dragged us from Games Workshop and into a market wherein we discovered Level 8, the gamers’ refuge on the border of the Lakes. Level 8 are currently a market stall but I hear are about to make the move to larger shop premises and good luck to them. As well as all the traditional fair they also have a surprising range of nerdy knitwear.

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Click the image if you want one

On the subject of local gaming stores:

e-Collectica Games Day October 2015

It approaches on swift wings! In the Morris Hall on the 24th of October. Shropshire and West Midland locals keep your eyes peeled on Facebook, and here for updates and information.

April Events

We’ve had a fantastic month here at GOSW, and we want to extend our thanks to all of you for keeping us going and encouraging us to keep going. I look forward to meeting more of you to thank you in person, and April looks to be the time to do it. I have a busy month ahead of me, and a lot of plans that were put off that I’m starting to get time to accomplish, with a few minor diversions along the way:

e-Collectica Games Day

13-03-01-TableTopDay_logoApril the 11th is International Tabletop Games Day!

And it just so happens (as if by some bizarre coincidence) that e-Collectica are hosting their next Games Day on April the 11th, what luck. If you’re in the Shrewsbury area at the end of half-term swing by the Morris Hall on Bellstone for a little of the following:

  • Krosmaster Arena
  • Star Wars X-Wing
  • Fluxx
  • Takenoko
  • Viking Tomato
  • Munchkin
  • King of Tokyo

The cost of entry is the same as it ever was, £3 to get in on the door, or £2.50 if you get to e-Collectica and book ahead of time. Only a week and a half to go, so head on up to the market if you want to save yourself a little extra cash, and get a look at what’ll be on offer on the day.

The last few Games Days have been incredible, and the latest was an amazing success. Sadly this time, I won’t be there…

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AmeChibi

So begins a new era in the British convention circuit! Last year at KitaCon, the Kita committee announced a union between themselves and Ame to run a cycle of events, each taking it in turns to run one large and one small event annually, beginning with AmeChibi (and KitaCon in August). From April the 10th onwards, I will be there! Instead of at Games Day. Not entirely certain how I feel about this yet.

Come find me on Saturday in the games room. Don’t know where it’ll be, but I do plan on running something special in D&D 5th edition! I’m going to provisionally say I’ll start at 14:00, but keep an eye on the GOSW Facebook page because – as with all plans where RP is concerned – that time is subject to change. Either way, it’ll be after AmeChibi’s own ITTD celebration, because I’ll inevitably be joining that too.

Such Plans…

As a final note, we’ve been up to something for quite some time now, something that we’ve not been ready to share with you, but we’re getting close.

Very close now…

e-Collectica Games Day

My local games shop host regular events where people can come and play board games, take part in events, meet new gamers and try something different. They’re a lot of fun, and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the committee who runs them. Helping to manage events is one hell of an opportunity for me, and I’ve learned a great deal in the process, and though it’s been a long fight for us to make games days a success, they get better every time, and everyone who comes enjoys themselves, and ultimately that’s what is important.

We are Shrewsbury’s biggest games event, and we are still rising. In fact e-Collectica itself is currently looking likely to move from it’s current stall in the local Market Hall and into a high street premises, and next years’ events are going to be bigger and better than ever.

If you’re local to the area, keep an eye on Facebook and GeekOut South-West for updates on when the next games day should be. For now though, take a look at what you’d be missing out on:

 

A huge thank you to everyone who attended and an even bigger thanks to those yet to attend! We look forward to seeing you.

And once again, a huge thank you to e-Collectica for every opportunity they’ve given me.