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Q-CON 2014, Z-2 days – Prep, travel, and screwing up

Q-CON is the Belfast Gaming and Anime Convention held at Queen’s University. As some people may know this is my first gaming convention – yes, I know Edinburgh has Conpulsion/Claymore/Comic Mart, but I wanted to try something different first. Besides everyone here in Edinburgh knows me 😉 from ORC Edinburgh. I’ll not be able to afford Gen Con for a few years anyway. So consider this the first of my several blogs leading up to, and through, Q-CON.

So Q-CON is in two days. I fly out tomorrow. That’s going to give me a day/day-and-half in a city I know fairly well – bearing in mind that this is my first convention where I’m running a game (more in this later). So I’ve decided to blog about the experience in its entirety: not just Q-CON, but the lead up to it.

I, in my somewhat excited pre-con rush, volunteered to run three games (Achtung! Cthulhu, Call of Cthulhu and The Void). I’ve since found out that they are all scheduled for the Saturday. One after the other of 3-hour stints. Crap. By the time The Void is running I’ll be looking for some kind of revenge I suspect. On the plus side, the games are written and ready to go. Running three games isn’t that difficult for me, but it will depend on the environment – running in a large open plan room is very different to the back room of  a pub.

Travel-wise, I’m flying out with Easyjet tomorrow from Edinburgh airport at 7am(ish) and it’s a relatively short 20-minute flight. I’ve decided to buy toiletries when I’ve over there (yes, gamers do wash!), as one of the first things I learned packing is that rulebooks take up a bit of space. I’ve a Pro-Force rucksack that has a lot of volume yet fits within the whole 50 x 40 x 20. Easyjet, being budget, offer online check-in with the option of £3 to pick your own seat: sod that, for a 20-minute journey. The bus into Belfast will set me back £10.50 Return (ouch), and the hotel I’m staying at isn’t far away at least.

Which brings me to another screw-up I made. The local residences for Q-CON are far cheaper than the local hotels, but I’d already booked with Expedia (who don’t let you get a refund once paid). You think I’d have learned after the Tokyo hotel booking too (where Expedia hadn’t updated its entry). In that case the hotel frontage had been remodelled, the name changed, and address on Expedia was incorrect. So in future I won’t be using Expedia. I’m a mile and a half away so that’s not so bad, but I’ve a worrying feeling that breakfast and wifi are gonna cost. Next time, I “stay on campus” – hmm, a game of Cliché: Animal House might be in the offering when that happens (which might also be on the cards at Q-CON).

Looking at what I’ve got to carry and the weekend ahead, I’m glad I’m not someone doing cosplay at Q-CON. It’s gonna be warm to say the least, and hopefully the place will be ventilated… Although I’ve only a passing familiarity with anime and manga in general it is going to be interesting to be part of that experience. So if you’re Belfast at Q-CON this weekend, and see some guy pointing at Cthulhoid-looking cosplayers/books/walls and giggling insanely after Saturday, say hi. They’re either going to be one of my players – or me!

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