Monday, October 27, 2008

Gaming, Friends & Madness

I'm just back in Cork after a long and mostly enjoyable weekend in Dublin, at the 20th anniversary of GaelCon. Like last year, Claire and I decided to stay in Clontarf Castle for the weekend, saving us from nightly travel, and adding greatly to the sense of relaxation and time we could spend with friends. Also, we got to enjoy kick-ass all-you-can-eat breakfasts with everyone else that was staying.

As with last year, we played lots of card games and board games, but far less RPGs. I don't think any caught my attention, even enough to read beyond the title. Even Claire, who played in something for every slot last year, spent most of the Con just hanging out with friends, playing table-top, non-RPG games. That said, it was a heck of a lot of fun! Not only did we get to play games we know and love, but also lots that were new to us!

Both nights had us up late into the morning hours, chatting to the others that were staying in the castle. And there were a lot. About ten others from Cork alone, and then a bunch of gamers from all over that would be very good friends. Sunday night in particular found around 20 of us in the lobby until 3:30am, howling with laughter over some incredible stories and general shenanigans!

All in all, it was a good convention. Not as good as last year, possibly, but then, that was an extraordinarily good year! I'd say that while last year was my favourite convention so far, this year was my second favourite. We had to make our own fun a lot more this year, and that's a sentiment I've heard echoed quite a bit over the last hour before we left this afternoon. Everyone seemed to have fun, but only because they made their own.

There was one huge disappointment, though. Last year, I missed the table-quiz, which seemed like a blast, and this year, I was determined to stay for it and join in. Except this year, the GealCon Charity Table-Quiz was an unbelievable disgrace, with clear bias towards the Dublin crowd, an utterly unfair and non-sensical "bonus round" system, ridiculous rounds, an annoyingly ambivalent "odd-one-out round", and just a general lack of entertainment, apart from two, possibly three rounds.

But, you know what? We had fun. We bought some new stuff, played some new games, made some new friends, played some old games, hung out with some old friends and enjoyed every bit of that. We're definitely going next year, and definitely staying at the castle again. Far too much fun to miss!

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