Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gaelcon Weekend (part 2)

Your correspondent, in the pub, with the Spirit of Gaelcon Award and Gaelcon's Con Director. The Spirit of Gaelcon Award is a clear lucite dome holding the crumpled notes written by Gary Gygax for a seminar given at Gen Con '79-'80 (or so I'm told).

I rose late on Saturday with my sins of the previous night weighing heavily on my aching brain. I shower, a shave, a quick run around the house to gather Little Wars and I headed out. I arrived to discover that I'd forgot to bring the cards for Donogh's Memoir 44 game. Fortunately, he had already set up a game of Jump or Burn and was merrily gunning down the pride of the RFC.

Young Master Creanor and I set up Little Wars and got the first of many games rolling. The comittee had given us a nice corner of the main hall to crawl around in and lots of people came by, watched or asked to play. Now as it happened I had volunteered to GM roleplaying games for Gaelcon's RPG co-ordinator the week before, mainly because I hadn't heard back from the comittee about my offer of Little Wars.

As things panned out, Young Master Creanor took Little Wars, thanked me for bringing it and told me that I could be on my merry way as the RPG co-ordinator had need of me. I was on call for the weekend, but only ended up running three games in all, a four or five year low for me at Gaelcon I think, though nowhere near the lunacy of Warpcon 2001 and its seven games over three days.

The games themselves were pretty good; there was a relatively thin Conspiracy X game that was rescued by a group of very engaging players from up north, who managed to turn a mediocre into a pleasure for all concerned. There was a Dark Heresy (Warhammer 40,000 rpg) game written by my good buddy Xaoseed, which went very well as well, probably due to the return of the northerners to my table. It's very rare for a Convention hack GM to find himself with an entire group of people who are genuinely willing to roleplay for three hours, particularly if they don't know each other. These players, three of whom did know each other, managed not only that, but also to include the other two players, one of whom had limited English, at every point in the game.

The last game that I ran was a Star Wars game based around an Oceans Eleven style theft of a painting written by Mr. Turner, another pal. I had not originally been slated to run this game as I'm not really familiar with the new Star Wars D20 system, however one of the scheduled GMs didn't show up. As it happened I was in the bar with Uber about to eat lunch, which we'd been waiting for for quite a while. My club sandwich had just turned up when the two rpg co-ordinators, Fatz and Boomer, showed up with the news that there were six players in the rpg room waiting for a GM that wasn't going to show up and could I read the scenario on the way there?

I opened my mouth to say something, when Boomer grabbed my sandwich and ran from the bar, through the hotel lobby and down to the rpg room. I was in hot pursuit when I realised that I hadn't paid for the sandwich and had to run back. Needless to say, by the time I got there, I couldn't really disappoint the six happy smiling faces around the table by grabbing my food and running away, so I pretty much had to stay and run the game. It wasn't bad for a game run on the fly.

There wasn't much wargaming of me over the weekend, I played one game of Jim's Napoleonic adaption of Battlelore, tearing defeat from the very jaws of victory in the process. I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those meddling Grenadiers of the Guard!

Mrs. Kinch, Donogh and I, amongst others, led Table 5 to victory in the Gaelcon pub quiz, winning some t-shirts or mugs or something for our pains. What does the prize matter? Glory lasts forever!

Gaelcon 2008 will always be a special one for me as it was the year that something very special and very unexpected happened. I was given the "Spirit of Gaelcon" award. The "Spirit of Gaelcon" is given to someone the committee feels has contributed heavily to the convention. In my case, I was told it was more of a life time achievement award.

It was a profoundly humbling experience. I gave a speech infront of the assembled con goers that I've been told was inspirational. I don't really remember, I was shaking too much. My only clear memory of what happened was standing there, utterly speechless, until a good friend of mine yelled from the crowd.

"Just give the wedding speech again, it was good the first time!"

I ended up using the same opening gag. Which got a laugh and jump started my brain enough to say something which was well recieved.

Your correspondent later in the evening,
attempting to eat part of Gary Gygax and thereby steal his power.

I've been going to Gaelcon since 1993, when at the age of 13 I was taken on an "improving" trip to the modern art museum that shared a venue with the con. I wandered off, trying to find somewhere quiet to read my book and found myself surrounded by gamers.

I've missed a couple over the years, but not many and it's been great. I've worked on the committee, written games, met great friends and had a lot of good times. Gaelcon has enriched my life and I only hope that I've put even half as much back in as I've gotten out of it.


  1. "Mrs. Kinch, Donogh and I, amongst others, led Table 5 to victory in the Gaelcon pub quiz, winning some t-shirts or mugs or something for our pains. What does the prize matter? Glory lasts forever!"

    I had to bring Isabel home so I missed prize-giving.
    We got t-shirts?! (or mugs or whatever) *woo hoo*

    Glory is only fleeting though.
    (It's obscurity that's forever)

    Congrats on Spirit of Gaelcon too!

  2. There were 40k novels if I recall. Conor Burke took charge of them, drop him a line.