Well, this has been a crazy few months. I will update later the full details, but for now it is worth pointing out that I am in the early stages of registering a business as a limited company with myself as a director. I will shortly after that be opening my own comic book store – find it here, or on Facebook - and as such, I have been massively swamped. This morning though, I start a three day break away from all that by heading to the student nationals.
If you don’t know what that is, chances are you’re not a role player affiliated with a UK university society. If you do know what that is, you’re probably getting ready yourself, and I shall see you in this afternoon!
This nationals is a strange one for me, but I ma really looking forward to it. I missed last year’s event due to a total lack of funds, and since then have been squirreling away money so I wouldn’t miss it this year. It is also my first event as a blogger – yes, I know I’ve been a bit absent lately, but I’m sure you all understand why. I will be using the event to get back into the blogging habit by posting a few times over the weekend with reviews and comment pieces when I’m able to.
The other reason it’s going to be odd, is that I’ve been cutting back on my drinking. As someone soon to be self employed, sick days with a hangover are no longer an option, so cutting right back has been a sensible move. The nationals though, is a time of drunken merriment with friends, some of whom I only see at the event. I know that getting drunk is not a prerequisite to have fun, but it is very much in the spirit of our society to cut loose for the weekend and just let ourselves get merry.
Will I be able to keep my drinking limited, or will I cut back? And if so, will I find I have less fun at the weekend? Only time will tell.
Some basics other than drinking for those unfamiliar with the event then. It is a weekend tournament of gaming, with each team fielding a bunch of gamers split into categories, covering role playing, war gaming, card gaming, and board games. Most of the time, you will know what to expect when you rock up to the event, as the categories are pretty obvious. War gamers for instance will know which army to bring, and if you select the D&D category, you know what you’re in for. This means that it’s possible to prepare and practice in advance to increase your chances of winning, and thus hosting the tournament next year.
My own team – yep, I’m president again, so it is my team – doesn’t really do this. We have a small handful of war gamers, but everyone else tends to play open categories. This means that you will have an idea of genre, but none of system. I myself am in open Supers. I’ve played this about four times so far, which means two different games over the weekend, and I have yet to play the same system twice.
I have no idea what system I will be playing, or what setting, or even character type I will have. So, with no preparation at all, I will turn up tomorrow morning – maybe a nit hungover – and have to impress my GM with my role playing skills. It is bloody hard to determine just what criteria they will be using to judge who is the best, but I will be trying my best to just have a good time.
A couple of years back I ran a Victoriana game set in the Unhallowed Metropolis universe for the nationals, and gave first place from my game to the lad who jumped into character with the smallest prompting, and kept trying out new things, rather than relying on the listed skills on his sheet. I have no idea if my GM will be the same though.
As mentioned, there are two games over two days, each lasting a healthy few hours. Each category tends to have a couple of GMs who run their game for two different groups. What’s great fun is catching up with people in the bar in the Saturday evening and trying to get clues about what game you might face, but refusing to give out spoilers to anyone about your own game. It gives people a great opportunity to seek out some strangers, and have a reason to engage with them.
Our hobby has a history of being full of socially awkward types who struggle in day to day interactions. I challenge anyone to spend time in the bar with us on a Saturday evening and still think that. Sure, some are slower at opening up, but everyone in that bar will be someone you have something in common with. I have a great time just strolling around, dropping into conversations about anything that I hear that interests me, and listening to other people dropping into ours.
All in all, a great way to spend a weekend, and if the wifi gods allow, I will post an update or two as the weekend progresses. Sorry I haven’t been posting as much – and left the duelist story unfinished, I will get back to it, I promise – but I will try and make up for that over the next few days/weeks.