First off, it seems that the Leicester university grounds has a bit of a problem with 3G connectivity, and a wifi network for students and staff only. So with that in mind, I am very sorry that there were no updates live from the event.
Although, I would have had very little with which to update you all, as I ended up doing no gaming all weekend. I played a little bit of the Firefly board game with the missus when we were relaxing on our day off together on the Monday, but that’s not really what you were expecting.
Basically, a lot of fun was had, and that comes with certain drawbacks with regard to how prepared one is to spend several hours sat in a stupidly hot room with a bunch of strangers. Let take it from the top though, so you can all get one side of the Student nationals experience.
Our gaming society met up at our local watering hole and regular meeting place late morning to enjoy a hearty breakfast to prepare ourselves for a day of fun and frivolity. This set the tone well, as a few of us enjoyed our full English with a pint of ale, rather than the traditional pot of tea. What’s important to state at this point is how crucial it is to understand your limits when drinking. Not just when going to a 3 day event, but in general.
As previously mentioned, I like a pint or two, but I doubt anyone alive would say I have a drinking a problem. I know my limits, and when I drink, it has next to no impact on my life, baring an occasional fuzzy head come the morning. A few hours later, we were on the road, sipping away on cocktails and the like, chatting about gaming. One of your newest members professed her unease at what lay ahead.
She was new to gaming in general, and had never been to an organised event, let alone one that would judge her abilities as a gamer. Luckily, HUGS came to her rescue by making sure she understood that nothing was more important than her enjoying herself. If she was having a bad time, or feeling too nervous and apprehensive, there was no reason at all for her to stick around. There would always be people around with friendly faces, and most of them were a call away.
You see, although the Nationals is a tournament, only the war/card/board gamers can go in with any idea about what it takes to win. Role playing is massively subjective, and the ‘No-bad-fun’ argument really does apply when dealing with games like this. Most people have no idea what system they’re playing in, who they will be playing with, or even the exact feel of the game that everyone around the table will be expected to help create an maintain.
This goes some way towards explaining why I missed my Saturday gaming slot, but more on that to follow. You see, there were problems to deal with all weekend, to do with organisation, and they started pretty damned early. We were told which building to head to on which road to find the reception so that everyone could pick up their room keys. This was the wrong building, and lead to a couple of people getting lost, and some low level frustration for the chap driving our minibus.
This was compounded by the of effort put into accommodating the GMs that had volunteered from other societies, who had no idea about the campus layout, or local amenities. They were given no maps, and poor instructions about what needed to be done come the morning and the start of the games.
For now though, it was on to the rooms to drop gear off, freshen up after a hot drive, and in my case, get someone to shave my head. Long story.
The afternoon/evening then passed in good humour, and fine spirits. There was drinking and dancing for those so inclined – myself included, which was how I aggravated an old neck injury, and was in no state to game on Saturday – and quite rooms for pick up games, movie showings and general relaxation for those who fancied a quieter night.
It was great fun being at the nationals that night, probably more so than almost any other nationals. I have mentioned the somewhat shonky organisation of the event, but they kept the beer flowing, and the DJ was amazing at his job. At a little after 3 in the morning, I was finally ready to call it a night. I will post some thoughts on the gaming that took place my involvement on another day.