[generic] What 2019 Con are you planning to attend?

So there is plenty of cons taking place in 2019 all over the UK. 🇬🇧

What cons are you planning to organise, run games at, play games at, attend, visit, or interested in finding out more about?

Tell us all why you are attending the cons and what made you pick those cons over others?

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
I'm just in the midst of thinking what games I might run at various 2019 conventions, perhaps that is another thread?

Revelation* - because I love the simplicity and tight design of PbtA games and I have very few opportunities to play them. Revelation might, quietly, be one of my favourite conventions, as it is small intimate and gets me some intense PbtA action.

Seven Hills* - Local and a great set of games to a theme. No trouble for me to get there, get to see my convention mates, and get some good gaming in.

North Star* - Another Garrison local, with a focus on SF and a chance to wheel out some of the shelf that is gathering a bit of dust. It is becoming an excuse to play some Infinity 2d20, a Kickstarter that will glacially fulfil, I went big, and I really need to get some justificatory game time in. Plus, you know, pew pew pew with me mates.

UK Games Expo - I'm doing the AirBnB thing again to make the whole show affordable. 'Breakfast at Subway', is that a film? Huge shopping splurgalicious and chance to run a couple or three games to people I would otherwise not see. It's as close as I am going to get to a GenCon experience, until I go and do that. Maybe for my 60th?

Furnace* - all kinds of ace, the Garrison convention progenitor, a tradition that has strong legs, fine games and lovely.

Others I am wobbling on:

TravCon - low to mid passage in a fading motel on an X Class A1 starport. It's Trav you know, and we go all the way back. I still love it and the current versions, be they Cepheus (Light) or Mongoose 2nd, preserve the authentic experience and give them a fully integrated and playable feel. It just might be one too many in a busy cluster of conventions.

LongCon - Garrison convenient, and a great format of long play. It's just the glut of time that makes me wonder.

DragonMeet - hugely enjoyed my recent time there. Difficult to stay overnight on a budget, but could have a go at MegaBus madness. Shopping and schmoozing.

Concrete / Spaghetti /Grogmeet - fun guaranteed just more time and travel. Haven't done Grogmeet, but further enthused by Gaz's review.

Go Play Leeds - I should do some, but only if I can get my son Cam to come with me.

All the other ones - them.

* - I help to make these happen, so there's another incentive.
Contingency: I can be at here for a whole week if I like, and it costs the same as a weekend con. Lots of great games in the 4-ish days of programmed con, and the holiday camp setting has always been a winner for me (hopefully Searles follows in the footsteps of Naish and Sandy Balls). Amazing raffle last year, too. This is probably my first priority in cons for the year.

Conpulsion: The bus from my house takes me there in less than 30 minutes. Frankly, if I'm going to any cons it would be rude not to. Despite it's continual surprises and disappointments, it is still my local.

UK Games Expo: Well, it's big. No, bigger than that. Yeah, that big. And there are a lot of people there you might not run into anywhere else. And if you play the Iron GM game, you can get half a bedroom in the Hilton for free.

Tabletop Scotland: It's like a smaller Expo. Lots of board and card games, actually quite a lot of RPGs (although compared to the board/card games it doesn't seem like it). A decent venue, and less than an hour from home. The first year was good, and I have high hopes for the future.

Maybe/nearly list:

(Maybe) AireCon: Reasonably close (well, within 4 hours drive!), I've never been. Not sure I can spare the day of holiday that would needed to make the most of it.

(Nearly) Revelation: I thought about it, I like the PbtA games I've played, I'd like to get more familiar with them. But sadly I was already booked for 2 things on the Saturday.

(Nearly) NorthStar: SF games all weekend? Not something I've tried outside of the Student Nationals, but it sounds great. However I'm at family wedding this weekend.

Are there any properly northern cons in the later part of the year? Or at all? Yes, I mean properly northern, not Manchester or Sheffield. Newcastle should be able to muster one, surely?
I'm an awkward sod.

  1. I like to referee (with "like" being far too mild a word).
  2. I only offer games I've written myself (with "The Black Hack" and "The Cthulhu Hack" being minor exemptions.)
  3. I often can't confirm my attendance until the last minute and have great ideas for games to offer at the last minute too.
  4. I don't enjoy playing anything other than TTRPGs. (This is also far too mild a statement).

So, though I like to go to lots of conventions I effectively self excuse myself through the above criteria or because they're on at the same time as other events I want to attend. I'm aware that there are loads of system specific conventions which are great (Revelation and all the Pathfinder ones) but I won't go to them - despite receiving the odd invitation.

I was going to list my conventions for 2019 when I had time to sit down and work out my diary but I can't resist getting involved in the on-line debate currently going on, so here's a quick stream of consciousness/memory list:

STABCON - my first convention of the year and an essential. There's also one in the summer I have to go to. You won't see this advertised anywhere. It's a residential weekend in a CHEAP hotel in Stockport, has been running for decades. It's at capacity. If you know about StabCon then you're a regular. If you don't then it isn't easy to break in but it's worth the effort. Though mainly a board game convention there is a strong RPG track and I have several regular ongoing games already booked in - even though there isn't a booking system.

CONTINGENCY - I'd kill to get there and keep number crunching over and over again in the hope of getting everything to add up. For the old Naish cons it's replaced I used to be able to dash out of work at 4pm on Friday and get there in time for a Friday night game. I can't do that for Contingency which makes it economically unviable. The costs aren't worth it for four game sessions. If you CAN get to Contingency easily , the reverse is true and you really should go.

SPAGHETTI CONJUNCTION - I can't believe our sweet little games day is into its 3rd year. Twice a year. Birmingham. Great people, good venue. Love it!

CONCRETE COW - SCJ's big brother. Twice a year in Milton Keynes. It's still the best one day games day on the circuit but with numbers dropping slightly and some of the "big names" no longer attending it's now a strong preference rather than an essential, sadly.

CONPULSION - I used to love Conpulsion when it had three hour slots to create two hour gaps between so I could attend (and be on panels at!) non-gaming events. The uniqueness made it worth the horrendous travel an accommodation costs to Edinburgh. When they switched back to the standard "choose between games and seminars" approach in 2016 the convention lost some of its uniqueness. I couldn't go in 2017 and am seriously debating 2018. (Though I have received a "guest invite" email).

THE GARRISON CONS - 7Hills, Furnace, North Star. These are, of course, wonderful but I'm not sure the games I offer match the demographic. I'd love some advice on how make what I bring more appealing to the masses there. Again these have, sadly, moved into the strong preferences rather than being essentials.

LONGCON - I'd LOVE to support this. But I'm not sure I'm a long form referee. I know I'm not a long form player. And I'm even less likely to get players for my quirky offerings for a whole weekend. If it's on the same weekend as another event, it's very likely to get second billing.

THE DUDLEY BUG BALL - I really don't know how this is going to work out but it's worth try.

CONQUORD - they keep trying with this Bristol convention and their doggedness deserves our support. But it conflicts with Dudley Big Ball which is a far more economical option for me.

DEVCON - well organised convention in Chester. Sort of a professional version of Concrete Cow and SCJ. Again my quirky offerings don't match the demographic but I'll take a serious look at this one.

EXPO - 'nuff said, though I need to seriously plan what I'm going to do. The easy "Iron Referee" option means I could be missing out on something special

DRAGONMEET - is now finally the essential it should always have been.

WYNTERCON- this is mad. Hordes of ordinary punters queuing up to play the sort of short form games I offer - many coming for their annual TTRPG fix. And I’m just one member of a well run team! Essential.

AIRECON/ODDCON - though wildly different cons they fall into the same category for me. Successful cons and I’d love to support them but they’re mainly boardgame (other game) cons. The organisers seem to want to support TTRPGs but they don’t seem to be very successful there (by MY quirky criteria) as far as I can tell. The organisers earnestly want to offer TTRPGs but haven’t but specific strategies in place to encourage them to grow. I want to support these but need to see more.

DRAGONDAZE is in the same category but the organisers HAVE actively supported TTRPGs - through taking my advice (amongst other things). We now have the best venue in the Hall - apart from being right next to the PA. (PA’s are the enemy of TTRPGs.)

TABLETOP SCOTLAND - seems wonderful but expensive to attend for me.

TABLETOP in London - no. Not welcoming to TTRPGs. “You can pay US for you to run games for us.”

There’s also another one in Stockport I’d like to support. The name eludes me ATM.

GROGMEET - sounds great (even if their raffle is a bit slow). But it’s overbooked and can I confirm early enough to get in as referee?

In fact that’s a REAL issue. Many cons I’d like to go to but by the time I can confirm the referee slots have gone - often stitched up internally behind the scenes. I have to try and read between the lines to identify local events where they don’t mind a couple of strangers turning up to bulk out the numbers but don’t really welcome strange referees.

I also go to non RPG conventions and my essentials for 2019 are:

ASYLUM - 100,000 Steampunks. 100,000! Deffo room for TTRPGs. I may even be looking for a wingman.

My favourite report this year was the young lady who said she’d enjoyed racing teapots (radio controlled gizmos), Dinosaurs (two dozen Middle Aged men dressed as boar war redcoats on top with Bernie Clifton dinosaurs below) and Tripods (my game).

FANTASICON- wonderful SciFi convention with the best beer on the circuit where, apparently, I’m now an annual feature running live roleplays on stage!

I’m sure I’ve missed some off this list I’m going to or will be looking at (ReUnicon etc.) Apologies for any obvious ones I’ve missed.

It’s a wonderful life!


Revelation - organising and running a game of Legacy
Travcon - Definitely maybe because Traveller
North Star - organising and running Traveller and Blue Planet
Furnace - organising and running

Others TBC
Dublin in August for Worldcon (assuming Brexit doesn’t put paid to EU travel)

Plus Concrete Cow 19 & 19.5

Nothing else on the cards so far although we may pop over to Hunstanton for the day next month if I feel up to the driving.
Conpulsion: The bus from my house takes me there in less than 30 minutes. Frankly, if I'm going to any cons it would be rude not to. Despite it's continual surprises and disappointments, it is still my local.

Go on.... I've been a grinch about a couple of cons. (And it's rare for me to be anything other than 100% positive.) In the spirit of the OP - what surprises and what disappointments?
Go on.... I've been a grinch about a couple of cons. (And it's rare for me to be anything other than 100% positive.) In the spirit of the OP - what surprises and what disappointments?
I would say the most surprising thing about Conpulsion is how different it can be from year to year, while remaining more or less the same. It's a symptom of being a student con, it has a habit of starting over from scratch with an all-new organising committee. Indeed, for 2018 it apparently had two committees for the same con, as the first one quit en-masse leaving the society to scrape together a con in a couple of months. This is the explanation for the absence of seminars altogether, there wasn't enough time in the day to arrange anything and have the rest of the con.

A couple of things that have been pleasant surprises (from recent Conpulsions, so might happen again...):
  • a snack and a (soft) drink for GMs - either handed out when you pick up your pack at the start of the slot or brought around during the slot.
  • the super-helpful gophers escorting you through the maze of the building to your game, and then going off hunting for any lost players.
Less pleasant surprises:
  • all the daytime RPGs in the Potterrow Dome, one loud room in the full glare of the sun.
  • evening RPGs in the rooftop bar, except not enough tables for the number of games.
  • the sign up sheets being taken away when full, so people can't cancel and it looks like there aren't many games going on.
  • not very many players on Sunday - at one point there were 3 GMs looking for a single player so we could make a game between us.
  • using the needlessly fussy EventBrite for ticketing (complete with booking fee, so you pay more to buy in advance).
  • the GM discount being reduced to the point where it pretty much only covers the booking fee.
As a note, the next event is Conpulsion Death, 5th-7th April 2019. Website has the new logo, but nothing else is there so far. If recent precedent is reliable, nothing much will happen until February or March.
I intend to go to:
Spaghetti Con Junction 3a
North Star
Summer Stabcon
Worldcon in Dublin (science fiction con, but will have some gaming going on)

Maybe also Spaghetti Con Junction 3b and/or Dragondaze. It depends on how much of October gets eaten by Real Life and non-gaming cons.
This year will be attending:

Concrete Cow - My "local" Con (about 45 minutes drive). I have always found the Con to be very well organised, inclusive and have never had a duff game yet. Having one every 6 months is good.

Games Expo - This is my main big Con I attend. Planning on running a few games, playing a few and spending money. The big bonus a lot of my UK Gaming Friends attend and it is great for face to face catch up.