The Countdown began last month, but now Dragonmeet is over.
As regular readers of Tales of a GM know, Saturday 6th December was the Dragonmeet convention in London. I had been excited about this for a long time, and the day fulfilled all my expectations.
My day at Dragonmeet began with travelling down to Dragonmeet with Phil-the-Artist. Fortunately, this all went off smoothly. The new location required a change of lines on the London Underground, which was fiddly but not really a problem. This gave us the opportunity to watch tourists taking photographs of themselves stood around the station signs for Notting Hill Gate.
Our morning was spent browsing the trade hall. This was clearly much larger than last year. The new venue opened up a lot more space for traders. I felt there was more room to browse about, especially as the day progressed. The crowds I met were thickest around Chessex and Leisure Games.
There was certainly a good buzz in the trading hall. I found some cool things to buy, with a report on my Dragonmeet swag to follow next week. This will be a longer report than it was last year, which has to mean there was a decent selection of stalls.
The trade hall was also a good indication of the breadth of our great hobby. Firstly, there was a wide range of companies present, from the independent designers at the UKRP Design Collective table up to the dedicated RPG publishers like Pelgrane Press and Cubicle 7.
Likewise, there was a broad spectrum of product available. Board games, card games and roleplaying games were widely represented. I was surprised at the number of wargames stalls present. These seemed to be less busy than some of the other stands, but they were by no means deserted. Finally, there were the gaming accessories, such as the mouth-watering rainbow of dice at the Chessex stand and the awesome All Rolled Up tool kits.
See here for a review of my All Rolled Up.
The Geek Tribe were well-represented in all our myriad of forms.
l-r: Myself, Si & Phil-the-Artist
And so to the Geeks themselves. Conventions are also a wonderful opportunity to connect with some fellow Geeks. Thus, it was great to be able to put some faces to the names from the UKRP Forum. I also met up with regular Tales of a GM commenters Kenny the Roleplaying Sage and Si.
Despite announcing my presence in Tales of a GM T-shirts, these did not garner any further readers stepping forward to introduce themselves. This was a shame, but maybe next year.
I also took the opportunity for a brief chat with some famous names from the tribe who were present. Robin D Laws graciously signed my copy of HeroQuest 1, and then gave me some advice about recreating Feng Shui 2-style combat in HeroQuest 2. Ken Hite signed one of his books for me. I even cornered Jeff Richards to chat about the delayed HeroQuest Glorantha book.
It is always very cool to have such free access to the creators of the games we love. I failed to track down Rob Heinsoo, but maybe next time. The creators I spoke with were all kind and friendly.
This year there were two seminar programmes running. While there were many seminars of interest, I restricted myself to just two. This proved to be a wise choice, as it left us with plenty of time to browse the trade hall and chat.
My first seminar was the Gloranthan one run by Jeff Richards and Rob Heinsoo. Despite the cramped room, this was a brilliant update on current and future Gloranthan projects. Rob Heinsoo presented the 13th Age Glorantha angle, which is appealing to me more and more. This is a less-canonical version of Glorantha, so is in keeping with my own campaign.
We learnt how HeroQuest Glorantha will be delayed until all the Guide to Glorantha rewards have been delivered. The Glorantha Sourcebook, to accompany the 13th Age Glorantha kickstarter sounds very helpful to GMs. Forthcoming products include the Gods War boardgame with Sandy Peterson, a sequel to King of Dragon Pass and some hints about a Cults of Glorantha kickstarter.
See my review of 13th Age Glorantha kickstarter.
My second Dragonmeet seminar was the annual Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast event. We arrived at the room early, and thereby ensured ourselves a seat. Another good choice. Once again, this was a superb experience, as Ken and Robin answered questions and generally gave a master class on how to brainstorm ideas for an RPG.
This was made especially relevant for me as Phil-the-Artist asked a question about my forthcoming Sigil PD mini-campaign. Thus, I have some pointers from Ken and Robin about how I could run my game. I feel very honoured.
See my review of the awesome Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast
The New Venue
Finally, no review of Dragonmeet 2014 can be complete without reference to the new venue. As with any change, there were some good points and some areas that need more attention for next year.
The good points:
- Improved trade hall, both in terms of sheer space and range of stalls
- Comfortable venue, it was not stuffy or overly hot
- Free Cloakroom, although a missed opportunity to raise a little more money for the chosen charities
- Superb seminars
Areas for more attention:
- Seminar Room 2 was poorly signposted
- Both Seminar Rooms were cramped for the number of attendees
- More seating needed around the convention
- The Dragonmeet website was not updated as often as I would have liked
Overall, this was a good choice of venue and Dragonmeet ran smoothly. I suspect a larger venue is really needed for the convention to grow further. The trade hall was at capacity, and cramped in some of the side areas. Larger seminar rooms are also needed.
I did hear people complaining about the new venue, and the gaming areas did look very tightly packed. Yet, any change can upset some people. The convention is under new management, and they need a fair chance to put their stamp on Dragonmeet. 2014 was a good start, but I shall expect the team to learn from their experiences this year and put on an even better show next year.
Once again, I had a great time at Dragonmeet. I am keen to attend next year, and I would hope to meet even more gamers next time.
Were you at Dragonmeet? How did you enjoy the convention? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Something for the Weekend next week: Dragonmeet 2014 Swag