I have been counting down to Dragonmeet for months. Now the big day has passed, so it is time for the annual report. Saturday 5th December was the Dragonmeet convention in London. Once again, the day fulfilled all my expectations and was even friendlier than last year.
I have divided this report into six sections:
- Trade Hall
- Cool Gamers
- Famous Faces
- Seminar Goodness
- The Venue
My day at Dragonmeet began with travelling down to London on public transport. Sadly, Phil-the-Artist could not make it this year, so I made the trip alone. The tube journey back to London Liverpool Street Station was rather crowded, but otherwise it was an uneventful trip.
This year I had hoped to tweet about the day, but my phone would not connect to the various Wi-Fi routers along the way. On the train to London, it only seemed to work in stations, which was odd. The convention centre Wi-Fi required a password, and I never quite found it. Fortunately, the train home had decent Wi-Fi in a very modern coach. So, I could tweet a little on the way home, but it was not quite the same as tweeting from the event.
In contrast to last year, my time in the trade hall seemed quite limited. The layout was a little better, as I did not feel as crowded this year. Even the Chessex and Leisure Games stands were easy to browse when I was there.
Naturally, I found some cool things to buy, a mix of planned and impulse purchases. The report on my Dragonmeet swag follows next week.
If anything, the trade hall showed even greater breadth of product. Several smaller companies were present, which has to mean a healthy and innovative hobby. The Geek Tribe were well-represented in all our myriad of forms.
And so to the Geeks themselves. Conventions are such a wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow Geeks. This year it was the social aspect which really stood out for me. Perhaps it was travelling down alone, and thus being in need of company, or that my attempts at networking were starting to pay off. Either way, I had a fantastic time.
Kenny was dressed very smartly, which made him easier to spot in the crowd. We talked about fatherhood, blogging and plans for the future. He was even kind enough to bring me a Christmas present, which was very sweet of him. Thanks Kenny.
It is always wonderful to put a face to a name. I had a couple of chats with Chris and his sister. We started planning a joint project for next year. Then the conversation turned to cats, and we showed each other photos of our feline overlords.
I even staffed Leo’s stall for two minutes while he bought himself a coffee. I ran several sales pitches through my head, but not a single gamer approached the table as I stood there. Sorry Leo, maybe next year.
So, another wide-ranging conversation touching on the forum, Dungeon World and the dynamics of gaming groups. Finally, there was old-friend Ben and his group of friends, which was another chat about boardgames and generally catching up.
Before finishing up with the Gamers, I should note that for another year, no reader of the blog approached me. Despite announcing my presence in Tales of a GM T-shirt, still nobody stepped forward to introduce themselves. Really, I am friendly.
The other cool gamers at Dragonmeet were the famous ones. Even in my third year, I still feel a little giddy chatting to such famous names. Robin D Laws signed another game for me, this time it was a copy of Pantheon. I see some elements of DramaSystem in that game, but Robin argued otherwise.
I cornered Jeff Richard once again, and this year remembered to have him sign my copy of HeroQuest 2. I caught a slightly bemused Ken Hite near Leo’s stand, and we spoke for a couple of minutes.
After last year’s dual seminar track, Dragonmeet was back to just a single programme. Fortunately for me, the two seminars I wanted to attend were consecutive in the afternoon.
My first seminar was Jeff Richard again, but this year the focus was on Chaosium. This meant the very welcome announcement of European shipping being available for all Chaosium and Moon Design lines. I can wait until February, now I know it is underway.
There were further Gloranthan announcements, including a sprinkling of HQ:G products. Special mention must go to Ian Cooper, who handed out slices of a gorgeous birthday cake to everyone who attended. This was a wonderful gesture, and underlined the friendliness of the Gloranthan tribe.
My second Dragonmeet seminar was the annual Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff podcast event. 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. Even knowing what to expect, it is still amazing to listen to Ken improvise a detailed answer to the Nerd Trope cards.
This was the second year of Dragonmeet in the Ibis Hotel. I felt the organisers had responded to the feedback from last year, and made changes for 2015. Not that 2014 was bad, but 2015 was even better. I only experienced part of the event, but what I did see operated smoothly. I always want more from the Dragonmeet website, more updates and an earlier seminar schedule would be appreciated. However, I could not fault the event itself.
Congratulations to the Ibis Hotel, who offer us a great package. The free cloakroom is greatly appreciated, and makes it easier for me to display my Tales of a GM T-shirt. Also, the snack bar was great value. A coffee and a decent baguette for £5 struck me as excellent value for on-site catering in London. Finally, I think it was entirely my fault I could not connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi.
Another year, another great time at Dragonmeet. One of these days I will actually play a game, but I had so much fun chatting to people, I do not feel I missed out. I plan to attend again next year, to meet gamer friends old and new.
Were you at Dragonmeet? How did you enjoy the convention? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Do you need more Tales?
If you enjoyed this article, then please share it, or the associated quotations. You may also be interested in the following links: