Back when I were a lad I remember my parents happily playing board games with me. All of the classics such as Cluedo, Scrabble and the families worst nightmare – Monopoly were conquered through my childhood. Roll on late teenage years and through my twenties this all fell to the side with Uni, drinking and girls taking my attention away… actually scrap that last one.. being a geek made that near impossible…
Another decade and here I am going full circle, back to playing board games with my own two kids, nice easy ones for them to learn to play, so when we heard that Perth was due its own TableTop Games convention, we were really interested to go see what was happening.
We at the Fair City Podcast were lucky enough to interview Convention Mastermind Dave during Episode 9 where he shared his experience of bringing a convention like this to Perth. Without spoiling too much of the episode he has had a few hurdles to navigate over the years from the original venues not working as planned, to this years being all ready to go, until the fire at the Glasgow School of Arts put a spanner in the works as the games library he was going to be using was in the building next door, and therefore out of use during the investigations – cue “The Legend” Darius, who stepped in with his own games collection to save the day.
Nearly 700 tickets were bought in advance, with many more attending on the day. A negative on conventions is that sometimes if events are close to capacity the venues can be extremely squeezed and busy but the layout of this was excellent, with masses of space being used around the various halls and suites and at no point did we feel it was too busy to put a downer on things. By no means was it quiet however, as the buzz from the main hall was infectious and instantaneous from the second we walked in.
One of the excellent ideas brought to this convention was the ‘Gateway Zone’ where people new to gaming, or wanting to learn certain games, had a place to head to where volunteers were on hand to walk people through the rules and help teach them how to play. Our own Ser Steve would have had a field day sitting here most of the day learning new games, but as he brought his kids he was quickly off to the other area designed for newbies – the HABA zone – where the German games company had brought forty of their children’s games over alongside a team to run them to create another of the great things about this weekend – a Family friendly feel.
Twenty two exhibitors were also in attendance showcasing everything from new games, to expensive gaming tables (some £3,000 each), to comics, to detailed dungeon backdrops to use for your own games at home. Plenty of reasons to spend way too much money.
Two more additions to this weekend helped enhance its debut event as there were official UK qualifying tournaments in place for Catan and Pandemic Survival. The Scottish Championship for Carcassonne and The Scottish Open for Star Wars: Destiny were also scheduled for the weekend so that those with a taste for more competitive gaming could get stuck in. On top of the official tournaments, the first ever EPIC tournament for Dungeons and Dragons was held, where 48 players across 8 tables all worked in a game where the actions of one table spilled over into the other tables. Something that is complex in its set up, but rewarding in its execution.
In our opinion the convention was a resounding success by all accounts. Perth has been lacking in something of this magnitude for a while, and with the venue pre-booked for part 2 next year, hopefully the convention is here to stay for the long term. I can imagine the team using the mantra “One Con to Rule Them All..” in building the event over the next few years.
Check out the pictures below.
Ser Steve, David and Barg.