Friday, November 23, 2007 2:40:59 PM
Every year the highlight of the con is finding new ways to get lost on the way to a venue we have visited for 25 years or more. This year we did not do very well, taking an almost direct route with barely a wrong turn.
We arrived at tea-time to be greeted by the sight of a pile of MidCon T-shirts. I am now a member of the MidCon committee and it was my idea to have some T-shirts available for purchase for the purposes of making a small profit but, more importantly, for promotional purposes. It’s important to realise that the average board gamers keeps a T-shirt for 17.3 years so the promotional aspect should not be underestimated.
In general, the T-shirts are kept long enough for the black shirts to become a sort of washed out dirty grey and for the white shirts to become a sort of washed out dirty grey. We, thoughtfully, chose “washed out dirty grey” as one of the available colours to give the shirts that worn in, faded look. The other colours were olive, cardinal red and navy blue.
We ordered 29 of these and sold about half of them, I think, so we are currently sitting on a loss but we cunningly did not time stamp the shirts so we should be able to sell a few more in 17.3 years time.
Next year is MidCon XXX and we are already working on some interesting slogans to splash across celebratory T-shirts.
Ordinarily the first port of call is the bar where it is the custom to hang out with the people you (mostly) only ever see at games conventions. There weren’t any real surprise appearances this year – no Stephen Fry, for instance, no Lily Allen or Amy Winehouse who would ordinarily turn up for the opening of a crisp packet.
I briefly chatted to Pete Birks and Peter Berlin before making my way up to the room to prepare for the Pop Quiz (see previous blog). I stayed just long enough to confirm that the evening meal would be held at a local rustic French restaurant called Chez Jules; another victory in my quest to wean the gaming hobby off stodgy high cholesterol Indian food.
The aforementioned rustic French restaurant was in the far from rustic – more “rusty”, really – centre of Birmingham. There were about 10 of us, sat on a rustic bench, reading the rustic menu, while wine snob Oakes got to grips with the wine menu. I swear he ordered “an Aussie shithouse” but then I seem to have developed a rare condition called Tourette’s Hearing whereby I mishear everyday phrases as vaguely obscene utterances. I cunt account for why this should be so.
For starters I had wood pigeon on the basis that the only good pigeon is a dead pigeon. Rats with wings, I like to call them, though to be fair, it’s only the town dwelling pigeon I hate; the wood pigeon is a thoroughly harmless fellow but unfortunately he tastes a lot better than rattus pigeonus.
I can’t even remember what my main course was but I do remember it came late, for which I, as the only non-wine drinker at the table apart from teetotal Birks, was given a complementary glass of wine. I promptly passed this on to Oakes whose appetite for wine had not been sated by the consumption of a full bottle of the Aussie shithouse.
By the time I had finished my main course it was 9:30pm and the pop quiz was due to start in half an hour’s time. What I should have done was get up and leave at that point but I stayed to watch others stuff their faces with puddings.
French cuisine made a pleasant change but it was not fare to rave about. A solid 5 out of 10 from me which might have gone higher had I ordered a dessert.
By the time we got back to the hotel it was already 10:30pm and people were asking when the Pop Quiz was due to start. None of these people subsequently participated in the quiz so I can only presume their primary concern was to get the hell out of the area in which I was running it.
In a hurry I rushed upstairs to my room to grab the bomb-shaped boom-box, pausing only to relieve myself in the bathroom. I was in such a rush I managed to piss all down the front of my light green trousers! Not a great development when I was due to stand up in front of people in 5 minutes or so. Through careful arrangement of my T-shirt I managed to disguise the stain. Later on I washed out my trews and made use of the hotel room’s Corby trouser press. I knew it would come in useful one day!
After the pop quiz it was time for the first board game of the week-end which was … which was … er … buggered if I know. I suspect we did not play one, given that two of my regular gaming partners had each consumed a bottle of wine, plus several pints of Brain’s bitter.
No, hang on! I remember now. I think we played Puerto Rico and I went for the corn production strategy, which did OK but which did not win me the game as I never really got the cash flow going well enough to afford a big violet building.
Put another way, Oakes and Beattie can still beat me at Puerto Rico even when they are smashed out of their heads.
And so, to bed, where my snoring apparently kept Oakes awake half the night. At least that way he had a fighting chance of avoiding the hangover he so richly deserved.
More on MidCon anon (and on)