This TringCon was going to be the last ever as Alan Parr, who has organised it since its inception back in the last millennium, will no longer be running it, but Keith Thomasson has stepped forward to take it over, presumably at the same place and at much the same time of year.
As well as giving up TringCon duties, Alan Parr is also folding Hopscotch, his gaming zine. The last issue has just been published, although the United league will continue in e-mail format.
I mentioned all this to Mrs. Fiendish and she asked why Alan was giving up all these activities, and I said I think it coincides with his retirement from work. This puzzled Mrs. Fiendish; she opined that surely now he is retired he'll have more time to devote to "stupid hobbies like gaming". I'm not sure if that comment was pointed at anyone in particular, but I could be wrong
The con itself was as enjoyable as ever. I've been guilty of only playing games I know at recent cons, and generally lengthy ones at that, so I made an effort to try lots of games that were unfamiliar to me.
California is a light but not trivial "shopping" (tile collecting) game. Players kit out there Californian house with a view to earning points for various combinations (e.g. pinball machine, swimming pool and a dog) and also to encourage neighbours to visit; get two neighbours in your house at the same time and it's party time, which means the new guest brings a (points scoring) gift. It's one of those games where you have to keep an eye on what the other players are after, but it's not a real brain burner. A game I would not buy but which I would play again.
Dennis Arnold dragged out an ancient German "roll the dice and move the dobber" game called Minister. Someone who has designed a game called Office Politics is is no position to offer advice on game themes, but working your way through the civil service and getting favoured ministers into the cabinet is not a theme that is going to inspire the under-elevens, and I can't see anyone over this age wanting to play the game which is a dice-rolling Ludoesque affair. I rate it as marginally better than Westminster, only because it has a definite end whereas Westminster - one of the worst game designs ever - does not.
Despite my intentions to play new games, I rarely turn down a chance to play Power Grid (Funkenschlag) and at least it was on a new map (France) - cue comments of "Oh, so that's where Le Mans is". It was a five player game and only two of us (Adam Huby and myself) had played before (though one other player had played Funkenschlag) so not surprisingly Adam won it by a street. I was in a position to win it but the power stations came out in the wrong order, as they often seem to do; the trick is to get yourself in a position where this does not matter, and I have not mastered this aspect of the game yet.
We squeezed in a quick game of Volltreffer before Paul Cockayne had to dash off. I don't recall ever meeting Paul before but he is as entertaining in person as he was in print.
Lastly we played TaCaRa (Tactical Car Race), a motor racing game with a movement mechanism more suited to vessels in outer space but nonetheless very enjoyable. As the rules state, it would be a simple game if the other cars didn't keep getting in the way.
Hopefully Alan Parr will actually get a chance to sit down and play a game at future cons. Maybe Keith T. will do my bulging waistline a favour and not work on the basis of "four packets of biscuits per attendee seems about right".
Next up is MidCon. I've heard from Jeremy Tullett that numbers look as if they will be up this year, which is very encouraging. Maybe we can colonise the bar again and thus encourage the bar staff not to wander off for 30 minutes at a time.