John Harrington
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What number are we up to now? 37?

I've lost count, to be honest.

The point is, 260-odd (some of them very) gamers will be congregating again this year in the wonderful Hallmark Hotel, 20 yards from Derby's mainline railway station, to play games, drink beer, play more games, drink beer (complain about the lack of decent cider), talk shyte, play games, eat food, buy games, pop out for a curry, play games, stay up late, make it with a minute to spare for the excellent buffet breakfast, drink wine (it's also open to southerners), cause offence, play games, speak in riddles and do Jimmy Riddles.

It looks like some other group has had the temerity to book our usual weekend in November (the second weekend) so, subject to confirmation, it looks like the con will be taking place over the third weekend.

This may or may not mean we dodge the whole Remembrance Day thing, but it will probably still clash with Sheena Haytack's birthday (damn! I left "crack in-jokes" off the above long list of activities).

Details of what the con is all about are on the web site http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/default.htm but bear in mind most of the info on there at the moment relates to last year's con.

More details as I get 'em.
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Ben Bateson
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Glad I haven't booked my holiday yet then.

**stays tuned**
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Ben Bateson
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Any more news on this, John? Wasn't a mis-timed April Fool, was it?
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Gavin Kenny
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Looking forward to making it this year ... now all we need is the site updating and to be able to book!
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John Harrington
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MidCon now confirmed as weekend of November 17-19.

Jeremy is braced for a flood of bookings.

Sorry for the late confirmation this year. We thought we always had first refusal on the second weekend of November and having brought a six-figure sum's (£10 19s 11d) worth of business to the hotel this decade, we do but it seems someone at the hotel did not get the message.

They might be extra nice to us this year ...

So, apologies to those of you who were expecting it to be the 11-13 but needs must in a doo-dah, as Reggie Perrin once (probably) said.

I did not get where I am today by accurately quoting seventies comedy shows.

I'll update the MidCon web site this weekend but you can now - I think - book via http://www.boardgamers.org.uk/booking.php if you wish.

TTFN,



John
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Oliver MacFarlane
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Can't see Midcon booking yet on website, no stress though it is only May!
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John Harrington
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macfaro wrote:
Can't see Midcon booking yet on website, no stress though it is only May!


The MidCon booking form is now available:

http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/Docs/MidCon17-flyer.pdf

The web site is still a bit out of date as the PC with all my web editing software (and stored FTP passwords) died a painful death a while back after a power surge.

Hopefully I will get it updated this weekend.
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John Harrington
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As of Sunday, October 1st, we had about 120 registrations, with about another 60 required to cover known expenses. As ever, left-over beer remains our biggest unknown expense.

We've apparently had a few more registrations since October 1st and normally get about 40 people who just turn up on the day and pay at the door, so the con should at least break even, barring a disaster on the beer front.

Bookings running ahead of last year

I don't know what the response rate currently is versus last year, but back in September we had about 20 more bookings than we had logged at the same stage of 2016; this does not mean we will get 20 more people this year than last, as it could be simply a case of people booking a bit earlier.

Available rooms at the Hallmark Hotel either have all gone or are down to the last one or two, but there are plenty of rooms still available across the road at the Hallmark Inn. The Inn is cheaper and closer to the Bring & Buy, should that be of concern to any of you.

Once again this year we will have the use of the Inn's dining room after breakfast as a spill-over playing area. Some people liked the room as it is a bit quieter than the main room; this year we hope to remember to get a box of proper beer sent across the road to keep the ale drinkers happy (I presume the Hallmark Inn has the usual selection of lagers, Guinness and draught-flow bitters on tap as well).

All being well, we should be able to find gaming room for everyone at peak attendance (Saturday afternoon) and we have contingency plans in place for future years should we outgrow the Hallmark this year. Barring some kind of unlikely bust-up between ourselves and the Hallmark, the contingency plans involve us staying at the Hallmark but booking a function room (or several) across the road at the Aston Court Hotel.

It is, perhaps, not ideal for the con to become a three centre event (albeit three centres situated very closely together) but nobody (including the committee) seems keen on moving away to the Hallmark, so we'l be looking to stay where we are for the foreseeable future.

Did I mention beer?

I might have mentioned it once or twice, but I think I got away with it.

We are contemplating getting a box of cider in for the non-grape-based fruit-based alcoholic beverage drinkers among you.

Our choices appear to be one 20 litre box (about 35 pints) or two five litre boxes (17.5 pints). I have no idea what sort of demand there would be; it is entirely possible Dan Lester could drink 35 pints all by himself, so if there are any zider drinkers out there reading this, now is the time to pledge to drink yourself into oblivion.

We know nothing about social media


At our recent committee meeting, it became clear that those in attendance knew the square root of bugger-all about social media, so the discussion about how we could use Twitter to hook-up con attendees looking for a game with those looking for players ("Just one more wanted for a game of Railway Rivals") was definitely a case of the ignorant preaching to the more ignorant.

A bit like a political party conference, really ...

The one committee member who has a passing knowledge of Twitter was in the US at the time of our committee meeting, so our "big idea" for using Twitter - using the hashtag #MidConDerby on tweets - may be laughably ... er ... laughable.

If you have a better idea for using t'Internet to address the tricky issue of helping match-up gamers (we thought of a Tinder-like app ) then please let us know.

Finding games to play and people to play them with seems to be an issue mainly for first time attendees. For about 95% of the con the decades old system works very well, and consists of either: setting up a game you want to play in the hope passers-by will ask if you are looking for players; or wandering around looking for people who seem as if they are about to start a game and asking if there is a spare place.

Because it works so well, the "old lags" are disinclined to support any alternative system, whether it be waiting lists on a notice board, giant flags on tables where players are wanted, loud criers shouting "Just one more wanted for a game of Railway Rivals" or scheduled gaming events (notwithstanding the success of Ben Bateson's Kniziathon).

This year we will once again have a committee member nominated to get first timers in the swing by arranging a first game, but he can't stay with those first timers all weekend because there will be other first timers coming through the door at intervals throughout the day who need his coddling. Think of it as being like a wildlife film, where the fledglings eventually have to leave the nest and fend for themselves.

So, like I said, we are going to give this Twitter idea a go unless the one person on the committee who knows anything about the ludicrous thief of time that is the loss-making 140-character messaging system tells us the idea is bonkers. Publicity is the key to ensuring the idea gets taken up, and we'll be including the Twitter hashtag on name badges as a means of raising awareness.

Of course, you will need a Twitter account to take advantage of the system and it does mean you cannot play games with really, really long game titles ...

Would Facebook be a better medium for this idea? I'm not the person to ask.

We do have a Facebook site. I suppose people could ask to be friends of said site and then post to it as a means of looking for games/gamers, but that would probably mean some poor sod on the committee spending all of Friday and Saturday on his phone accepting friending requests.

It's an idea, anyway.

Any thoughts from non-dinosaurs of the Internet age gladly received.

Diplomacy

Hopefully, we've put to bed the idea that MidCon is a Diplomacy con, but if there are almost enough players to get a game going then I understand one or two of the committee members could be persuaded to make up the numbers.

In the event the numbers stack up, a game would probably start around 10:00 on Saturday and/or Sunday, and run into the early afternoon.
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Ben Bateson
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What would be awesome, if probably impractical, would be to have a 'games pending' Twitter feed on a big screen, so people could just have a look at the screen and find out what games they could join.

Might be possible with the hotel's cooperation...
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Oliver MacFarlane
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I think Twitter can be good for people to post some nice things about MidCon during the event and also for general advertising. During the year you could advertise the hashtag and people can see the pictures/commments and see people enjoying themselves and let them know what the con is like.

However I do not think it would be a good idea for people to find games. I have seen Cons try many things over the years but honestly nothing has worked better then wandering around to see if someone is setting up a game. People do not look at twitter all the time and hence how would they know if a request for a game is still active?

The idea by Ben above is a good I think. People could just look at a screen and see what games are available and just decide to walk there or not. As long as the list is up to date then this could really work. It would also require people to put their requests up.

I think Social Media is a great thing for advertising and people to share what a great time they are having but for anything else I am skeptical.

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Aaron
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We're planning on coming but we'll be only able to make a booking at the end of the month(payday). Will rooms still be available?
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James Cheevers
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How about signs (saying 'Looking for players' on long sticks, that could be stood on a table, while being set up? Keeps all technological knowledge down to 'Can read sign on stick'.
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Ben Bateson
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solove wrote:
How about signs (saying 'Looking for players' on long sticks, that could be stood on a table, while being set up? Keeps all technological knowledge down to 'Can read sign on stick'.


PLUS....mock sword fights!
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Paul Oakes
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sardonic wolf wrote:
We're planning on coming but we'll be only able to make a booking at the end of the month(payday). Will rooms still be available?


Rooms will be available in The Hallmark Inn (the slightly cheaper hotel over the road). It used to be the policy to not charge for the rooms until you checked out if you were paying by card - most hotels do this - so I'd check with the hotel or MidCon to see that's the case: this page is not an official MidCon site, John Harrington is on the committee but he doesn't handle bookings or hotel arrangements.

http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/
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John Harrington
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ousgg wrote:
What would be awesome, if probably impractical, would be to have a 'games pending' Twitter feed on a big screen, so people could just have a look at the screen and find out what games they could join.

Might be possible with the hotel's cooperation...


Good idea. I'll mention it to the committee.

I've got a couple of spare monitors up in the loft; they are around 19"/22" in size, so not exactly massive. The hotel might have a bigger screen available for hire.
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John Harrington
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solove wrote:
How about signs (saying 'Looking for players' on long sticks, that could be stood on a table, while being set up? Keeps all technological knowledge down to 'Can read sign on stick'.


Well, it would not do any harm I suppose but ...


Because it works so well, the "old lags" are disinclined to support any alternative system, whether it be waiting lists on a notice board, giant flags on tables where players are wanted, loud criers shouting "Just one more wanted for a game of Railway Rivals" or scheduled gaming events (notwithstanding the success of Ben Bateson's Kniziathon).

I like the idea of using social media though it's odds on that no one will be able to get a signal on their phone in the Garden Room, isn't it?
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John Harrington
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If you are planning to book, today (Tuesday, Oct 31) is the last day to get the cheaper registration rate.

I've just booked for number 2 son. As a committee member I don't normally have to register, so going through the registration process was new to me but I can confirm that the online booking system http://www.boardgamers.org.uk/booking.php does take your credit card details but specifies that no money will be taken until you check out.

The registration fee, meanwhile, is Paypal only, because MidCon can't take credit card bookings.

So, to sum up: you'll need to use PayPal to pay for the registration (do it today to get the cheap rate) and to give your credit card details to book a room, though no money will be charged to your credit card account until you check out (and, in fact, there is nothing to stop you paying in cash or with a different credit card).

Now, on to more important matters: booze (see next post).
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John Harrington
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Did somebody mention beer?

Here is what we have ordered for Friday and Saturday.

3 boxes (20 litres each) of the Gold (Gold!) and Hoplite ales from Derventio, both of which are 4.2% ABV. Both pale and a bit citrusy from what I remember as well, but that's the fashion these days.

2 boxes of the Spartan IPA (5.3%)

One box of Cleopatra (5% and another fruity one)

One box of Eagle Porter, which is a London Porter, ABV 4.5%.

One box of zider.

I've specified the cider should be somewhere between 4.5% and 6% ABV and the brewery came back and asked whether we wanted sweet, medium or dry.

My guess would be dry, but medium might be what my old chum Kevin Warne would have called the SDP option.

Any preference among you cider drinkers?
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Ben Bateson
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Fiendish wrote:


Because it works so well, the "old lags" are disinclined to support any alternative system, whether it be waiting lists on a notice board, giant flags on tables where players are wanted, loud criers shouting "Just one more wanted for a game of Railway Rivals" or scheduled gaming events (notwithstanding the success of Ben Bateson's Kniziathon).



I must be turning into an old lag, then, because even I don’t support the idea of another Ben Bateson Kniziathon.
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Fiendish wrote:

Any preference among you cider drinkers?

Medium I think?
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Gavin Kenny
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As a first time attendee, can I ask when the bring and buy will be and what the procedure for registering things in it will be please?
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Ben Bateson
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gavken wrote:
As a first time attendee, can I ask when the bring and buy will be and what the procedure for registering things in it will be please?


I've been asking this for five years, but it always turns into a free-for-all.
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gavken wrote:
As a first time attendee, can I ask when the bring and buy will be and what the procedure for registering things in it will be please?


The bring and buy will be on Saturday, in these segments.


Bringing games to sell.

Buying games.

Repricing unsold games (optional).

Buying what's left.

Collecting money and unsold games (also optional, it seems).


The times that these things happen are a closely guarded secret before the event, but it's usually from noon to about 6PM for the whole affair. It's run by some chap called Harrington who will be using Linux OS on a 20 year old laptop with the wrong power supply to access his system at home to run a DOS spreadsheet via an emulation. Or perhaps something complicated.

Updates to follow, no doubt.
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Gavin Kenny
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Is it in a particular room or just to the side of the main games room?
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simon craddock
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For the last couple of years it has been in a separate room in the inn.
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