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Subject: MidCon 2018 - a bit earlier this year on November 2 -4 (back to November 8 - 10 in 2019) rss

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Ben Bateson
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CharlieWilson wrote:
I am thinking (seriously!) about attending for the first time this year.
I tried booking a room at both Hallmark Derby hotels using the "MidCON" code and the website feedback for both hotels said that there were no rooms available.
Before I pay the 'normal' rate I wanted to check is it normal for the room allocation to be sold-out by now?

Thanks


Yes, probably. They sell out early.
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Charlie Wilson
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ousgg wrote:
CharlieWilson wrote:
I am thinking (seriously!) about attending for the first time this year.
I tried booking a room at both Hallmark Derby hotels using the "MidCON" code and the website feedback for both hotels said that there were no rooms available.
Before I pay the 'normal' rate I wanted to check is it normal for the room allocation to be sold-out by now?

Thanks


Yes, probably. They sell out early.


B£$$er. devil

Thank you for the confirmation.
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Alex Bardy
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I hope you'll still consider joining in - my 'plan' is straightforward: play as many games as I possibly can, pausing only for food and/or drink... Hell, if it's my own game(s) I'm playing will probably skip the 'pausing only for' bit, too!
We'll see... I've been called a social animal before, and haven't a clue whether that's a compliment or not... lol
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Charlie Wilson
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I have signed up - after mis-booking the hotel for Sat and Sun nights rather then Fri and Sat <duh>. whistle

Doesn't bode well for my game-playing skills!
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Alex Bardy
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Glad to hear you're sorted... I will be on the lookout for players, and for games to play one way or t'other... and need to find some victims... erm... players for a 3-hr (approx) game of Star Trek Ascendancy... lol
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John Harrington
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CharlieWilson wrote:
I have signed up - after mis-booking the hotel for Sat and Sun nights rather then Fri and Sat <duh>. whistle

Doesn't bode well for my game-playing skills!


Well, it is useful to know that there are still rooms available.

If anyone tries to book a room and there are none available, try the Aston Court Hotel, which is right across the road from the hotel (next door to the Hallmark Inn).

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John Harrington
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mangozine wrote:
Thanks fur the update -- not on Facebook, but will check out Twitter account and start 'pushing' it if you want...

And will do the B'n'B thing when I return to UK -- where are the updates being posted? Are email updates getting sent to attendees? Haven't seen any yet.

All the best.


Once again, I conspicuously failed to find the time this weekend to transfer my hard drive over from my broken PC to my functioning PC, so I still have not updated the web site; however, you can download laat year's spreadsheet from this URL: http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/Docs/Bringbuy2017.xlsx

Anyone who is intending to sell games at the Bring & Buy can use that. Fill in the details and email the spreadsheet to me [john AT fbgames.co.uk] and I will add them to the master spreadsheet, at which point I will assign game IDs to the games you have for sale.

I probably won't make the master spreadsheet available online before the con but a hard copy of it will be available from about 9.00am on the Friday morning in a lever-arch folder on a desk - either the con's registration desk or the desk in the corridor between the hotel's registration desk and the main gaming room (the Garden Room).

The folder will also include lots and lots and lots of blank sheets (well, blank, other than the game IDs) so that people who have not registered the games they have for sale electronically can do so by taking away some entirely blank sheets (i.e. not a half-completed sheet that has someone else's games for sale on it) and filling in the details.

If you do take away some sheets and list the games you have for sale, please remember to return the sheets by 9.30am on Saturday morning.

I'll also leave some post-it pads near the folder so that people may, if they wish, "sticker up" their games before schlepping them over to the Aston Court (where the Bring & Buy is being held) to register them.

Information to go on the post-it sticker

Game ID
Price

You can put the game name if you wish; this is occasionally useful if the post-it becomes detached from the game.

You don't have to put your name on the post-it.

In the past, some people have tried to be helpful by using their own post-it notes and numbering system. As with a lot of things done with the best intentions, this often ends up creating extra work for us at a time when we're operating at maximum stress levels.

The above is probably as clear as mud. If you have any questions, post 'em here.
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Charlie Wilson
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Fiendish wrote:
CharlieWilson wrote:
I have signed up - after mis-booking the hotel for Sat and Sun nights rather then Fri and Sat <duh>. whistle

Doesn't bode well for my game-playing skills!


Well, it is useful to know that there are still rooms available.



Unfortunately, this was not MidCON rates but normal punter "pay up-front with no breakfast" rates. Mind you it's reputed to be a 3-person room!!

Now I just need to decide whether to book the Friday night at the hotel and drive down arriving ~21.00, or, get the "0-crack-sparrow-f@rt" train Saturday morning which arrives ~08.00. Decisions, decisions.
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Alex Bardy
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Sorry if this is a stupid question...

Have you already contacted the hotel to ask about changing Sun night to Fri?


I am planning to get down Friday afternoon-ish... hopefully arriving before 12... very hopefully... :-(
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Charlie Wilson
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mangozine wrote:

Sorry if this is a stupid question...

Have you already contacted the hotel to ask about changing Sun night to Fri?


I am planning to get down Friday afternoon-ish... hopefully arriving before 12... very hopefully... :-(



Yes, sort of when I asked about the cost of adding Friday. The terms and conditions are quite clear though: no amendments and no refunds.
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John Harrington
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Here is a message from our illustrious committee chairman, Jeremy, about the situation with the apparent disappearance of the MidCON discount when booking via the Hallmark web site.

“The MidCon committee has become aware of the apparent withdrawal of the MidCon booking code from the Hallmark room bookings page.

Although a number of Winter Sale offers are available, at little more than MidCon rates, this should, in our opinion, not have happened.

Your Chairman has had a discussion with the Hallmark management today (12 Oct), and believes that:

(a) the MidCON booking code should be restored early next week

(b) arrangements will be made such that anyone who has paid more than the MidCon rate will be refunded the difference between that, and what they actually paid.

This is yet to be confirmed, as the Events Team had all gone home by 17:30 Friday, when your Chairman breezed into the Hotel; however, he understands that the General Manager, with whom he spoke, has authority in these matters, and that it should be sorted out to our satisfaction.

Please be aware that this does not affect the arrangement by which MidCon bedrooms are only ring-fenced until the beginning of October (sic). There is no dispute about this, and convention-goers are now in competition with the world at large for available bedrooms.”


(Back to me again, now)

Well, there was me thinking the rooms were ring-fenced until the middle of October, so please accept my apologies for the bum steer on that one. To paraphrase the old electioneering slogan they used to use in Northern Ireland ("vote early, vote often"), the advice is "book early, book often"

On a serious note, it sounds like the hotel is going to sort out anyone who should have had a discount but did not get one so if, to quote the late Dennis Norden, you are one of those people, please contact the hotel.
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Charlie Wilson
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Thanks John. I will try that.
My concern is that I did try and ring the hotel a week or two back, got no answer, left my number for them to ring back as requested - and am still waiting.
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John Harrington
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CharlieWilson wrote:
Thanks John. I will try that.
My concern is that I did try and ring the hotel a week or two back, got no answer, left my number for them to ring back as requested - and am still waiting.


The person responsible for weddings and events at the Hallmark recently quit so I imagine things are in disarray.

I've just heard from Jeremy, the committee chairman, that the hotel has agreed to honour the traditional arrangement whereby the MidCon discount rate is available right up to the last day of the con. Contractually, they are not obliged to do so (we need to tweak that contract!)

I don't know whether this means the MidCON discount code thingy is working again on the Hallmark's online booking site; if it isn't then telephoning directly might be the thing to do or alternatively, you could raise it with the receptionist upon arrival and try out your negotiation skills. The Diplomacy players will probably deliberately choose the latter option ...

Six rooms have been set aside by the Hallmark for late bookers. When they are gone, they're gone, but there is still the option of the Aston Court hotel across the road or for the really adventurous, the Alexandra (a fantastic pub that is a five-minute walk from the con; if me and Paul Oakes stayed there we'd never make it as far as the con).


John
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Andy Pelton
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Also if the rooms at the Hallmark have gone, The Stuart (Best Western) is a good hotel and is just around the corner from the con (around 5 mins, just past a great Mexican restaurant) they had some rooms available when I booked the other day. :-)
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John Harrington
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peltazoid wrote:
Also if the rooms at the Hallmark have gone, The Stuart (Best Western) is a good hotel and is just around the corner from the con (around 5 mins, just past a great Mexican restaurant) they had some rooms available when I booked the other day. :-)


That's useful to know. Thanks, Andy.

The Stuart was one of the hotels we considered when we moved the con from Birmingham but the gaming room was barely big enough for our purposes. The con has grown in size by about 40% since then so it is just as well we opted for the Hallmark.

The web site was updated fairly substantially yesterday - there weren't enough typos on it so I added a few more.

Most of the updates were for the MidCon news page http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/news.htm and the Bring & Buy http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/bringbuy.htm

The con booklet is close to being finalised and may even be up on the web site this weekend.

Jeremy, our illustrious committee chairman, wants an HTML version of the con booklet so that people can <gasp> use the interweb thingy to find out things like when the quiz starts rather than querying a committee member (usually our illustrious chairman).

In theory, this should be possible to complete in time for the con; I just need to forgo sleep for a bit, which should be good practice for the con itself
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Ben Bateson
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Quote:
... so that people can <gasp> use the interweb thingy to find out things like when the quiz starts rather than querying a committee member (usually our illustrious chairman).


To the best of my memory, the quiz has NEVER started at the time advertised in any case.

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John Harrington
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ousgg wrote:
Quote:
... so that people can <gasp> use the interweb thingy to find out things like when the quiz starts rather than querying a committee member (usually our illustrious chairman).


To the best of my memory, the quiz has NEVER started at the time advertised in any case.



I know! Since we stopped being good at it, we've had to stay increasingly longer in the restaurant to avoid it whistle
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Alex Bardy
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Fiendish wrote:
[q="peltazoid"]
The web site was updated fairly substantially yesterday - there weren't enough typos on it so I added a few more.

Most of the updates were for the MidCon news page http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/news.htm and the Bring & Buy http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/bringbuy.htm

The con booklet is close to being finalised and may even be up on the web site this weekend.

Jeremy, our illustrious committee chairman, wants an HTML version of the con booklet so that people can <gasp> use the interweb thingy to find out things like when the quiz starts rather than querying a committee member (usually our illustrious chairman).

In theory, this should be possible to complete in time for the con; I just need to forgo sleep for a bit, which should be good practice for the con itself



I hope to get onto reading this at some point next week, if that's not too late...?

Sleep is for wimps... man up... lol

Alex
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John Harrington
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Hi Alex.

I am glad you found the MidCon thread that is not four years old

Thank you for putting this year's event in the Events bit of the MidCon guild. I must admit I have somewhat neglected the guild as the Facebook group seems to have largely supplanted it.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MidConDerby/

Next year is likely to be November 8-10. The year after, we have been offered November 13-15. Nothing is definite until the contracts have been signed but feel free to pencil these dates in your diary.

I've just received a reminder from a committee member about some feedback we received last year, namely: We should mention the option to download the BnB spreadsheet.

(That's the bring & buy spreadsheet, not the bed & breakfast spreadsheet).

I have tried to publicise it more this year ( http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/Docs/Bringbuy2018.xlsx ) but so far I have not been inundated with lists of games people want to sell.

Other B&B feedback: We don't give enough information/signage as to where the BnB is held.

We hope to address the signage issue this year by ... er ... having more signs.

For the record, the B&B is across the road in the Aston Court hotel in the Hardwick Suite. I have no idea where the Hardwick Suite is but hopefully it will be signposted (and on the ground floor).

http://www.fbgames.co.uk/Midcon/bringbuy.htm

This floorplan suggests it is on the ground floor. https://www.astoncourthotelderby.com/upload/docs/ach_astonco...

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Alex Bardy
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Hi John,

It looks like the B'n'B is only open at certain times (understandable) -- Would it be easier just to have a tannoy or loudspeaker system with occasional announcements? "The Diplomacy Championships srarts in 20mins in the...", "The Bring'n'Buy opens over at the Aston Hotel in 15mins...' etc. etc?

Just an idea...

Alex
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John Harrington
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mangozine wrote:
Hi John,

It looks like the B'n'B is only open at certain times (understandable) -- Would it be easier just to have a tannoy or loudspeaker system with occasional announcements? "The Diplomacy Championships starts in 20mins in the...", "The Bring'n'Buy opens over at the Aston Hotel in 15mins...' etc. etc?

Just an idea...

Alex


Cons seem either to have a manned Bring & Buy, open at limited times or a room that is open all day where sellers leave their games and contact details on each game and rely on putative buyers to track them down.

We've obviously gone for the first option (and with most of the Saturday taken up by the Bring & Buy for me and two other committee members, I sometimes wonder why!)

Committee member David Norman is our human tannoy system. He's responsible for official con bellowing but we try to limit the amount of bellowing he does.

I can't remember if he has bellowed a reminder in the past about the Bring & Buy but he has almost certainly done one for the MidCon quiz, so I'll see if he fancies doing it for the Bring & Buy.

There will be pocket-sized crib cards available on the registration desk detailing the times of important things like breakfast, the lunch & dinner buffet, Bring & Buy, real ale bar, the quiz and so on.

I always seem to forget to take one and then get embarrassed in the corridors when people ask me when the Bring & Buy start; for some reason, they expect me to have this info memorised
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Charlie Wilson
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Fiendish wrote:

Next year is likely to be November 8-10.



That would count me out; the Sunday is Remembrance Sunday.
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Ben Bateson
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Gosh, just found this and remembered we didn't do our traditional 'feedback for the committee (which Jeremy will then publish in the QLA if he is short of material). I may have said some stuff on the brand new Facebook group, but I can't remember what it was.

So, my general impression is: much better than last year!

thumbsup Staff at the Hallmark were, without exception, unfailingly patient, polite and utterly brilliant. Evidence of new management in place?

thumbsup Beer bar was generally better preserved and more amenable to feedback than last year. A few people got not-so-good pints, but mine were OK. I still don't think it's the best model for a beer bar, though - I'd be inclined to seriously research bottled ales for next year.

thumbsup Table space was not a problem at any stage of the weekend.

thumbsdown Breakfast at the Hotel is still being served somewhat lukewarm and they haven't sorted out that bloody toaster.

thumbsdown Anticipating a prompt 10pm start to a quiz, I hurried my poor table to a quick finish and dashed towards the quiz room...straight past Mr David Norman still playing a game of Istanbul! He then nearly had an asthma attack rushing after me in order to host his own quiz. Also seems to be recycling questions from about 5 years ago.

thumbsdown Car park charges and cost increases seem to be continuing unabated. I'm by no means a cheapskate (although Mr Oakes might differ after I fail to get a round in) but surely we must be entitled to some perks by now?
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John Harrington
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Thanks for the feedback, Ben.

If memory serves, my chauffeur (aka Beattie) did not have to pay for the car park, which surprised us slightly.

I will definitely look into ordering more bottled beers. Consumption of ale continues to decline even as attendance figures rise. I might also consider a change of provider although Derventio have been very good to us (and have kept their prices unchanged every year for - what? five years?

It has been many years since I attended the quiz but it never used to start on time, which I admit is a bit of a fail on the organisation front.
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Ben Bateson
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I would seriously consider the HandyCon bring’n’buy model as well. Seller puts an item out with their price and a phone number on a post-it note - job done.

I know you like to take a cut for charity, though. Perhaps rely on an honesty box?
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