Would you go to a UK Old School Con?

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Ok seriously considering this one for 2013.  D101 Games has a bit of a split personality, in that we have our OSR games ( OpenQuest  and Crypts & Things ) and then our Storytelling/indie games ( Monkey, WordPress and our HeroQuest supplements ).  This means that its always abit fun and games when I go to conventions. Which side of D101 should I show off the most? Well the answer depends on the focus of the con.  While most UK cons are a good mix of old and new, with indie games probably scoring a little bit higher because everyone wants to try new stuff out, unlike the storytelling/indie stuff there’s no dedicated con like Indie-con and Old School games while happening are sort of this novelty game in the corner type affair. In short I always feel a bit odd, that on one hand I meet some cracking players who I have a great game with but come away from the gaming table to the bar and wandering around and Old School gaming is a bit unloved.

So I’d like to have a dedicated residential con for Old School Gaming.

Game policy would be pretty draconian: Nothing after 1989 OR that doesn’t demonstrates a strong influence direct in its rules or game play, ie. a modern edition or a tribute game.  I would also want to encourage a wide selection of games, so its not just an OSR D&D con.

So talking three groups

Published before 1990: OD&D, D&D basic/expert/companion, AD&D 1st & 2nd ed, Traveller, RuneQuest II & III, Judge Dredd (GW), Warhammer Fantasy 1st Ed, DragonWarriors, Golden Heroes and of course Call of Cthulhu!

Retro-clones/Tribute Games: Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords and Wizardry, OpenQuest, Crypts and Things.

Modern Editions: MRQ2/Legend, Warhammer 2nd Ed (but not 3rd)

I do have a time and venue in mind, but I want to see if this one has legs before I risk the wrath of the short wee wifey.  D101 would be doing the organising (so it would have “D101 Games presents”), but I would hope to have other Old School publishers involved.

Drop me a line if you would be into helping with this at newt@d101games.com.

Leave comments below if you have any ideas.

23 thoughts on “Would you go to a UK Old School Con?

  1. I’d love such a con, but – for health reasons – would be reasonably restricted on location, travel etc So I voted “yes”, but the ultimate decision would be made once I knew the location, accommodation details etc

  2. I don’t live in the UK any more, but I’d think about coming to such a convention. I am always jealous of all the awesome sounding old-school cons in the US, and have often thought it’s high time someone did something like that in Europe!

  3. I really don’t think there would be enough interest to make it viable. The OSR doesn’t seem to be anywhere near as big here as in the US. You see very little of it at the existings cons over here.

    Oh, and by including CoC, you run the very real risk of it just becoming a Cthulhu con, which I imagine would not be ideal.

    Sorry to be the party pooper, I’d love it if something like this could be a success, it’s just that I genuinely believe there isn’t the market for it here.

    – Neil.

    PS. Any chance of being able to subscribe to comments by email? I’m hopeless at remembering to come back and check for follow-ups.

    • Its not about the ‘Market’, its about the Community 🙂 I learnt that one with Furnace 😉 (for which I was one of the chief organisers for four years ).

      There’s alot of UK OSR above ground, Cubicle 7, Serpent Kings and Mongoose stuff for example.

      Also there’s alot off the beaten track stuff, Trav Con, TimCon (which some one else mentioned) and people playing at home who would come to cons if the games they played were represented. All it takes is one of thier mates to come to a con where we are advertising and taking sign ups or see an ad on the internet and bang they are there.

      Plus you’d get a fair chunk of friends from the regular con circuit who’d enjoy a weekend of old school gaming, and are not to fussy that they wouldn’t be able to run/play their Savage or Fate, but instead got a weekend of Traveller or old school RQ.

      As for it becoming a Cthulhu Con, the only time I’ve ever witnessed that near happening was in the late 90s at Battlemasters where Mike Mason and the Kult of Keepers were in full flow and even then we had a strong D&D presense due to Living Sabeneer[sp?] + the Battlemasters City of Sokal campaign.

  4. Isn’t TimCon a WFRP 1st Ed con? If there is enough interest to make a WFRP 1st Ed Con viable then surely there is enough interest in an Old School Con that includes WFRP as well as D&D and older editions of Runequest which both have pretty big fanbases even here in the UK. Okay so it might be a hundred people in a village hall to play games rather than a couple of thousand with vendors, etc., but still…

  5. Yeah I was imagining something along the lines of the north American OSR con of last year. How many people went to that? In the order of 50 or so I thought (though perhaps I’m wrong)… I don’t think that’s infeasible for a UK / European old-school con.

  6. This got cross-posted to dragonsfoot here.

    My understanding is that North American OSR cons get attendance of 3-400, and my impression is that there’s a substantial community of old schoolers on our side of the pond too. 🙂

    I’d certainly be interested in an old school con, but I’m shockingly bad at checking back at future comments, so if this does happen please could somebody prompt me by email ? osric (at) knights-n-knaves dot com. Thanks muchly!

    • Crikey I never knew the NA cons were so big! I was thinking specifically of the “OSR con” in Toronto… I didn’t get the impression that had attendance into the hundreds. Anyway, as Andrew S said below, even with only 20 people or so (and I’m sure more than that could easily be mustered) it would still be a lot of fun.

  7. Strange, I was speculating on how cool something like this would be only last week. Whilst I have no idea make how many UK OSR gamers there are I think it’s far preferable to try and fail than not try at all. Besides, even a dozen attendees make for a satisfying weekend. I’ll send you an email and, depending on dates and location, will be happy to offer whatever help I can.

    • Bizarre text insertion. What I meant to say was:

      Strange, I was speculating on how cool something like this would be only last week. Whilst I have no idea how many UK OSR gamers there are I think it’s far preferable to try and fail than not try at all. Besides, even a dozen attendees would make a satisfying weekend. I’ll send you an email and, depending on dates and location, will be happy to offer whatever help I can.

  8. Yeah, probably with the cavaet of being free that weekend and it’s location. Residential? As in multi-day thing? That might be harder than agreeing to a one day thing somewhere centrally-based.

  9. I did see a few old school games at Dragonmeet; it might be best to start by colonizing a section of an existing con, presenting the games as a block (not conflicting with each other timewise) and promoting it relentlessly. That would be a gauge of how much interest there would be for a stand-alone event.

  10. @Roger GS: That’s a good idea actually, and makes sense as Newt was talking about organising an old-school specific con in 2013. Dragonmeet 2012 might be a good place to start. (I’ve never been, but if there was a block of OSR goodness I’d be up for it!)

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