I had been looking forward to Poldercon for quite some time, as the concept gripped me from the onset. I only go to a few cons each year (Crisis is a must, and Impact because it is local (sadly it won't be done this year) and Figz because it is all about the figures. I pass on Ducosim as it is not really a show but more of a get together to game) and most are about planning purchases and meeting friends. So usually by 12 I've met everyone and I'm out of money. Granted, the Crisis show has changed for me since Will from PSC lets me work for him as Sales so he can take a breather and talk to other companies and customers, limiting my Crisis time to one hour off, but I actually like that as I can make a run past the shops I have pre orders with, make a single trip past the Bring and Buy and eye all of the tables once, which stops my impulse buys dead in the water. Will is responsible for saving me so much money! And all my mates and people who know me visit me at the shop at their own leasure. But back to Poldercon....
Planning is what I must do a lot, so to have a convention with 4 slots to plan plus some time for lunch is ideal for me in more then 1 way. I have my day planned (pro), I know what to expect (big pro) and I can play the games I'm actually interested in and not worry about rushing them or playing them with 4-6 new players at the same time (which my brain just cannot compute, I'm a 1 on 1 kind of guy)(again pro). Cost seemed a bit high from the onset, 17.50 euro for a convention while my expensive one to date (Crisis) is 10 euros, but look at it this way:
4 games/workshops at 2,50 euro each plus a 7,50 euro lunch
Really, try beating those prices if you eat at a convention (ok, you can bring your own lunch but let's pretend you don't) and then still complain "it is too expensive". There, I said it.
So I had 4 games/workshops planned,
- Chain of Command
- Speech by Clarke How to do a Demo
- Pijlie's Scenery Workshop
Convention day! I picked up a mate of mine in Tilburg and went to the location. I found it very easy to get to, directions from Tom Tom were spot on. There was plenty of parking at the venue and the venue looked excellent from the outside. Upon entering we said our names and were marked off the list, and got a counter for the lunch. Twas still early so we had a stroll to look at the tables. This was some high quality stuff, in a well lit room, and even a couple of shops (not that I had any money other then 5 euros my mate gave me for gas). Since my day was booked and my mates wasn't we went around looking for slots for him to fill, and after a while I said goodbye and went to my first table.
First date: Pulp Alley
Wow, I have not had so much fun at a game I never played from the start, it was dead easy to pick up, the host was excellent, the scenery lovely and the figures well painted. We, the players, even got a goodybag with a card, 2 dice, a special grenade template and free Pulp Alley figure, and the mentioned card was actually usable in the game.
Malebolgia drew up a excellent battlereport you can find here, Game 1
And yes, I lost. Hey, I played Nazi's, of course I lost :P But I had so much fun!
By the end of the gameI shook hands and when I got up I felt really drained, I had been paying attention for almost 90 minutes and it had left me drained. Not having breakfast (I overslept) didn't help either and I felt a huge headache coming on. Because so, I emptied my waterbottle, refilled it, and emptied it again, and then wondered what to do. Next up was Clark with his How to do a Demo but I wasn't sure if I was up to the task of listening again for 90 minutes, so I passed. I hope no one was upset with me passing up the event.
So...do nothing for 90 minutes or find a open slot at something simple? Well, as it was, the styrodur tutorial had a set open and I set myself down to see if it would be interesting. Well, the guy leading it alternated time between mee and other chap, making sure we did it step by step. And you know what? This is dead simple to do! It just takes some time, a sharp and blunt pencil and a ruler, plus a sharp knife. I looked at this stuff before, during my first stint with Mordheim when it came out, but back then I could not afford the cutting machine. Now I can (but I don't have any money). I did spend my 5 euros on a starter kit of foam so I can experiment some more at home, and that was another 90 minutes well spent.
Lunch. Not much I can say about it, it was very good, but due to a misunderstanding (the drinks were labeled as 1,50 each) me and many others took no drinks. But they were included! As lunch was 1 hour, I went back to the Styrpor/dur table to do some more work and learn more tricks.
My 2nd game of the day was Saga, the Crusades edition. I was curious for this game as quite a few people I know play it. I'm interested in the periods. But I never really got how it worked from reading all of those batreports. Due to the fact my headache was really bad right now Ican't tell you too much about it, other then that my Crusaders won combat by a landslide, then won again with massive casualties, and then got impaled on Saracen infantry. I didnt have the idea I was able to command an army with the dice given me (something I don't mind in Battlegroup cause I'm used to it)'cause you could do all of those funny combos with your dice or get fatigued, and while fatigues you couldn't do much. Sort of. For my troubles, I got a free miniature to choose from a lot, and I chose a Norman with a spear, neat!
Anyway, game over in under an hour (later I heard in all 4 games the Crusaders lost big time!) so back to the styropor table. More cutting ensued, now with added glazing.
Next up was Pijlie's Workshop, Making simple and cheap scenery. Pijl explained things very well, and I found that it all came back to me so went along with great ease, and made a nice ruin for Mordheim, only to have my headache do a number on me, causing me to reverse 2 wall and ruining the top floor....bloody typical. It did teach me that I can get some extra mileage from my glue gun and the stack of foamboard I still got lying around! Double bonus! With that finished, time had come for me to leave. I still had to drive for almost 2 hours with a massive headache so could not sit around for the final bit of prizes handed over to best table, game and what not.
But not so quickly, we got a goodybag at the exit! A very nice gesture, it netted me the following: A 15% off coupon from Sally 4th (if anyone wants it, let me know, it is valid till the 8th of this month), a 10% off coupn from www.sceneryworkshop.nl/ (valid till 2 days ago, bugger...), a Subcultures discount card (again, if anyone wants it, let me know, I'll mail it to you), a 10% discount at http://www.statuesqueminiatures.co.uk/ who do some interesting models as well as a free Early War German soldier sprue (28mm) and a 28mm plastic Roman sprue, both from Warlord Games. Edit: I know for sure there was also a discount coupon for Pulp Alley included, but I seem to have lost it? Damn, I want that game.
Quite nice of them to include these.
Then I took the long drive home, kissed my wife and crashed in bed only to wake up again at noon the next day, I was that beat.
So, would I do this again? Well, if I had a proper breakfast, brought plenty of water and painkillers, and picked the games I'm really interested in in, of course I would. Or even better: Hell yeah! I'm even thinking about possibly doing 20mm Battlegroup as a demo (though I am a little insecure about my own skills to build a board and demo the game right now) though that would mean not being able to see so many interesting demos myself. Dilemma :) Even though I know this would strain me to the max, I would not want to miss it!
Oh, and it was great fun meeting Malebolgia and Pijlie, 2 great gamers all round. It was nice to finally put faces to screennames I know from the LAF