Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Broken Knaves Gathered for Gaelcon

It's been awhile in the waiting, but the last segment of my 2014 series is here; my favourite events of 2014. As a gamer, the highlight of the year can easily be a good gaming event, but the best way to get the most out of your games in my opinion is to go to several. I went to 5 events in 2014. I enjoyed 4 of them. They are all fairly distinct from each other too, so I will talk about these 4 events and shamelessly plug them as I go. And I'm not going to lie; I have a personal interest in two of these so I may just plug them even more.

The first is technically two; Knavecon is actual a biannual event but both were just fantastic. The first was in March so I am going to start with this event. Knavecon is unique in that it is the only board game focused convention in the country; it doesn't hurt either that I'm now a member of the team. It could certainly be described as a family-friendly event, but I certainly wouldn't describe it for the faint of heart either, as this affair kicks off at a timely 10am and extends until the last person falls asleep, usually at about 5am. Don't get me wrong though; there is no pressure to go the whole nine yards, in fact what makes the event access the most is the nonrestrictive, open, and overall relaxing nature of the whole thing. Also, free coffee. It is the perfect event to try a new game, player with new people, or just simply get in that long day gaming session that you and your friends don't always have time for. Highly suggested, the next one is on April 11th in the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick; be there!

Moving on in time, the next of these events hits home in June in the grand venue of Thomond Park, also here in Limerick. I am of course talking about Conclave, one of the oldest events in the country, and run by the Gathering gaming store. While Conclave tries its hand at a bit of everything gaming wise, in my opinion the biggest strengths of the weekend have always been the wargaming and the card games. Over the years various pre-releases and national/international qualifiers have taken place at the event for card games, while several national championships for several war games have been given a home at the event also. Competition is fierce but friendly, and there is a level of prestige that can be boasted about the place. The event has grown over the years and continues to do so while continuing the attempt to push the boundaries of what a gaming convention is all about. The next Conclave will be on this June, so stay tuned to the Gathering's page for exact dates.

Also in the summer, and also in Limerick, is BroCon. Now I won't lie, I may or may not run it, so I may or may not say it is awesome. It may or may not be for that reason alone. But in all seriousness, BroCon has found a unique place amongst conventions down south as the only dual gaming and anime convention in Limerick, setting it apart in its own way. BroCon is still a young con, but this has given rise to an enthusiasm to deliver that goes with a younger generation. This is not to say this is an event for only young people; much like the cons above the attendees each year range from families with their kids, to some veteran gamers along for the craic. And whatever the reason to attend, there is something for everyone. Despite the duality with anime in this event, BroCon sports all types of gaming, from the wargames, RPGs, cards and board games you see at most gaming conventions, to other gaming such as consoles and LANs. As part of the package with being not solely focused on gaming, many special guests attend each year, ranging from voice actors to game designers. The weekend is topped off by a generous trade hall with plenty to see and buy so you are sure to leave your adventure with plenty of loot. Not to be missed, BroCon VI hits us this year on July 10th-12th.

The last event on the list, and the biggest also, is Gaelcon. Gaelcon is one of the largest events in the country, as well as one of the longest going. Run by the IGA this is a titan con for all things gaming. Competitive war games, board games galore, demos running everywhere, and unique events like a full-on Artemis simulator set-up are just some of the highlights Gaelcon have to show.
Always on the long weekend at the end of October, the event also boasts something very unique with being the only 4 day gaming event in the country. The event also boasts one of the toughest pub quizzes of all the conventions in the country, perfectly suited to the largely more mature crowd that make up the majority of the attendance. But we are all nerds in the end, and I would definitely recommend it for a weekend away gaming. This one is in Dublin unlike the rest, and takes place from October 23rd-26th this year. Don't miss out on a great long weekend.


So that's it for 2014. It was a great year, and to finish out, I ask you as always: what was your favourite gaming event of 2014 and why? And to move on to 2015, what gaming events are you planning on going to this year?


Got some more games coming up next time. Until then, you've been Tabled.

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