Gaelcon 33 will be online this year.

Our hopes for Gaelcon 33 changed as the news changed from week to week, but we have decided that we must have an online event. Various things influenced our decision:

  • The news about the pandemic and the vaccination rollout changes from week to week
  • We don’t know when we might have certainty about the numbers possible in the venue – we can’t predict when we might actually have solid information on which to base a plan for a physical convention.
  • Our intended venue is now part of the hotel quarantine system, and no one can predict when that might end. There is a plan for the civil service to have a team managing the process for 12 months, so that doesn’t bode well for us.
  • Given the rising cost of venues and the uncertainty about the pandemic and its aftermath, there is a significant financial risk if our numbers were to be limited – in fact, this cost is going to be an issue in the future, venue costs are the bulk of the cost of running Gaelcon, and and if they continue to spiral as they have, we may have to bump up the weekend price in future years
  • A hybrid event is technically possible, but in practice complex, and we weren’t willing to gamble the success of the convention and the enjoyment or accessibility of it trying to make major event of the year on making hybrid work successfully. That said, hybrid is the next challenge to overcome, and we might run some smaller, experimental hybrid events when we have enough people with the skills and time, without detracting effort from Gaelcon.
  • Several other events in the Fall have already opted to go online; the broad consensus seems to be that in-person events won’t be possible before December.

We have two main threads of ideas for themes, and we need to pick one soon, but I’m open to suggestions. Two strands were suggested: Resurrection/Rebirth/Renewal/Renaissance and Gaelcon with some sort of digital/online theme like Gaelcon-nected? Gaelcon Matrix, or Gaelcon Infinite. The VIP ticket holders lead on this choice, but your opinions and ideas are welcome.

I have some people already “volunteered” for the committee, and I will be approaching some other folks, but I am open to offers of help with preparing the con, whether on the committee, as writers or simply as staff. I have a form here for folks who’d like to get in the loop early, whether you want to help out form now, or just put a name down for helping on the weekend

In other news, the formal company registration to register the IGA as a Company Limited By Guarantee has been filed and accepted. Obviously, something which would in normal times have taken an hour in an office was stretched out over some time, and we have a few things to do yet like new bank accounts, but we will be able to have a genuinely open body with a wider membership. This wider membership means that we can move forward with more events and a broader range of things happening than we’ve been able to do in the past with our limited committee.

Finally, if you want to stay in touch with the IGA Community, don’t forget to Join our Discord

Mike Cosgrave

chair@iga.ie

 

Changing Course

The IGA needs a gamer friendly accountant  and solicitor to update our corporate structures.

As it currently stands, the IGA is officially constituted as an “Association unlimited by guarantee” like many other associations and clubs. However, this means that the liability of the members for any debts of the association is unlimited. In practice, while it is unlikely, if the IGA was the subject of a lawsuit which slipped past our insurance cover, the full cost could fall on the members. Understandably there are quite a few people who could and should be members who cannot sign up to that risk. It is a serious obstacle to expanding the membership and increasing our range of activities.

The limits flowing from the current structure have meant the burden of keeping the show on the road have fallen on a shrinking group whose goodwill has been worn out, while a great many people who have been active helpers aren’t members. People who weren’t formal members could be forgiven for feeling that the association was a sort of secret cabal with funny handshakes! Activities which should have been reviewed and kept fresh have become a little stale, or fell by the wayside.

The current committee are very much committed to changing this, most probably by converting to a “Company limited by guarantee”. There are many operations out there that will do this as an off the shelf setup. We have a few wrinkles which are slightly more complicated which we would like to get right. Therefore, we intend to take advice from someone who will do more than just a standard setup. We are also keen to get it done quickly.

This will not be without risk: it will certainly incur some annual fees, and we will need to find ways to meet those. We also face other challenges: convention venues are rising in cost, as is insurance. The association has a warchest, but without reviving our activities, we risk running into real problems in three or four years.

So we’d like suggestions from the community of suitable professionals who can do this. We are not looking for a freebie, but ‘mates rates’ would be nice. In any event, since we have to spend money on this, we’d prefer to spend it in our community. If you know someone, pop me an email to chair@iga.ie in confidence

Mike Cosgrave

Chair, IGA

Website

A new IGA Website is in bound….

The old IGA with the Eblana Academy will be moved to it’s own separate sub website for archiving.

Demo Squad Assemble – Dublin Comic Con Style

For another year, on the 12th – 13th August, Dublin Comic Con took place in the Dublin convention centre. We sent a couple members of our Demo Squad to show off their skills on Sunday of the con.

We arrived at the con early on Sunday morning, despite transport and traffic woes. Up in the dedicated tabletop gaming area, we set up with a pile of our own pickup and play RPGs and a stash of Sandbox’s board games.

It was a great weekend where we showed off a number of our favourites games including Luchador. Skulls proved a hit and a large number of people had an enjoyable experience with Ah Here Now, a very Irish equivalent of Cards Against Humanity. We even learnt a new game when we were introduced to Boss Monster, a fun cave exploring, adventure game with a twist. Thanks to Sandbox for showing us the game, looks like we might be adding a new game to our collection.

Boards game weren’t the only flavour of the day, groups were also introduced to the joys of Tabletop Roleplaying Games. One such game featured the antics of a scheming group of criminal bears (in hats) out to steal the prized contents of HoneyCon ’17 in “Honey Heist”, a one-page RPG by Grant Hewitt.

At the end of the day, we rounded everything off with many of our previously visitors returning for one final round of fun accusations and finger pointing in a huge game of Werewolves of Millers Hollow.

We would also like to thank Dublin Comic Con for giving us space and for Sandbox for helping provide some board games. Because of this, we were able to introduce people to the wonderful world of gaming.

Old World to Mantica – from Warhammer Fantasy Battle to Kings of War

“This is how the world ends . . . not with a bang but a whimper”

Image One

With the return of Nagash, the End Times were upon the Warhammer World

When T.S.Eliot wrote about the world ending without a cataclysmic event he was not talking about the doom of the Warhammer World. Ending spectacularly with the destruction of the world, the Warhammer Fantasy universe concluded explosively, with a new universe taking its place. The Age of the Warhammer World was over, and the Age of Sigmar has begun.

Veteran Warhammer players enjoyed the Warhammer universe because it had wonderful depth, and had a rather dark and gritty feel to it. The models to accompany the universe were arguably the best miniatures in the world. Rules-wise, many of us felt that they were reasonable but could be improved upon. Towards the end of Eighth Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle, many of the armies were brought up to date and they were more balanced than we’d seen since the Ravening Hordes version at the outset of Sixth Edition.

Image Two

The tome that was Eighth Edition

Things were not all wonderful in the garden however. Games Workshop were acutely aware of the vulnerability of their Warhammer Fantasy Intellectual Property which itself was based heavily on the worlds created by Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons. In addition, Warhammer Fantasy Battle simply didn’t sell particularly well, and there were many barriers to entry – particularly for the new wargamer. Barriers included the high model count (meaning high cost) and rules that were occasionally complex and always voluminous.

Games Workshop decided that the best solution would be to close this chapter on the Warhammer World, and start afresh. Over the space of a series of sourcebooks which provided some wonderful new fiction and artwork, not to mention interesting rules and scenarios, the End Times story developed a punishing narrative for the Warhammer World until its final destruction. All eyes were on Games Workshop for the next edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle and all players eagerly awaited the next instalment in the series.

Image Three

The Age of Sigmar rules were released without charge on the Games Workshop website with much fanfare among the gaming communities. A new offering, an entirely new proposition, was launched – one that bore almost no resemblance to what had gone before. Entirely removed were hefty tomes of rules, replaced with four pages of text. Out the window went ranked units, replaced with individual models on round bases. A new world was being developed and built, with new narratives formed.

Reaction from players varied widely. Many lapsed players saw this as an opportunity to return to the game and dusted off old models. New players applauded that the game was far easier and cheaper to get started with.

Image Four

White Dwarf 148 – The Battle of Blood Keep

Every wargamer has had a moment where the game became a hobby. My moment was reading a battle report in White Dwarf in early 1992 which included the army above. I loved the ranked units, the tactics and strategy and the wonderful models and terrain. It captured my imagination of how a wargame should look and feel, and I’ve been biased towards that aesthetic and those mechanics ever since.

Age of Sigmar doesn’t look or feel the same as this, and the game has moved in a different direction. Without the game aesthetics and ranked unit strategies, and with the destruction of the World that was developed over three decades the game lost a lot of its stickiness for veteran players.

Image Five

An Age of Sigmar demonstration game

One of the games that retains much of this is Mantic’s offering – Kings of War – and many veteran players have found refuge here. Written by Alessio Cavatore, who penned many rules sets for Games Workshop,the game has a very familiar vibe to Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The rules are simple, but allow enough room for grand strategies and tactics on the tabletop.

Image Six

A Kings of War battle

Mantic’s models range is developing and is not at the same level as Games Workshop’s at present. Thankfully, Mantic are happy to allow players to use non-Mantic models for their game – even at their own events. Many of us are using Games Workshop models in Kings of War and it’s very straightforward to port entire armies from Warhammer to Kings of War, so the transition is very easy and smooth – certainly an added bonus!

The world of Mantica certainly has room to grow and needs to develop its depth. Right now, the world doesn’t feel as iconic as the Old World or Ulthuan did in the Warhammer setting. Recent releases have improved this, but there’s some distance left to go before the Mantica world has that epic feel.

One important thing for Irish gamers is the availability of games. While the Kings of War community is relatively small and new, it’s developing well with five events scheduled in the first half of 2016. Alongside this, many gaming clubs have growing Kings of War player bases, which is hugely encouraging for those of us who enjoy the game.

For anyone looking for alternatives to the Warhammer World, there are many new options including Dragon Rampant and Frostgrave which are well worth a try. Kings of War ticks many of the boxes for this veteran gamer including being elegantly simple to learn, allowing old collections of miniatures to be fielded en masse – and having a wonderful feel of large unit strategies throughout!

Giving What you Catan

Check out this charity event on August 1st. Get your boardgaming fix for a good cause 🙂

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/giving-what-we-catan-board-game-tournament-tickets-17671871042

Gaelcon Submissions

Despite what the weather might indicate spring is fast coming to a close and soon summer will be upon us and the Gaelcon committee are busily planning for the 2015 convention over the October bank holiday weekend (23rd – 26th October).

We in the RPGs and LARPs department are grateful that we’ve got such a vibrant gaming community to work with in this country, one that continually produces top notch games despite it’s small size. Writing for the convention nets you con entry, a bag of goodies, food & drink while you run your game, and last but by no means least, the unending gratitude of the RPG & LARP team. Writing multiple games will net you all that, plus additional fabulous and/or mysterious “stretch-goals”*

Submissions are now open. Phase one for submissions ends on 31st of May – after this point we enter Phase two and begin constructing our timetable. We will continue accepting submissions until the 30th of June but preferential treatment will be given to games submitted by the May 31st deadline. We know people are eager to find out what’s running at conventions and plan their schedules accordingly so we aim to finalise the timetable and have it online before the end of summer.
As ever we can’t always accept every game that we are sent, but we will make sure to notify people as soon as we know how our timetable is progressing.

If you have an idea for a game, then email us at rpgs@gaelcon.com or larps@gaelcon.com

Vaticon – Eblana Stand

Vaticon is happening this weekend in UCD! With the L5R kotei and two of the largest ongoing LARPS (Gilgamesh and Higher Powers) on it’s sure to be a good one.

Don’t forget to swing by our Eblana stand to say hello and ask about the game.