The Wellycon 2010 Report

Wellycon weekend was a cold grey drizzly Wellington winter weekend. I hoped the weather was miserable enough to encourage people away from outdoor pursuits but not so bad that they would stay at home, and I think my wish was granted.

Saturday

Call to Arms (a miniatures wargaming convention we were sub-leasing space from) occupied three quarters of the school hall plus the stage with their large green tables covered in hand painted miniatures. The Wellycon area with its plain tables initially looked boring by comparison, but once people started playing games we looked more colourful and more crowded.

Over a 100 people made it to Wellycon 2010 and played over 70 different games. We started with 15 gaming tables but ran out by lunch time and had to put out more. There was a good mix of beginners who were keen to find out about games, casual gamers who wanted to wanted to increase their experience and try stuff out and the “usual suspects” – people who play games regularly and were our main source of games and rule experts.

Due to the number of people wanting to learn games we had to rely on impromptu teachers pitching in to help out. We might have to be better organised next year as learning new games is one of the things that people going to Wellycon are very keen on.

Last year Wellycon scored a coup by having the first copy of Endeavor in New Zealand. This year Andrew Rae and Jarratt Grey organised an Endeavor Tournament (Wellycon’s first tournament). Twenty people entered and the winners in the first round got to play in the final (on the left). The scores in the final were:


Jarratt 53
Anthony 52
John 45
Sam 42
Juliet 40

Jarratt also brought along prototypes for a couple of alternative boards for Endeavor and a set of alternative counters to replace the original blue extra action counters. Shem Philips conducted a play test of the prototype of his game Selandia. Last thing on Saturday night Andrew Rae brought out the prototype of Extravagances, a Pit-like negotiation filler game to finish off the evening with. This play testing of prototype games by local game designers is becoming another Wellycon tradition, and provides the designers opportunities to test their games with a wider audience and give attendees a chance to see what may end up in the shops one day.

The food and drinks being sold from the Hall kitchen for reasonable prices ($1.50 for a hot drink, 50c for a refill, $3 for a hot pie etc) by Call to Arms were a popular lunch and snack option.

The $2 Family Session organised by Minty Hunter and Andrew Rae, helped by Minty’s son Sam, attracted about 14 kids. They played three games of Halli Galli, one game of Happy Sheep, three of The Adventurers and lots of Toppletree. I’m sure there were other games going on too. The session went on an hour and a half longer than planned and Minty saw two young kids learn Adventurers and then go on to teach it to some adults, and he saw one adult sit down alone with Toppletree obviously thinking “Hah, how hard can it be to build a tree?”. A few seconds later he was picking up pieces off the floor. The noise of happy children and sound of Toppletree falling over was obvious evidence of how successful the session was.

After dinner Quiz Master Andrew Rae ran a team game of Wits and Wagers involving everyone (about 40 at that time) with simplified rules and New Zealand oriented questions. He ran into controversy and lack of nerve over how many NZ mountains were over 3000m.

The rest of the evening was free for gaming until 10pm.

Sunday

On Sunday we arrived to a health and safety issue of a dangerously dangling light fitting. Apart from that things were less chaotic for the organisers as many of the people were returnees from the day before, and we managed to play some games ourselves.

Wellycon tradition dictates that there is a fire alarm on the Sunday. Tradition also dictates that gaming continue outside. So half a dozen of us played the push-your-luck game of Zombie Dice in the drizzle while the alarm blared in the background. The aim of this dice game is to collect more brains than other players and stop before you get hit by three shotgun blasts. The “all clear” came before we could start a second game.

At lunchtime there was a popular swap and sell session which had the feeling of a bazaar with people hawking their pre-loved games and haggling over swaps and prices. We will have to hold the trading session in a larger space next year.

One feature of all Wellycons has been the prize giving. We gave away prizes supplied by David Taylor of Seriously Board, Robyn and Graham Macgregor of All Aboard and Peter Noble of BoardGameRentals.

This year the Best and Fairest Award won by Sam Whitely. The Gamers Gamer was presented to Ceedee Doyle who scored the copy of Power Grid: Factory Manager donated by Frank Eisenhauer (ex-Wellington now Kazakhstan). Both were well deserving and enthusiastic all weekend.

All good things come to an end and as 4pm approached people switched to shorter filler games. The Call to Arms caterers came around offering free pies as people were packing up.

There were a few things left behind, so if you are missing something please contact wellycon at gmail dot com.

Let us know what you thought of Wellycon 2010 and help us make Wellycon 2011 even better. More Tournaments? Trading on both days? Another Family Session? Leave a comment telling us what you liked, disliked, what we could do better and what you’d like to do next year.

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