I had a really good day at the Beer & Pretzels weekend organised by Spirit Games in Burton. Never having been to this event before I did not know what to expect, especially as there was little information on the web site about exactly what would be going on.
The location of event, in Burton Town Hall, was great. Two minutes walk from the train station and you were in the event. Entry was just £4 for the day and by the time I arrived, around 30 minutes after opening, there were no queues.
Inside the place was buzzing with the main hall, including the stage, packed with tables. It was clear from a quick walk round that the focus of the event was board games and war games. Of which there was a huge variety from a beautifully modeled Napoleonic war game on 8′ square tables to silly kids games in the bar.
There were sign up sheets for RPG games, mostly organised by the Cannock Games Club but RPGs were definitely in the minority. I tried to organise two sessions during the day but only managed to find players for one. I think other RPGs also struggled to find players.
However the session I did run was great. Three players, the youngest was about 11, the middle one around 18 and the oldest in their thirties, all picked the game up very quickly. It was satisfying to see such a diverse group of players not only grasp the concept incredibly quickly but also push it, trying out different and imaginative combinations of cards.
Later on, I played a game of Frontline: D-Day, a World War II squad level card game. The mechanics were very impressive and did a good job mimicking the ebb and flow of combat.
All in all, a good day out. The take away lesson for me was that I need a 30 minute demonstration game for when I cannot find enough players for a full session. A one or two person demonstration encounter that I can entice people into playing on the fly will be a great help for future cons.