From Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd of April we were busily trading at the Student Nationals1)a wargaming and roleplaying convention hosted by UK universities – well, busily some of the time.
Even more so than any other convention we’ve been to, Student Nationals has a very sporadic sort of trading cycle – during the big gaming blocks that take up most of the day there are only a handful of people available to visit the traders hall, while large numbers of customers tend to turn up all at once at lunchtime and in the evenings.
This year’s Nationals was the first ever to be hosted by Nottingham university, and they did an admirable job of organising things – but they also made some significant errors. I’ll stick to stuff related to trade, as I didn’t really get to see any of the rest of the con:
- Volunteers from the Nottingham team were willing and able to help unload goods from vehicle to trade hall. (Far from vital but certainly useful)
- The trade hall itself was in an airy, well-lit room, and had the appropriate number of traders for its size
- There was relatively little overlap in the set of traders – with what overlap there was being in core aspects of the tabletop hobbies.
- The trade hall was prone to overheating – it was structured similarly to a greenhouse, which made running a stall continuously somewhat unhealthy.
- The organisers failed to account for the human frailty of the traders, planning for the trade hall to be open for 14 hours on Saturday, as well as 7 hours Friday and 10 hours on Sunday.
As mentioned above, Nationals unavoidably has long periods of downtime for traders, which means a lot of time just sitting, thinking and chatting – it’s generally not the best idea to pull out a laptop or book while manning a stall – and combined with that we had a couple of two hour car journeys.
During that time we discussed a number of future projects, but there are three things that stand out in my mind:
- A Mechbuilding Game: combining deckbuilding with worker placement, this game would involve building a mech while also recruiting new crew into your deck with different advantages when played.
- A game of conquest and betrayal – where the players may co-operate or betray each other, but the victory conditions are different depending on whether the team as a whole wins or loses.
- Moving the next line of Concept Cards to Modern Day, with Cyberpunk and Supers expansions.
- As part of this, having stretch goals on the Kickstarter to make future decks – that aren’t rolled into that kickstarter. Instead, stretch goal decks would get their own project, after delivery.
We sold a lot of stock at Nationals, both of Concept Cards and of the 3D Total Games products we’ve been stocking (“Escape the Nightmare” and “404: Law Not Found”) but more importantly (in my mind) we met a lot of fans of Concept Cards, people who’d either backed the early Kickstarters or bought a few last year, and now wanted to pick up the rest – it’s always encouraging to know that those who have used some of our decks want the rest.
We also made a significant wholesale deal with another trader there: within the next few days we should have Concept Cards available for purchase on Apprentice Games
Next monday I’ll be back with a little more information on the Modern Day Concept Cards ideas.
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