April 12-15 this year we were in Glasgow for the Student Nationals or NSGRC1)National Student Gaming and Roleplaying Championships 2019 where we had a great time despite some unfortunate setbacks.
Student Nationals always has problems – it’s a convention that moves every year and is always organised by students who’ve never organised a convention before. If it went perfectly I’d get a little bit scared.
So the problems we saw at this particular nationals:
- The roads around the buildings being used were under massive amounts of roadworks. This wasn’t the organiser’s fault – they had no forewarning of the works – but it did cause some transport issues.
- The board-game groups didn’t have the staff, or indeed the games, that were expected. The organisers had given the wrong date to the Board-game Cafe that had agreed to help, and the Cafe had ended up double booked.
- The tea-selling stall wasn’t allowed to sell hot water, despite having been told in advance that they would be; which caused them quite some consternation.
- There was a significant shortage of dice available, as all the traders had expected there to be a specialist in dice present, and there wasn’t. In future this could be avoided by contacting the local store-based traders and informing them that such stock will be in demand – if no specialist is interested.
And what they did particularly well:
- The traders closed at an appropriate time – if we’re next to the bar, we can close late, but we weren’t so a closing time of 6:30 was just about perfect.
- The trade hall was in an active building with multiple things going on – including the closing ceremony at the end of the event.
- The lunch breaks of the games were allowed to be whenever appropriate, rather than enforcing a specific time, meaning that people trickled to the trade hall over the course of several hours, rather than it being jam-packed for half an hour and dead for the rest of the day.
- The Artist’s Alley had a good set of artists who could do character portraits for players; providing an extra draw to the trade hall, and an extra service for the gamers.
- The shortage of dice sellers likely made our time a bit more profitable, by freeing up the con-goers funds.
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