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Natural20's Random Thought Table - Gaelcon, the Before Print
Written by Brian Nisbet   
Oct 16, 2009 at 05:01 AM
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Natural20's Random Thought Table - Gaelcon, the Before
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Brian gives us his opinions and thoughts on this year's Gaelcon, before it happens. Please note that Brian's opinions do not necessarily match those of IrishGaming.Com.

This is part one of a two part article, I suspect that the nature of part two will be pretty easy to guess, but as I'm a nice man, I'll make it all clear. Part one is about my expectations and opinions on Gaelcon in 2009 (D4 Hotels, Dublin, 24th - 26th October - The second part will be a review of the con and, indeed, a reflection on part one. Of course there are many biases here I should mention before we set off. I've been going to Gaelcon since 1992. I started writing for the con in 1994 and I was on the committee between 1998 and 2005, including running the whole thing in 2001. I'm still an honourary member of the Irish Games Association and I've a fair amount of emotion invested in the con. Right, now all of that is out of the way, with a week to go before the con, what are my thoughts?

I'm really looking forward to Gaelcon this year. The con has suffered from a certain amount of stagnation over the last couple of years and the 2009 event seems to have been a breath of fresh air from the beginning. I was initially sceptical about a few of the Con Director (Andrew Coffey)'s plans, and there are still some I'm not entirely sure of, but his optimism and advertising have won me over. There's also the new venue (back to the southside for the first time since 1998) in the D4 hotels and what seems like a very enthusiastic committee and staff group. For the first time in a while there doesn't seem to be an assumption that people will just go to Gaelcon because it's Gaelcon, the committee are working to point out why it's worth going and what people can enjoy when they get there. Andrew has travelled the length and breath of the country to tell people about the con and his Golden Ticket idea will doubtless pay dividends. There's a fairly full programme of games and other events lined up and while I'm not terribly interested in the notion of gaming through the night these days, it's rather good that such an activity can be facilitated. I know I can answer myself when I ask why I'm going to Gaelcon and that's a big first step.

However I'd be lying if I said I thought that all of Gaelcon's problems are solved and the con will immediately attract every gamer in the country for a long weekend of fun and frolics. There are a fair few problems lurking there and while none of them are show-stoppers, at all, they must be borne in mind and, hopefully, overcome by Andrew and his team. As I said, Gaelcon has been stagnating a bit over the last while, people don't just automatically turn up and it can be difficult to convince the community that really, they need to. In addition to this, there is a lack of experience on the committee, certainly as relates to an event this size. This happens now and again in any such organisation, but with everything else going on, it may be a little more evident than before. The domain name issue from earlier in the year and the very mixed reaction to the April Fool's joke (which I loved) are two examples of this. The economic timing couldn't be worse and a Bank Holiday weekend that falls the week before payday (for a lot of people) rather than after won't help.

So, with all of this in mind, I expect to turn up to the con on Saturday morning in a positive frame of mind. I think that this is a chance for Gaelcon to start anew, which is fitting in it's 21st year. The con has, I think, realised that the same formula won't just work and that re-invention and innovation is required and I'm hoping the committee, staff and, most importantly, the attendees will enjoy and push that. I'm expecting to have a good time with old and new friends and to play a bunch of games in a new setting. I'm also hoping that Gaelcon won't make old mistakes, while minimising the effect of any new ones it finds along the way.

I'm going to Gaelcon and I'm planning on having a really good time. I hope to see you there.

User Comments

Comment by GUEST on 2009-10-16 08:41:33
"As I said, Gaelcon has been stagnating a bit over the last while, people don't just automatically turn up and it can be difficult to convince the community that really, they need to." 
Why do we need to? 
I've been disappointed in the last 3 Gaelcons I attended. Poor coordination between staff, poor publicity of timetables, little help from staff, and difficult (loud!) spaces assigned to RPG tables.

Comment by GUEST on 2009-10-16 09:02:40
Yes there have been issued in the past, personally they pissed me off the last two Gaelcons, but those are the reasons that I got involved this year. Yes I am one of those who is on the committee for the first time but I have ran other bigger events in the past. Guest who ever you are I hope you have found the publicity of timetables and events to be better this year and if you want to email me any more comments please do. You can get me on  
Looking forward to seeing you both there. 

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