Convergence 2019

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Simonpaulburley

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Convergence 2019 - Stockport

TLDR: seems small but delivers a full weekend of games - Friday to Sunday - at a good venue.

This was the third Convergence convention. I first found out about it last year but had to drop out due to conflicting claims on my time. So this was my first one.

It's in Stockport, which I'm familiar with due to my bi-annual visits to StabCon in the same town. It's based at Element Games - which occupies several massive rooms in what seems to be a redeveloped warehouse. There are inexpensive hotels just over the road - though I chose to get a taxi to and from the one StabCon takes place in.

The venue is very impressive. Through the doors is a games store packed from floor ceiling with all manner of games and accessories. Through this is a massive hall with a basic cafe type counter - selling mainly drinks , including bottled beers, and snacks. There are supposed to be food offerings on site but these seemed limited. However, the venue allows you to order in food from outside - there is a pizza menu on the counter - or bring in your own. There are shops and a fish and chip shop only a couple of minutes from the front door of the venue.

The hall is full of tables which are mainly used - it seems - for Wargames. The walls are stacked from floor to ceiling with all manner of massively impressive Wargames scenery, from all ages and genres, and battles maps abound. You feel the urge to grab some to use on your table.

The convention is a full weekend convention - that is it offers a Friday night games slot, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. There were loads of Wargames but how many were native to the venue and how many "belonged" to the convention I couldn't tell.

TTRPGs are partly prebooked using WarHorn with some places being reserved for sign up at the event. Prebooking was sporadic, and the event seemed to be rather quiet. However, half a dozen games ran in most slots, most with full tables. They seemed to be mainly standard games such as 5th Ed, Pathfinder, StarFinder, Cthulhu, Traveller, Paranoia etc. However there were several interesting "skins" - including
Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog. The Pathfinder game was one full weekend adventure run by a personable and extremely impressive "Iron GM" I know.

I offered games in all six slots. And ran games in 5. The Great Martian Tripod race, two d6 Hack classic Dungeons from White Dwarf and Dungeon Magazine, a Manifold Horror game and a Code of the Spacelanes game. All - bar possibly the last - were great fun with good players who just wanted to have a good time. I also played in a 5th Ed game with lots of Bling.

The number of games fell to three per slot by Sunday. Many people seemed to treat the convention as a one day event, coming just on Saturday. My last game on Sunday only had two players. I can run a good game for two players. I can run a good game when I'm tired. I can run a good game when the players are tired. I can reskin a Blakes Seven scenario on the fly if a player has already played the Dr Who scenario I was intending to run. But I found it hard to manage all four at the same time and the scenario finished early without a satisfying climax. So, for me, my last game was a bit limp. The heating at the venue also seemed to be struggling by then and things got a bit cold. So I left a bit early.

Convergence is a small, friendly, convention at a good venue in an area with lots of inexpensive accommodation, making it a cheap residential convention with offer and delivers plenty of TTRPGs. Nothing flash, just fun.

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