Dragonmeet 2019

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“War. War never changes.” – Fallout

I haven’t been to a gaming con in years now, but I made an effort to attend this year’s Dragonmeet, and enjoyed it a great deal, meeting friends old (Ian) and new (Steve).

Dragonmeet now is much bigger and slicker than when I first attended in the 1970s, but still packed with people discussing (and occasionally buying) games, some of them in costume. It still has a generally positive, cheerful and helpful atmosphere. What has changed over the decades is that there are now people of all ages, ranging from toddlers in pushchairs to grey-bearded grognards like myself.

What struck me:

  • Mongoose and Modiphius products are all aligned to well-established existing franchises – Conan, Fallout, Sea of Thieves, Star Trek, Traveller… Smaller publishers typically don’t align that way.
  • No presence from WotC, and therefore D&D 5th Edition – the 800 lb gorilla of the RPG world – did not dominate the con. (In fact it was much more skewed towards boardgames than I remember.)
  • The Old School Renaissance was much in evidence, notably Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
  • You couldn’t get within touching distance of the bring and buy stall. Gamers were packed three deep around it.
  • No Savage Worlds anywhere I could see. With sufficient motivation I could probably change that, if only by running a game.
  • A shift away from games themselves into accessories – for example dice bags and towers.

What drew my attention:

  • The scenario in the programme (“A Whale of a Time”). I so want to run that. It would have fit right in with the Rattenbury Ghost crew.
  • The demo game of Wasteland Warfare from Modiphius; it had the best terrain and figures in actual use, and was set up so people could drop in, play long enough to get the gist of the system, then drop out again.
  • A playtest of a boardgame called Turris that I’m told will go on Kickstarter in the next month or two; the board looked nice.

What I bought and why: Carcassone (again), because I know someone who would love it for Christmas.

What I wanted to buy and why I didn’t:

  • Loke battlemat books, all of them, because they are so cool; I have nowhere to keep them.
  • Modiphius’ Conan 2d20, and Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition; I already have the PDFs, someone else wants to run Conan, and my current group isn’t into MgT2.
  • Pinnacle battlemats and prepainted figures, because there weren’t any for sale. (I noticed some D&D figures which were already primed, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I don’t see the point of pre-primed figures, I wonder how well they sell?)

So I guess something else has changed. At earlier cons I used to ask myself “Can I afford this?” and generally bought it anyway. Now, the internal monologue is “Where would I keep it? When would I play it?” and I usually wind up not buying it, whatever it is.

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