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1182ManorCon: a proud father writes

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  • fiendishgames
    Jul 23, 2003
      Well, ManorCon has been and gone and as usual it was jolly good. The
      building work on the canteen did not seem to disrupt things too much
      after some teething problems on the first day and even resulted in
      some free juice being given away at the end of each afternoon.

      Though there was no draught ale the beer situation was much improved
      by a reasomable selection of bottled ales, so well done to the
      committee for sorting that out.

      I gather there was some sort of Diplomacy tournament going on. I am
      afraid I did not pay attention to who won it but I am willing to
      wager it was some bloke with a beer belly. The 18xx tournament was
      probably won by some bloke with a beard and the croquet by some fella
      with a silver spoon in his mouth.

      The Puerto Rico tournament was won by some bloke with matchsticks
      holding his eyelids open after he managed to fit in 77 continues
      games over the long week-end .... this game remains very popular and
      should join the ranks of Dip, 18xx and Whose Round Is It Anyway? as
      convention staples.

      I'd be hard pressed to nominate the next most popular German game
      after Puerto Rico; I did see Evo, Amun Re and Torres get one or two
      outings but there was nothing to approach the ubiquity of Puerto Rico.

      It may be my imagination but there was a bit of a comeback for old-
      style conquer the world games. Pete Card and Gordon Sweeney seemed
      to spend all day playing Paths of Glory whilst elsewhere I saw
      Britannia, History of the World and Civilization being played. I
      myself played two games of Serenissima and two games of Ogre.

      Midnight Party (played at midnight, of course) seems to have taken
      over from Pit as the game of choice for grown adults pretending to be
      anti-social children.

      Talking of anti-social children, I took along number one son (aged
      12) and for once didn't dump him on Geoff Brown for the week-end (I
      think Geoff is getting wise to this move now). Ordinarily number one
      son conks out at about 10:00pm on account of his early morning paper
      round but on Friday night at 10:45pm as the poker was about to start
      he was still wide awake, keen to play a game and with no one to play
      with. What to do? I wanted to play poker so even though it cost £20
      to enter, even though he had only ever played the game once before
      for match-sticks at school, even though we had to write down the
      ranking of the hands for him, I paid £20 for Jack to play too. What
      the hell, it's all part of his education and with some hard bitten
      poker players round the table such as Pete Birks (plays poker
      virtually {geddit?} every day), Alan Sharples (paid for his first
      house out of his poker winnings), Richard Beattie (hard to read
      player) and Mick Haytack (who I think got a medal in the MSO poker
      tournament) I didn't think he'd last long, at which point he'd sling
      his hook and go to bed.

      It almost goes without saying that number one son won the tournament,
      scooping 100 pounds as the first prize. I just wish they had had a
      trophy for it as I would have loved to have seen the looks on
      people's faces when he went up to collect the award. In truth he did
      have two monstrously lucky hands, both times when he was on the verge
      of going out. The first time he drew to an inside straight and on
      the second he won with a pair of twos after the flop failed to
      produce anything of use for the other two players still in the hand.
      Oh, and he had a nice habit of being dealt an ace as one of his two
      hole cards at least 50% of the time, although this does often cause
      as many problems as it solves.

      I look forward to Pete Birks's analysis of where it all went right.
      At least number one son had the class to give back his £20 entry fee
      to me but the little sh*t did not give me any share of his winnings!

      Oh, and he also won his first game of Puerto Rico against 3
      reasonably experienced players. I kicked his harris in Star Wars:
      Queen's Gambit, though.

      What else was there?

      Surprisingly ManorCon was not as sweaty as it usually is.

      Imran's has apparently rediscovered the ability to serve people

      The Pop Quiz was ... er .... different. I only popped in to sample a
      bit of it and it seemed to me that the excerpts from the songs went
      on for about 90 seconds instead of the more usual 20 or 30 seconds;
      not so much a Pop Quiz, more of a "here's my music collection, you're
      going to listen to it". I must admit I would be sorely tempted to go
      down the same route were I running the quiz (start boning up on the
      Small Faces and the Icicle Works, pop quiz fans!) but as a
      participant it only adds insult to injury if the quiz setter has
      musical tastes diametrically opposed to yours - not only do you not
      know the answer but you have to sit through 2 hours of music you
      don't like.

      Still, this criticism is a bit rich coming from someone who set the
      worst MidCon quiz in living memory last year - I promise to do better
      this year and not set a quiz deliberately designed to prevent John
      Webley winning (after all, the swine did not even turn up last year!).

      People also said the Treasure Hunt was a bit obscure this year.
      What, harder to follow than Ted Rogers's 3-2-1? Yes! but funnier!

      One final sign of the time: I only saw two zines on the "freebie
      sample" table near the door (Sprouts of Wrath, Ode). The zine as a
      source of fresh blood has served us well for a long time but it's day
      has passed; if we want the hobby to survive we need to start breeding
      gamers ourselves - I've done my bit, how about you?

      John Harrington