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ManorCon or MidCon

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  • fiendishgames
    Round about this time of year Alan Parr and I indulge in a friendly exchange of views about the relative merits of ManorCon and MidCon.As anyone who has read
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 12, 2002
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      Round about this time of year Alan Parr and I indulge in a friendly
      exchange of views about the relative merits of ManorCon and MidCon.

      As anyone who has read Hopscotch knows, Alan is a big fan of
      ManorCon, although he is not blind to some of its defects - notably
      the famous ManorCon cooked/cremated breakfasts.

      He is, I feel, a bit sniffy about MidCon although he does confess
      that he has not been more than once in the last few years ("voting
      with your feet" I believe that is called).

      I haven't got the latest issue of Hopscotch here with me but if
      memory serves he made a couple of comments in it which indicated to
      me that it has been a while since he had breakfast at whatever the
      Royal Angus is called these days. Whilst conceding that the
      breakfasts are nowhere near as awful as the ManorCon ones, he did not
      seem too impressed whereas I think the brekkie at MidCon over the
      last few years has improved a lot. Given that it is a self-service
      buffet I know of some gluttons in the hobby who could easily jusify
      the room rates at MidCon on the strength of a 12 course breakfast
      alone .....

      I also seem to recall that he did not think the location of the
      "Angus" had any particular advantages over Birmingham Uni. Now, when I sit=
      in the restaurant at MidCon eating my brekkie I can see from
      the window the mainline station I arrive at (it's a direct route from
      London Marylebone), which as a non-driver counts as a fairly
      significant location bonus to me. Of course it may be healthier for me to =
      catch a local train to University station from Brum New Street and then lug =
      a heavy bag of games 2,500 yards along the canal to ManorCon but I can tell =
      you that when I am sweating like a pig whilst doing so that I would gladly s=
      tump up the extra money for the convenience of hopping off at Snow Hill and =
      crossing the road to the hotel.

      Alan is obviously more the outdoor sort. I believe he has been known
      to yomp along the canal from ManorCon to the centre of Brum - a
      distance of between 2 and 3 miles by my reckoning. Yet he seems to
      think MidCon is not located particularly close to the centre of Brum,
      whereas I believe it is little more than a 10 minute walk to the
      shopping centre.

      I don't want to sound like I am slating ManorCon here, as I enjoy it
      very much, although part of the purpose of this post is to discuss
      how to make it better. Also, I am interested in other people's
      opinions on the relative merits of the two main conventions? Are the
      higher prices at MidCon a deterrent to new blood, as Alan believes?
      Or is the spartan Uni accomodation a deterrent to new blood, as I
      believe? I have had some small success persuading my non-gaming
      friends to spend a week-end in a 4 star hotel in the city centre
      playing the occasional game, but none whatsoever trying to convince
      them to spend a week-end in a Uni hall of residence. Of course it is
      good to have the two options appealing to opposite ends of the value
      versus comfort spectrum. Perhaps I just hang out with a bunch of rich
      City types.

      Anyway, I take it that it is universally agreed that the bar at
      ManorCon is appalling, both in terms of the range of beers served (no
      real ale) and their unwillingness to stock enough of the crap stuff
      to last much beyond Friday night.

      I am therefore wondering what the legal obstacles might be to getting
      some of our own beer in? A brewery such as Woodfordes
      (http://www.woodfordes.co.uk/) will deliver to anywhere in Britain.
      You have to let the ale settle for 24 hours but I am backing the
      hobby's ability to get through 72 pints (cost = £120 roughly) over
      the course of 2 days (Saturday lunch-time onwards). In truth I reckon
      we could probably clear twice that but let's not get ahead of
      ourselves.

      So, would anyone be interested in joining a ManorCon Beer Club?

      Ideally I'd like to demonstrate to the Uni authorities that the
      demand for ale is there and then leave them to have the hassle and
      the profit of doing the ale the following year so that we (or rather
      I) don't have to faff around ordering beer and collecting money.


      Apart from the above, and despite the noisy corridors, the lousy
      acoustics in the gaming rooms, the lack of air conditioning at what
      is invariably a hot time of year, ManorCon is an excellent con and a
      tribute to the top notch committee. And weren't the porters
      excellent this year?

      I do wonder though whether Brum Uni is taking our attendance for
      granted though. Still, that's enough "stirring" for one post.

      By general consensus MidCon was a bit flat last year. The delay in
      sending out fliers caused rumours to circulate that the con was not
      going to take place and this undoubtedly affected attendance,
      especially at the Diplomacy tournament. Has the time come to move
      the Dip to the Ariel suite and move the fluffy gamers into the bigger
      Wroxton suite?

      I did hear unsubstantiated rumours that people turning up on the day
      at the hotel were getting cheaper room rates than those of us who had
      arranged for the special discount rates via the con; it seeme to be a
      year in which MidCon was beset by rumours. Hopefully the return to
      the concept of enthusiastic amateurs on the committee will see a
      return to former glories although as usual we'll have to take pot
      luck with the staff again - will they be under instruction to be
      stiff and formal with us? Slightly disdainful, even, of our penchant
      for colonising the bar area and scaring off the locals in their
      Sunday best come to eat at the restaurant? Or will we get the
      relaxed staff who joined in the carpet bowls at 3 in the morning once
      when things got a bit quiet in the bar?

      So far as I know I shall be running the quiz again this year but I
      don't have the answers to the above questions.


      If there are any subscribers to this list who don't know what the
      hell I am talking about then post a message to that effect to the
      list and I will post details of these and other cons - talking of
      which is anyone going to CONsummation, Rosie & Stephen's
      convention-cum-wedding reception in mid-November? See
      www.consummation.net.



      John
    • Malcolm Cornelius
      ... Legally IIRC to sell the beer you or the premises must be licensed. Given that you aren t you would need to do it under the licensee of the hall. I would
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 12, 2002
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        > I am therefore wondering what the legal obstacles might be to getting
        > some of our own beer in? A brewery such as Woodfordes
        > (http://www.woodfordes.co.uk/) will deliver to anywhere in Britain.
        > You have to let the ale settle for 24 hours but I am backing the
        > hobby's ability to get through 72 pints (cost = £120 roughly) over
        > the course of 2 days (Saturday lunch-time onwards). In truth I reckon
        > we could probably clear twice that but let's not get ahead of
        > ourselves.

        Legally IIRC to sell the beer you or the premises must be licensed. Given
        that you aren't you would need to do it under the licensee of the hall.

        I would be amazed if the license holders permitted you to do it.

        But if you do can I arrange for a gallon ?

        > Ideally I'd like to demonstrate to the Uni authorities that the
        > demand for ale is there and then leave them to have the hassle and
        > the profit of doing the ale the following year so that we (or rather
        > I) don't have to faff around ordering beer and collecting money.

        Can't we move the con somewhere where the concept of real ale has arrived ?

        > By general consensus MidCon was a bit flat last year. The delay in
        > sending out fliers caused rumours to circulate that the con was not
        > going to take place and this undoubtedly affected attendance,
        > especially at the Diplomacy tournament. Has the time come to move
        > the Dip to the Ariel suite and move the fluffy gamers into the bigger
        > Wroxton suite?

        Fine by me.

        > I did hear unsubstantiated rumours that people turning up on the day
        > at the hotel were getting cheaper room rates than those of us who had
        > arranged for the special discount rates via the con; it seeme to be a
        > year in which MidCon was beset by rumours. Hopefully the return to
        > the concept of enthusiastic amateurs on the committee will see a
        > return to former glories although as usual we'll have to take pot
        > luck with the staff again - will they be under instruction to be
        > stiff and formal with us? Slightly disdainful, even, of our penchant
        > for colonising the bar area and scaring off the locals in their
        > Sunday best come to eat at the restaurant? Or will we get the
        > relaxed staff who joined in the carpet bowls at 3 in the morning once
        > when things got a bit quiet in the bar?

        Has there been any mailing about it, dates etc. Will we get bedrooms at the
        correct hotel ?

        Malcolm Cornelius
      • Malcolm Cornelius
        ... tion to join the club and get free beer at the con. Sure, some will get more beer than others but I am sure we can all be adult about it. Hum, I m not sure
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 12, 2002
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          > I guessed as much, hence the formation of a "club". Members pay a subscrip
          tion to join the club and get free beer at the con. Sure, some will get more
          beer than others but I am sure we can all be adult about it.

          Hum, I'm not sure this is good enough to avoid the laws relating to
          licensing, and given that the bar has a vested interest in stopping you
          doing it ...

          > Failing that I could offer to underwrite the cost of two 36 pint beer boxes=
          > and stick 'em behind the bar. From talking to the bar staff the Uni
          authorities seem unconvinced of our ability to consumer 72 pints of ale in the
          course of a long week-end. When I say "our" I mean the whole of the convention=
          >
          >although probably Malc and I could polish off one 36 pint "beer box" by
          ourselves over the space of 4 days.

          We do a barrel at the superbowl do plus a couple of days during the week.

          Can't we remind them that we did 144 pints in a day at the other hall.

          > As it appears the hall will have the builders in next year I would say this is
          the perfect time to explore the possibility of moving somewhere else, but I am
          not the poor s*d who has to do the groundwork.

          Try Keele, Warwick and a couple of other, only takes a couple of letters.

          >> Has there been any mailing about it, dates etc. Will we get bedrooms at the
          >> correct hotel ?
          >>
          > I received a flyer with Cut & Thrust. There's a booking form on
          http://www.sfcp.co.uk/Events/Midcon/Midcon_booking.htm but a quick precis of the
          details is below:

          So the furries are still involved, haven't they gone bust yet ?

          >
          > November 22nd to 24th (bit later than usual)
          > Thistle Birmingham City Hotel, St. Chad's.
          > Queensway, Birmingham

          Ta !

          Malcolm
        • fiendishgames
          ... n that you aren t you would need to do it under the licensee of the hall. I would be amazed if the license holders permitted you to do it. But
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 12, 2002
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            --- In ukpbm@y..., Malcolm Cornelius <Malc_C@c...> wrote:
            > > I am therefore wondering what the legal obstacles might be to getting
            > > some of our own beer in? A brewery such as Woodfordes
            > > (http://www.woodfordes.co.uk/) will deliver to anywhere in Britain.
            > > You have to let the ale settle for 24 hours but I am backing the
            > > hobby's ability to get through 72 pints (cost = £120 roughly) over
            > > the course of 2 days (Saturday lunch-time onwards). In truth I reckon
            > > we could probably clear twice that but let's not get ahead of
            > > ourselves.
            >
            > Legally IIRC to sell the beer you or the premises must be licensed. Give=
            n
            > that you aren't you would need to do it under the licensee of the hall.
            >
            > I would be amazed if the license holders permitted you to do it.
            >
            > But if you do can I arrange for a gallon ?
            >

            I guessed as much, hence the formation of a "club". Members pay a subscrip=
            tion to join the club and get free beer at the con. Sure, some will get more=
            beer than others but I am sure we can all be adult about it.

            Failing that I could offer to underwrite the cost of two 36 pint beer boxes=
            (one of Wherry, 3.8%, and one of either:

            Great Eastern
            4.3%
            Pale & Golden

            Nelson's Revenge
            4.5%
            Premium Bitter

            Norfolk Nog
            4.6%
            Dark & Malty

            Admiral's Reserve
            5.0%
            Rich & rounded)

            and stick 'em behind the bar. From talking to the bar staff the Uni author=
            ities seem unconvinced of our ability to consumer 72 pints of ale in the cou=
            rse of a long week-end. When I say "our" I mean the whole of the convention=
            , although probably Malc and I could polish off one 36 pint "beer box" by ou=
            rselves over the space of 4 days.

            > Can't we move the con somewhere where the concept of real ale has arrived=
            ?
            >
            As it appears the hall will have the builders in next year I would say this=
            is the perfect time to explore the possibility of moving somewhere else, bu=
            t I am not the poor s*d who has to do the groundwork.


            >
            > Has there been any mailing about it, dates etc. Will we get bedrooms at =
            the
            > correct hotel ?
            >

            I received a flyer with Cut & Thrust. There's a booking form on http://www=
            .sfcp.co.uk/Events/Midcon/Midcon_booking.htm but a quick precis of the detai=
            ls is below:

            November 22nd to 24th (bit later than usual)
            Thistle Birmingham City Hotel, St. Chad's.
            Queensway, Birmingham

            Convention fee 10 quid

            £43 per person per night for a single room and £34 per person per night sha=
            ring a twin/double room


            Obviously I can't make any guarantees about us getting rooms in the hotel. =
            In previous years it seemed to matter how early you booked; what prevented =
            you from getting bumped to another hotel was how vociferously you complained=
            in the lobby, although for this tactic to work you had to arrive earlier th=
            an at least one other blighter who then got bumped in your stead.
          • Chris Tringham
            Obviously I am biased on this subject, but I did enjoy Manorcon much more when I stopped staying in the university and took my business to the Hyatt Regency
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 7, 2002
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              Obviously I am biased on this subject, but I did enjoy Manorcon much
              more when I stopped staying in the university and took my business
              to the Hyatt Regency instead. I can certainly recommend the walk
              from the University alongside the canal to the city centre - it took
              me about half an hour to get back to the hotel and the tranquility
              of the canal was an amazing contrast to the noise of Manorcon. Even
              better was spending the next hour in the swimming pool, the steam
              room and the jacuzzi. Excellent!!

              Yes, the location of the Angus may leave something to be desired if
              you come by coach or by train (to New Street), but it's fine by car,
              and the city centre is a short walk away if you want something to
              eat or drink. A better location would be much more expensive, and
              car parking would almost certainly be cost more as well (assuming
              that it's still free at the Angus if you exit on Sunday).



              > Alan is obviously more the outdoor sort. I believe he has been
              known to yomp along the canal from ManorCon to the centre of Brum -
              a distance of between 2 and 3 miles by my reckoning. Yet he seems
              to think MidCon is not located particularly close to the centre of
              Brum, whereas I believe it is little more than a 10 minute walk to
              the shopping centre.
              >
              > I don't want to sound like I am slating ManorCon here, as I enjoy
              it very much, although part of the purpose of this post is to
              discuss how to make it better. Also, I am interested in other
              people's opinions on the relative merits of the two main
              conventions? Are the higher prices at MidCon a deterrent to new
              blood, as Alan believes? Or is the spartan Uni accomodation a
              deterrent to new blood, as I believe? I have had some small success
              persuading my non-gaming friends to spend a week-end in a 4 star
              hotel in the city centre playing the occasional game, but none
              whatsoever trying to convince them to spend a week-end in a Uni hall
              of residence. Of course it is good to have the two options
              appealing to opposite ends of the value versus comfort spectrum.
              Perhaps I just hang out with a bunch of rich City types.
              >
              >
              > John
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