Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2009

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion


To the 125th issue of The Guild Companion.

Preparations and Excursions

June was one of those months where I seemed to be all over the place. On the 6th, I attended UK Games Expo in Birmingham. This was my first visit to the Expo and I was genuinely impressed. Lots of gamers of every kind, and plenty of vendors selling all sorts of games and accessories. The venue plan was essential as it seemed every nook and cranny had something happening in it, whether it was publishers with demo tables, attendee-organised games, tournaments, even a bank of computers for networked gaming. There was a squad of Imperial stormtroopers roving the site looking for droids as well as several Daleks, a TARDIS, and a Dr Who lookalike to entertain the younglings. I was there to publicise the Constitution gaming and sf convention and distribute flyers to anyone who seemed interested, so I had multiple opportunities to tramp around the venue. I bought in The Elven Crystals adventure supplement (for the Dragon Warriors game) and chatted with folk who were coming to Constitution as members and vendors. I fully expect to visit UK Games Expo next year, though I won't be bearing leaflets, so may get to run a game or two next time. If you're in the UK, the Expo is definitely a convention worth attending, even for a day.

One day in Birmingham hardly counts as being "all over the place", obviously. June saw me in London for the better part of three days on university business in discussions with one of Cambridge's industrial partners. Two weeks later, I was in Amsterdam for three days again on university business, attending the kickoff meetings for an EU research project. The London trip saw my backup laptop decide that it wanted to boot up of its own accord frequently, an indirect consequence of a damaged housing and an overly-packed bag. So between the London and Amsterdam trips, I spent the better part of a weekend, searching for a backpack that met the size constraints for carry-on luggage (as imposed by the low-cost airlines rather than actual government regulations) that yet was sturdy enough and large enough to protect my primary laptop. (It is a 15.4" widescreen job so not exactly very mobile computing - I use my laptops as de facto desktops so buy for performance and pice not mass.) I did find one and it passed its test on the Amsterdam trip with flying colours. It'll be seeing action again this month when I travel to Richmond, Virginia to present two papers at the annual microscopy conference. Unclear yet whether I'll have the chance to do useful things like meet up with the Charlottesville branch of ICE or say howdy in person to Terry Amthor.

Preparations for the Constitution convention continue apace. My current duties are liaising with the venue and persuading likely candidates to serve as speakers on gaming-related panels. I'm expecting to serve on the "If We Write It, Will They Come?" panel on the state of the gaming industry and "The Importance of Being Systematic" panel on consistency, coherency and similar issues about game systems. The committee has now moved into high-gear with weekly meetings as we hurtle towards the convention itself. I'm going to be taking a break from running conventions after this - Constitution will be my third in six years - and it's high time I was able to simply attend a convention without ulterior motives!

My remaining free time has been swallowed by preparations for a project codenamed "the New World Order". I'm covered by a non-disclosure agreement on this, so I can only say that we expect that "the New World Order" will make a lot of people very happy. That's literally all I can and will say at this point.

Farewell for now ...

I need to send the issue to our webmaster before the American July holidays kick in, send umpteen emails, and then get back to my writing. Enjoy this month's issue and we'll be back in August with issue 126, but until then ...

Keep gaming and have fun,
Nicholas HM Caldwell
General Editor for The Guild Companion