Leaping Leprecons

Report by Annie Shillabeer (shilly@smaug.dircon.co.uk).

Leprecon XV111 was held on 1st - 2nd March at Goldsmith Hall, Trinity College, Dublin. It is a roleplaying convention attended by approximately 260 people.

In Flight Drinks

I went along as a VIP which was great as it meant that I got picked up from the airport, which after my last arrival to a con in Dublin was a real bonus. (Last time included arriving at Dublin around 11.00pm to attend Gaelcon with no clue as to where we were going or staying. One of the Gaelcon organisers didn't actually believe that we would turn up despite my trying to convince him that when I said I would go and please book me in, I meant it so, of course, he didn't book us in. Anyway it turned out fine in the end as we were staying in an open all hours pub and managed to squeeze in a room with a Mexican girl).

I flew over with British Midland who, although are considerably dearer than Ryanair, provide a much better service. They give you a drink in flight for a start. With Ryanair you have to take your own cup of tea on board with you! I like to think I was just unlucky and that Ryanair can't be that bad.

So arrival was good and less than an hour later I was in the pub with the 'gang'. We went to a Mexican restaurant for the evening only to meet two gamers who live a mere 15 minute walk from me! We were also all staying in the same place and had rooms next door to each other, which proved handy as they let me borrow one of their 'handkerchiefs' when I'd had a shower, as my 'handkerchief' only dried one arm.

In Search of Tea and Board Gamers

Saturday was interesting, the halls at the college were filled with people involved in Conspiracy X, Warhammer, Vampire and Call of Cthulhu. Then there was Magic and one table of board games being played. Guess who?!

The staff looked after us well and we had a steady stream of food and refreshments. A criticism of the convention was that you were unable to buy tea or coffee; only Coke, orange and chocolate soda were on offer. I did think that for such a large convention that possibly hot drinks probably should have been made available. There was a cafe five minutes walk away, but that wasn't quite the same.

As Leprecon was celebrating it's 18th anniversary, 18 leprechauns had been hidden in the main hall. The leprechauns could be exchanged at the bar in Fibbers for beer. I managed to rack up one. It was perched quite happily on Derek's shoulder, until I laid claim to it. Apparently one had been placed quite obviously on a war gaming table and painted slate grey. During the course of the day, it had been picked up and gazed at in amazement, but not claimed. I want to know where all the leprechauns went as only a handful were handed in at Fibbers; a puzzle to the convention staff as all the leprechauns had gone from their hiding places. If you ask me, they nipped back to their wells in the country.

Guiness Consumption

Saturday afternoon I had to pop up to the Guinness factory to exchange some t-shirts a friend had purchased on his last visit to Dublin. That was a good excuse anyway. Four of us went and we spent an enjoyable time in the bar at the end of the tour playing games. It was a 'proper pub' and yet you could not actually purchase Guinness there. You could only use the tokens issued when you did the Guinness tour, as they had no licence. So odd.

I'm not a Guinness drinker but the Guinness did taste good. I need to taste some over here in the UK now to see if what they say is true and Guinness doesn't travel. I heard two reasons why it doesn't taste the same outside of Dublin. One was because it does not travel well after 30 miles and the other was because the liffey water needs to be used in the brewing of it. My own theory is that when it travels on water, the atmospheric vapours rising up from the sea bed cause metallic changes to occur within the Guinness, thus causing it to spoil. Will we ever know the truth?

The annual Guinness production has reached 4,600,000 kegs, the equivalent of 4000,000,000 pints. They export up to 60 container tanks a week and each one holds 35,000 pints. Phew, not bad from a £45 per annum lease for Arthur Guinness on an old disused ale brewery.

Must be a Dive, Then

Saturday evening was the quiz which was held in Fibbers night club. Oh dear: another quiz with questions all about Warhammer, but no, it wasn't too bad and had fairly general questions. In fact, our team 'Weird Sisters' came second, only two points behind the winners. All I'll say is there's nothing like bribery and corruption if it's done in the open. Herm...

Fibbers club is excellent as it's like a real dive to look at and it really is a dive, but a friendly and fun dive. The toilets are something else, I'd wager a bet that they have never been cleaned in the entire existence of the club, they beat Glastonbury toilets by a mile.

We had a constant supply of free beer, thanks to Ed Storey. The Leprecon staff really did look after their guests. What I like about Fibbers is that part of the club is outside and it's excellent for cooling down. It was raining on the night we were there, which was a shame. Not that that stopped me from going outside, it was just ever so empty and wet.

Frozen Moments, Lost Memories, and Liver

Spent Sunday playing games, plus a frozen moment when a full cup of Coke was spilt over the Settlers game we were playing. Oops. You'll recognise the copy if ever you get to play it. Bahh, my sheep had to wade through a sticky mess to reach their destination, bahh. When I realised the cup was heading for the board, two things flashed through my mind. Neither very charitable. One was 'Thank God it wasn't my game' and the other was a huge relief that I hadn't spilt the drink.

There were competitions going on, but I didn't involve myself in any of them as they were roleplaying and Magic and I had gone along to board game. In fact, I haven't really reviewed the con at all when I read back on what I've written!! But I had a good time and it looked as if everyone else did at all. I spoke with Lee after our return to the UK and she mumbled something about late night drinking and heads!

It was an interesting convention. Jim Beaty, Ed and the others were really helpful. If I were to go to the next one, I would like to see a few more boardgamers attending, though.

All in all I'm glad Leprecon is only once a year. It's no good for the liver.

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Annie Shillabeer