a) Its where I met metalrabbit and as such is sort of a special convention for me
b) Gaming has made me a lot of friends over the years and provided me with countless hours of entertainment so I feel some small need to support the hobby how I can.
This year was a break from the norm and it was held in the city center, in the Gresham hotel and I think that was a bit of a problem for everyone. Normally its held well outside the city in a big old castle.
Lets start with the positives. The trade hall was well stocked as usual, I got myself a copy of Munchkin Bites, the World of Darkness version of Munchkin. I got a copy of the Babylon 5 space combat game and a bunch of boosters of the card/miniature game "Pirates of the Spanish Main" which is nothing short of excellent. The prices were reasonable as usual and the stock was fairly varied (as much as it can be given the overwhelming prevalence of D20 stuff and the lack of new products for old favourites like Deadlands or World of Darkness).
The venue itself has a few ups and downs, literally. On the one hand there was loads of space, on the other hand it made the place seem a little emptier than it normally would and finding people was very difficult. I was looking for Ian the whole time I was there and never once caught sight of him. The layout of the hotel is also damned confusing and more than one person refered to it as an escher painting. Everything being spread over several floors and all that. Mind you, the place was REALLY well signposted, so there was no real excuse for not being able to find your way about.
I didn't play and games while I was there so I can't really comment on them but they're generally of a very high quality so I can safely assume they were again this year.
On the downside, the CCGs seemed to be suffering badly for two reasons. Apparantly a certain someone saw fit to run their own Magic tournament (hookers and blackjack optional) today which probably took a few folks away and the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament was crippled by a poor turnout due to zero advertising. That said, I also understand (heresay you realise) that there were some problems with a last minute change in who was organising the whole CCG area that caused some serious problems.
All that said, no one seemed to be bitching more than usual and problems are inevitable when the committee in charge changes so much in the past year. Doubtlessly it'll get back to normal next time.
I met a few old friends and finally met bastun_ie face to face and due to a combination of a brief moment of introspection and the knowledge that its been ages since I was in a social setting I finally realised that while I can be perfectly charming and sociable, meeting new people in an unfamiliar setting scares the bejeesus out of me. Meeting them on my own turf means I'm just fine. Oddness.
So, bastun_ie, if I seemed a bit stand offish or odd, it wasn't be being a prick, I was just having a mild panic attack.
After the con, metalrabbit, her dad and brother and I all set off to get some food and found ourselves in the new TGI Fridays out in blackrock where we waited about an hour and a half for a god damned table and I experimented with altogether too many cocktails for me to be typing this with so few typos (that I can see) while we played a game of the aforementioned Pirates of the Spanish Main.
Also I have only just remembered that I was meant to meet up with those diddley squat games people who were there doing a survey to offer them some stuff. If anyone reading this is talking to them tomorrow can they apologise to Specky for me as I am obviously a twat.
Anyway, all in all, pretty bloody cool, some forgivable problems given the circumstances but otherwise groovy.