What Wards you from entering the Grand Tribunal cons?

Just a quick set of questions, directed partly at people who have never been to a Grand Tribunal convention. Ars Magica is lucky that owing to the Hubris of Janus who volunteered his sodalus (me!) to run an Ars Magica convention 7 years ago, we now have tow Ars Magica conventions each year, one here in Cheltenham, UK, and one in California USA.

Firstly the details for the USA convention -

You can find out more here - https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/grand-tribunal-america-2013-mythic-trees/7849/1

Secondly the UK convention
- grandtribunal.org/wiki/Main_Page for details, and a Facebook page too. Our 2013 con will be Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th August 2013 in Cheltenham with some fringe events on the evening of Friday 16th.

However my real question - what stops people from joining us, and is there anything we can do about it? Now I appreciate times are hard, and money tight, and the Tribunals have passed in to Peripheral Code ridiculous rules against creating silver. Still, for the UK at least this will be the largest GT ever, and a big one as we are celebrating seven years. Still, is it the cost of getting to the UK, the problem of getting time off work, accommodation or the entry price that puts people off GTUK? Do you not like conventions? Have you been before and had a lousy time of it? Is there any specific thing that puts you off? Are you worried about foreign language support? Not knowing anyone? Being rendered down for vis? Being kidnapped by the Scandinavians? Lack of child care amenities?

Secondly, what kind of things would you like to see at the conventions, whether you can make it or not? Think big, think unreasonable, think things that no sane organiser would attempt. Budget is clearly a serious issue, however -- what would your ideal Ars Magica convention feature, other than people playing Ars Magica? We have tried various things, but we would like to try some new ideas this year. Remember, these can apply to the USA or UK conventions, preferably both!

Also, what aspects of the Tribunals do work for those who have been, or intrigue those who do not? Every year I ask those who came for feedback, but obviously it would be better if we had some ideas from the wider Ars Magica community.

Finally if you would really like to come but don't think you have the money/resources/nerves, drop me a line. We try and make GTUK accessible to everyone. I might not be able to help, but we will try!

cj x

Money. Pure and simple.
Currently out of a job, and that makes my economy very weak.

And what little disposable income I have, is currently earmarked for a seminar with Sugino Sensei in november.

Same as MANY of our regulars here. I actually missed one GTUK, in Cambridge, because I simply had no job and no money. I fully understand. If you could somehow get to England Tellus, I would do all I could to provide hospitality and ensure you ate :slight_smile:

cj x

...now that's what I call temptation!

It's a really complicated thing for me...
Factors include money, vacation time, kids and spouse. About the best I can do is live vicariously...

Time & Money needed to travel to UK and then from the Airport to the playing area.
(Alone a trip to London take ~7h single way)

It's mostly about the children and not leaving my wife with them all by herself. Its a little about how few days off I get and choosing to spend them with folks I know from the message board alone rather than from the rest of my life say my wife for instance (whom, because of the needy nature of our children, I rarely get to spend any time with while awake). Its a tiny bit about the money.

But I do hope to get back one day. Perhaps in two years.

Travel cost.

It's two 12 hour flights to get to the UK for me. For a US GT, it takes me one 12 hour flight to get to the west coast of the US.

Distance, Expense, and lack of requisite passports conspire to prevent me from attending either Convention... :frowning:

Transit time. I have a strong aversion to public transport.

One day I will attend, however.

:slight_smile: Any one got any ideas for big display games or fun events though?

cj x

I am not big on conventions but if either one was a 4h drive I'd go. I've crossed the Atlantic often enough to know that one week is too short to enjoy the trip. If I did a 3-week vacation close by, it'd abandon my son to the family for a few days. But as it stands, my summer plans lack that enterprisey "synergy" word. Oh, and I hate flying in the US, it's always been painful.

In my case is Family Points. Me and my partner see each other during the weekends and vacations since we work in different cities, so weekends are at a premium. She is of the non-RPG type (I am slowly solving that issue of hers) so having her come is not an option. As a consequence having a weekend off in the middle of vacations is quite a big deal.

More than economic, mine is hermetic,
First, i had not reached the arts for "leap of homecoming"
Second, the redcap that should bring me the arcane conection seems to have the "no sense of direction flaw"

As with the others who have wives and offspring, I find that it is very hard to go away without them complaining.

I'm in the UK, but Cheltenham is rather out of the way for them to find things to do for the weekend*. I actively dislike London, but it has other attractions, plus we can get free accomodation there...

*things interesting enough for all of them to be happy about me abandoning them, that is.

What would I like to see? (No idea if these already happen - I deliberately don't look at the info in order to reduce the pining for what I can't have)
Pre-published characters, so players are familiar with them in advance, consisting of Senior Mage for Tribunal Politics game, characters for table-top games, etc; cut down game rules so there is a chance of finishing a game within the time constraints eg campanions only, or 5 year-apprentices; people going who I already know; Certamen constests; Tribunal politics game.

My partner and I are in a very similar situation Xavi. We live in different cities. Fully understood!

Money is not an object for me. Fear of the unknown, lack if interest from my friends, an impression however unjustified that the attendees are more 'in' to the game, know more and are better role players are some of my reasons for not attending.

When I attended the first Grand Tribunal in Cheltenham, I was surprised and touched at how welcoming everyone was. Matt Ryan and I were there basically backpacking and dependent on our new friends' hospitality to have a place to sleep out of the rain. It was wonderful how casual it all was, and yet how much it inspired. I think the Apprentices book was born on that trip, if I have my dates right.

The same thing happened the following year when I launched the American edition. Niall Christie and I had some long conversations on Pier 39 and the boat to Alcatraz that led directly to The Cradle and the Crescent. And I think that was the first year that Mark Faulkner came out too, and that produced some other great stuff that is still in the pipeline.

Every year there is something new and fun (Debbi's tower adventure last year still gives me shivers), and having a bunch of Ars Magica fans in the same room generally leads to incredible ideas. Three years ago we got to playtest Antagonists-- get this-- with magi from Magi of Hermes. That was epic. I still remember Ranulf of Flambeau torching a pile of waimees like rats.

I think it does amazing things for the game. It's really good for us all to come together and play it occasionally. If there's any way you can manage to fly out for just one, you totally should. Or if you can't, why not try to organize your own? I run Grand Tribunal America, but to be fair it's mostly been Grand Tribunal California. Lets set up some more Tribunals! :slight_smile:

I hope we are friendly. In the UK Tribunal Friday night is a meal, and then socialising and playing boardgames or chatting. Great time to meet people. Every GTUK has I think had some folks who have never played Ars Magica and know little or nothing about the game before coming along, and some people who know quite a lot - like the Line Editor David Chart and Mark Shirley, who has written more books i think than anyone else in the Northern Hemisphere for the game. It makes no difference - we are out for fun, not hours of rules discussions!

Saturday has a Freeform, often (not always) set at a Tribunal - attendance is optional - and then lots of Ars Magica, along with the message from the line editor, a raffle, fish and chip diner and much silliness. Oh and the authors get asked questions. People wander round the various rooms, playing games and talking. Sunday is more of the same really, but event traditionally close about lunch time, though this year we are continuing till 4pm. We spend lots of time together as a gaggle in the pub, having breakfast in cafes, or shopping in TESCO when we are not gaming at the con. Most delegates stay in the same couple of hotels, or even crash with friends here. There are less than forty attendees, and I don't think ayone is left out. We do try really hard to make everyone welcome, and we do have other Atlas Games, baord and card. This year I may well try and find time to run some Rune or Unknown Armies, or even WaRP. :smiley: Still it's basically one long crazy weekend of Ars MAgica, and given you have been here on the forum for the same amount of time i have, 8 years now, and i gues steh Berklist and old forum before, I think you may enjoy it :slight_smile:

I've attended once - in 2011 in Cambridge - and I've never been much of a convention person here in Denmark. For a handful of years I went to Fastaval - the local gaming club's fairly big convention (in Danish terms). Eventually I got sick and tired of it. Mu own "club" arranges a very casual and very not-serious annual convention and I tend to make it for an afternoon or an evening of board gaming.

But I went to GT2011 anyway, and it was a fantastic experience. I felt very much welcome, had great fun, and met a lot of wonderful people. A lot of them I still chat with or comment on online quite often. And I hope to meet them again.
As I'm attending the 2013 Grand Tribunal I guess this will happen.

Back in 2011 I was just starting to write for the line, and I had the opportunity to meet David Chart in person, after having mailed with him quite a lot. At this time Grogs was not officially announced, but it was mentioned during the news from the editor. I also got to meet other authors like CJ and Mark Lawford. But more importantly I met other players.

Reasons for not coming would for me be time, convenience, and money. Money should not be the greatest excuse, but flying in from Denmark to UK can be pricy unless you go by Ryan Air to Stanstead. Local transport to the venue should not b forgotten either, nor accomodations. Food and a few pints of beer is small potatoes.
By "Convenience" I mean that unless the aforementioned flight is useful I have to make one or two changes of plane, meaning it'll take a full day for what should be a 1½ hour flight.
By "Time" I mean time away from my family, leaving my patient wife to handle both children. And I already work more than my standard 37 hours per week, plus my rpg and writing for Ars Magica takes time.

But anyone who choose not to attend because they think authors and veteran players are "better" should rethink this. I think (and hope) I'm fairly polite despite having known the game since I bought 2nd ed back in 1990. And so is everyone else. Instead think how awesome it is to swap stories and experiences, learn from other people's play styles. Language should not be a barrier either, remember the gaming vocabulary we all know in English anyway (or latin). In 2011 there were Norwegians and some Germans I think, plus a Dane (or 1½ if you count CJ), and I don't recall any communications problems. [Edit. Won't I look a complete dunce when someone replies and says they did not understand a word I said, but that my Ars views were all pedestrian and plain wrong :wink: ]

Go already