Ropecon 2009 is over. I worked on the convention for some seven months, and for the last two weeks or so, it consumed most of my waking hours. It’s been quite a bit of work – and my job is probably the easiest in the Conitea.
Though the con was held from Friday to Sunday, it started for me a week previously, with an eight-hour session of scheduling all the RPG sessions and posting them online. Then there were a few badge-making events where we made the convention badges for the 600 or so con workers, program organisers and game masters, plus a few funny ones for sale.
I spent Wednesday in Tallinn with the guest of honour team and our guest of honour Suzi Yee and her husband Joseph Browning, of Expeditious Retreat Press. I got on the trip because a member of the team suffered a sudden attack of gainful employment and could not attend. The trip included hitting a booze store in the harbour. I rarely go to Tallinn, so I’d never seen it before, and it was a bit of a culture shock even to me. It was this huge warehouse filled entirely with cheap alcohol, apparently catering mostly to Finns.
I think I now understand what white guilt feels like (since Finland never colonised anyone and indeed, was a target of Swedish crusades, I never bothered with that particular bit of Western self-flagellation). We’ve turned Estonia into a colonial possession.
We ate at Olde Hansa, a medieval-themed restaurant in Tallinn’s old city, housed in a building from somewhere around the 13th century. If you’re ever in Tallinn, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s fairly expensive, but it’s well worth it. We feasted like kings.
The Tallinn trip was a good way to relax before the con. All my stress just melted away, and I slept well for the first time in two weeks. On Thursday, at the pre-con party, I was all ready to get the con started. I was ready, my paperwork was in order and I could take whatever the con could throw at me.
And, you know, when the con finally started on Friday, I pretty much did. There were a couple of things that went pear-shaped, but with my team we averted all major crises, fixed most minor ones and generally managed to keep the game masters happy. There were no loose ends after the con and only a few last-minute cancellations. We managed to find tables for all impromptu game masters and new games.
While it wasn’t perfect, it was good. Next year, I can make it better. Unfortunately, I had no time to play or run any games myself and only got to see one presentation. It was Joonas Katko’s presentation about historical assassinations, which was entertaining and informative.
Overall, we had 61 GMs running about 150 games, plus the offerings of the demo game room. We’ll see if we can up those numbers next year.
There were a lot of new Finnish RPG releases at the convention. Strangely, while the amount of games run at the con has declined steadily over the years, new RPGs are released at an increasing pace. This time, we got the Praedor supplement Efemeros 2: Ryövärien maa (The Land of Bandits), Ironspine’s E.N.O.C. – Operaatio Eisenberg, a translation of the Norwegian surrealist RPG Itran kaupunki (The City of Itra), and Juhana Pettersson’s penguin RPG Ikuisuuden laakso (The Valley of Eternity), and the card-based pirate RPG Hounds of the Sea from Myrrysmiehet.
I haven’t yet had much time to familiarise myself with most of them, but thus far, I can give some tentative review scores:
- Efemeros #2: Ryövärien maa: *****
- Ikuisuuden laakso: ****
- E.N.O.C. – Operaatio Eisenberg: ***
- Itran kaupunki: Fish
Though the con has closed its doors, Dipoli has been cleaned up, the logistics team has stored away all the water guns and the printers and the signposts, the GoH dinner has been eaten and even the hangovers from the post-con party have come and gone, the con is not yet over for me. While I’ve dealt with most of my post-con workload, such as the mailing of prizes to some contest winners who were not present at the awards ceremonies, there’s still a lot of feedback to wade through, and then write up a detailed account of how this all really works and what needs improvement. It’s been an incredibly rewarding process and I will gladly sacrifice my free time and regular meals for Ropecon in 2010 as well.
Maybe I can return to a semblance of update schedule on this blog, too.