Thoughts by Bez

I am a full-time designer/artist/self-publisher and I am available for freelance work. I go to cons as a trader and help run the all-day Friday playtest sessions in London. I left my last 'real' job in 2014. I was getting benefits for a few years. I'm currently writing sporadically, but getting back into the habit of daily posts. If you have any questions/topics you'd like me to address, send me a geekmail and I'll probably address the topic within a week.
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Tabletop Scotland 2018 convention overview (part 2: general POV)

Bez Shahriari
United Kingdom
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One big hall
At some smaller conventions, having folk in multiple smaller rooms makes it all feel cramped and also makes it less likely that you'll see everyone. At TTS, the RPGs/seminars/Bring&Buy were in separate rooms (and there was a bar/balcony but even from there, you could see the main area). All the general open gaming, intro gaming tables, exhibitors, playtesting tables, and demo tables for the lighter/childrens' games were in one massive room.

As MLU wrote, this fostered an environment where folk were happily stumbling into folk they wanted to play with.

The entire convention seemed very airy and there was no danger of claustrophobia.

HABA section
HABA sent a generous amount of stuff and there were a few games I'd have really liked to try. It looked amazing, partially because of a happy accident - the venue ran out of chairs and more had to be brought in from the next-door leisure centre. Happily, these were bright yellow and so perfect for the HABA area!

intro area
TTS picked 8 games that they felt were good intros for curious first-timers. There were always people on-hand to demo these.

There was also an Asmodee UK/Coiled Spring area but there is a lot of value in having a table that is picked in a less biased way by the convention itself. This reminds me of the 'best of Essen' section of Dragonmeet, but it's more conducive to bringing people in, rather than cultivating the excitement for the latest things. These weren't games that folk were clamoring to play for the first time; they were games that had been out for 5 years-ish and were proven to play well for first timers whilst remaining fun after continued play.

big corridors between tables
Made it easy to navigate. I think that for next year, things could be compressed slightly, but it'll be great if easy navigation can be retained. I'd love to hear from one of the organisers how many folk could have been seated in the main hall with the current layout. I almost worry that there will soon be a cap in growth given the venue itself.

That's of course, a sign that everything went well.

consistently good feedback
I have read so much positivity and love for the event on social media.

Gender-neutral toilet
Half-way through the con, I found the gender-neutral toilet, an option I appreciate. AFAIK, the only medium/large cons (i.e. 200+ folk) to offer this in the UK are Conpulsion and TTS.

Saturday 868
Sunday 653
Individual attendees 1027
turnstile attendance 1521
turnstile attendance ➗ days 760

(with a nod to Gil Hova)

Whilst this isn't going to be breaking any records, it was never meant to. It was meant to be a convention that brought together folk from all over Scotland. It was meant to be a welcoming convention. It was meant to be 'THE convention for Scotland'. In all those areas, it has succeeded.

Before, the only alternatives were Glasgow Games Festival and Conpulsion. Both are smaller events. GGF is only one day. Conpulsion felt a lot quieter. Last year, neither had seminars. The organisers of TTS did a fantastic job of ensuring that a lot of key players were there and various demographics were catered for.

It felt like Scotland finally had it's own 'real' convention. With these numbers, it's actually rivaling many other conventions in the UK.

Dragonmeet is larger but only 1 day.

UKGE is an entirely different animal. Not so great if you don't like crowds.

Airecon is brilliant but in a different part of the country and half a year away.

UnCon is a new con in Kent with a similar vibe but smaller.

Tabletop Gaming Live might be fun, but it's likely to be completely different - far more commercial and less intimate.

There are a few tiny cons that work well for going to play, but they aren't quite large enough to be a destination for folk from 5+ hrs away, and don't benefit from the number of traders/demoers. I'll be at Bastion again (not to trade!) but that's more of an opportunity to see a few fun folk from a small area, rather than an opportunity for folk to congregate from around the country.

TTS really did well to provide entertainment, introductions and be welcoming to everyone regardless of age, gender, experience, or any other attributes.

I would recommend it very much to everyone looking for a 'full convention experience' and living nearby. It was quiet enough to not overwhelm anyone. There was a fab library, good number of traders, at least one high-profile unreleased game available to demo and some great events.

Even for those living elsewhere in UK, it is well worth considering.

I expect it to grow as much as the venue will allow.
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