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Created On: 2019-02-28 01:05:23
Members: 105
  • Mike Smith
    United Kingdom
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Description Edit | History

And mountains over all embracing all;
And all the landscape endlessly enrich'd
With waters running, falling, or asleep....

Wordsworth: The Prelude (1805). Wordsworth walked right by the place where the hall is, many, many times, as it was on his route from Grasmere to Keswick, and he got the nature of the place about right judging by the Unthirls so far.

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu

A small games convention centred on playing board wargames and multiplayer games at Thirlmere in the Lake District, Cumbria, in the very midst of one of the most beautiful settings to be found in Britain. The first event was held from the 22nd to the 24th February 2019. Since then there have been 4 more face-to-face events, and 2 events forced online due to Covid. It has grown from a 3-day event to a 4-day event and now has a strong regular base of attenders.

There is one further date booked for 2022:
2022b October 27th to October 30th. I have set a cap on numbers of 38 - as of July 15th we are at 35.

The dates booked for 2023 are:
2023a March 9th to 12th
2023b October 5th to 8th.

Guild Members: please feel free to start threads that are relevant and of interest, and to add other events that may be of interest in the calendar below or start a thread about them. If you want to get notices of updates to specific threads, or the whole Guild, remember to subscribe by pressing the button in the relevant place.

ENTRY COST FOR FEBRUARY 2022a: the cost was £15.00.

Please remember to update the information there if your plans develop or change. One of the advantages of my Con is that you do not have to pay a deposit or pay in advance. However, I am setting a cap on attendance at 38 players for October 2022, so please sign up in a timely manner if you want to come.
Please use the following thread for general discussion and chitchat about the October 2022b Unthirl. Any important updates will be posted there by me, so either subscribe or check it out fairly often. It is in the Wargames forum not the Unthirl Guild because it is likely to attract more newcomers there:

More Information Edit | History

In these Geeklists you can get a flavour of the past events by seeing what was played:
Geeklist for Unthirl 2019a
Geeklist for Unthirl 2019b
Geeklist for Unthirl 2020a
Geeklist for Unthirl 2020b (online)
Geeklist for Unthirl 2021a (online)
Geeklist for Unthirl 2021b
Geeklist for Unthirl 2022a

The Unthirl Declaration, or What kind of con am I trying to hold?
- A friendly, easy-going gathering in a beautiful setting; one that is all about the company and the gaming.
- An event that is low-cost for attenders, with basic accommodation and self-catering facilities available onsite for those that want them.
- An event that is as inclusive as a niche event can be (see next point!).
- An event that is intended primarily for wargames and multiplayers. There is no ban on other types of games - and multiplayer is a broad church (as is wargame for that matter, though some would not have it so). However, I do want this event to have a distinctive character.
- An event that is low-maintenance and non-profitmaking; I don't want to have to stake too much of my own money and time in getting it off the ground, and during the weekend I do want to get to play and not spend all my time running things.
- Attenders will organise their own games. I think the best mix is of some pre-arranged games sorted out beforehand, with rules prepped, but with plenty of room left for spontaneity. I recognise that it is pretty fruitless to try to engineer such a perfect balance. Attenders should pay some mind to making sure that nobody is left gameless: so if you have just finished a game and don't have a pre-arranged game to go straight into, have a quick check on who is finishing shortly and who is currently unengaged so that nobody gets left out. At all the events so far getting a game on the day has not been a real problem as there have always been enough people who prefer to do it that way than pre-arrange.
- There is no game library. However, many people bring a fair few games with them and are often remarkably generous in lending them out, for which I am very grateful.
- You are welcome to bring a few items for a bring and buy table, but please keep it within sensible bounds!

1. If you want to pre-arrange some games, or just advertise things that you would be up for on the day, start by posting a wishlist in this thread, which is specifically for that:
You can also float ideas in the general discussion thread:
2. Then if an idea gets some takers open a specific thread for it here in the Guild in the Forums below. Make sure you put 2022b October in the header so people can see which threads pertain to the upcoming event, and can distinguish them from threads for earlier events. All those interested in playing should subscribe to that thread so that they are kept aware of plans. Please try to keep further discussion of that game in that thread, unless going back to the General Discussion thread to try to get further players.
3. Once you have a proper plan with a day and some/all of the players, then post in the thread for the overall schedule and I will add it. Try not to just leave it to me to intuit your plans!

The mini-con runs from 9am on the Thursday till 4pm on the Sunday. The location: Thirlmere Recreation Hall, Cumbria, UK, CA12 4TW. Its right at the intersection of the A591 and the B5322.
The price is just enough to cover my costs, and payable in cash on arrival - in October 2021 it was £11.00 for the whole 4 day weekend. It was £5 for attending just for one day. The more that attend the less I need to charge per person. I aim to make a small donation to the Hall too, above the hire charge (its a community asset and a charity). In Feb 2020 I donated £30.
You can sleep in the hall on your own campbed/mat (maximum of 24 persons), and there are 2 showers in the hall. You can instead stay in a B&B (there are a few within a few metres, and loads in Keswick 4 miles away). There is a hotel with bar and restaurant 800 metres away. There is room for quite a few tents right next to the hall, and the car-park gives ample space if you were to bring a camper van.
There is a self-catering kitchen in the hall itself. I will buy in a stock of basics such as teabags, coffee, milk, sugar, bread, butter, and choccie biscuits, the cost of which will be included in the entry price, and which will be available for all to use. I lay on a meal such as curry, chili, or the like, for those that want it for a small extra cost (it was £2.00 in October 2021) on the Friday evening. The nearest shops and takeaways are 4 miles away in Keswick.
The location is superb. You are a few hundred metres from Thirlmere lake. There is a small hill overlooking the lake that takes only about 30 minutes to go up from the Hall itself, but which has stunning views (5 of us went up on the Saturday morning in Feb 2019). For the more ambitious, hill-wise, the path up Helvellyn starts about 1km away. Surrounding you are beautiful fells. The convention would really suit someone taking an outdoors holiday just before or after the gaming weekend. It would also really suit a gamer who had a partner who likes the outdoors, but (war-)gaming less so!
The closest B&Bs are right by the Hall:
The Lodge in the Vale, Thirlmere.

Transport: obviously car is easiest. If you want to come by rail you need to bear in mind that you will arrive at Penrith (there are rail alternatives which I will come to in a minute) with 15 miles still to go, and you will need a plan to get over that beforehand. There is a bus from Penrith to Keswick, and you could then change to the 555 bus which will drop you off virtually right at the door of the Hall. Here are two rail alternatives which might connect better depending on your arrival time; go to Carlisle and catch the bus from there to Keswick, again changing onto the 555; or, get to my home town, Wigton, by rail (changing at Carlisle) and I will bring you on - obviously this only works if you can get here before about 8.15 on the morning of Day 1, though I would certainly be willing to put up one or two on the night before. Please bear in mind that you need a plan for getting away on the final day too!
At the dire risk of getting too idealistic on you, I would say that we are a community of sorts, and that includes those who want to come but have not yet done so. In view of that I believe that attenders could try to help others by arranging car shares, stop-offs to pick up etc. In particular, Penrith is a natural funnel point for car users and so it should be very possible to fix things up with prospective rail attenders.

There is no wi-fi in the Hall itself, though there are signals that you can probably hook onto with the right knowledge only a few paces away. Mobile signals are non-existent or poor at best in the hall itself, though again a very short stroll away should solve that - just walking to the boundary wall in front of the hall has been enough to connect me, though you may have to do that in the pelting rain. Looking on the bright side, this means you will probably have opponents who are not buried in their phones, a big plus I reckon.

I think the hall can handle up to 38. I have capped numbers at 38 for October 2022. Above that I will have to consider finding a new location.... actually an unbearable thought since the current one is so wonderful. If we do have to change venue at some future date then Unthirl can easily become Unfurl...
There were 23 playing attenders for 2019a.
There were 25 playing attenders for 2019b.
There were 30 playing attenders for 2020a.
There were 14 players for the online 2020b.
There were 15 players for the online 2021a.
There were 25 playing attenders for 2021b.
There were 21 playing attenders for 2022a.

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