This past January, the Oslo gaming club put on their very first con, named ConQuest. I was eager to attend as soon as I learned about it because it was billed as a American-styled 3 day gaming convention, which is my favourite type. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the first two days of the con hold multiple different tournaments with the winners of each invited to the Sunday Invitational. These players play in a tournament until there is only one winner left, who is crowned the winner of the Con.
It’s a great format because the qualifying tournaments are staggered such that if you lose in one, you can usually join in another just starting up and thus have another crack at making it into the Invitational. There are a number of these cons in America, but they are fewer in number here in the Old World, so each is special. Other examples include BonesCon (Birmingham, UK) and ClogCon (Amsterdam, NL) – both of which I also highly recommend.
I went to this con and had a great time and so wanted to share the experience with everyone so they can plan on attending the con next year. The organisers were so pleased with how well it went, they definitely intend to put it on again next year.
Travel / Venue Location
The con was January 12-14, 2018 this time around. A really easy time to get a flight up to the cold Nordics. The organisers did an outstanding job with the con’s location. I was able to fly out to Oslo’s main airport, Gardermoen, from London after work on Thursday. The flight was short and then we got a very convenient train directly under the airport that took us directly into the city centre. Based on GoogleMaps, the venue was only a 10-15 minute walk, so we decided to go that way. We didn’t count on this though:
But honestly it was more funny than anything else and soon enough we were at the venue. The other attraction about the con was that the organisers found a hotel where the gamers could stay with an attached hall where all the games were to be played. This is such a crucial benefit to gamers. It means you don’t have to walk far after you wake up to get to your games. You also get to zip up to your room quickly if you forget stuff or need to take break. It really is the most relaxed form of gaming.
The hotel rooms were very nice and the shower was exceptionally nice (hot and powerful!). The gaming hall was great as well, with plenty of room between tables and an easily accessible data entry table. Here’s some pictures of the hall:
For their first event, they had very respectable attendance with about 60 Warmachine/Hordes players there. Most importantly, everyone had an opponent to play against all day and most of the night long for all 3 days.
The Oslo guys outdid themselves in this department. They had gaming boards that were perfectly measured out to 48″ x 48″ (no dodgy European measurement tables here!). They also had what I feel is the perfect set of terrain for us. That is, everything was in 2D except for the things models can’t stand on and you want some height on them so you know they are impassible. Thus, the wall and obstructions were all in 3D. Here’s some close up pictures of the tables with my Khador army:
The organisers also had printouts of pre-set terrain maps for the con. They told us which map to use at the start of the round, along with the scenario, and then we all knew exactly how to set up the table without them having to come around. This was a really efficient system and the variety of maps they generated was quite large, so there was always a lot of variety. Big thumbs up for that move!
As mentioned above, they had a jam-packed schedule of events for us. The link goes to an image of how they laid out the schedule so that there were overlapping tournament start times on the Friday and Saturday. It also shows you how many spots from that tournament were eligible to qualify for the Sunday Invitational. I should note that people not in the Invitational, still had plenty of tournaments they could play in on the Sunday. As you’ll see from the schedule, they had all the popular formats available in Warmachine/Hordes today, including team formats.
The organisers did a fantastic job keeping us to time so all the tournaments ran smoothly. A big cheer to Jonas, Geir, Sverre, and Jarle for taking care of us!
The organisers did a fantastic job keeping costs down and making this event value for money. No mean feat in the traditionally expensive country of Norway. If you stayed at the hotel, breakfast was included in the room rate. Your ticket also provided you with a hot buffet lunch each day. That means you only had to go out to eat for dinner and you could easily skip that since there was so much quality food provided earlier in the day. The only downfall to holding an event in Norway is the price of alcohol. Even here, they where able to negotiate a slightly better price with the hotel for a pint of beer, but the cost still came out to a wincing £7 each. So it’s not going to be a messy weekend for you. I had a few social beers and it was fine. My recommendation if you must drink is to buy cheap spirits at the airport and then have a small party in your room at the end of the day. Otherwise enjoy a beer or two at the bar and chat with all your fellow gamers.
To give you an idea of the entire weekend cost, here’s what it set me back:
Flight (London to Oslo return, paying for 1 suitcase in the hold): £122
Trains (airport to central Oslo return): £27
Event ticket: £71.50
3 dinners: £52.75
Hotel room (3 nights, sharing a double): £128.50
TOTAL: £400 (exclusive of beers)
I think that’s a fantastic value for 3 full days of gaming. We started every day at 8 pm and you could game until about 2 in the morning. Effectively I got in an average of 4 games a day, which is just perfect for me. And again – didn’t have to leave the hotel and that cost was 100% everything that it cost me.
ConQuest 2018: a success story
As you can probably tell, this was a great con. The organisers did a great job finding a good venue, working hard to keep the costs down, and ran everything smoothly. A big accomplishment for a first time con. Kudos guys!
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention who did win the first ConQuest. Who was it, but of course, my travelling buddy, friend, and our favourite Warmachine robot, Pat Dunford! Congrats man!
Be sure to make your plans for the 2nd week of January, 2019 to attend the next ConQuest!