Coaching for Geeks’ Convention Survival Guide: Tabletop ScotlandSep 19, 2019
Tabletop Scotland: Basic Info
What is it? Tabletop Scotland is a two-day convention celebrating board games, card games and roleplaying games. In 2019 it was on the last weekend in August. Across the two days, it had 1,585 unique attendees, a 54% increase on 2018. There is a bring & buy, seminars games library and events you can book on like d&d, Pandemic tournaments and even a starship bridge simulator!
Tabletop Scotland: Where is it?
It is at The Dewars Centre in Perth, walking distance from the town centre and the train station.
Tabletop Scotland: What does it cost?
Weekend tickets are £15 and day tickets less. Reduced child and family tickets also available.
Tabletop Scotland: The Convention Survival Guide
Is there an app?
There is a printed convention guide, Facebook page, Facebook chat group for questions, Instagram, Twitter, a website (www.tabletopscotland.co.uk) and a good show app. The app had event listings, maps and the bring & buy.
Tickets are pre-ordered and paid for online (important if you want to book on events) or bought on the door. No long queues, there were many helpers getting you swiftly into the event.
Food and drink
This was much improved on last year. Downstairs in the gaming area was a stand with pizza, hot dogs, drinks and chocolate. Upstairs was a full bar and cafeteria serving tasty looking hot food and sandwiches. I even got some prosecco!
There are no cash machines in the venue or nearby so best to get some from the train station, as the bring & buy is cash only. A lot of the vendors took cards though.
There is no cloakroom but there was a stand for coats – at your own risk.
As the event has grown to two halls, there weren’t many crowds and it was easy to walk around. Exceptions were the long queues for the bring & buy and ordering food.
There was a designated quiet room downstairs out of the way.
Nice, clean and ample facilities. Just like most gaming events, the men’s could have done with some free body spray!
In the cafeteria area you could find a plug socket for a cheeky charge with your lunch/pint.
There was a little dressing up but no organised cosplay events.
Where to get help?
There was lots of helpful people in yellow Tabletop Scotland tee shirts and the well-manned ticket area, where you could also sign up for event slots available on the day.
Tabletop Scotland: Top Tips
- Perth is a decent distance from the main cities of Glasgow or Edinburgh so plan your travel
- Unless you are taking part in rpgs or tournaments, one day is probably enough to do everything
- Outside food is not allowed so be prepared to leave for lunch or use the facilities
- There are Players Wanted and Teachers Wanted signs for the board game area so you can always find willing gamers
- Seminars are a good place to take a break and listen to some industry experts
- If you ever liked Star Trek, you have to try the starship bridge simulator. It was by far the most fun thing I did all day.
One comment – the event could have done with some more traders, I came away with money!
I caught up with Jon Hodgson from Handiwork Games:
What is your involvement with TS this year?
We exhibited as Handiwork Games, demoing and selling our Forest Dragon card games, and some cool gaming accessories like dice trays and battle maps. Handiwork Games was also a sponsor of the show. We were delighted to be able to help support Tabletop Scotland.
What is your favourite thing about TS?
I really like how friendly the show is. It’s a convention where you can really relax and enjoy things as an exhibitor. I think the show is a really nice size. I also think it’s really well organised.
How does TS compare to UK Games Expo?
They’re quite different animals. Games Expo is getting really large, and has some of the “big” feel of a US convention. It’s really hectic and crammed full of people. Which has its merits, clearly – it’s a big spectacle!
Tabletop Scotland is a lot calmer and more personable as a convention, with a greater sense of community, I think. But then that’s everything to do with the relative size of the shows.
What are Handiwork Games working on?
We have a bunch of projects on the go!
We have the next Forest Dragon card game all done – The Forest Dragon Farmer should hopefully be out before the end of the year!
Beowulf is a duet play version of 5e, in a mythic Anglo-Saxon setting. You can play with just the DM and one player, so it’s really easy to get a game going. We’re creating a ton of tools to help get that so-called “dark ages” feel into your 5e game. It’s coming together really well, and looks beautiful!
Meanwhile work is progressing on Hellenistika, Ken Hite’s epic Hellenistic setting for 5e. This is going to be awesome. Really high action ancient Greek stuff, with an unparalleled depth of research and vision.
We have another roleplaying game project coming together behind the scenes, but we’re keeping our cards close to our chest on that one! A lot of fans of Scottish RPGs will be delighted to hear the news when we share it!
TableTop Scotland: Did I like it?
I loved it. It catered for both adult gamers and their friends, and kids. I filled my day happily with events and new board games. I always look out for the bring & buy, and this one was well organised and stocked, and you could search through items on the app.
I will certainly be making a spot for Tabletop Scotland in my gaming calendar!
By Tamsyn Kennedy
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