Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Celebrations and felicitations!

Edinburgh Games Hub: so hot it’s cool- it’s Official!
My enthusiastic response to my first visit to the Edinburgh Games Hub means that readers should be unsurprised to hear that I kept my promise and turned out for the EGH’s official Grand Opening on August 31st. Gav joined me on the bus ride to Edinburgh for the day and we arrived around lunchtime to find the cafe already thronged and buzzing. Needing to relax a bit after our journey, we promptly plonked ourself down at the nearest convenient table- which just happened to be the one upon which Zia (Shaz, the proprietor’s mum, remember?) had laid out all the special munchies she’d prepared for the day. Soon enough we got to talking with the guy already sitting there, who was there with his young son.
Derek & Gav in the Edinburgh Games Hub cafe

Going by the name of Derek, and obviously a gaming dad, this guy proved to be yet another exemplar of the “flood tide of grassroots participation, by geeks, in all spheres of geekery” about which I wrote last time. Derek’s geek was simultaneously quite esoteric and somewhat mundane. Esoteric- he originated the unofficial Edinburgh Festival Fringe award named ‘The Derek’ in his honour; mundane- Fringe-going is very popular, attracting tens of thousands to the city every year, and is something of an annual institution up here, even among those who don’t join in. If I recall correctly, the whole thing began as a drunken dare (surprise!) which grew to serious proportions when, in the cold light of day, Derek and his mates decided actually to do the idea justice. Derek explained to Gav and I that 2012 wasn’t The Derek’s first year, and that some of the shows they reviewed for the award were very interested in the attention they were getting. Blogger that I am, I could easily understand how proud that’d’ve made Derek feel.

Our chat turned to games too, naturally enough and Gav and I were able to while away a pleasant time in Derek’s company.

A bit more exploring
Revived by coffee and other refreshments, I left Gav in Derek’s company and headed off to dawdle around elsewhere. My first port of call was the 6’s2Hit shop, which I’d missed the last time. As well as Kenny- whom I’d met last time, I also met Marc Farrimond— of marc — whom I’d already seen taking photos around the cafe.
Kenny & Mark in the 6’s2Hit shop
The Great Wall of Games
Looking for all the world like a poky wee back office instead of an actual ‘shop’, 6’s2Hit@EGH is nonetheless the hub of dynamic little operation dating back nearly 3 years. The shop’s business has been almost entirely mail order until now, as you’d expect. Setting up in EGH gives 6’s2Hit the chance to be the primary supplier for a captive audience of eager gamers filled with enthusiasm about the new gaming pastures offered by Shaz’s unique venture. Surely a recipie for success? Kenny has neat ideas for 6’s2Hit too. He showed me their laser cutter, with which he will be offering a service, cutting custom templates and so on in paper, MDF, plastic, and anything else the machine can handle. Kenny told me he also has plans to expand the service into engraving, which led to talk of wargames scenery and dice. This is impressive, and very interesting. Very.
“Apocalypse”? Just another
day in the Dark Millenium then
The other side of the
Great Wall of Games
Paying my first visit to the 6’s2Hit shop in the EGH on the day of the EGH’s Grand Opening left me in the mood for a bit of a celebration of my own, in the traditional manner. I’m not in the market for any of the new miniatures games Kenny has in stock (nor any of the old ones just now for that matter). Fortunately I was able to find a 2nd hand copy of Imperial Armour: Apocalypse, a snip at a tenner. It’s the 1st edition and so it’s a bit out of date, and it will also no doubt have been superceded to some extent by changes in the new 40K6, but it’s a nice book for the 40K fan to have on the shelf all the same.

The prize draw
No party is complete without presents, a Grand Opening to celebrate a new games cafe more than most perhaps. So it was nice that Shaz had managed to rustle up a few prizes for a small prize draw, which took place in the evening (tickets were available for buying food and drink from the cafe). I’d taken the liberty of donating the remaining 2 sets of dice Q-Workshop had so generously donated to my ill-fated 5th anniversary blogparty. There were also 2 £20 vouchers- one from 6’s2Hit, the other from I can’t remember where unfortunately; and a copy of Power Grid. (source again forgotten, although I’m sure one of the forgotten sources must’ve been Black Lion Games).
Shaz ready to draw for the prizes
Each draw had to be made several times because ticket holders weren’t present and Shaz was determined to give out the prizes only to people who’d hung around. There was an amusing moment when, inevitably enough, the first draw eventually turned up one of my numbers. Unfortunately that was for one of the sets of dice I’d donated, so I had to decline and hope for the best with the other prizes. It was not to be sadly. The 5 prize-winners were:
  • Johnathan: Black & white Classic dice set.
  • Harkus: Green & black Forest dice set.
  • Sam: £20 voucher (from Black Lion Games?).
  • Ross: £20 voucher from 6’s2Hit.
  • Andrew: Power Grid.
Infiltration: you’re in but can you get out?
The prize draw done there was just enough time for Gav and I to play one last game before it’d be time for us to leave. We rounded up Johnathan and Ross from the ‘prize-winners’ party’ and set to. We started looking at Chad Jensen’s latest release- Dominant Species: The Card Game. This looked interesting enough, but it wasn’t long before we all realised that it just wasn’t the sort of game you pick up and play from scratch in about an hour. So Gavin and I recommended Infiltration, a game we knew fitted the bill because we’d played it already that day, with Iain (who won BTW).
Me, Johnathan, Gav, & Ross playing Infiltration
A game which proves
Dominion wasn’t a fluke
Infiltation is a new game showing FFG at their best, something which has probably got a lot to do with the fact that it was designed by Donald X. Vaccarino- who shot to fame and fortune by inventing the deck-builder genre with Dominion. In this simple cardgame the players are cyber-criminals breaking into a corporate HQ to steal data. The catch is that time is limited because a posse of corporate mercenaries has been alerted and are speeding your way: when they arrive the game is over and anyone left in the building has lost, automatically. I like Infiltration quite a lot; sufficiently, in fact, for me to have bought my own copy and brought it to my own table for several more games already. Expect to hear more sometime. Meanwhile, pushed for time as we were that evening, I neglected to note down the winner of our game. Perhaps someone can come along to claim bragging rights?

The Edinburgh Games Hub Grand Opening was a day out more spectacular than 2 ‘mere’ plays of a neat new filler game might suggest. What really marked the day out for me was the atmosphere, which was nothing short of that of a mini-con. The place was busy all day, and people were very friendly in the way I typically only associate with cons- being only too happy to chat and/or game with any stranger at a loose end. I enjoyed meeting again some of the people I met the last time- including Ben, the Kiwi gamer; and, naturally enough, also had a good time meeting new faces. If EGH can keep this going, becoming, in effect, a permanent mini-con, then I see no reason why its success shouldn’t be guaranteed.

Gav too was suitably blown away and it is to him that I leave the last word, “Inspirational!”

Votes of thanks
To Shaz and his crew at the Edinburgh Games Hub; to everyone I had such a good time hanging out with; and last, but not least, to Zia, for all the treats too tasty to resist which she laid on for everyone who came along to join in the celebrations: thank you to you all. ;)

- My geeking summer #2: True North

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