Chillcon at Sheffield: A Convention Appraisal

Location, Location, Location: The Sniper’s Mantra

Chillcon Sheffield is held at the Ecclesfield School, Chapeltown, Sheffield, which is to the north of Sheffield city, best accessed from the M1. There is on-site parking (although see the Gripes section for more on this), and the site is accessible by public transport from the City, using the No1 or 1a bus, taking between 6 & 10 minutes. We (as is often the case) chose to travel in one of the Widow’s Lesser Personal Conveyances. (The Palanquin of Insouciance was in the ‘shop.)

The venue itself is set back from the main road, through the car-park . The door price is 5 of your Earth Pounds for over-16s, free for the younglings, or for an increased stipend, the traveller might acquire a ‘Swag’ bag of assorted merchandise and show-related items.

Organisers

http://www.chillcon.co.uk/ (Useful map and local transport guide here.)

Foraging

A variety of repast was on hand, provided by two exterior caterers (Snack Shack and Madame Crepe) a small beverage stand, and a Roman Taverna with copious offerings of a mainly Mead-based nature. (The Golden Grail Kylix.) ,enthusiastically betuniced (probably not a word) despite the draft, just opposite a stand selling Hot Feudalism. (We may have misinterpreted this one.) The Widow, when she chooses to engage in human repast, was pleased to find a variety of food genres or types with assorted acronyms like V/GF/VGFC etc. (That is to say not just cholesterol inna-bun.) For those willing to take a stroll, Chapeltown itself boasts a variety of the usual shops.

Hot Feudalism. Get Your Feudalism.

Gripes, grumbles and other observations

Around ten thirty, the parking became somewhat more than capacity could handle. Some of this could be put down to some terrible efforts on the part of early arrivals, who apparently insisted on taking up at least 3 car-sized spaces for one car, and some was accounted for by the simultaneous event (some sort of sporting malarkey) also happening on the school playing fields. Thus it’s difficult to judge if Chillcon is starting to outgrow it’s venue or not, without comparison to door figures.

As is almost universally the case, schools seem to believe that it is conducive to PE-related learning to have their students bathed in the soft amber of the ‘Traffic Light’, meaning that any other event which occurs in the school hall must also suffer from the terrible orange. This may or may not be problematic for traders depending on what they are attempting to sell. Several traders travel with their own lighting for just this reason. Obviously this is somewhat beyond the control of the organisers, but we would be interested to hear from anyone who works in a school who knows why ‘Orange’ is the light of choice for such places, if only to satisfy our own curiosity. Pictured below is perhaps the only stand where the eerie yellow glow was actually slightly beneficial: LCA. Their already Industrial-Yellow skirmish scenics take on a Blanchitsu-esque hue.

There seemed to be a lack of free seating where people might sit and chill, or rest, and what provision there was was somewhat inaccessible. (Again this is more an observation on the school itself than the organisers, but what is going on with the top step on that stage? We wonder how many kids have tripped over or fallen off that thing, warped into a brown-tile moebius loop as it is.)

The other observed issue, reported to us by traders, was that they had not been given access to the local wi-fi. Thus the ability of traders to operate their cashless devices and gizmos was somewhat impaired, or reliant on their own internet connections, the strength and capability of which seemed to vary throughout the building.

Traders

As a newer show, Chillcon provides a goodly number of traders that are less in evidence at older, more established shows, including a good number of small or local traders (Patriot Games, Atlantis Miniatures, Fox Box) intermingled with bigger names and Show stalwarts. (Warbases, Ainsty, Warlord, Dave Lanchester Books and Lesley’s Bits Box) With a broad show mandate, there are several traders representing other aspects of the gaming hobby, be it peripherals, (Cosy Dice, All Rolled Up) boardgames, (RiverHorse, Redwell,) card-games and items that we like to classify as just ‘cool stuff’.

Full trader list here, with links to all of the above mentioned: http://www.chillcon.co.uk/sheffield-traders/4594537062

Some interesting and informative chats were had, with (amongst others) Elvis on the Mantic stand, the guys at RiverHorse, with Fox Box (purveyor of Matters Orky) definitely winning on sheer enthusiasm for..well, everything really. Absolute winner of Show must be the 3D Heroquest set-up (because Heroquest, obviously)

Overall then, Chillcon is a young show, with much potential, allowing access to the ‘show circuit’ for a lot of fresh blood, with perhaps one or two passing issues (We don’t recall similar problems from previous years, so they are probably temporary) and certain limitations brought about by the location itself. Like several other smaller shows, it suffers a little from a busy calendar and proximity to that slouching mega-beast of shows, Salute, which shambles closer and closer, sucking up funds and attention. We urge Northerners to pop over to your local shows whenever possible, because if you don’y use them, you lose them.

Not a huge haul this time, as we are currently involved in several projects that require items less common at shows. A smattering of PBS1, ready to be recovered and added to our growing undead muster, and an impulse purchase from River Horse. Once we have enjoined the Widow to give it a few goes, we will do a write-up. We have already begun to belabor River Horse heftily about the social media ears, in order to encourage the release of further sets covering other classic Fantasy artists like Froud, Lee, Miller, Cabral, Achilleos et al. We also received a copy of War Banner’s* Gangs of Rome from the fine fellows at Sarissa, which will be given a thorough reviewing the like of which has not been seen in these parts for many a day.

*Stop the press! We have seen news today that War Banner will be trading under the name Dark Peak Games in the near future. Some information on this change is available here. but the gist of it is that War Banner have been asked to change their name because it sounds a bit like Warhammer. (Insert Editorial Sighing Noise.) The Widow et al. rather hoped that this sort of silliness was in the past, but it seems this is not the case.


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