Back from the dead (of Winter) and planning has begun to ramp up for Hattanooga this year. We have already begun to get our mallards contiguous and start the months long affair of organizing this thing. Over the interim, we have managed to add more games to the pile for attendees to play. More rulesets have been translated and more artifacts of long lost 18xx were dug up and pieced together. We have a new venue this year which will suit our needs nicely (more on that later) and Luke and I have been spreading the love and working other conventions to spread the word.
One thing that is VERY IMPORTANT to let everyone know about early on is that the Medicine Hat municipal airport will be out of commission for the entire month of May. This is to accommodate a new commercial landing strip which in future years should mean that Medicine Hat will have direct flights! So, while it is disappointing and will no doubt discourage those with plans to fly from attending, it will be a good thing for the health of the community (and Hattanooga hopefully) in future years. I would also hope that train gamers are made of sterner stuff and not so easily discouraged.
So, with our further delay, here’s what’s new and different. In the near future, you can expect a post here about what will be mostly similar and what will be exactly the S.A.L.Y….
New Venue: We have a new venue this year located at the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Grounds called ‘The Cottage House’. The room will accommodate 60 people comfortablly and 312 super uncomfortably. There is a kitchen on site for Chef Ryan* to create his magic vittles and the back door of the room leads out onto a ‘pioneer village’ which is both very fun to tour and thematically relevant! Below you will find a photo of the room set up for someone with mis-aligned priorities, likely eating or something. Those tables should have choo choos on em’… The address and maps for the new venue are located on the website if you need more details and if you are interested in a tour of the Pioneer Village while visiting, the venue organizers have said they would host a tour for us.
The ‘Fly a friend’ program: Something that was heavily discussed last year was the lack of opportunity for our overseas friends to come and visit and play our favourite games with us. In the spirit of opportunity and relationship building, 5$ from every admission to Hattanooga is going to be placed in a fund to help a fellow train gamer from abroad come visit for the weekend. (or longer if they see fit) Collections will begin this year and next year, ‘early bird’ attendees that are far away and would appreciate the assistance can ask to have their name put into a draw and one lucky foreigner will have this pool of money awarded to them to cover a portion of their travel expenses. There are, of course, some conditions that go along with that, such as you would need to be in attendance to pick up your ‘winnings’. We will also accept any gifts attendees might want to offer up if they like the spirit of the thing and want to contribute further.
New (and old, but new) prototypes: One of our big focuses last year was prototype material and helping our designer friends with play testing. This year, we will be repeating the practice, but with fewer new titles. In a fit of unbridled enthusiasm, we took on whatever people had for us. Anything we can do to help and all. (It’s a Canadian thing) This was great in theroy, but in practice it did monopolize the time of the organizers because as you know, accurate play test note taking is important and requires a good deal of focus. This took us away from schmoozing and losing handily at other games to players much better than we are.
This year, we will be featuring from Wolfram Janich of Marflow Games a heavily revised version of 18DO, (so revised you could consider it a different experience if I’ve played with you in 2017) a revamp/tweek of 1895 and a couple of Mark Voyer’s designs (1883: The Sunshine Province) and 1872 once more. As well as one or two other surprises.
New (and returning) Sponsors: I am pleased to announce that John Bohrer of Winsome Games has joined our stable of people who do things we like and also acknowledge we exist. John was also gracious enough to lend a hand in terms of Prize support. Just like last year, Marflow Games and Lonny have stepped up to the plate and have offered up some nice swag and support for our little convention. More on this topic in future posts….
So in closing, we have a lot to be excited about this go around and I hope you can be here to join in on the buzz. A few things you can count on for sure will be the extensive library of favourites and oddities and to be able to game with a room full of like minded and truly outstanding human beings. Hope to see you in May, look for more information soon and regular updates!