RogerBW's Blog

YSDC Games Day 3 22 September 2014

Third in this series of one-day conventions in bustling metropolitan Baildon (suburban Bradford), and a shift to a new time of year. All images are cc-by-sa.

For the previous two YSDC Games Days, I drove up for the day: three and a half or four hours on the road, six or seven of gaming and socialising, then the same trip back. This time I decided to improve that ratio a bit by going up on the Friday afternoon, which may have been an error. What had been a reliably sub-four-hour trip on a Saturday morning turned into six and a half hours thanks mostly to crowding combined with roadworks on the M1, and even detours onto usually-reliable short cuts round the worst of the roadworks didn't seem to help when a sufficient fraction of everyone else was taking them too. I ended up completely finishing the audiobook that I'd expected to last me through half of the trip home, but fortunately I had more with me.

Which meant I missed the early meeting at the Really Good Pub (you can tell you're up north when the queue for the Chinese chippy next door is as long as the queue for the bar), but the later meeting at the Worst Pub In Town (at least according to beerintheevening, which lists only three in Saltaire) wasn't bad at all; good company, a couple of fine pints of Ilkley Black and a decent meal made everything better, and I walked back along the unlit towpath between old factory and warehouse buildings as a light mist rolled along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the roosting ducks objected quietly. This picture really can't do it justice, even with a bit of tweaking to get it reasonably close to what I saw.

I stayed in the Ibis, tucked between a car showroom and pseudonymous businesses in a generic small office block ("MicroCAD", "keycare"): it's a bit of a hive, but reasonably clean and fairly quiet. Its designers (unlike those of many more expensive hotels) have grasped the idea that curtains actually need to overlap and be reasonably opaque in order to keep the light out, and there's free internet connectivity in the rooms, the usual Swisscom-mediated 802.11 setup that passes VPN traffic but chokes any sort of upload. (This time the back-end provider was Telecomplete Manchester, not one I've come across before. Makes a change from BT.)

All right, there's also a "computer" (phone) socket for modems, something I haven't seen in a hotel for really quite a few years.

I suspect that at some point there was a small bath in what's now a sort of walk-in shower with a wall where the curtain would have been. I suppose that's easier than trying to educate hotel guests that the curtain has to go inside the tub or it won't work. It still throws a fair bit of water on the floor.

I'd booked and paid for the Ibis breakfast, so in the morning I ate it. And actually it wasn't at all bad, certainly a long way from being the worst breakfast I've paid for. The sausages were more pig than soya, the bacon was thick-cut, and the hash browns tasted decent. Without the need that higher-priced hotels feel for rushing about offering coffee and re-laying tables, as though punters were quite capable of getting their own food and fruit juice but were suddenly struck incompetent in the face of the desire for cutlery or a hot drink, the kitchen staff were able to do the more important task of keeping the food available.

Really, if what you want is simply a place to sleep and have breakfast, you could pay much more and do a lot worse. And I have.

Then off to the venue for the main event, delayed by comprehensive roadworks and two-node gridlock. I was still a little early, so I spent some time flying the drone and taking aerial photographs of the building.

Cake is becoming a tradition at these events. I verified that the description of the Crispy Cakes of ibn-Ghazi ("One Bite and you'll Wish you Hadn't") was not true.

People gathered, and we got started a little after noon. Hang on, what's that in the corner?

It seems strangely apt to have as a devotional object the image of Shub-Niggurath extending Her influence into all the affairs of the world.

I gave my new GURPS WWII/Cthulhu scenario And Ye Gave Me Meat its first public outing, and things seemed to go reasonably well: nobody died, though they came quite close several times and were certainly a bit down on sanity by the end of things. I made an audio recording on the laptop, which doesn't sound too bad on a casual sampling, though I suspect that the dice which got rolled near the microphone may be a bit loud.

Then, once the RPGs were over, we all went up the hill (everywhere in Bradford is up the hill) to the deli/tea room for a fine supper and a bit of boardgaming playing. The deli has an arrangement unique in my experience: the upstairs loo is one of the rooms on the emergency exit route, so there's an electronic lock which will disengage when the fire alarm is triggered (and a warning sign to this effect inside the door). We had exclusive use of the place and an excellent buffet; the filled potato skins and extremes of hot chocolate were as good as had been claimed.

I'd failed to take account of how late it would be after we'd all eaten to repletion, and had some large games with me which didn't get played but still made for interesting conversation. I'd brought some small games too; I played Love Letter and Hanabi, and then went back to the hotel and to bed. But I couldn't resist the urge to capture this image on the way back:

And then a drive home on Sunday which took less than two-thirds as long as the trip out even with all the roadworks. I think next time I may take Friday completely off work.

The next one will be on 26 September 2015 and ticket sales will be announced at yog-sothoth.com.

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