RogerBW's Blog

Tabletop Scotland 2022 03 September 2022

I had originally planned to travel to Tabletop Scotland in 2020, but. This year I braved the 440-mile drive (home to Essen is only about 400) and gave it a try.

Yes, this did mean I needed to spend the Friday driving to Perth, and the Monday driving back. (And all the motorway services were very full, often with delays to parking and queues even for the gents'. I've driven on bank holiday weekends before, and this was about twice as bad.)

I stayed in a hotel very near the venue (very enthusiastic staff, but it really needed some maintenance on things like window-catches, peeling wallpaper, uneven creaky floors, and missing built-in hair-dryers) and spent most of the weekend on site.

At most English games shows these days I can wander around and fairly quickly run into people I know; not so much here, but I soon got into a Firefly game with a chap who was running it for most of the weekend. With two experienced players and one newcomer we knocked off a cash-grab scenario in about two hours.

The place gradually filled up. This is the cooler (because less full) of the halls; role-playing and the bar were upstairs, and far too hot.

Over in the main hall, it was getting warm and crowded.

I ended up chatting with people a lot, and then set up a game of Rallyman: GT (the Silverstone layout).

New player quickly worked out how it should be done.

Giant Onitama had been promised, but I'm afraid I found this a bit underwhelming. (Players were expected to act as the Master themselves, fair enough, but also to leave their positions, move a pawn about, then go back to the right place.)

A quick demo of Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition: Bunker, Ra and Tachyon against Baron Blade. I've had some bad card luck with Bunker before, but this time he was pretty effective.

And that's all the games I actually played on Saturday; it was a very low-pressure, chatty, local sort of convention, like Airecon retaining that feel even as it's grown larger.

On Sunday, I set up A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game, and it almost went really well - one more point of damage and we'd have beaten the Horseman. (I hadn't played it at two before, and things seemed to ramp up awfully quickly.)

Then more Rallyman: GT, first a two-player demonstration on Championship track 13; then a forum friend showed up in company, so I flipped the tiles to make it three-lane and ran a lap with them.

This is a game that reached me at the start of 2020, and while I've played it quite a bit on BGA and in solo challenges it's only about the second or third place where I've played face-to-face multiplayer. And it was lovely, much more atmospheric even than live-with-audio BGA games.

Next was some Hidden Leaders, chaotic as it was last time, but it seemed to be making more sense. (But I lost, so the game is obviously broken.)

And Shamans, which I think I'm getting better at teaching.

There was a wargaming area which I barely got to at all – it looked like mostly fantasy skirmish.

This was a lovely convention with a local feel, and if it's affordable (and I can find somewhere better to stay) I'll go back next year.

Particularly since I get to return via the farm shop at Tebay.

[Buy Firefly: the Game at Amazon] [Buy Rallyman GT at Amazon] [Buy Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition at Amazon] [Buy Shamans at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

  1. Posted by John P. at 10:22pm on 03 September 2022

    Looks like you had a good time there. I do like Tebay (and Gloucester which is run by the same outfit I believe) but it easily drains your wallet.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 09:14am on 04 September 2022

    Overall definitely recommended; I'd have done some role-playing too if it hadn't been so hot upstairs.

    Yes, Gloucester is also run by Westmorland; they also have a couple more on the M6/M74 between Tebay and Glasgow. This was the first one I'd been to; mostly it's nice to pause at a place which goes a little more softly than the chains on trying to extract the maximum money per square metre.

  3. Posted by DrBob at 12:25pm on 04 September 2022

    I had fun there playing RPGs all weekend and would definitely do it again. Though definitely not stay in the New County Hotel. Friendly staff don't make up for the Fawlty Towers vibe and not getting any sleep.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 12:39pm on 04 September 2022

    I'll try the RPGs next time if it's a bit cooler.

    I picked the Grampian on the basis of its being the closest. I slept all right (apart from brief melodious drunken singing on Saturday morning and a particularly agitated gull on Sunday, not the hotel's fault) but it was desperately under-maintained and the breakfast wasn't up to much.

    There's a Mercure a bit further away, and my experience with the Ibis chain (of which it's now a part) has generally been good, but people say the same things about that one too, even on their own site: needs maintenance, needs a good clean, and there's a limit to what the staff can do about that however helpful they're trying to be. Maybe this is just the way hotels are in Perth. Recommendations welcome from other readers!

  5. Posted by Owen Smith at 09:08pm on 04 September 2022

    I think it may be how all hotels are post covid. I've stayed in 5 hotels in 5 countries this year and only the one in Istanbul was even trying any more. Most of them freely admit they are woefully understaffed and they can't find people to fill vacancies.

  6. Posted by RogerBW at 09:15pm on 04 September 2022

    Other places I've stayed in since 2020 (in the UK):

    St George, Harrogate: breakfast was rubbish, but plenty of staff, clean rooms, maintenance done.

    Park Plaza, Leeds: clean rooms, maintenance done, fine breakfast too.

    Holiday Inn Express, Stockport: clean rooms, maintenance done, fine breakfast too.

    And most of the ones in Europe were fine, of course.

  7. Posted by Chris at 04:18am on 05 September 2022

    The one in Europe that wasn't, wasn't fine not because of the staff, who were all splendid, but because it seemed to be a single room that had been turned into a double by adding another bed and was cramped and inconvenient. There were plenty of staff working in the hotel, and the food and bar were of a usual standard.

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