Pulham MarCon

A month ago, I sat down in our hired cottage, and started writing this. I never quite finished it. Or rather, I did finish it eventually, but never actually posted it. So, to round out the year, I’m putting it on-line just over a month late.

A week before DragonMeet, I’m at a smallest “convention” I’ve ever attended. It’s Sunday morning (as I’m writing – you won’t see this until I get back home, there is no WiFi here) and I’m sitting in the cosy lounge reflecting on games played so far, and games still to play. Since arriving on Friday evening, I’ve played seven and a half hours of Coriolis, and seven and a half hours of Pendragon. Which isn’t bad, especially when you consider that we’ve also enjoyed a four mile walk and a lovely pub lunch.

Of course it is’t really a convention. It’s four of us renting a lovely cottage, near Pulham Market in Norfolk, to play games all weekend. And the cottage is lovely, it’s a thatched vernacular farmhouse built around 1580, the parlour I’m in right now was, it’s thought, added shortly after 1643. There isn’t a level floor anywhere in the house. Two fireplaces share the chimney, meaning we can have a blazing log fire in the parlour and in the dinning hall beyond, which, with a long oak table, makes a perfect gaming room.

Over the weekend, we’ve seen: the crew of the Mukafa’a get into serious trouble, trying to steal a book from a library in Coriolis; the High King of Britain and his knights rescuing his son from the witch Guinevere in Pendragon; Potboy and Radish helping Grendel recover his patent’s hearts from the underground threshold to a lost city in Symbaroum; and, three low ranking Samurai get a job from the Emperor herself in Legend of the Five Rings. We each took a turn running a game, and we all agreed that there was particular pleasure and reward gained from the residential experience. Each game had time to breathe without us feeling we’d have to wrap up in time for three of us to get home in the evening. To give an example, for various reasons we started the first game a little later than intended on Friday evening. That game went on till about midnight, then all through Saturday morning, until we broke for lunch after rolling initiative for the only combat. We walked a couple of miles to a pub for lunch. Then after walking back got into the fight, which turned out to be the climatic scene of the adventure. All in all, about seven hours of gameplay, but with no-one reaching for their phones (the signal is very poor) or getting uncomfortable in their seats.

Would we do it again? Hell yeah! We’re already planning another weekend next year.

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