Tentacles 2007 Writeup

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Created On 29 May 2007

Last Updated On 29 May 2007

Copyright © 2006 Simon E. Phipp

This was the first time I had been to Tentacles. I told my wife after Continuum 2006 about a games convention in Germany at a castle, expecting her to complain about my "crazy hobby", but she said that perhaps we could go together this year. Unfortunately, she was away in Russia for the Convention, so I booked my place and told her and she seemed a bit upset. When I asked her what was wrong, she said "But I wanted to come as well!"

As it got closer, I became first more excited, then more worried. Would I enjoy myself, or would I sit there and be intimidated by the grouos of people who know each other?

My character came through for Between the Dragon and the Deep Blue Sea and I was playing Deregash, an old monk, the power behind the throne. As I had played an old monk, power behind the throne in Rising Tsar, I couldn't help feeling a bit typecast, but I decided to make the best of it. I didn't want to hire a costume as I had limited luggage capacity, so I decided to make my own. After an evening fighting with bedsheets, web hemming strips and cotton wool, I came up with a matching white robe/hood/bag and beard ensemble that didn't look half bad and I went to bed at 2.30 to get up at 5.00 to catch mny train. But, I became more and more worried that I wouldn't be able to pull it off and would have a bad Freeform. However, it all worked very well. I can't think of a time in the freeform when I wasn't enjoying myself, even when things went badly.

Then came the best event of Tentacles - the Trollball World Cup. I had received my team for Trollball and I had been given the Uz, but only as a second string player. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to play and emailed Grégory back, complaining that being the 4th person to sign up didn't seem to mean anything, but later found out that Andrew Wood was the 3rd player to sign up and that we could co-play the Uz as it would be better with two players.

I didn't have time to read the rules and I didn't pick up a rulebook at registration, as I don't think they were ready when I arrived. Then I realised that I probably wouldn't be able to play in it anyway as I was signed up for the Freeform for most of Saturday, then I had won the lottery to play in Greg Stafford's Gloranthan game, so I would be busy all evening. When a very, very tall New Zealander called Andrew Wood came up to me during the Moon Design seminar and asked when I would be able to play, I explained that I would be tied up the next day, so he might have to play alone. He came back a few minutes later and said that we could play that evening, "OK," I said, "as long as I don't miss the Pub Quiz", as I had complained at its absence during Continuum.

We played the first game on Friday night, which went into extra time, and I missed the start of the Pub Quiz, but didn't mind at all. The next day, I played in the Freeform, but kept checking in with Andrew on the progress of the other teams. He had watched every game and had made a note of their tactics and we discussed each team's tactics and worked out our own. We played our semifinal between the freeform and Greg's game and I missed the end of that match, but Andrew filled me in. I returned at about 12.30 to watch the end of the other semifinal, and then we played the final immediately afterwards. Even though we lost, I was buzzing like I've never buzzed before during a tabletop game.

It was a fantastic experience and if Grégory runs it at Continuum next year, I'll be first in the queue, hopefully.

I played several tabletop games during Tentacles. I played a Devotee of Monster Man in Greg's game, a Venetian Sailor in Paolo's game and a Lanbrili caravan guard in Andrew's game. They were all good fun and I enjoyed playing each game.

So, I played in three tabletop games and enjoyed each and every one of them, one freeform, which was great, and the incredibly wonderful Trollball. I attended several seminars and was busy for most of Friday evening, all of Saturday and almost all of Sunday. To tell the truth, I could easily have carried on for a whole week, I enjoyed it so much.

The setting was brilliant, the castle is very atmospheric, the staff were very friendly and helpful, especially considering I don't speak German. We had an evening meal on Friday, I think, and three meals on Saturday and Sunday, with breakfast on Monday, which was fantastic, good food all day long. I missed some of the Pub Quiz, which I wanted to take part in, and missed the Eternal Champion seminar, both because of playing Trollball so I didn't really mind. I met a lot of new people and enjoyed their company. Even sharing a room was good as it meant more socialising than usual and I wasn't kept up by the snoring, although I did my usual trick of "I'll never get to sleep with this noise ….zzzzzzzzzz". I didn't poison myself but was sufficiently lubricated to let my hair down. There were far fewer geeks and nerds this year, which either means they are getting more normal or I am getting geekier or nerdier, I'm not sure which.

It continued at the Airport, on the Plane and on the Train back as I was talking to Roy on the plane and Andrew Moreton on the train, so I extended my Tentacles experience by several hours. Even experiencing the full horror of British railways didn't spoil my day and got home at 7.40, just ten minutes late for our weekly RQ session. So, I was gaming until nearly midnight, which was fitting, really.

Highlights of the Con:
1. Playing and nearly winning the Trollball World Cup
2. The Trollball World Cup generally
3. Getting to know more people, esecially Andrew Wood

Low Points:
1. None really, for the first time at a convention