This weekend I'll be heading to the 20th Beer and Pretzels convention in Burton-on-Trent. It's my third time attending, and somehow this year feels very different.
Beer and Pretzels is run by Sally and Phil of Spirit Games, and is held in the Burton-on-Trent Town Hall. It's a fairly big convention (I'm guessing over 200 attendees) and has a really nice atmosphere, with a bar, food, lots of different types of games and a prize ceremony at the end for reviewers on the Spirit Games website.
I first went in 2007, getting the train down from York and staying in a local pub. I had a carrier bag full of hand-made copies of Border Reivers, and a prototype copy of It's Alive! The convention went well - despite the convention being run by a shop, Phil let me sell hand-made copies of Border Reivers, and I sold quite a few. I went for the second time last year, and although by then I was technically a pro game publisher, it felt very similar. I got the train down from York, stayed in the same pub round the corner and again I had a carrier bag full of hand-made games, this time the last few copies of the hand-made edition of It's Alive!, which I duly sold out of. Phil had even reserved me the same table in the corner by the bar :-).
This year everything feels very different. I'm driving up from Bedford, and instead of a carrier bag full of hand-made games to sell myself, I'm taking a couple of boxes of professionally manufactured games and an invoice for restocking the shop. I'll be demoing my games this time, but if anyone wants a copy I'm going to direct them to the shop instead, where Phil will have some available. I'll also have the Sumeria prototype which I'll be demoing and I'll be taking pre-orders for Sumeria at the new, reduced price. I'm going to leave the Sumeria prototype with the UK Games Expo guys (who will be attending to hand out flyers at some point), so that they can start playtesting it as a contender for the UK Game of the Year competition which I helped to judge last year. Since Sumeria is now only a couple of weeks away it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
If you're going along too, stop by and say hi. If you're not: change your plans - it's their 20th birthday!*
* "I live on another continent" is no excuse!