Con-cordant and Con-tended
(and a header that’s Con-trived!)
Yes, it all seemed to go very well and I was very pleased to see so many
of you there. Sorry if I didn’t get round to saying hello though, but I was a
bit busy and didn’t have too much time for socialising. However, a report...
Having written out all the name-badges and sorted out all the pens,
papers, games, Amstrads and so on Thursday evening, Friday morning found me with
nothing much to do except load it all into the car in the pouring rain. This
done, and for the first time ever, I managed to leave for the con by 10 am
fairly sure that everything (so far) was under control. Even better was to come
when I reached Birmingham University at about midday to find that only Kevin Lea
and Paul Bennett had beaten me to it, which allowed me and Kev (Paul was trying
to watch the Test Match and had, not surprisingly, fallen asleep!) to start
arranging registration desks and suchlike before the rush began.
In fact there wasn’t much of a rush as the bad weather had disrupted
all the trains and the usual pattern of nobody arriving for half an hour
followed by two dozen in five minutes was replaced by a steady flow of arrivals
throughout the afternoon and evening. This made life a lot easier for the
organisers and we now plan to arrange bad weather for next year’s con as well!
We also plan to bring more computers as Friday produced the first major
panic. Paul Bennett had brought his Soccerleague software, with which he and
Kevin Lea were planning to run a Soccerleague tournament, only to discover that
it wouldn’t run on my Amstrad! After a fruitless search for a suitable machine
and some concern that the tournament might have to be scrapped Mike Ferguson.
saved the day by offering to go back to Coventry and pick up his PC on which he
had the same software. Full marks to Mike for helping us out, but next year
we’ll make sure beforehand that all the programs will run!
During the course of Friday about 250 people arrived and, as I knew
there were several dozen more planning to turn up on Saturday, it soon became
clear that this year’s attendance wasn’t going to be much less than the 330
who turned up for World Dip Con last year. By late evening Nick Kinzett was
disappearing under a sea of entrants for Saturday’s Diplomacy Team Tournament,
several dozen games of all kinds were underway in the main hall and David Watts
had taken over the library as his ‘Rostherne Games Room’ - all in all a
fairly standard start which boded well for the rest of the weekend.
Saturday of course was the day of the Diplomacy Team Tournament and by
the scheduled start time of 9.20 Nick had received sufficient entrants to be
able to arrange it as a 19-board tournament. It didn’t manage to start on time
due mainly to a lot of last-minute changes in some of the teams caused by people
not turning up, or arriving late, and having to be replaced. But, thanks partly
to the software that Paul Richards had developed to make the draw, we got
underway by about 10 o’clock with 133 people taking part.
As usual there were no outright wins though a couple of the games got
very close. Paul Oakes managed 16 centres in his game and Toby Harris actually
had a 50/50 chance of getting to 18, but such was not to be. The Mad Policy
team put up a very impressive performance as all seven of us managed a draw
(though in my case, squashed between Steve Jones and Clive Palmer, it was only a
2-centre draw) and we had some hopes of grabbing the trophy. But in the event it
was Liverpool that took the honours, with Paul Oakes’ result more than
making up for the team getting only six draws in their seven games. Full results
are quoted later in this report.
Also taking place on Saturday were the Britannia tournament and the
Amfoot game as well as early rounds of most of the other tournaments. A busy
day, and as by the end of it I had a streaming cold I headed for bed around 1
Sunday saw the Diplomacy Individual Tournament, the final rounds of
Croquet and Speed Circuit, the 5-a-side Soccer tournament and further games of
most of the other on-going competitions. Speed Circuit was particularly
satisfying as, in a thrilling struggle with Martin Lewis, Richard John and Andy
Bate, yours truly emerged victorious and so retained the championship he had won
in 1988 - another piece of silver for the trophy cabinet!
The 5-a-side Soccer is well worth a mention as well. I have to admit
that since playing in this five years ago (and gaining a cracked bone in my foot
as a result) I haven’t really paid it as much attention as I should. But this
year, partly because my cold had now resulted in me nearly losing my voice and
really not feeling up to actually playing anything, I wandered down to the
Sports Hall to watch the action - and I was very glad I did. Apart from one or
two donkeys (sorry, Rich!) the standard of play was superb and I have grave
doubts as to whether my planned MP team for 1990 (volunteers needed -
*hint*) really has much of a chance! But of course It is not the winning, it’
s the taking part... (stop laughing!)...
Back at High Hall the Individual round of the Diplomacy drew to a close
and by about six o’clock it was time for Nick Kinzett to announce this
year’s winners of the coveted Rusty Bolt Awards. Judging by the cheers and
catcalls they received the final results seem to be the ones most people were
expecting and the following winners can be justly proud of their achievements:
For Being Who They Are: William
Least Regretted/Most Eagerly Anticipated Fold: Yorkshire Gallant.
Feud of the Year: RJW vs The
Delay or Least Possible Reasons for it: Sharp Practice.
Most Boring Topic of Correspondence: Miller Numbers.
Continued Assault on the Mother Tongue: Jan Niechwiadowicz.
Most Spectacular Anything Attending a Con: Bidz ‘n’ Emz.
Superfluous Argument: lain
Bowen’s “Real zines are mimeo”.
Most Depressing Hobby Concept: “Running
down to a fold”,
Anything Not Yet Mentioned: Rich
Egan’s “Who’s the guy with the beard?”
(And yes, I’ve picked up another one! My trophy cabinet is now
positively groaning under the strain, but thank’s very much indeed for the
By the middle of the evening the hall began to look almost empty as
nearly half of the attendees made their way home. I disappeared too for a while
as I had to have a session with the University people on Monday to agree exactly
how many rooms we had used, which would form the basis of their bill, so I shut
myself away with my trusty Amstrad for a couple of hours and tried to make sense
of the accounts (and failed of course, but not by enough to cause any worries).
I emerged around 10.30 to find the con almost quiet as those still there
spent the last evening beginning to wind down by playing all those
non-tournament games they had put to one side during the previous two days.
It’s also quite remarkable what the absence of a bar extension can do to the
background noise level!
Monday morning was also fairly quiet for the same reasons as Sunday
evening and I spent most of my time sorting out details witn the University
people and making plans for the future with my fellow committee members and
other organisers. The early afternoon was mostly taken up with clearing up and
packing things away and by three o’clock we were ready for the final results
ceremony. Some of these had already been announced on Sunday so that winners who
were leaving early could take their trophies with them, but here is a full list:
Followed by Mad Policy, Veni Vidi Vici, Realpolitik, Seven Stones,
Flying Pink Elephants ‘A’, Ode, WILtT?, Astradyne, Vienna Wolf pack, Flying
Pink Elephants ‘C’, Old Lancastrians, Vienna Ratpack, Yer Tiz,
Springboard,Quartz, Flying Pink Elephants ‘B’, Ten Lying Anarchists,
DIPLOMACY: PAUL OAKES
Followed by Phil Ralph, Toby Harris, Martin Sanders, Bob Kendrick,
AlanSharpies, Matt McVelgh, Jim Mills.
Followed by Corinne Sharpe, James Nelson, Dave Penhallurick.
Who beat The Duck Dies At Midnight 8—0.
Followed by Paul Finch, Dane Maslen, Jeff Edmunds, Steve Bond, Nick
Followed by Brian Flatt, Lee Paddon, Mark Green, Marcus Barber, Ian
Followed by Danny Victor, Ken Simpson
CIRCUIT: RICHARD WALKERDINE
Followed by Martin Lewis, Richard John, Andy Bate.
SOCCER: ON ME ‘EAD SON
Who beat Rapid Vienna 1—0 in the final.
Who beat Jeff Edmunds in the final.
RIVALS: BRIAN FLATT
Followed by Anthony Dickinson, Ian Davis, Steve Guest, Kathy Collman.
GAMES: GEOFF KEMP
Followed by Sarah Avery, John Gates, Brian Flatt, Mark Nelson.
ROGER DITCHBURN (SCOTLAND)
Who beat Tony Ross (Russia) 3—2 in the final.
GAMES: STEVE JONES
Followed by Mog Firth, John Harrington, Neil Roberts, Thee Clarke, Tony
SPECTACULAR MANORCON ATTENDEE: ADAM HARRIS
Closely followed by Dave Berry, Alex Zbyslaw, Dave Thorby, The Elephant
And that was it! By about 4 o’clock it was all over, last goodbyes
were said and it was homeward bound ready to begin arranging Manorcon 90...
A good con I think and certainly plenty of people said how much they had
enjoyed it, which is always reassuring. As ever I am very grateful to all the
people who offered to lend a hand as I remain convinced that it is the large
number of people who now help to run the thing that keeps it on an even keel. I
can’t mention all the names in this short report but some of the more notable
contributions included Nick Kinzett (as always, for the Dip and as main
announcer), Kevin Lea (for late nights with the Soccerleague) and the Nelson
brothers (for an excellent first run at the General Games Tournament); my thanks
to you and all the others who helped make it all possible.
Personal memories are all very pleasant and, apart from picking up yet
more silver for the trophy cabinet (an activity, as you may have guessed by now,
which I find highly pleasurable...), include a first meeting with Madelaine
Smith, a long boozy session with Bowen and Doubleday, great fun (as always) with
the Vienna mob, innumerable once-a-year encounters with many of you lot and the
satisfaction of being able to watch hundreds of people enjoying themselves and
knowing that I have helped them manage it. Final attendance was 300, only
slightly down on last year, which was even more than I expected.
Reprinted from Mad Policy 154