Warpcon is one of the oldest conventions in Ireland and is the first major con on the international calender, based in University College Cork, one of the oldest universities in the country, it has been called a real world Hogwarts by some.
It is one of the largest student run conventions on the island and attracts gamers from across the globe. It takes place on the last weekend in January, in 2014 it will take place on the 24th to 26th of January.
Cork is a major city, it has its own airport, bus service and train station, navigating it on foot can be a bit of pain but it is do-able. Here’s a handy guide.
At the time of typing, Irish rail were doing a massively discounted deal on train travel to and from Dublin. Seriously, check it out quick.
While the main hall houses most of the events, some are held in other buildings. Most Trolls (An endearing term for staff members) will happily give you directions to where you need to be, just ask… politely.
Pro Tip: When you arrive at the building the main hall is on the first floor. A rather convenient café/restaurant occupies the ground floor. Confused me the first time I was there.
Giant cookies help grease the wheels at Warpcon
There’s only one other con that has a better food arrangement on the island (Coming soon), the bottom floor of the hall has a proper café/restaurant that is open most of the day, there’s a convenience store around the corner from it too, though its opening hours seemed to be rolled randomly.
There’s also a kebab shop across from the Western Rd gate.
Better still, the local Four Star Pizza is used to dealing with this convention and will not only deliver to the hall or old bar, they run special offer after 12pm. Ask a Troll for details, though it will probably be well advertised around the convention.
Pro Tip: Eat food, Drink water.
A muffin is not dinner, eat real food, especially if you intend to indulge in some alcohol. If it’s the morning after, yes, your brain might need coffee but your body needs water, a shot of espresso and a glass of water will see most people right or at least restore some humanity to you.
There are a row of B&Bs along Western road, which are across the road from the most convenient entrance to the con; these are very handy if you can afford them. Price is reasonable enough too. If not to your taste or travelling with a group there are a number of hostels. Warpcon have provided a set of handy links.
John Kovalic of Dork Tower fame demoing a prototype of ROFL which has gone on to great success
Pro Tip: Don’t anger the Trolls, it’s not good for anyone.
When the people at the desk tell you when tickets for events are going on sale, it means they will be on sale then, there’s no reason to keep checking back every five minutes, the answer’s not going to change. You may be very excited about the event but go peruse the stalls or sit in on a demo till then.
As you would expect at a games convention, there are war-games, LARPs, RPGs, card games and board games. The crowds at some cons favour one type of event over others, Warpcon attendees, however, seem to be pretty evenly spread between the categories.
There is a little mezzanine affair through a door to the left of the main hall entrance which acts as a nice calm area to play games in if the spaces in the main hall are all occupied. That was where the board game library was set up last year too.
Pro tip: Do take the time to play some of the demo games, some great designers show their wares there.
On top of the gaming side, the social element is a major part of the convention
On the Friday night, the pub quiz is held in the Old Bar, this is the most relaxed pub quiz you have ever seen, the team numbers rise and fall with the tide, wandering drunkards will appear, volunteer answers and then vanish Keyser Söze style, they’re probably wrong, especially if it’s me! Don’t take it too seriously, it’s meant to be fun, not mastermind.
The highlight of the convention is the charity auction held on the Saturday evening in the Old Bar. It raises a massive amount of money for charity and has received the Diana Jones award for Excellence in Gaming alongside Gaelcon
Marvel as nerds descend into a slavering consumerist horde that would give any American Black Friday veteran a bad case of the flashbacks: “The Shiny!” they will cry, “We must have its!”.
This year there will be also be a Save or Shave, You get to decide whether or not I go home with a bald head and face! Check out my profile pic below to see how big a change that could be!
This is followed by music and insane dancing into the small hours. It’s a really good time.
Pro Tip: Bring a spare liver.
The con has been described as a drinking session with a con attached, this not entirely inaccurate – the bar has run out of booze every year I have been there!
Pro Tip: The stairs up to the Old Bar are trying to kill you, they may look nice and friendly at the start of the night but by the end of it they will be a murderous beast out to get you. Be Careful!
And finally, dress warmly, it may be the south of Ireland but it’s still January for crying out loud.
Even the Traders like to get in on the fun.