Eurocon 2009 – the final day

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Time flys when you’re having fun and this 4 days have certainly flown past. Several players are already packed and left (having 14 or even 20 hours to spend driving home). Others are still sleeping, several have had breakfast, there are only a hundful of us in the con room at this hour (09:30 local time).

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As I start to pack things back into the car I thought I’d mention some other observations of the con. To begin with, the way google assumes I speak Dutch. The way there are two network switches, one at each end of the room, along with lots and lots of power cables. The background music that always seems to fit the atmosphere. The humour (Ninja, at the beggining of his duel, jumping up and waving a broomstick with a white T-Shirt tied to it shouting ‘I surrender’). The differing types of setup that people have to play the same game (from one player with full flight control system, rudder pedals, joystick mounted in front of the chair between your legs just like you’d have it in an original fighter – to some playing with basic old joysticks on laptops that struggle to maintain the frame rate at the lowest of all graphic detail settings). The way so many different languages are spoken around the table and watching English be used as a middle language between Dutch, Polish, German, Spanish and French players.

It’s been great fun, I’m going to enjoy the last few hours so this is my last blog post from the con.

Eurocon 2009 – The Duel

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Last year, the duel became an epic. Myself and Unguis faught until our fuel ran out – twice!

The duel is played as a pair of players and this year I flew with Zonix. You fly towards the enemy at the same altitude, once you have ‘merged’ (passed each other head on), the fight is on. You can do anything you like, but the goal is that you must kill both your opponents. The rules were changed this year, so that if you run out of fuel the first to crash, lose.

Our second game was against Tomkin and Unguis, just like last year. Just like last year, Tomkin was damaged quickly and was out of the fight and my partner (Zonix this year, Dhyran last year) was shot down, leaving just Unguis and me to battle it out. In an almost exact replay of last year, I ran out of fuel seconds before unguis.

Oh well, maybe next year.

Eurocon 2009 – Visit to Fort Eben-Emael

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Every year the Eurocon organisers find an interesting place to visit for guided tour. Last year it was the Wings To Liberation museum, this year “Fort Eben-Emael” in nearby Belgium. Built just before the second world war, the Germans captured it in just 37 hours.

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The fort was designed to withstand a frontal attack and had huge cannons to defend it ant he surrounding area. To capture it, the germans landed gliders on the top of the fort (The fort is built into a limestone hill) and attacked it with infantry from above, a clever and effective tactic.

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Earlier I wrote how my journey to the Eurocon had taken quite a long time. Having arrived in France so early I drove for a few hours throught he night until I felt tired then stopped to sleep for a few hours in the car. I arrived in Liege at about 9am so went looking for a swimming pool partly for the chance to swim but mostly for the chance to have a shower and freshen up before the Rotary meeting. After the swim I followed the SatNav directions to a nearby tourist attraction, listed as a Fort. Fort’s are good destinations for tourists – they normally have good views over the area and this one did too.

Just outside was a memorial to soldiers who died during the first world war. This fort, at Chaudfontaine, was also used during the second world war along with the new, larger fort at Eben-Emael

Eurocon 2009 – Memories of day 1

Already it is Saturday morning. It’s been lots of fun. Shortly, we’ll be off to see a nearby Fort. That is, those of us that awoke this morning. For some, the liquid experience of last night may mean they’ll need a few more hours to sleep it off.

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I’ve taken some of my photos of the camera now. If you remember reading last years postings you might recall about a player from Monaco that reduces his PC to only the essential items in order to save weight. Carrying a PC case on a plane is very expensive. It is almost a regular feature of Eurocon – Ninja and his naked PC.

Another regular feature is late nights and lots of conversation. It was 3am local time when the last 10 of us left the con room for the night. We must be getting old, last year we were up to 4am!

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I delivered Dhyran’s amplifier as promissed. and every so often he and others have been putting out a little tune. One of the things I’d forgotten about Eurocon from last year is the atmosphere created by music. Not dhyran playing, but the ongoing selection of songs played over the PA system. I can’t recall hearing a bad track.

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Speaking of music, the indoor ski slope had a sound system too. Listening to the latest pop music while going up the chair lift was very pleasant. Going down the noise of the skis was too loud to hear the music.

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This year I also brought a little present for my euro friends. Being that beer is a popular beverage at the con, I brought some from the local Faversham brewery appropriately called “Spitfire”. One of the players, Sweepy, has always created pictures of the event and put humour speach bubbles on them. I thought his take on the Spitfire drinking was hilarious so I’ve put the picture here too. Maybe it’s an aquired humour though. Click on the picture to see the full size version so you can read the text.

Eurocon 2009 – Let Battle Commence

I’ve not been bloging as much lately because I’ve been very busy. Busy organising an ‘outdoor skills day’ (I’ll write about it later), busy with work and busy with life in general. Life has been good. You’re about to see a torrent of postings, not on things that are still in the ‘waiting to be written queue’, these will all be up to the minute current events as close to real time as I can make them happen. For the next 4 and a half days, I’m on holiday. I’m going to Eurocon!

Last year, my journey to Eurocon was at rather short notice. Just 24 hours before the start my friend and online gamer from Germany known as ‘Flubby’ posted in our forum that he was too ill to go and his already paid for place was free to anyone who could cross Europe at such short notice. Rhonda said I could go and thus began a dash to the port and 4 days of fun.

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This year, it’s a little better planned. I booked my place months ago, I booked the ferry months ago and I sit here at my laptop writing not from a ferry this time, but from the terminal waiting area.

I was booked on the 04:30 am ferry to leave tomorrow morning 15th April, but I’m in the terminal at 9pm on the 14th. Why arrive 8 hours early for a ferry? Blockade! The French fisherman have been blockading French ports again, lorries are parked all along the motorways of Kent waiting for crossings. Disruption galore to channel crossings, my journey could be over before I’ve even left blighty.

All is not lost, last night a few ferries left overnight and on the phone to P&O they said I could arrive early if I wanted but they couldn’t guarantee a crossing. Fair enough, I arrived very early and they think they’re going to get a ferry out at 11pm. They’ve given me a ticket, now I just have to hope it leaves.

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On the plus side a group of German students are singing songs around a guitar here in the terminal building so it’s actually quite a happy pleasant place to be. Just like going away with the youth club all those years ago. Except for the language of course the only work I remember from German is Hangover that I learnt last year. Oh, and something like Ich haben deinen medicine! when I delivered a special bottle of Spitfire Ale to Flubby at home in Achen at the end of the Eurocon (it being only a few hours drive away).

Anyway, time to go post this, set up the sat nav, stick on the head lamp adapters and try and remember what I’ve forgotten to pack (well, there’s always something!).