LinCon 2010 Gaming Convention


My two days with Junior at the LinCon gaming convention in Linköping turned out even better than I'd hoped for. I had lots of fun myself, and as a geek dad I was extra happy that Junior took to the whole thing with such gusto. On Thursday evening, for instance, he was play-testing a convoluted unpublished sci-fi board game with some guys in their 20s and 30s while I sat at another table some ways off and played simpler games with my friend Hans and others. Dad proud.

Everybody at the convention was uncommonly friendly and open, as gamers often are. Most of us looked pretty geeky, but not everyone was a bespectacled male, by far. Plenty of ladies and children too. And I was amused to see that the rave-synth-Goths attending the convention managed to look a little nerdy too despite being in full sub-cultural panoply.

One group of charming people had set up camp in the entry hall, treating everybody to free tea. Another group grilled humanely priced burgers for the conventioneers on a charcoal fire outdoors. And the people at the free S.A.R.Z. board game bar amazed me with their friendliness and willingness to teach us games. The acronym means Swedish-Asian Roleplaying Zone (though these days they do board games instead), and as a member of a Swedish-Chinese household I felt right at home with the Cantonese Swedish guys.

I played twelve different games. My favourites were:

  • Alibi Saknas: HerrgÃ¥rdsmordet. Story-telling card game where the players collaborate at piecing together an exceptionally lurid whodunnit plot. According to the rules, the player who has the most fun wins.
  • Hey! That's My Fish! / Pingwin. Jumping from one hexagonal ice floe to another collecting fish. I like the way all the penguins finally end up in the drink.
  • Ticket to Ride. Build a railroad network. Ranked #56 on
  • Tigris & Euphrates. Dominate Bronze Age politics in Mesopotamia. I brought this myself. Ranked #10 on

And eight others were also pretty good:

  • Badaboom. Card game where goblins get shut up in a dungeon and have to live-test bombs for their Overlord.
  • Enkounter / Kaleidoscope Classic. Abstract, tiles.
  • Munchkin. Card game, fantasy parody.
  • Kogworks / Mechanix. Abstract, cog wheels.
  • Pentago XL. Abstract, 5-in-a-row on a mutating board.
  • Rabbit & Carrot. Card game demanding fast addition skills and reflexes. Gets the adrenalin going.
  • Spank the Monkey. Card game, build absurd junk towers to discipline an unruly simian.
  • Through the Desert. Sex toy-coloured camels divvy up a hexagonated desert, scoring water holes and oases.

Organisation wasn't great at LinCon this year. The web site advertised a bus service between Stockholm and the convention but never told us when or whence the bus would leave. The program folder told us roughly what was going to happen when, but in order to learn where you had to visit the reception desk. Definitely a problem at a large convention like this. But thanks to Hans, the S.A.R.Z. people and many friendly gamers, we kept ourselves pleasantly occupied.

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I think it was some 15 years ago I attended my last LinCon. So: you´ll not bump into me this year. At least not at a gaming convention.

So soon? Ah, yes, earlyish Easter this year.

UNfortunately, I shall be unable to attend, again. Been 10 years since my last LinCon. If you have a laptop and emacs, I could send you the "tournament Nomic" mode wot I bodged up for the Nomic games I ran, back then.

Thanks Ingvar, I'd have to google Nomic to even know what it is, and I'm the kind of linux user who never drops into terminal mode.

Jag är bara där på lördagen, men Olle åker redan ikväll med resten av Arcane-gänget, så honom lär du träffa på!

Nomic is a game of changing the rules of the game, in accordance with the rules of the game.

Not surprisingly, it tends to end up in rules lawyering and the moment you allow voting based on how others have voted, it may even go undecidable.

With the right crowd, it's an absolute hoot, but with the wrong crowd, it's boring and unpleasant.