The first Belgian 18xx Convention is over. And yes, we know many of you could not make it to Mechelen on that lovely and sunny day in August. So before looking back to the convention, we really like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all of you who replied, encouraged, supported and -most important- spread the news. Special thanks go to The Train Rush and Rails on Boards. We hope to see you on our next convention.
We are a very young gaming club, officially founded in March 2018, but up and running since March 2017. Indeed, not even 2 years old! But we are lucky and very happy to have a lot of gamers with a wide variety of interests. And one of these gamers is David, lover of all long and heavy games and a huge fan of Heavy Cardboard. And there it all started… on Heavy Cardboard… with the play-through of 1846: The Race for the Midwest. This play-through, in combination with the convincing and inspiring enthusiasm of David, kick-started the 18xx community in our gaming club. 1846 became 1830, 1830 became 18cz, 18cz became 1856… David’s 18xx collection grew and is still growing. And not only his, also Luk’s 18xx collection started to grow, and that of many others.
The next problem to tackle was to find enough gamers to spend a day or even the weekend with, laying track, buying and selling shares. And then, suddenly, we do not even remember who mentioned it first, the idea came to us to organize a special “18xx day”, to gather all 18xx fans in our gaming club for a wonderful day of trains and stock manipulation.
Aim high, think big and shoot for the moon. After a long and heavy game session, while having a nice Belgian beer (or was it a Scotch whisky?), David and Luk started dreaming. To cut a long story short, they decided to call the event “The Belgian 18xx Convention”. Luk joked about making it the first of many, most likely the very first in Belgium, making it “The First Belgian 18xx Convention”, just to increase its status and to stimulate the fear of missing out.
And so, a save-the-date was posted, the very first announcement of the First Belgian 18xx Convention on the symbolic date of 18.08.18. We had a hard time spreading the news: posts on Facebook, on some forums, but mainly on Boardgamegeek had to do the trick. So thank you, all of you, who have spread the news!
We dare say that the convention was a success. 17 gamers gathered in Mechelen on 18 August 2018 for the very first Belgian 18xx Convention. A warm welcome, a friendly atmosphere, home-made cake and coffee and some nice Belgian beers stood in strong contrast with the cutthroat games played. Two tables of 1846: The Race for the Midwest gave a lot of beginners a thrilling introduction to 18xx. One table of 1830: Railways and Robber Barons (classic) and one table of 1856: Railroading in Upper Canada accommodated our more experienced gamers.
Afterwards, the bravest (Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae. [Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico]) continued with some test plays of a prototype of 18Lilliput by Lonny Orgler (1854 & 18cz, among others), recently successfully funded on Kickstarter. This short (to 18xx standards, i.e. less than 2 hours) 18xx-inspired game seems like a lovely introduction to the genre, but (in my opinion) it is not! Do not let pretty graphics fool you, this is a difficult and unforgiving, though elegant game, based on 18xx concepts. A perfect start or finisher for any 18xx convention. And we love it.
To be honest, we did not start the convention with 18Lilliput. But we did play another 18xx, designed by Lonny Orgler. 18cz was our warming-up for the convention, so far my favourite 18xx game. We did not end the convention with 18Lilliput either, because on Sunday we decided to play Steam over Holland… maybe because it is Holland, maybe because it is short. It does not matter, it is 18xx.
We know that not everyone, not even all our club members, were aware of the “weekend formula” of our convention. We apologize, but for this first convention, we decided to promote only a one-day formula and we are extremely grateful to all 18xx fans who made it to Mechelen. So next time, in Winter, we will organize the Second Belgian 18xx Convention… as a weekend and we hope to see you all there.
for more info about future conventions please go to our dedicated site at http://www.18xxbelgium.com