Review: Nerd East 2013 / Organisers: DUTT / Location: Durham University, Durham / When: 1st June 2013 / Website: http://nerdeast.org.uk
The North East of England is often overlooked when it comes to the larger sorts of conventions, as larger cities around the country tend to get the lion’s share of the fun. This doesn’t stop Geordie geeks from finding an excuse to meet up and have some fun however, and this means that the region has a growing reputation for smaller mini-conventions with a fantastic atmosphere.
Nerd East began life as a kit-fair for live action roleplayers and re-enactors, and over the years has added lectures, games and activities that has made it a rather fine highlight on the convention calendar. The organisers took full of advantage of their location, Durham University Student Union. The large hall was filled with traders, and in addition to the usual tat sellers, jewellery makers and bespoke crafters of cool things, a number of some of the more interesting UK LARP systems had stalls, vying for your attention and bookings. This included the smash hit fantasy game Empire and the critically acclaimed Ornithocracy and the ability to talk to the organisers before attending an event is very useful one indeed, especially for those inexperienced with that hobby.
The talks and lectures during the day were diverse and engaging for the most part; everything from a live version of hit comedy website I Read Terrible Things, to a rather enlightening lecture on the medieval mindset and ghost stories. In addition, they were plenty of fun activities to do, including various new board games to play as well as new games to help playtest, some of which looked very promising indeed. Another highlight included fully set-up games of Artemis Bridge Simulator; if you’ve ever dreamed of captaining The Enterprise, this is perhaps the closest you’ll ever get, and those organising the fun did so in a way that made the whole effortless, easy, brilliant and memorable.
They were a few flaws with the event; the schedules for the various talks could have been more prominent and better highlighted, and the cafe was not serving its usual full menu. The organisation could have been a little tighter all round, but these things are likely to grow as more people find out about the event. Nerd East 2013 was a great a day out, and we look forward to seeing it next year.