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Gaming at the Garrison


For those new to the Garrison Venue, Veteran Gamer Neil Gow has some advice


  • It’s a Gamer Friendly Zone - One thing that might surprise first-time visitors to the Garrison is that the staff are very well-versed in having gamers in their building. This venue has been home to the Furnace RPG convention for 10 years. So relax – they love us!

  • Food - Food in the Garrison has improve immeasurably since the early days of conventions being ran here and is now of a very reasonable standard. It does, however, take an age to come to you so order as early as possible. For Saturday dinner-time it is sometimes possible to pre-book at lunch-time. Do this. The staff will bring your food to you as long as you have your order number stick thing and aren’t hiding in some dark hole.

  • Drink - It’s a bar and it sells drinks . Slowly. Service is not great so again, buy early and often. There are usually a few guest ales on tap although during busy times they have been known to run out. Note that these are not discounted prices so expect to pay the going rate – however soda water is free! If you get desperate for some after-hours drinks, reception has a vending machine with wine and Bud in it. Classy.

  • Nearby Shops - There is a McDonalds at the bottom of the hill and a Pizza Hut and KFC just along the road. Nearby is also a large Morrison’s Supermarket which receives a near constant stream of gamers during convention time. This is also the location of the nearest cash-point.

  • Cells vs Tables - For LongCon you only have to worry about two gaming areas. The ‘Upper Jailhouse Tables’ are larger gaming areas perfect for games that need a little more space, use maps and figures or have larger numbers of players. There can be a little bleed of noise between the tables but as long as you aren’t hooting and bellowing it is generally OK. The ‘Jailhouse Cells’ are exactly that – former cells with a table in them. As such they can be a little bit cramped (especially if you are a larger gamer) and dark but they are excellent for capturing noise and blanking out distractions from the games. Wisdom tells us that the GM is best placed sat or stood in the doorway, speaking inwards to the players.

  • Breakfast - Breakfast is lovely, but like everything else at the Garrison, a little slow to serve – so get down early. You get the normal array of cereals and croissants etc. and as much toast as you can eat, as well as the option of a cooked breakfast (Sausage, Bacon, Hash Brown, Beans or Tomato and an egg in fried/poached/scrambled format). Top tip – ask for a second sausage or bacon and smile. You never know what might happen!

  • You Are Not Alone - We are generally not the only people using the Garrison. There are some locals who drink there and usually there are people having a party of some sort – I predict a wedding for this event – on the Saturday evening. That means that it might be a little crowded and slow to get served at times and that loud drunken exclamations of how you decapitated someone with a spade should be kept to a minimum.

  • Noise - Related to the above, you may find that there is a disco on at the Garrison on the Friday or Saturday night. It is usually loud and cheesy. Depending on where your room is you will be forced to suffer this to a greater or lesser extent. This is clearly an excuse to retire to the bar. Sleep is for the weak.

  • Wi-Fi - The Garrison has free wi-fi available. Their EE connection gives you 24 hours of free service and is renewable every day. Coverage is pretty good as well. Note that the playing area doesn’t have a huge number of plug sockets so you might have to be careful about charging your phone

  • The Bedrooms - The rooms, regardless of type, are designed to look like nothing any sensible person would ever decorate their house like. Its hard to describe – chintz doesn’t do it justice. Its just weird. The beds are comfortable, the TV works and the shower isn’t quite like some sort of Crystal Maze puzzle to work. Towels and soap etc. are provided. Power in the rooms is activated by putting the key fob into a slot, so you lose power when you take the key with you. Don’t worry – you’ll just be sleeping here.

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