It is a bit surreal to me that yet again I am writing a report from in person convention! Over the pandemic times I got so used to attending everything from home that writing a third con report from in-person event sounds strange. Not bad though! Just strange. But here we go – this is my report from Bazyliszek.
I love how organizers described Bazyliszek as an event “created by Players for Players”. It so strongly resonates with “by Fans for Fans” (and I believe it is not a coincidence!). It was clearly visible that gaming is the central part of the event. There was plenty of space for gamers. Tables dedicated to board games and others for RPGs. Some sessions were scheduled and some were on the “Play on Demand” basis.
Yet despite the fact there were plenty of opportunities to play I didn’t decide for any game. I’m not sure why. Maybe I was a bit concerned about playing in the pandemic*? Or maybe I had too many other things to do… Not sure!
At least I managed to attend some programme about games and gaming. There was even one workshop I was at (devoted to map making for RPGs). It was quite cool. We didn’t have enough practical aspects but the person leading it knew the topic well. He was not preaching with “the maps are absolutely the most important thing”. In fact he did the opposite. I got the impression that we should carefully choose whether we need a map and what level of details is needed for our purpose. That was kinda cool!
Seji offered to the con that we will do one programme item. It was a short talk “Fandom for beginners”. As usually on such programme items there were more people with long fannish experience than beginners. Yet there were two fans for whom this was the first con so I hope they found our talk interesting.
Lateness and Venue
I decided to travel to con directly after my work on Friday. This way I was supposed to have a bit of time to spend at con on Friday evening. Unfortunately Polish railways had completely different idea. Most trains were delayed on that day. The one I travelled with Seji had only one hour delay so it was not that bad. Yet it meant we arrived quite late and we only managed to go to the pub meeting. It is not the worst way to start a convention but not exactly what I was planning.
The next day I managed to see the venue and I liked it. The Youth Culture Center looked like a new or refurbished building. They had glass stairs which I enjoyed but which should not be there. For many people they were “no go” and they had to use the lift every time to go up or down. The main programme room was cool – it was a theatre style room way bigger than needed for any of the items. It was not the best for programme items were audience was supposed to be more active. On a plus side – the chairs were comfortable and AC was perfect. Well it was too perfect. I caught myself dozing off on some programme items 🙁 (and they were interesting!)
I found it funny how often at conventions in different parts of Poland I spend most of my time with friends from Kraków. Bazyliszek was no different. Yet of course I managed to meet friends from other cities too. Some of them I have seen for the first time in over two years. It was so good to have a chat with them!
As mentioned I started the con with meeting in the official convention pub. The next day I spent a lot of time at a long lunch with friends. Saturday evening we went for a dinner and then to a pub. And when I wanted to go home I was convinced to go to another pub. It was a nice late evening (or early night?) walk. Fortunately I did not spend too much time there and I got home early enough to catch some sleep.
It is funny how the social part makes the convention experience. This aspect may not be fully related to how the organizers created the con but is definitely vital. I am so happy I managed to spend time with all the people – both in bars and at the convention. We had long and short conversations – some of them pretty casual while others touching even on difficult topics. That was great.
Mid Pandemic Conventioning
I enjoyed my time at Bazyliszek. I needed to go out to people, to have all those con conversations and listen to programme. Still doing it in the middle of pandemic was stressful. I regret that conventions in Poland tend not to care so much about pandemic safety. There was no policy about masking or vaccines. The good thing is that I was not the only person in a mask. Still to a large extent the con looked like in pre-pandemic times.
Yet even with missing masking policy I had a good time at Bazyliszek. I know that I would love to come back next year and I hope I will get that chance.
* Well this would not make so much sense considering I participated in other social events. And this includes sitting in bars and restaurants.
You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.