Lure of Middle-Earth

There are many reasons I am going to conventions. Yet this one was very specific. Lure of Middle-Earth is a card game convention devoted to Middle Earth CCG and Lord of the Rings LCG. And I didn’t play any of those games…

Meeting Friends

The reason I decided to go is simple – Liz Danforth was invited as a guest. In the pandemic times she established a weekly online meetings that I am joining as often as I can. We became friends but due to the distance we only had the chance to meet once when she was a guest at Pyrkon last year. So as she was visiting Europe again it was a great opportunity! On top of that I am a big Tolkien fan and I like games so I decided that the con will not be boring. I should also mention that Lure of Middle-Earth takes place in a castle what is an additional bonus.

A picture shows old city walls with a church using them as one of the walls. In the background there is a castle on a hill.
Lure of Middle-Earth is held at Castle Stahleck that towers over the town of Bacharach.

I was not the only one from my friends who decided to go. There were four of us and we decided to go by car which lowered the price (and CO2 footprint too!). The travel took us around 10-11 hours each way but it was worth it.

A Different Kind of Geekery

I have never been on a convention for CCG/LCG players. I was not sure what exactly I should expect. The thing that occurred to me when attending were some obvious similarities to my “usual” cons. All members were deeply invested into the hobby. This is the same as with any other con I attended. It is worth mentioning that Middle Earth CCG is out of print since 1998. Considering this I should not be surprised that people who still decide to come to a MECCG convention are deeply interested in the game.

A hall full of long tables. There are games on the tables and people play them.
The main room just before the Opening Ceremony.

Yet somehow I felt a bit out of place. I was not sure how to approach people I didn’t know. I made barely one or two new connections. Why is that? I felt that I don’t have enough topics to chat. They all knew the games very well and I was completely fresh with game related topics to discuss.

Still despite the fact I was a greenhorn I was invited warmly. People were pretty nice. There was a game teaching session and we received some promotional materials. Namely it was a special card called “Lure of MECCG” and two dice for the game with the graphics connected to the convention. On top of that I got some offers to help me should I wish to play the game more. And in fact I made such decision – I already ordered (and received!) some boosters that were sealed for over twenty years… Now I am thinking whether I’ll manage to attend the con next year.

A piece of paper with some intruction and gaming cards on a table.
LOTR LCG players had the chance to participate in some challenges.

Why am I talking only about one game not two of them? When registering one had to choose the game they are attending for. I decided for MECCG as this is the one where Liz’s pictures were used.

Quality Time with Friends

I spent most of the con with the people I travelled with – Nelek, Raven, and Seji. We learned the MECCG game together, played together, and had so many questions to more experienced players… It may sound funny but we took Pandemic Legacy Season 0 from Kraków and we finished it during the con.

Apart from playing we talked a lot. We also met a Polish fan of the MECCG – Paweł who was one of the people who helped us with the rules. Obviously we spent some time with Liz when she was not busy with her table (and from what we saw she was pretty busy!).

On the first night Liz went with us out to the only open restaurant/bar in the city. It is called Münze (Coin in German) as it is located in the building where the old mint was. It was a delightful evening in a very nice place.

A man in purple t-shirt sits behind a table. There are art prints and posters on the table.
I was honoured to take care of Liz’s table for around 30 minutes. As you can see I was quite happy to do so :).

I can only regret that the time flew by so fast. We had only Friday and Saturday to spend on the con as we were travelling back on Sunday. I would love to talk more with Liz and maybe I would even step out of comfort zone and met more people. Still nothing is lost – possibly I will allow myself to be lured to Middle Earth again?

The Castle and The City

I would not be myself should I not devote a bit of time to the convention venue. Castle Stahleck towers above the little town of Bacharach. In order to get to it one needs to either have a car or walk up the countless stairs. Yet the views are magnificent – you can see both the city and the Rhein River. The castle was a ruin and was rebuilt in XXth century. It now serves as a youth hostel so one can visit it at any time of the year.

A view on the river and surrounding mountains. The clouds afar are tinted with a bit of orange.
Amazing view from the dining hall at Castle Stahleck.

Bacharach is very small. We were told that Münze was the only restaurant and it was opened only on Fridays and Sturdays from 6 PM onwards. Not sure if it the same during touristic season. Still the narrow roads, city walls and buildings with old timber framing are awesome to see even in winter. And the region is on UNESCO list and I understand why. The picturesque landscapes, wine terraces and castles, so many castles…

A Lure Indeed!

Convention was indeed a lure! The venue, the city but most of all the atmosphere were awesome. I felt a bit out of place and yet I want to come again. It was a delightful weekend. Lure of Middle-Earth is a nice convention held in a great venue. Yet most of all it is filled with great atmosphere, friendship and the love of the hobby.

A few people sitting and standing around the table. A man in a cape is explaining something to others.
Wolfgang – one of the organizers explains how to play MECCG.

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