Zjava 13 – a gaming convention where I didn’t play

My convention season opening for 2024 was Zjava 13 – a winter con run by the Avangarda society in Warsaw. It was a gaming con but somehow I didn’t play any game. Instead I had a great time – mainly through meeting people.

Tough Beginning

Unfortunately Friday was not so good for me. It was nothing related to the convention itself but my mood was not the best. I did my best to enjoy what was offered so I should not complain (too much). I started with a walk around the venue (which I already knew from the previous editions). On my way, of course, I met some friends and had a few interesting conversations. Some people I have seen for the first time in a long time so it was a good opportunity to catch up!

I was very glad to see the room with the old consoles. One of them had Gauntlet available. I loved this game as a child so I promised myself that I would come again and play it later. As the title of this report suggest – I didn’t. Nevertheless it improved my mood a bit. I was surprised to see a movie room with screening of some old movies. Again I didn’t watch any of them but it was a rather interesting finding. (It reminded me of the silent movie with real music on Zjava a few years ago).

Two sheets of paper glued to a wall. the first is nicely printed and reads 'Zjava Sala Filmowa'. The second one below is written with a pen and lists three movies that will be screened.
Movies screened during Zjava 13 were not only old but also a bit surprising.

There was also a gaming maps exhibition. I believe that all of the presented works were prints. Most of them seemed to be done digitally. The artist knew how to catch an eye of the viewer. I am not a specialist when it comes to maps. I cannot say whether they were done well and whether they would be useful. What I can say however is that they were quite pretty. Some of them evoked very interesting atmosphere that I appreciated!

I went back to the hotel early and spend the rest of the evening reading – not a bad thing to do!

Seven maps hanging on a wall.
Part of the maps that were exhibited during Zjava 13.

Programme and Late Lunch

The next day was a bit of a programme day for me! I started it by attending a presentation Fifteen times I screwed up my sessions. This item was quite popular and the room was too small for all of us. Unfortunately the presentation itself was disappointing. It was funny but I didn’t learn too much. I consider it a missed opportunity.

Later I went for a lunch with my friends. It was not that late when we came to the restaurant yet when we finally received the food is another story. It seems that the two people from the restaurant’s staff became sick and therefore they were not able to prepare and deliver food on time. I don’t remember how long we waited but my friends said it was around 90 minutes. I am very glad I didn’t go alone as it would be way too long and I left the book in the hotel.

Once my stomach was full I managed to get (a bit late) to the meeting with Copernicus Corporation RPG and book publisher. When the presentation was ongoing Cubicle 7 announced on Facebook that there will be a new RPG in Warhammer Fantasy universe. As Copernicus Corporation is publishing other Warhammer games they were obviously asked about it. (Though they didn’t have any answer yet).

Three people sitting with a screen behind their back. One person speaks to a micropgone standing on a nearby table. Another person is looking at computer screen on a desk.
Meeting with Copernicus Corporation.

The closing item for me was 1.5 hour long Let’s talk about RPG meeting. It was quite nice to listen to people discussing RPG. Not surprisingly the topic of long post by Ben Riggs was brought up. Yet what surprised me is that most commenters were concentrating on “Ben is wrong I will still be playing RPG” (Yes I am oversimplifying this!). To me Ben’s article was rather about the market value and companies not about the players who are deeply invested in the hobby.

Party Hard

If you know me then you know I am not a party animal. “Party hard” usually means an evening with board games or RPG ;). Having said that I usually try to at least visit evening convention social gatherings. It was not different this time. Once the Let’s talk about RPG item finished we (meaning Arathi, Seji and myself) took a cab and drove to the city centre. One of our fannish friends had birthday party there. The pub was quite crowded so after spending there a bit of time we decided to move to another venue (closer to the con). Yet before driving there we wanted to eat something.

A gym that was changed into a games and delaers room. In the back of the picture there are a few dealers. In the fron some gaming tables and people playing are visible.
Games Room was in a way a center of the con. There were multiple dealers and plenty of tables ot play board games.

What was surprising is that so many food places in Warsaw city centre was already closed or just closing. To my satisfaction we landed in an Indian restaurant. The food was pretty good but it is not a reason why I am mentioning it. The cool thing happened at the end of our dinner. There was a birthday party in the restaurant. When we were close to finishing our meal all the guests received a piece of the birthday cake! I was full but one cannot refuse such a nice, chocolate coated surprise!

Later we continued with our plan and headed to a pub in relative vicinity of the con. Arathi decided to went to his hotel. I wanted to do the same but Seji convinced me to go to the “party”. Well a meeting at least. I am not sure how much time I spent there but it was filled with nice discussions. Should I not be so sleepy I would stay longer. Yet my eyes were closing by themselves and I had to go.

A few gaming tables visible in a long corridor.
Although I didn’t play anything on Zjava 13 it was not the same for others.

Meetings and Presents

As written multiple times on the blog I appreciate convention meetings. Of course I enjoy programme, exhibitions, dealers and so on yet people are crucial aspect of conventioning for me. I already covered some of the meetings/discussions I had. On the last day of the con I continued to meet friends. With some I exchanged just a few brief words. With others I had the opportunity to talk a bit longer.

I also visited two programme items – both quite interesting. First was a talk about video games as works of art. The other covered the topic of running RPG session with no preparation. I am not a game master yet I keep promising myself I will change it one day!

Two more surprises happened to me during the con. Well they shouldn’t be surprises. I should have expected them but somehow I didn’t. Firstly a friend whom I am giving “A~Zyn” came and presented me with a box of chocolate pralines. I know she mentioned that I would get some but of course I completely forgot about it. The other surprise was also a gift. At last Imladris I gave a talk about collecting fannish memorabilia. As described in the report then one person asked me whether I would like some items for my collection. On Friday evening I got a FB message to confirm I would be willing to take the package with the said item the next day! I am very grateful to both of my surprising gift givers. Both are very appreciated (and one already eaten)!

A piece of paper is glued on top of the door. It has a 'Konwent tędy' inscription.
I loved ‘This way to the convention’ sign in the skywalk in the venue.

Good but Short

Zjava 13 was not shorter than most of the Polish cons. Yet somehow the time flew by so fast. Whatever was the reason for that I regret it finished so quickly. When leaving the con I had the feeling it was not enough. I know I am not the only one. So now I am sitting at home and looking what will be next convention I will attend!

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