This post is in English in case some of the foreign guests want to read it. Hooray!

The seventh HolmCon is my third I think. The con has grown since then and though some people are always expected to participate, there are a lot who can’t come and a lot who comes along who’ve never been before. This year even a few people I didn’t know and can’t remember the names of.

Friday:

I hitched a ride to Holmestrand with Aleksander and Rasmus. I liked not having to rely on the train and also my crappy memory of which bus to take and where to get off. Instead I dozed off in the car.

When we got there there was an official opening, sort of, and then on to the games! My first game was a traditional Swedish fantasy RPG run by the resident Swede.

Drakar och Demonar: Trudvang (Dragons and Demons)

This game is written in Swedish and seems to be a proper, traditional, standard fantasy game. You have brave warriors, thieves, priests, and so on. I played an 807-year-old elf, but he/she got to do very little in the game mainly because I was very tired, didn’t understand the system, was overlooked whenever I tried to state that I was doing something, and sat next to Tomas who (in all fairness) has a very, very loud voice.

Sad to say, I wasn’t very impressed – especially not after Torgrim told me that this wasn’t even the latest edition of the game (the latest edition is stripped of unneccessary rules, he says). What I did enjoy was the story, which seemed really exciting, and Magnus’s portrayal of the Storm priest. The game master was also a very sweet fellow and of course I always find the Swedish language both hilarious and quite beautiful.

Dice roll: 25 (on 7d6)

After DoD I just hung around, seeing as nothing could really pull me out of my tired stupor that had come with listening to my friend Frida make ice cream in her kitchen at two a.m.the night before when I was supposed to be sleeping in her living room. I love Frida but her planning is sometimes a bit off. Still, I didn’t mind because I had the next day off anyway.

Me and Karina settled in the appointed girls’ room on the second floor and I pumped the air mattress for poor Eevi who didn’t get a bed. After that I felt very manly and strong, because MAN that was exhausting! I slept like a very sleepy log after that.

Saturday:

Breakfast! I was in charge of the bacon and that went very slowly, with me having to swat away guys wanting to take a helping before it was all finished. Pow! Kitchen power. I missed mayonnaise but that was the only think that bothered me.

Then the first order of games started, but with me, Haakon, Aleksander, and Rasmus going to the store to get dinner supplies I missed the start of Fabula and had to skip it. Instead I played the RPG poem Catherine – a game about care, one of Matthijs’s smaller, slightly controversial games.

Catherine – a game about care

I played this with Karina. The characters were father and daughter, and the scenes were set through cards with descriptions. I played the child, Catherine, who had Downs Syndrome. Karina played her father, Chris. We had a couple of touching moments and I used my slight insight into the topic of Downs to try and play Catherine realistically. Sadly we skipped out on a few possibilities for traumatic events because I had decided to play Catherine as a very sweet child.

The discussion afterwards with the two other paires who played it at the same time, was interesting.

Dice roll: 35 (on 7d6)

Neuroshima Hex!

After that I played a board game with Matthijs, Michael, and Haakon. I managed not to lose! Neuroshima Hex! is a Polish tactical board game where you need to protect a base on a map of hexes by playing tiles of soldiers or other effects that attack the enemy bases or nullifies enemy threats. The game is a board game version of the RPG Neuroshima, heavily inspired by Fallout, Mad Max, and similarly themed media.

Dice roll: 34 (on 7d6)

After this, it was five o’clock and I was in charge of dinner. Chili! I recruited Haakon to help me fry up some mince meat (2,4 kilos!) in batches. He was followed by Aapo, one of the resident Finns, who kept me entertained for an hour with small talk over the frying pans (plural). Karina helped with the chopping and saved my eyes from dying an oniony death.

Sadly there was only three heater plates on Matthijs’s stove (how does he DO that living with a wife and three kids? Or are there four?) so I had to cook the rice and one pan of chili while waiting to put the other one on until the rice was done.

Recipe for sweet potato chili (enough to feed a small con)

  • 2,4-2,5 kilos of mince meat or meat cut into small pieces
  • 4 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 large red peppers, chopped
  • 7-8 large sweet potatoes (yams), diced
  • 3 zucchinis, diced
  • 6-7 cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cans of corn, including the juice
  • 5 packs of spice mix with smoky flavour (or substitute 400-500 grams of meat for the same amount of bacon)
  • 3 large red chili peppers, finely chopped
  • 4 whole garlics, finely chopped
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • cooking oil for frying (olive or corn oil)
  • salt to taste
  • Spanish pepper (cayenne) to taste
  • 2 cans of Guinness or Kilkenny ale
  • 1 portion of rice for each person
  • 3 boxes of crème fraîche (for each person to mix a spoon into his chili if he wants)

Fry up the meat (including the bacon if you choose to go in that direction – we didn’t because of a Jewish guest!) in portions in a hot pan. Divide into two large pots. Oil the pan up and fry garlic, onions, and peppers in portions and divide between pots. Add chopped zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, and corn, and the spice mix. Add the ale and a little water if necessary. Put lids on the pots and boil, then simmer for about an hour. Check sometimes if it needs more salt or Spanish pepper. Shake the pot a little or stir the chili at times to prevent it from burning and make sure all pieces are cooked equally. Chech if it’s done by forking a piece of potato – it should be soft. At the very end, add chopped cilantro and stir. Boil the rice on the side. Serve with an optional helping of crème fraîche.

After dinner I got a tremenduous round of applause and a lot of pats on the back. I was a happy camper.

Onwards to:

Nerd Karaoke

Ole Peder had arranged a playlist on Spotify as well as a mic for singing along. The songs were for a large part Weird Al or Monty Python, and the rest I had barely heard of before. Still, I enjoyed listening to the show.

Dice roll: 30 (on 7d6)

RATS

After the karaoke I took my five brave players to try out my own game, RATS. Matthijs was too tired to pay attention to the rules lecture (understandable, really) so he dropped out and I had Torgrim, Jørn A., Olav, and Ken along for a ride. Ken played a historian called Archimedes, Jørn played a fish mutant called Omega-3, Torgrim played a telepanimus who never manifested, and Olav played an Arche with a bird totem. Their mission: To put a solar panel into the rays of sun coming through a grate in the roof of the Underworld – without the panel getting stolen or themselves getting killed.

As Torgrim started to nod off around midnight we decided to call quits and I had some helpful advice on rules.

Dice roll: 30 (on 7d6)

After that we went upstairs to talk thrash about White Wolf. I had some Chunky Monkey ice cream and listened to the small talk until the Swede wanted to sleep on our sofa and we moved the talk to the kitchen table where it died around four a.m.

I slept like the dead.

Sunday:

I woke as Matthijs rapped on our door, from a dream about my friend being pregnant and being zapped with a sort of machine that made her unpregnant. Not have an abortion, but be unpregnant. Useful! Too bad it was only a dream.

I didn’t sign up for anything on Sunday since I was a bit panicked about having to catch my flight home – even if the plane didn’t leave until half past four from the nearest airport. So instead I sat with my laptop by the Dresden Files table and made posts for Rondak’s Portal while eating a panna cotta. Then I played another board game:

Diamant (Diamond)

Played this board game (or rather, card game) with Anders N., Matthijs, and Fredrik – and I won! The goal was to get as many diamonds as possible. I got 34.

The game is set up by placing cards on the table which signify rooms in a cave or mine. Each card portrays either a number of diamonds or a threat. For each room the players must decide if they want to call it quits (and get to keep their diamonds) or go further in. If two equal threat cards are placed in the same cave or mine, everyone in it will die and lose their diamonds. I did quite well for a first-timer I think.

Dice roll: 33 (on 7d6)

Compared to previous years I played very few games and did a lot more hard work. But I think it was nice and I got to meet a lot of lovely people, as usual. HolmCon is starting to become a real tradition for me, something only to be skipped in a crisis.

The ban on T-shirts still seems a little unnecessary, but unlike a few of my stuck up friends (who seem to be hating HolmCon on the somewhat incorrect notion that it’s pretentious and elitist, and their opinion that banning T-shirts is wrong), I can have fun without a T-shirt… but wearing other clothes, of course.

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