Monday, 14 December 2015

I stumbled into a games convention

This weekend my wife and I visited Barcelona. One of the sights of the city is El Born Cultural Centre, a former covered market. In the 90s they excavated the former residential district under the site; the houses were destroyed following the siege of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession.

It's all on display with walkways around it, museums, a cafe, a bookstore and so on. 
So we were in there hanging out and looking at the ruins when we noticed there were rows of tables with people playing X-Wing on one of the walkways. It turns out there was a city- wide games festival going on and the minis side was in here. I guess most of the games were historical and it's a historical site?

Anyway, here are some photos I took:

Here you can see the foundations in the background of the X-Wing games.

This 28mm game combined ancient land and sea battles. 

The guy running this 28mm Rorke's Drift game talked to me about the amount of research that had
gone into preparing the table. 

... and the difficulty of recreating the buildings. 

Elsewhere, there were lots of different miniatures game, including this Napoleonic battle.

And a Trafalgar game. 
A modeling and terrain-making demo showed off these bases made from poker chips. 

This was quite a detailed Circus Maximus game. 
Meanwhile, gladiators went at it as well. 

This display of board wargames placed the various games on a historical timeline. 
There were many more games I didn't get photos of, as well as a room full of little kids learning how to paint. The clubs who put on the show included RVBICON and Alpha Ares, but the event as a whole was, as I said, part of a city-wide games festival all across Barcelona. Events included Pathfinder games, designer signings, chess tournaments, something called "softcombat," board games, a bunch of stuff that I have no idea what it is because I don't speak Catalan, and something called "football buttons," which again is a mystery to me but seems to be popular. It has all kind of official sponsors, including -- if I'm reading this correctly -- the association for the promotion of the Catalan language, or words to that effect, which wants to increase the publication of games in Catalan.

I really like the integration of the games and the history here -- although X-Wing was a weird fit, but whatever -- and I applaud the idea of a games festival! The whole thing was really well-presented and accessible, and I wish we had more events like it here.


  1. I'd hazard that "football buttons" might be a variant of Subutteo

    1. I believe you! I think I saw an Etsy stand selling cool handmade football buttons, but we couldn't stick around.

  2. Cambridge historical game festival? I'm sure we could rustle up something appropriate, possibly involving the Fitzwilliam and Duxford Imperial War Museum?

    1. Bring in computer games and involve the Centre for Computing History, but, y'know, someone else can do it.