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Dienstag, 18. Juni 2024

Show Report: A1 eSports Festival / Spielefest 2024


Bunch of weeks ago I was asked to participate at the tabletop wargaming portion of Austria eSports Festival / Spielefest at Vienna International Centre. So the 2024 springtime shows circuit got a bit bigger than usual and ran until June 15th and 16th. 

Yup, a full weekend at a pretty darned huge event, which came to be as A1 Austrian eSports Festival and Spielefest merged into one massively impressive entity.

After setting up on Friday we all arrived on Saturday morning. I ran my usual painting table (showcase stuff, etc) and also ran the free-for-all painting table throughout the two days, where people could sit down and paint figures and then take them home with them. Figures, paints and paintbrushes were kindly supplied by Marcus Miniatures (just a few metres down the isle). On day#1 I also had massive help with the whole thing by the hands of Lynx of the venerable WoW/Keepers wargames club Vienna. They also ran some gaming tables across the isle. Most of the 'tabletop' (that's what us folk 'round here call miniature wargaming) area was taken up by a grand 40k and an Age of Sigmar tournament.

40k Major Tournament

Tiny Tusk Publishing were showcasing the card game right next to me (they also shielded me from stray Age of Sigmar dice shooting across the room!).

As a nice surprise, I also saw that Markus Geiger, author and publisher of Dockfighters, Space Kraken and probably a million other things was there as well and ran demo games for Dockfighters. I mentioned his projects in the Tabletop Knights Gaming Day report from May.

For the first time he also had the full new Demo boxes for Dockfighters on sale.

On Saturday I selfishly took a little tour throug the venue. Never before in my life I saw that many people sit and play board games in one place.

There were many, many large rooms, filled with people playing board games. Also, separate smaller rooms for roleplaying games and so on. Proper gaming convention.

As I briskly wandered about, taking pictures and surely looking suspicious on the whole I got some looks from single people in the crowds, which I only noticed when editing the pictures back home. 

They fit gaming tables where ever possible. As a side effect, chairs were at a premium and a lot of chair-stealing happened throughout the day.

Wanna play bridge in Vienna? Sure, who doesn't? But be aware, the Vienna Bridge Societs controls this turf.

Several tables just had puzzles strewn out, inviting people to puzzle away. 

Of course cosplay and similar art forms were present. I suspect that this big cross held a costume or suit of some sort. Or it was part of a particularly interesting performance later on. By the way, I saw a guy dressed as Brian from the Monty Pythons film on the weekend, so maybe there's a connection.

Naturally, loads of merchandise stores were present. At this point I recognize many of the merchants at these conventions, but there were some new ones as well.

 Always a good variety of wares to suit the various tastes of the show visitors.

Then of course there's the eSports aspect of the whole thing. Apart from various places to play old/indie/arcade/experimental games at the real event was the big esports arena. A purple-lit hall full of people, high-profile sponsors, ... the Austrian autobahn and toll services!

...and lots of computer screens. I was wondering where the e-sporting was taking place (at the time the big screen on the main stage only showed a Porsche commercial). So I climbed the stairs to get a look at the business end of the screens. Much to my surprise, it was ALL Super Smash Bros.

Now I'm aware that Smash Bros. is a big thing. Each time at Harucon, it reigns supreme across the screens there. I played a bunch of the game (every single one of them too, as I just realized) as well, but its lasting popularity surprises me. I guess they can't run stuff like Counter-Strke tournaments at such shows due to age restrictions on such games. 

Still, I was very surprised to see that, apart from LoL and something called team tactics, there was a Valorant tournament. Maybe that just shows how out of touch I am with what's widely popular with a certain age group. I'd heard of the game, I'd seen a bit of it, but its popularity never really pierced my little bubble.

The Smash Bros. tournament finals were the main event on Sunday.

Oh well. No time to watch or play video games anyway, so swiftly  I returned to my little corner of the world... 

As usual, I forgot to take any pictures of my own stuff at the show. So it was a stroke of luck when two very cheery elven ladies dropped by on Sunday and were smitten with the figures I had brought. They made an instagram story on Spielefest's instagram ( from where I nicked some screenshots.

I also didn't take any pictures of the people I painted with (because I don't wanna bother people if they already have to suffer through my sage painting advice). The open painting table was a big success, as usual. Loads of people of all ages painted figures over the two days; especially towards the end of each day some people stayed longer and really got into it. It's always really cool to see how people get into it and concentrate on painting their (often) first figure ever or if people who already have some experience in figure painting asking for specific advice.

Two people whom I initially met at Harucon in Klagenfurt showed up for the paintalong as well. They didn't catch a place at my workshop at Harucon then, but sat down with us this time and we had a nice chat and did some painting.

Towards the end of the second day I decided to get some toys at one of the vendors. When in Rome, buy stuff the Romans sell, as they say.

As I was rushing up and down the stairs between the venue and the car to load stuff I caught a nice little scene, very subtly took a picture and edited it in a humorous way.

So yeah, that was that. A really cool event. Many thanks to the organizers, everybody who helped and everybody who dropped by. I was absolutely knackered when I got home and possibly caught some sort of cold, but it was a weekend full of nice chats with people some painting, I saw some interesting stuff, some faces and friends (old and new), and heard a lot of praise for the figures, which is always nice. Interacting with people IRL is good. Puts internet chatter into perspective. 

On this note I will end me rambling on the internet. Hope you enjoyed the article and the eclectic choice of pictures, and I hope to attend eSports Festival / Spielefest next year.

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