Late last year I was asked by my friend Matt Hardy if I’d help with a Transformers TCG tournament at Gaming vs Cancer, an annual gaming convention run at Southampton University every year. This year they are planning on running two events, with a special Spring event happening on the weekend of March 21st/22nd.
I’ll be running a Transformers TCG tournament on Saturday, March 21st, registration at 9:30am, with the big prize being a Japanese Takara Legends Octane / Ghost Starscream figure AND a rare Lunar Bee promo TCG card. Not to mention we’ll be giving prizes for the Top 4 (including figures from the Golden Lagoon toyline and a second Lunar Bee promo), and signed cards for EVERY player who attends the event. It should be a great weekend.
Meanwhile, Matt Hardy and Phil Cook were able to answer some questions about the event.
First up – what is Gaming vs Cancer? How would you describe it as a gaming convention?
We are a yearly (now twice yearly) games weekend – running tabletop gaming tournaments. You’ll find card, miniature and boardgame events run over 2 days – with a wide-cross section of players from all corners of the gaming community.
How did the event start? How much has it grown since the first event? Has it always been in Southampton?
It started as a Heroclix Tournament held by Sam Grieve on the Island of Wight. Sam wanted to raise money for Cancer Research and a local group of players held a charity event in a local cafe. It caught the imagination of the Heroclix community. The second event was held in Portsmouth with players travelling from a number of groups to get together. From there it’s snowballed and each year we add more and more events and game lines to the point where we now fill three halls with players and tournaments.
What charity are you raising money for, and why did you pick that particular charity?
All funds raised go to Cancer Research UK. Very few people haven’t been touched by the spectre of Cancer in some way – and that goes double for our trustees. We all feel very strongly that Cancer is beatable and research is the best way to achieve that.
How much money does a typical convention raise?
Each year we are humbled by just how generous the community is. In total so far we’ve raised £28,000.
Other than money raised through ticket sales, how do you go about raising money from the event?
We encourage each tournament to hold a raffle as well as offering players the chance to purchase some “merch” to celebrate the event. In the last couple of years we’ve added badges to our gaming/poker chips and this year we are hoping to add GvsC Gaming mats as well. Each year we are stunned by the generosity of players in both donating items to the raffle and putting a bit extra in through purchases.
This year you’ve increased the number of conventions you’re running from just one, to two. Why have you decided to add a second event to the calendar?
Put simply we run out of space. Each year we try and expand the game lines we represent as well as welcoming back old friends. As we were planning for November it became clear we simply couldn’t fit it all in. So adding a Spring 2020 event was a nice way to accommodate this.
What do you think makes Gaming vs Cancer unique as a convention?
Apart from the focus on raising money for Cancer Research – we try to focus not just on the large popular game lines, but also those that may not usually receive as much attention or have large scale national events.
What games has the convention previously supported?
As well as Heroclix previously mentioned, we’ve run Keyforge, X-wing, Star Wars: Destiny, Netrunner, Pokemon, Dice Masters, Pandemic and I’m sure I’ve forgotten something else.
Do the events get any official support from the game companies?
We do get some of our prize support from the game companies, as well as Asmodee. But it’s the donations from the players and the stores where they play regularly that really ramp up the level of what we can offer at our events.
What events have been particularly memorable in the convention’s history?
I’m not sure we really can pick one out. But from last year I think having 72 players turn up for the Keyforge Prime event was certainly a highlight.
Do you get to play in any events yourself? What are your games of choice?
The 4 main trustees are all huge gaming fans, and every year we promise ourselves a chance to play in the games we love – but with the hectic schedule of the day that rarely comes about (someone break it to Matthew Hardy that he can’t play Transformers TCG because he is on the front counter that day……).
How would you describe the community that comes to the convention each year?
Gamers. Mad, Bad and like nothing else in the world.
So let’s talk Transformers TCG – why pick this particular game for this Spring’s convention?
As a relatively new game with a burgeoning presence in a number of local South Coast based groups it seems like a good fit for us. Again in the absence of any large scale official TFTCG UK events we felt that the TFTCG community would benefit from a combined event where disparate player groups could meet and interact.
What kind of atmosphere are you hoping to see from the event?
From TF TCG? Electric? 😉 Changeable? 😉 I’m sure I have a worse pun. Energon(etic?) Wow that one was terrible. We’ve never run an event that wasn’t fun and we don’t intend to stop now.
When will the event start, and how long will the event be? Will there be a Top 4 or Top 8 cut?
Doors open at 9.30am onwards for registration – with the event starting at 10.30am. We are planning 5 rounds of Swiss – followed by a top 4 cut. We expect to finish between 7pm and 8pm. A full day of sentient robotic warfare.
What kind of prize support can we expect?
Our TO James Donovan has lined up an impressive array of prize support, including Lunar Bumblebees, Signed art cards and Limited Edition toys. Something for everyone we hope.
Why should people who don’t live on the South Coast of the UK come to this event?
We are a friendly, player orientated, fun event. Competitive but everyone knows they are there for a reason bigger than themselves and we find that is reflected in the chilled atmosphere of the day. We are worth the journey – with many players from up and down and country returning each year.
What can you tell us about the venue? How can people get there? Will there be parking?
Gaming Vs Cancer takes place at Garden Court, Southampton University. We have 3 large halls full of gaming and free weekend parking in the on-site University car parks (first come first served). We are also 10 minutes drive from both the main and the Southampton Airport train stations.
What kind of turnout are you hoping for?
Huge 🙂 For TF we have 24 initial places – but may be able to increase that should the need arise. We expect a few hundred gamers across all lines over the course of the weekend.
Will there be breaks for lunch? What food and drink will be available?
Lunch for each event will be at the discretion of the TOs but there is a convenience store (and cash point) on-site, and the University bar offers hot food as well.
What other events are happening at the convention
<Deep Breath> X-wing Team Dogfight, Blood on the Clock Tower, Pandemic Survival, Heroclix, Star Wars: Legion, Hero Realms, Marvel Champions, DragonBall Super – and finally a Gaming Bring & Buy section!
If you don’t have time for another event beyond Transformers, what else can you be doing at the convention?
Side events for most games are generally available, people are welcome to play board games – the University has a bar if people want to get some space. And us organisers are always looking for warm bodies to help with jobs!
Any clues as to what is planned for the next event?
GvS Winter will run in November and pretty much more of the same. Again we hope to add more game lines as we go – so if anyone wants to come and run events – just drop us a line.
Finally, anything else you want to say to the Transformers TCG community?
“May your luster never dull and your wires never cross” (not sure how many will get that?) – just that we’d love to see you all there. If we can make a big success of this – we hope to make this a regular fixture on the TFTCG UK calendar. At the very least we intend to have a huge amount of battling flip robot fun on the day.
Full Prize Pool:
Top 4 cut prizes:
1 x Takara Legends LG-57 Octane Action Figure
1 x Rare ‘Lunar Bee’ promo card.
If you manage to come out on top of the Top 4 cut at the end of the tournament, you will win a rather hard to find Japanese Octane head master figure (that doubles up as a Ghost Starscream figure!).
This figure is still in its box and hasn’t been opened.In addition, you’ll get a copy of the 2019 Lunar New Year Bumblebee Promo that was only available in South East Asia, and is also very hard to find.
1 x Golden Lagoon Perceptor Action Figure
1 x Rare ‘Lunar Bee’ promo card.
Runner up gets a rare, all-gold version of the Perceptor figure, based on his Takara Legends / Titans Return mold. This is part of the Golden Lagoon range of figures, and him sitting on your shelf will definitely remind you of how well you did.
You’ll also get a Lunar New Year Bumblebee Promo.
3rd + 4th Place:
1 x Golden Lagoon Beachcomber Action Figure
1 x Golden Lagoon Seaspray Action Figure
The player who placed best in Swiss gets to choose which of these they want first. These figures are smaller than Perceptor but no less joyful. I can’t express how awesome these look in person btw; I wish I had gotten a set for myself.
PLUS! Signed battle cards for every player (which cards and what artists signed them will be confirmed nearer the event)
Buy tickets for Gaming vs Cancer, both the Transformers TCG event and others, held at Southampton University, March 21-22nd. For more news about this and their other events go to their Facebook and Twitter.