I have bad, but probably not unexpected news. Last night, our Committee voted, without opposition to cancel Conpulsion Flame. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make as many of us have put a great deal of time, effort and, in some cases, money into preparing for this convention and it hurts us all deeply to see something that we have spent so much time and effort working on go up in flames. Personally, Conpulsion has been a steady constant that’s helped me through one of the most difficult years of my life and to see all the time and love that I and our Committee have put into it come to this is very difficult.

All attendees who have already bought their tickets should expect refunds as soon as possible.

Why we’re shutting down the con should probably not be hard to guess. The outbreak of Covid-19 has drastically changed the social landscape of pretty much the entire world and it alone has given us a number of reasons to cancel the con. There is, of course, is the ethical argument, that we simply cannot justify running a convention during this health crisis. With most of the world’s scientists and governments advising social isolation, we simply could not have it on our conscience if our convention were to lead to an increase in the spread of the virus (as well as the potential deaths that this could lead to).

As if ethics weren’t enough, there are also a number of practical reasons for cancelling the convention. The legal situation surrounding the running of Conpulsion is highly unclear and there is no certainty that the convention will even be legal in three weeks time. Further, the University of Edinburgh has closed down all face-to-face classes and cancelled most exams. We feel that its student association, which manages this year’s venue, will not be far behind in closing down, which would leave us stranded without a venue and therefore unable to run the con. Further to that even, we have already had a steady stream of GMs, guests and traders cancelling their attendance of this year’s convention. If the rate that they have been dropping out were to remain stable (which is unlikely, as realistically it would actually increase), we would be left with so little in the way of events that Conpulsion would hardly qualify as a convention at all.

I hope you can all understand why we feel that we had no other choice than to cancel.

With that said, there are now many people who deserve thanks whom I will not now have the chance to recognise in a more conventional way.

My committee: Angus McEwing, Josh Shanks, Angus Barr, Calum Freeman, Vivek Santayana, Ben McCallum, Aiden Hurst, Sophie Hine, Harvey Newman, Yves Hurley, Oktay Sen, Finn Chisholm, Zain Khawar and Stella Segar.

I would also like to thank the GEAS committee, especially the wonderful GEAS president Emily Booth who has done a very good job listening to me rant on top of all the things she’s done in her official capacity.

I would like to thank Kate Evans, Richard Denning and all the wonderful people at the UK Game Expo. They took a young, inexperienced little con director under their wing and taught him a great deal about con directing. They really didn’t have to be so kind and generous, but they were.

I would also like to thank Dave Wright, for being similarly patient and helpful. I’d also like to apologise for his promotional material not making it into our program, so I’ll say here that you should all go to Tabletop Scotland, and the UK Games Expo as well of course! Both events are truly great.

Talking of the program, I would like to thank Jon Hodgson, who on top of just being a lovely human (and deserving winner of last year’s Banquo award) offered to complete our program for us this year.

I would like to thank Fiona Campbell, who had offered to again run Conpulsion’s Bring and Buy.

I would like to thank Cameron Cairney for all the advice (and a wonderful hot chocolate).

I would like to thank Angus Barker, for the iconic flame logo.

I would like to thank Caitlin Fooks, for the front flyer design (as well as for a great deal of personal support).

I would like to thank all of the wonderful guests, GMs, traders, guests, demo-ers and blueshirts for signing up and offering their time and effort to help make Conpulsion what it could have been.

But last of all, I would like to thank all of you, for your support and belief in us through this process. It breaks my heart to let you all down.

It has been an absolute honour to be the Director of Conpulsion 2020: the con that never was.

Milo van Mesdag

Conpulsion 2020 Director

P.S. Watch this space. I can’t make any promises, but while Conpulsion may have been cancelled, there’s a chance that those roleplayers amongst you might still get the chance to get some gaming in, just not in the way you might expect. More to come…

GEAS would like to thank Milo for his strong leadership in this difficult time.