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First ever convention - this is terrifying


I hope I am doing this right, but anyway, just bought a ticket for SHUX 19. I have never been to a convention before and a bit terrified about setting off alone from the old world (Scotland) and venturing on flying dragons (well a plane) to the new world (Canada is a land of dreams and fables and politeness - by the stereotypes anyway and I hope that not a stereotype.

Be a first big solo trip so I was wondering if anyone had any tips for me doing this as a first timer. I am genuinely terrified and excited at the prospect.

Almost 40 so it could be a crisis thing but always wanted to visit Canada and the potential to see Matt, Paul and Quinns those famous… Brits. I get the feeling I already got this adventure wrong.

Anyway yes, there is other background on this being important to me so in the hope of getting the most out of it, are there any tips on attending Shux solo? Beginners guides to Vancouver? And as I still haven’t worked out how to get there any good places to book the actual journey?

Any advice greatly appreciated, hope this thread is ok and in the right place as it a first time on the forums.

Being a hobbit was a lot easier than this adventuring lark, though a giant eagle could be handy.



I won’t be much help on the actual convention end, but as a Vancouverite (actually, a Burnabarian), I can probably offer some advice. How long are you staying? This is a big trip for you, I can only assume you’re coming for more than just a few days. Beyond the Con, what did you want to prioritize for your visit?

Some general info as a start:

  1. Vancouver is a very expensive city. Expect everything to cost more than you expected.

  2. Downtown Vancouver (where the Con will be held) is absolutely tiny and you can walk the circumference of the downtown core in a little more than an hour. Staying there will raise your accommodation rates, but you’ll have easy access to just about everything from there.

  3. If you do stay out of town (either in Vancouver but not downtown or in a surrounding city), make sure you stay close to a SkyTrain (subway/metro, for all intents and purposes) as all SkyTrain stations lead downtown.
    a) Transit will cost you $2.95 and tickets are good for unlimited use, for 90 minutes from purchase.
    b) There are “zones” that change the price, but if
    you stay close it won’t be something to worry
    about. That said, if you choose to take the Seabus
    (ferry) to the North Shore, it’ll end up costing an
    extra $1.25
    c) Taxi cabs can be incredibly hard to come by. Be aware of this.

Pretty basic stuff, but do feel free to ask any specifics and I’ll try to reply ASAP.

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I believe there’s a whole guide to Vancouver people wrote for last year?

Someone link please!

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I’ve been to SHUX twice. I’ll let Vancouverites speak about their city. It’s really nice, and I enjoyed spending a couple days extra to explore.

With respect to the convention, try to make friends. Go to pre-con gatherings and grab meals with others. If someone wants to play the same game as you or go to the same panels, trade contact info and try to sit together. Browse the game library with others and get a game going. Or find a game you want to play in the library and grab a players wanted signal to meet new people. Or go around the players wanted signs already up.


As for airlines, other’s may know better than me if they travel between the UK and Canada more frequently, and I’ve never traveled between Vancouver and Scotland, but anytime I’ve traveled to the UK from Canada, Air Transat seems to be the cheapest airline (it’s very much a no bells and whistles airline, mind you). I’m looking at round-trip flights between Glasgow and Vancouver in October right now and it looks like they run around $800 CAD, which is about £460.

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2017 megathread

2018 F&B thread

I’m sure there’s probably another I’m missing.

Firstly thank you for the replies and links, I probably should have hunted first but it partially excitement that led me to making a thread.

Planning to spend a week in Vancouver, maybe stop somewhere on the east coast on the way home. Trying to build an adventure out of it. Being not the most socially confident it could end in tears but hopefully not.

Spent time in London solo before but I know my haunts for well priced food there even if stuck in central so hoping to explore the city find the odd gem there.

Just super excited, and going to have a look at the suggested threads and the information very kindly given.

Thank you again to everyone, it very good of you and really appreciated, it really does help me out in a way I cannot explain but anyway thank you :blush:

I like Hopper and Skyscanner for checking on flight prices, the former is an app that suggests when it thinks tickets will be at their cheapest.

If you are staying Downtown the hotels at the group rate currently seem to be the best value for money.

I’ve been convention going for ~15 years. Last year was my first year at SHUX and it is easily the friendliest, most laid back con of all the types of con I’ve been to. The open play area had handy LFG balloons but people are so chill that you can ask to join games on the fly and no one looks at you weird. If you’re not already cool with striking up conversations with strangers, start practicing now to make it easier when you get there. You might arrive alone, but you will not spend your weekend alone if you don’t want to. I didn’t get to play any, but the mega-games all looked like a wonderful time and probably an easy way to get to know some folks. There are also plentiful panels for when you want to not-game.

Vancouver is beautiful, I was only there for SHUX last year but this year I’ve talked the husband into making a whole vacation out of it, arriving Oct 2nd and leaving 11th because I was so enamoured of what little I saw last year. You will have blast. Get excited!

Will look it up, bells and whistles I can do without, so some very helpful advice as trying to get it all booked, flying out of Glasgow seems far easier than Edinburgh from what I have spotted so far :slightly_smiling_face:

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The train down to Seattle is beautiful scenery-wise if you go West coast adventuring in the US.

If you want to go East coast adventuring in the US, I live NYC and can recommend endless stuff and things.

There is obvs a lot of adventuring to be had staying in Canada but I’m not fluent in Canadian travel.

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Is it a relatively easy thing to do to cross the border on the train? Assuming it would be the standard get a visa first, definitely an option I hadn’t considered (just actually realised how close Vancouver is to the border).

Very easy, as long as you have the travel authorisation. I have a UK passport, living in the US on a visa and I just had to get the Canadian eTA. You’d need the US ESTA in addition to the eTA and will need to fill out a customs & border form before boarding the train (they provide them at the station) but I think that’s it.

No visas for UK citizens. Just various travel authorizations. The Canadian one is called an eTA and it takes all of 5 minutes to get online, costs $7 CAD, and is good for 5 years.

I went to SHUX 2017 from Scotland (flying from Glasgow).

I found the discord chat really useful for meeting people before the convention. I met a small group for games in the days before the con, then a much larger group at a more official pre-con meetup. Then by the time the convention started there were already familiar faces there.

Everyone was friendly at the convention anyway, but it is comforting to feel you have specific people to hang out with!


I first learned about the eTA a week after it went into effect, about two hours before my flight to Newfoundland was scheduled to depart.

The Air Canada person very unhelpfully told me that it could take up to 72 hours to process and wouldn’t answer if it was possible at all for me to get it in time for my flight. I didn’t panic because I knew all I could do was apply and it was out of my control, and I received it in under 10 minutes, but I feel like it was an unnecessary amount of stress she put me through. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think many people were confused at that point when it was first introduced, especially airline staff, because Americans don’t even need an eTA at all. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1116&top=16

I’m medium-well traveled and I found the transit system baffling at first, like you probably will any time you visit a city for the first time. What I realized quickly enough is that it is expensive-ish (6 bucks? I don’t quite remember) getting into the city from the airport, but once you’re out it is fairly cheap. I was staying slightly out of the city last year and I still don’t think I had to leave the main zone, so getting around was actually quite cheap. And the stop you need to get to the convention center (the northmost-ish one?) is RIGHT outside the con, so that takes a TON of the stress out of navigating. Listen to VictorViper and BOOK A PLACE TO STAY NEAR A TRAIN. It will make your life so much easier. Just use google maps or whatever to check out how long it takes to get from a place you are looking at to stay to the convention center. If that is reasonable for you, then great!

VictorViper also said it was expensive, but coming from Chicago I actually found most of the stuff pretty reasonable, so that totally depends on what you’re used to paying for things. I have NO IDEA what things cost in Scotland, so you may feel one way or the other, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s not like NYC or London expensive from what I saw. You’re going to be in the convention most of the time and there is a food court with McDonalds, Tim Hortons, that kind of stuff, right across the street so you can eat pretty affordably. Coffee and whatnot in the convention center was affordable.

As for the social parts: I went there knowing NO ONE. I had one contact that I did not know personally at all until I got there and ended up spending almost the entire time with him and his group. I also met two other big groups I became a part of throughout the weekend and lots and lots of other people I met up with from time to time.

And who did I talk to about all the great people I met while I was there? Quinns! I ran into him and Leigh at the board game library at the end of the second day and had a lovely chat with the two of them for a couple of minutes. I ran into Matt on the train there, and Pip and Efka and Elaine all around the floor throughout the weekend and got a chance to say hi to all of them for a couple of minutes. They were all lovely people who were happy to spend a few moments to say hi to the fans.

Overall, I have never been to a social event of any kind that was so well designed for people to socialize so easily. Don’t worry about that at all, you will find people to hang out with and you will enjoy yourself. For sure please check out pre-con events if you have the opportunity, but I went in totally fresh and had an amazing time. If you need help getting started, feel free to hit me up on here. My name is Jordan and this will be my second year going. I’ll be with other friendly folks who have been once or twice before and I know for sure our groups are open to all.

Sorry this was so long, hope any of this helps!


Hey - same boat as you. (or plane, whatever)

Me & My Bro are also travelling from Glasgow airport, also first time in Vancouver, also first time at a convention of any kind, also pushing 40.

So if at any time you feel lost, know there’s at least two other scotsmen equally as lost. I’m hoping to secure some kilts for the occasion so we’ll hopefully be easy to spot.


Here’s a link to a thread I started before the first SHUX when I had no idea what my husband had signed us up for! I found the advice handy:
What actually happens at a board game conference?

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High five @daviebob! SHUX 2019 will be my first convention, and I’ll be all alone in the city I’ve never been before. And I’ll be so on budget! I have no idea what to expect.
@Shanneranner thanks for the link. Very helpful