Like Elfia, the F. A. C. T. S. is. in Ghent is one of the highlights of my con year. Fortunately, this time there was not such a short term hiccup, concerning the pocket regulations as in the Spring-F. A. C. T. S., although in the end nobody kept to it, but more about that later.
Since 2016 is a strange year anyway, the powers of the universe had tried to make my visit difficult by all means. At first I didn’t get the press accreditation – it would be nice to have. Then my preferred hotel was booked months in advance. That’s why I had to take a hotel 3 km from the convention. But in retrospect, this proved to be an advantage in terms of transport and cost.
And as the climax of all this, my car had technical problems two days before and had to go to the repair shop. So I was forced to drive with an old (freebie) rental car with a noodled gearbox to Gent. But still better then if I had to cancel the whole thing again. …
When I arrived at the hotel on Friday, the porter asked me when I checked in if I needed a city guide. When I said no and told him that I was only here for the FACTS convention, he laughed and said he almost expected it on my Cthulhu-Fish T-shirt and that he was planning to go on Saturday.
on your mark, get set, …..
On Saturday morning I went to the FACTS in my reworked Cyberpunk/Shadowrun Private Detective. Since I wasn’t sure how crowded the tram would be, I decided to take a taxi („uber“ is not available in Ghent).
When I arrived there I saw the long queue in front of the entrance hall and it was slow at first. But a short time later everything went much faster than expected.
At the entrance of the „waiting hall“ there were three securities, those sent the people with weapon props to the arms control. They didn’t notice the Nerf under my coat.
But I went to the arms control anyway to avoid problems afterwards. Here I got a Checked-Banderole for my Nerf.
The slalom went on through the barriers, because they apparently expected a lot more people at once. Shortly before scanning tickets there are two more securities that looked for the size of bags and backpacks.
And then finally I was inside…..
Before you really got into the hall you had to go through a damn good entrance area. Black with an arched passageway in the middle, with the word #FACTS in 5m capital letters on the sides. In this passageway, as the „A“, a 5m statue of the FACTS-Hero’s (Who knows what this guy really called ?). In addition, in an endless loop THE Nerdhymne Star Wars Main Title!
So you really got the feeling that you are now entering an other world …
Welcome to the FACTS-Universe…
Enter the Matrix…
Directly behind the entrance were the photo boots of different companies and also one of the activities I really wanted to do: The KBC 360° Experience, and as the line hasn’t very long yet, I said to myself, the best way is to do it right now. And the result was more than fantastic.
After the fight with a French keyboard, enter my email address (Where is the… merde… Dot key?) I went on to the next hall….
Shout up and take my money….
Like every year, the FACTS has grown again this year and they are approaching the limits of the Flanders Expo. This time they already use all existing halls and the largest of the halls contains the dealers as usual. And as usual, there is pure riding overflow here! I would have buy, buy and buy right away from the first booths. And as always, there are things whose existence you didn’t even know by legend. And as always, the prizes are like:“One arm, four legs and two virgin sacrifices; please!“
The most dangerous booths are the ones with the „Hier kunt u pinnen“ sign.
But even if it’s really hard for me, I don’t shop until one hour before the end at the earliest. I don’t want to carry this stuff around with me all day
Setting the Trap …
Also as always on Cons, first of all you get an overview of the complete design of the Con. On the basis of the overview plan, I knew this time that there would be three main routes from the entrance. After some searching I found the best spot to catch the photomotive, the main route between the entrance and the cosplay hall.
At this place or on the other side the main road to the gaming hall, I spent the most time of the two days camping. Unfortunately, other photographers had the same idea…
Thereby the advantages and disadvantages of the new route planning became clear. Last year there were two main paths and a kind of round path, so I knew that many (nearly all) cosplayers would pass these points. There I was able to intercept most of them. But this time it was more diversified and so you can’t wait only at one point, but had to see more where I could find and intercept the people. The benefit was, of course, the result was that the main roads were less crowded because it spread more widely. But on the alleyways, it was crowded as usual. But nonetheless I took many photos of many great cosplayers.
The supply of food and drink at Cons is always one thing, especially when it comes to choosing, quality and price. But on the FACTS at least the range and quality is always very good. And the Belgians are also better when it comes to waiting time than the German Cons. I also find it extremely good that you can pay with card almost everything, even the Coke for 2,50€.
The primary food for me was ONIGIRI (stuffed rice balls). They’re delicious, satisfying, but you don’t feel too full after.
To be continued…
Well, this is the first part of my blog about the FACTS 2016.
The second part with cosplayphotos, costumes, the second Con-Tag and what German Con-Orgas can/should learn here and much more will follow in the next days.