What’s this?

A weekend of hanging out with gamesy folks in a converted church! Meals included, beds and camping available.

The event is from 17:30 on Thursday 28th October to 12 noon on Sunday 31st October 2021 (but you don’t have to come for the whole thing).


Event Guide / FAQ


Is this event running in 2021? What about Covid?

Nothing is certain, what with the pandemic and all, but if the vaccination programme keeps to schedule, the case numbers drop, and the restrictions allow then YES, we will hopefully be running this Halloween!

Social distancing isn’t very feasible at this venue (you can read about sleeping arrangements below, for example) but there will definitely be some measures the protect attendees—you’ll have confirm that you’ve taken a test and produced a negative result on the day you arrive to be allowed in. I’ll provide some more details on this a little nearer Halloween, based on the situation at that time.

If, nearer Halloween, I feel that it is too unsafe to run this event for Covid-related reasons, Trick or Retreat will be cancelled; I am not prepared to run an event that carries a high risk to the health of its attendees. For more information about what happens if the event is cancelled, or you personally can’t attend due to Covid, see the cancellation and refunds section below.

What sort of stuff will we do?

This is going to be pretty unstructured and mainly about hanging out with nice people in a nice place. It is definitely not a conference, expo, or festival.

We’ll provide all the meals, a big stack of boardgames, one-page RPGs, a zine library, a rounders set, a big screen for multiplayer Switch games and movies, firewood for the fire pit, and marshmallows. 

One thing is definitely happening—a petting zoo visit us on the Friday afternoon! I am very excited about this.

Other things that may happen:

  • Fancy dress
  • Halloween movies (probably classic monster movies)
  • Spooky disco
  • Pumpkin carving
  • Weird arts and crafts (carving skulls from root veg, haunted corn dollies, troubling mask-making, that sort of thing)

Ticket holders are welcome to make suggestions for other activities!

The surrounding countryside is also pretty picturesque; there’s a country park full of lakes close by (featuring a café and hopefully dogs) and woods, which look like they’d be nice to walk round. 

Where?

A lovely converted church not too far from Bedford called the Chellington Centre

It’s pretty rural but only a 5 minute walk from the village of Carlton (which has at least one nice pub). 

Usually a residential youth centre, it’s got seven dormitory-style bedrooms (each with 4–5 beds), toilets/showers, a kitchen, a big main hall, and a couple of separate rooms for activities. There’s a big fire pit out the back and if you love camping (and really want to camp despite it being late October) there’s space/tickets for that. 

You can fine some pictures of the venue here; I didn’t photograph all the rooms but this should hopefully give you an idea. Have a look at the venue website for more.

How accessible is the space?

The Centre is “all on one level, with doorways and corridors designed to be wheelchair friendly”. You can download the venue’s own accessibility plan here. The surrounding countryside is fields and there is no paved footpath to the village. There is a gravel-dirt car park. If you have a question about accessibility, please message me and I’ll do my best to help—DMs are open.

How do I get there?

If you’re coming by car, there’s plenty of parking space and the postcode is MK43 7NA.

The nearest train station is Bedford. This is served by the East Midland mainline (London to Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield) and regular Thameslink services (to/from London, Surrey, and Kent). 

From Bedford station it’s probably best to catch a taxi as the busses stop pretty early and don’t go right to the venue. According to the Centre there are many taxis at the station which cost ~£13 for a 4-seater or ~£24 for a 7-seater. We can try to coordinate folks to keep this as cheap as possible.

We might arrange a minibus back to Bedford Station on the Sunday if there are enough people for it. 

How much are the tickets and what are the different types?

Tickets are explained over here.

Sign up for the waitlist or buy tickets here.

Keep reading for information about refunds.

What if the event is cancelled or I have to cancel my ticket?

If you buy a ticket but the event is cancelled due to safety concerns or restrictions, I’ll give you the option to defer it to next year (if Trick or Retreat is planned for 2022) or refund you.

If the event goes ahead but you are personally unable to attend due to illness, I’ll do my best to give you a refund. The same applies if you decide closer to the time that it is too unsafe to attend on the basis of current risk levels and your personal health.

Please be aware that any refunds may take time to issue and/or have to occur in stages. Trick or Retreat is not intended to generate any profit, and by the end of August non-refundable venue fees (amongst other things) will have been paid. Unless the event is cancelled due to government-issued restrictions (which changes things), any refunds required from the beginning of September will probably be paid from my own pocket.

You are welcome to give/sell/exchange your ticket with somebody else if you so wish. That said, it’s really not cool to sell any tickets you have for more than you paid for them.

What will the food be like?

This is a provisional menu and may be modified based on the dietary requirements of those attending.
The actual menu will be circulated in advance.

Thursday Dinner: Veg Thai green curry, veg massaman curry, rice
Friday Breakfast: Cereal, toast (with jam, etc), overnight oats, porridge
Friday Lunch: Thai pumpkin soup, Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup, bread rolls
Friday Dinner: Katsu curry sauce, pumpkin croquettes, rice with veg
Saturday Breakfast: Cereal, toast (with jam, etc), overnight oats, porridge
Saturday Lunch: Spiced coconut sweet potato soup, carrot & coriander soup, bread
Saturday Dinner: Satay sweet potato curry, Jerk sweet potato & black bean curry, rice
Sunday Breakfast: Cereal, toast (with jam, etc), overnight oats, porridge

We’ll also supply tea and coffee. Maybe also popcorn.

As mentioned elsewhere, you’ll have to bring your own alcohol and snacks.

What’s the sleeping situation like?

There are 7 dormitory rooms at the venue, each containing 4–5 beds (often bunk beds). These are probably best described as ‘very cosy’ spaces and don’t have much room to stand around in. A few of the beds are a little shorter, so when you buy a ticket we’ll ask your height to avoid very tall people ending up in those beds. The bedroom spaces are not completely sealed off from the main hall (as they’re built into the old church side aisles) so there may be some noise in the night, but there will be a rule of no noise in the main hall after a certain time.

If you want to share a room with friends, we can try to arrange that.

Each bed comes with a pillow, pillow-slip, and mattress protector. You can bring a sleeping bag or we can hire bed linen and duvets for you (but we’ll ask for an extra £6 to cover the cost of that).

Scroll to the bottom for some pictures of the bedrooms.

There’s also the option to bring your own tent and camp in the field beside the venue.

What’s the bathroom situation like?

There are three modern bathrooms at the Centre, all of which will be gender-neutral for the event. Two each contain: x3 cubicle toilets, sinks, and x2 shower cubicles. The third bathroom is ‘full access’ and contains a shower, toilet, and sink. 

How big will the event be?

Pretty small in the grand scheme of things. The venue sleeps a maximum of 30 people, plus anyone who wants to pop by/stay elsewhere/camp. It’s unlikely that there will be more than 50 people attending per day. 

Will there be a safe space policy?

Yes. The safe space policy will be made available here in advance, emailed round, and will be available at the venue. 

Will there be any quiet spaces or ways to opt out of things?

Yes, we will try to ensure there is always a quiet space where you can hang out if you need some peace and quiet.

You are also not obliged or expected to participate in anything that may be happening. You can spend your days reading a book or wandering the local countryside by yourself if you want.

We will also have ‘Ghosts’ at the event. If you want to be left alone for a bit at any time during the event, pop a sheet over your head like a ghost. Attendees will be instructed to ignore ghosts as far as possible.

You will need to bring your own sheet to become a ghost, or else you can select the ‘Ghost Add-on’ when you buy your ticket(s) and I’ll supply a nice new sheet when you arrive.

Who’s running this?

Sarah Cole. Best known for… I don’t know, helping at other events? I make games as a hobby but not as a job, go to a lot of fringier games stuff in Brighton and London, and help out at a few things. If you like websites, here’s mine.

Do you need help?

Yes, though I’m not sure what just yet. I’d definitely need help with cooking and cleaning up during the event. Anyway, give me a shout if you want to get involved somehow.

Why are you doing this?

Late in 2019 I was feeling sad about the lack of opportunities to just hang out with large groups of friends, and how we’re always trying to cram in conversation time at other events. So I thought ‘why not make an event about hanging out?’ After the last year and a half, this sounds even more appealing.

Anyway, I think it could be fun and nice and I like to bring people together.