Wednesday 25th October – Sunday 29th October 2023
A weekend of hanging out with gamesy folks doing things like hiking, playing boardgames, and generally having a nice time! Meals and beds included, day tickets available.
The dates and venue are being confirmed but the event is likely to run from 4pm on Wednesday 25th October 2023 to 11am on Sunday 29th October 2023 (but you don’t have to come for the whole thing).
This event ran in 2022 and folks liked it enough that we wanted to do it again!
More information to follow!
Event Guide / FAQ
- When is this event running?
- What about Covid?
- What sort of stuff will we do?
- How accessible is the space?
- How do I get there?
- How much are the tickets and what are the different types?
- What if the event is cancelled or I have to cancel my ticket?
- What will the food be like?
- What’s the sleeping situation like?
- What’s the bathroom situation like?
- How big will the event be?
- Will there be a safe space policy?
- Will there be any quiet spaces or ways to opt out of things?
- Who’s running this?
- Do you need help?
- Why are you doing this?
When is this event running?
As you’ve probably gathered, Trick or Retreat was cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. This sucked, but was the right decision.
We’re trying again in 2022. The venue is booked, and I’ve added 100 sparklers to the shopping list since the event now overlaps with bonfire night! There’s a lovely big fire pit just waiting for us too.
The event is from 17:30 on Thursday 3rd November 2022 to 12 noon on Sunday 6th November 2022 (but you don’t have to come for the whole thing—day tickets are available if you just want to drop in for a day).
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.
What about Covid?
I’m going to be asking every attendee to take a LFT just before they head to the venue. I’ll ask everyone to confirm they’ve done one when they arrive, and I’ll have some spares available if anyone has forgotten so that they can take one at the door before coming in.
I’ll encourage people to take a test or two over the weekend but won’t be checking this so rigorously.
If someone tests positive on arrival or during the event I’ll ask them to leave and do my best to help them get home safely. We will immediately inform all other attendees and individuals can decide how they each want to proceed (Omicron is generally contagious prior to a positive test result so exposure will have already occurred). In any case, we will then try to air and sanitise the venue as far as possible.
If someone with a ticket feels unwell or are concerned that they may be developing Covid, I will ask that they don’t attend. In these cases I will do my best to refund the cost of the ticket. I may not be able to refund tickets if people have to leave during the event because I’m running it pretty much at-cost but will see what I can do.
As organiser, if I personally catch Covid in time for Trick and Retreat I’ll discuss with attendees how best to proceed. Suffice to say, I’m going to try very hard not to catch Covid just before the event.
Attendees are very welcome to wear masks but I won’t be insisting everyone does. In all honesty, I suspect wearing a mask throughout the event may not be terribly effective as a protection—there’ll be 20–30 of us hanging out in the same space for 3 days and we’ll be sleeping in fairly close proximity. The venue is fairly airy, being a converted church with extensions, but any airborne particles will still get around. We can have some doors/windows open where possible, but the outdoor temperature will be 5–10 ºC and plausibly rainy so that may not prove practical.
In terms of venue cleanliness, the venue website states that (at the time of writing this in July 2022), “We are keeping our extra cleaning protocols and we are keeping ‘minimal contact’ for group arrival and departure based on Chellington’s COVID-19 Code of Best Practice”. When I visited the venue pre-pandemic to have a look round, I was generally impressed by the cleanliness and attitude of the people running it, so I’m confident the venue will be thoroughly cleaned prior to our arrival.
Your health and safety are important to me, and I want you to be fully informed so that you can gauge whether you’ll be comfortable with the level of risk involved in attending. I cancelled the event in 2020 and 2021 because I felt the risk to attendees was too high. The risk level in 2022 is unfortunately not zero, but I feel that it’s nonetheless lower and we’re in a better position to mitigate it. I’m open to questions and further suggestions—feel free to get in touch about either!
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.
Another thing—a petting zoo should be visiting us on the Friday afternoon! I’m very excited about this.
Other things that may happen:
- Fancy dress
- Halloween movies (probably classic monster movies)
- Spooky disco
- Pumpkin carving
- Bonfire, sparklers
- 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.
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. We will be coordinating potential lift-shares in the run-up to the event!
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 or get a lift 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 2023) 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 couple of years, this sounds even more appealing.
Anyway, I think it could be fun and nice and I like to bring people together.