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An Inside Look at a Local Con - Geekway to the West 2013

Jason Moslander
United States
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I recently had an opportunity to interview Chris Darden from Geekway to the West ( Geekway is our local gaming convention. And the great thing about it is that is all about games, games, and more games. Chris goes more in depth about what you can expect at the convention.

What is Geekway to the West?
Geekway to the West is an annual board game convention held every year in St. Louis, MO. This year will be the ninth time it's been held.
What events are at the Con?
We're mainly all about open gaming, but we do have plenty of events that are run mostly by volunteers. One big event we always have is the world famous Geekway trade table. Essentially, everyone who wants to be involved puts games in the event, and registers what they put in. Then one person who submitted a game or bundle is choosen and gets the first pick. Whoever submitted what that person picked goes next and so on down the line. It's always a lot of fun, and I feel like I've traded up nearly every time I've participated.
Are there any tournaments?
Yes, Crokinole, Battling Tops, Monkey Madness and Peppino tournaments are con staples. Over the years, we've seen Race for the Galaxy, Tichu, and Combat Commander tournaments as well, just to name a few.
How many people are you expecting?
This year, we're expecting somewhere between 500-600.
Are there any Cons that compare to Geekway?
The closest experience I can relate our convention to would be BoardGameGeek Con in Dallas, TX. BGG is quite a bit larger, but the feel of open gaming and several fun events makes it feel similar.
What other attractions are in the area?
Geekway is held at Westport Plaza, which is a great place to hangout any other time. There are plenty of restaurants around. In fact, once someone is at Geekway, if you stay at the hotel, you can get to anything you want by walking.
Is this a family-friendly Con?
Absolutely. We see a lot of families, couples, and older kids at the convention. We do ask that children are accompanied by an adult during the convention, to make sure everyone is having a great con experience. Now, there are late night games of Telestrations and Cards Against Humanity that show up, but the kids are usually in bed by that point.
Is there a place to buy games at Geekway?
Absolutely, Miniature Market and Game Nite will both be vending at the convention this year. In addition, there are a few smaller publishers who will be selling games at their booths. We're also right around the corner from Miniature Market's store, and they have a huge showroom full of ding and dint games for cheap. Well worth visiting if you've never been.
If someone is traveling from out of town what else should they see while in St. Louis?
Everyone knows St. Louis for the Arch, which is always worth going to. But I would suggest out of town visitors to visit the Saint Louis Zoo, Science Center, City Museum, Art and History Museums, and if you have kids with you, the Magic House is always a great time.
What are some local restaurants that are most recommended while in St. Louis?
If you're going to venture out of Westport Plaza for a meal, there are plenty of great places that are close by. Priyaa is probably my favorite Indian place in all of St. Louis, and Serra's Pizza is my favorite St. Louis style pizza. Both are very close to Westport, and I recommend them to anyone. Mexican? Pueblo Nuevo. Burgers? Blueberry Hill. Steak? Citizen Kane's for classy, Tubby's Pub and Grub for working class.
Is there any giveaways or prizes?
Tons and tons and tons. The first 400 pre-registrations get a free game from Miniature Market when they pick up their badge. That's on top of all of the giveaways we do every single night. We also do surprise early bird giveaways in the morning, which usually happen when one of us rolls out of bed in the morning. On top of all of that is Play and WIn.
What is "Play and Win", and how does it work?
Play and WIn is a special section of our library. Any con attendee can check out any of the games in this section and when they're done playing the game, you fill out a card with every person's name that played the game and turn it in when you return the game. On Sunday, we give every single one of those games away to somebody who played the game over the course of the con. These games come from our great sponsors, and we also supplement Play and Win with our own funds to make sure the latest and greatest games are there.
What can people get at Geekway that they cannot get at other Cons?
Play and Win is the big one, but I've seen that is slowly spreading around to other conventions, which is something I'm happy to see. You get to come and experience one of the great gaming cities in the US. The gaming community here is second to none. The St. Louis Board Game meetup keeps that enthusiasm going for the rest of the year, and Geekway is like a big party for four days to celebrate how great this community is.
Is there anything else we should know about the Con?
Only that you'll have a great time. We've grown and grown over the years, but we've always committed to put as much into the convention as what we get out of it. We really do spend the majority of the money on reserving the space, building the library, and giveaways.

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to interview with us. You can register for the Con at

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