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Subject: Seeking Advice: Best Conventions for Open Gaming ? rss

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I am looking for another convention with a lot of open board gaming. Can you suggest one?

- I have been to BGG.Con in Dallas and it is perfect, I'll go yearly

- I have been to GMT East in White Plains and it is also perfect, I'll go yearly

- I'm in NYC and can travel anywhere. But I'm not likely to travel across the country unless it is really outstanding, like BGG.Con




Things I'm wary about:

- I'm not interested in Origins or GenCon because the agenda is set for retailers, the are too unfocused, and have a hectic atmosphere

- I'm hesitant about WBC: Is there any truth to the "I-must-win-a-trophy-at-all-costs" attitude ?

- I'm wary of most of the crossover cons, ones that have sci-fi / comics / LARPs / RPG's / anime and so on all tossed in the mix.


Suggestions?
 
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Re: Advice: Best Conventions for Open Gaming ?
Unity Games is a one-day open gaming orgy that occurs roughly twice a year in the Boston area. The last one was held in Framingham, MA, on Jan.27, and the next one will be sometime in Aug/Sep.

http://www.unitygames.org/

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Unity_Games/
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Chris Trimmer
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The WBC is rarely "win at any cost". Yes, there is some competitive gaming, but most of the gaming is just as friendly as any open gamng con. There's space dedicated just to open gaming. Plus there's no commitment from playing in any of the tournaments. You can play in as few or many of the heats as you like. If you make the seim-finals or better, you're not compelled to keep going. I enjoy it as much as BGG.Con. Maybe more because the con lasts longer.

The exstensive schedule is great for knowing that you can try a particular game at a particular time. The con offers lots of scheduled demos too so you don't even have to commit to a full playing of a longer game.
 
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Quote:
- I'm in NYC and can travel anywhere.


The Cast are Dice (in the UK)



N.
 
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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You're right to be wary of crossover cons - most of them are lame, gaming-wise. I'm running gaming for Pi-Con (http://pi-con.org/) this year, and hopefully it won't be lame. The con-chair is a gamer, which helps a lot for getting good space reserved for gaming.

I definitely second the recommendation of Unity Games. It's a great time. A little bit of a trek from NYC for a single-day con, but it's definitely worth the 2h drive it is for me.

Are there any similar events in the NYC area?

I hear a lot of demand for simple open-gaming cons. I wonder why there aren't more of them. It seems like they should be very easy to run: all you need is reg and some rooms w/tables. A team of 2 could pretty easily do a single-day con, though obviously it'd be nice to spread the at-con reg time around so that the staff can game too.
 
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dr glaze et al wrote:
I'm in NYC and can travel anywhere. But I'm not likely to travel across the country unless it is really outstanding, like BGG.Con


Games Club of MD is for you! They have twice-yearly events, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Both are currently in Timonium, MD, just north of Baltimore.

The Spring one is called "Game Days" and is open-gaming-only. It draws somewhere around 200 people IIRC, and lasts for 4 days. This year it is May 3rd-6th. See http://gamedays.gamesclubofmd.org/ for more details.

The Fall event is called "Euro Quest" and is a mixed tournaments and open-gaming event. I do absolutely zero tournament gaming, and I have never been lacking opponents to play games. The draw for this one is slightly larger, 2-300 people. This year it is November 9th-12th. See http://euroquest.gamesclubofmd.org/ for more details.

Hope to see you there!
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Rich Shipley
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Check out Games Club of Maryland's Game Days:

http://gamedays.gamesclubofmd.org/

It's drivable from NYC and the primary focus is open gaming. We had over 150 people last year.
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I will just toot my humble horn here and suggest that iCon (www.goicon.org) in Idaho Falls, Idaho is excellent for open gaming.
We have basically modeled our local con after BGG.Con.
We do still have some events, but it is mostly pure gaming.
You did say you could travel anywhere.
 
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Last year I attended my first con in Washington DC which is close to NYC.
It's called Triadcon (http://www.triadcon.org/) and it was great. Lots of designers, lots of open gaming, something like 150 people in total. Any type of gaming is welcome. I played Here I Stand with Ed beach, Twilight Struggle with Jason Matthews and Conquest of Paradise with Kevin McPartland.
People were really friendly and I met most of the people I play with now, since I've arrived from Spain.
I wrote a little report in case you are interested (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1085408#1085408)

NOTE: I know some of the people who run it and they've become my friends. I don't think this has baised my opinion (and certainly it did not back when I wrote about Triadcon), but at least you have the info.
 
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dr glaze et al wrote:
Things I'm wary about:
- I'm not interested in Origins or GenCon because the agenda is set for retailers, the are too unfocused, and have a hectic atmosphere
GenCon is definitely overcrowded with so much there, but for playing boardgames I'd still look into the CABs run boardgame ribbon area at Origins. I went last year and it felt very much like an open gaming con. Except for maybe Saturday night it was spacious, quite, and had a large percentage of BGG folks.


For anyone in the Midwest I'd also like to plug our twice a year 1 day Kitcon convention (next one is April 21st. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/EAGLES ). We've been doing it for 15 years, its comfy small (About 50 people throughout the day), and like BGG.con has a high BGG account holder ratio (about 80% of attendees are on the geek)

Quote:
- I'm wary of most of the crossover cons, ones that have sci-fi / comics / LARPs / RPG's / anime and so on all tossed in the mix.

Don't forget Furry / gaming cons:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_convention

Now that's some gaming...
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Ray
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dyfrgi wrote:
I hear a lot of demand for simple open-gaming cons. I wonder why there aren't more of them. It seems like they should be very easy to run: all you need is reg and some rooms w/tables. A team of 2 could pretty easily do a single-day con, though obviously it'd be nice to spread the at-con reg time around so that the staff can game too.

The hardest part in running a small free-form conventions is getting a location. Finding one that will let you: game late into the night, bring in your own food, and keep cost reasonable are all tough issues. Many hotels will reduce the price of a ballroom if you can rent/block out enough rooms, but if you want people to rent rooms you usually go for a two day weekend convention to increase that number.

An alternative is to have it in some big house owner's basement for a dozen or so people (and in fact quite a few of those happen) but then you want to hand pick your invitees and this is why you don't here about all of them. In the Chicagoland area that I'm in there are about a half dozen small game day type cons (yearly) and that number goes to 2 dozen if I count all the private house ones. Note also that if you are talking about small enough game days increasing the frequency to more than 2 or 3 a year and you are no longer a con but the meeting of a semi-regular club. (i.e. that's the difference between a 1 day game day and a game group meeting)
 
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H.C. O'Neill
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You said you were leery of the crossover cons, but since its nearby, you might enjoy FurFright, which is in Waterbury, CT. It's about 2 hours away from you. While it's a Halloween themed furry con, the game room is run by someone that runs a monthly boardgame meet in Connecticut and he brings his whole collection for open gaming. Plus other people loan stuff. Last year the 'lending library' occupied two whole bookcases! They also had the Men in Black and Loony Labs demo teams in running demos.

There's a fair amount of scheduled items, but the ready availability of people and games means there lots of pickup games of "oh my god, I've never seen this in person! let's try it!"

The emphasis, unsurprisingly, is on games with animals, but you get Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, Gloom, Fluxx, Roborally, poker, and all kinds of other things too.

The gaming area is open for the entire length of 3 day con. It's just about the only area that doesn't shut down overnight. They figure the gamers don't need sleep. They'll play Werewolf and Settlers til 5AM. Doesn't seem to matter when you wander in, there's people ready to try play.

If you're interested, website is here:
http://www.furfright.org/index.htm

Not much info up on specific games yet, but they added a tab for just gaming tournaments, which is new.

Since it's Halloween themed, there's even more costumers than usual. There's nothing quite so funny as watching someone in full costume play dexterity based games.

Here's a promo video they did for last years convention (which was in different location):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr8wIp4o4YU

The hawks in the video were from the sponsored charity for 2005, Horizon Wings. 2006 charity was REGAP, a retired racing greyhounds rescue. They haven't announced the charity for this year yet, but the charity presentation and auction of items (often including games) is one of the other big events at the con.

Last year's attendance was around 500, but is expected to be around 600-700 this year.
 
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james napoli
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i'm from the area as well and considering a trip to the MD gamers day event which i believe is coming up in may. it appears to be (mostly) gaming, i havent been to one, so i'm sure others could speak to it.

http://gamedays.gamesclubofmd.org/
 
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wtrollkin2000 wrote:


Quote:
- I'm wary of most of the crossover cons, ones that have sci-fi / comics / LARPs / RPG's / anime and so on all tossed in the mix.

Don't forget Furry / gaming cons:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_convention

Now that's some gaming...


That is the scariest, creepiest thing I have ever seen. That gave me a bad case of the heebie jeebies...wow
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james napoli
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darlok wrote:
i'm from the area as well and considering a trip to the MD gamers day event which i believe is coming up in may. it appears to be (mostly) gaming, i havent been to one, so i'm sure others could speak to it.

http://gamedays.gamesclubofmd.org/



i was a little late in the reply...sorry
 
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james napoli
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dyfrgi wrote:

I hear a lot of demand for simple open-gaming cons. I wonder why there aren't more of them. It seems like they should be very easy to run: all you need is reg and some rooms w/tables. A team of 2 could pretty easily do a single-day con, though obviously it'd be nice to spread the at-con reg time around so that the staff can game too.


i'm hoping to fill that void, looking to secure space and get a feel for the interest in the greater tri-state area.

-
James
 
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Just a question, but have you been to the Double Exposure conventions in the area as well?

I've run open gaming as well as scheduled gaming at Lunacon and I-Con (the one in SUNY Stony Brook) and they are crossover conventions, but the gaming areas have been pretty steady with open gaming.

Ubercon, Dreamation, and Dexcon are also reasonably close by in NJ and they have space for open gaming as well as the mass amounts of scheduled gaming, though there are times when the tables are all full.

Oh, I almost forgot, ConnectiCon is more Anime based, but they have a very nice library of games to borrow and there was plenty of space to play.
 
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Ward Batty puts on the Atlanta Gamefests which are three days of non stop gaming.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/AtlantaGameFest/

There are no vendors though you may pre order through him. There is also a decent flea market and trade table. The gaming is not scheduled -its all pick up. The Local atlantans bring their collections and there are about 300+ games to pick from. For casual gaming with lots of varitey, I highly reccommend it.
 
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I-Con (NY, not Idaho) does have an open gaming library and dedicated tables to open gaming. If I see that there is more interest, I would love to develop the open gaming more. Eventually, we'll make it a gaming con and let the Science Fiction people in...

Also, since you are in NYC, go to http://www.nerdnyc.com. We have a semi-regular game day about 4 times a year called Recess. Board Games as well as RPGs are played there. It might as well be open. If you want to play a game, just put it up there and the people will come. It's also a good social group of all sorts of nerd/geeks that are really great people.
 
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Joe Casadonte wrote:
Games Club of MD is for you! They have twice-yearly events, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. Both are currently in Timonium, MD, just north of Baltimore.

The Spring one is called "Game Days" and is open-gaming-only. It draws somewhere around 200 people IIRC, and lasts for 4 days. This year it is May 3rd-6th. See http://gamedays.gamesclubofmd.org/ for more details.
What he said. I'll be there, and it would be great to see you there! Game Days is fantastic. In general, I find local, smaller cons to be some of the best, in my limited experience.

Also, it should be fairly accessible to you, even if you aren't driving. You could take the train down to Balitmore Penn Station, then the light rail runs right up near the hotel.
 
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Geekway to the West (St Louis) is not as large as BGG.con, but is growing. Its all open gaming, with minimal retailers influence. The next one (3rd) is in June and will be fantastic. Plus, if you come to it I'll play some wargames with you. I'd love to get a face to face game of Paths of Glory.
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klz_fc wrote:

Oh, I almost forgot, ConnectiCon is more Anime based, but they have a very nice library of games to borrow and there was plenty of space to play.


It is true, but what better way to find/convert young people into new board gamers than a convention that draws 5,000+ people, has a board game library over over 100 titles (I know that isn't a lot, but it is a good number), tons of prize support for scheduled events, and is dedicating ~20,000 square feet to board games, miniatures and CCGs in 2008?

A sad fact of life though is that many gamers see ConnectiCon as "just an anime convention", there would be plenty of gamers to make it a better gaming convention if they would all give it a shot the same year. $30 for an annual membership which includes monthly meetings and the convention for 3-days isn't that bad cost-wise, we don't have event tickets or anything like that either.

Give us a shot, you should have fun, your kids if they're not into board games will also probably have fun, and maybe we can convert a few more anime fans into board gamers!
 
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TrimChris wrote:
The WBC is rarely "win at any cost". Yes, there is some competitive gaming, but most of the gaming is just as friendly as any open gamng con.


Tell that to the uber-serious guy that I played a pick-up game of Billabong with. I kept having to re-iterate how it is a game about racing kangaroos.
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sisteray wrote:
TrimChris wrote:
The WBC is rarely "win at any cost". Yes, there is some competitive gaming, but most of the gaming is just as friendly as any open gamng con.


Tell that to the uber-serious guy that I played a pick-up game of Billabong with. I kept having to re-iterate how it is a game about racing kangaroos.

I remember that at BGG.con 2005 - or has it happened again since?
 
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DollarCon is a (semi-) single* game day convention for the central and coastal Virginia region. It's organized by Park Previs.

Our third con was just last month and we have averaged about 50-60 people in all of them. It's almost totally open gaming, but we have had the occasional tournament to award game prizes from our sponsors.

It's focus is primarily eurogames and ameritrash, but last time there was a BIG game of Advanced Civilization - with the Western Expansion!

We have a full kitchen in the gaming area, so some people (myself included) bring their own stuff and make pizza! Some people order in for that crappy delivery kind.

It also has the virtue of being cheap; our first one was a dollar, hence the name. However, inflation takes its toll. Last time the cost was a whole $3, and there are rumors that next year the price might get jacked up to $4!


* It's semi-single day because we usually have more gaming on the Friday before and the Sunday after as well.

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