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Subject: What con should we go to? rss

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Lyle T
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A friend and I have decided that this year we will go to a convention for pretty much the first time. We haven't settled on what con we want to go to, though.

Of the two of us, I'm the boardgamer. He may be becoming a boardgamer, but he's just getting into the hobby. We both also like comics, video games, and general geekdom. What is the best con for us? What in your opinion is the best con? I've always wanted to go to gencon, but I wanted to get some feedback before we decide.
 
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tim
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Does location matter? I'm planning to go to ConQuest in Sacremento next month because I'll be out there for work. http://www.avalonconventions.com/conquestsac/ I'll be less than 2 hours away and it looks like it will be worth going to. Plus I've got a free day and I've never been to a convention before so I don't have a high standard to compare it to.

I'm also hoping to go to GenCon in Indy http://www.gencon.com/2008/indy/ in the fall but only because its within driving distance. I can't normally afford to fly to a convention and stay in a hotel so I have to pick from what I can get to. Plus GenCon Indy is supposed to be one of the biggest or so I've heard.
 
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Mike Cooper
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Well, seeing as you're based in Baton Rouge, a scant 4 hour drive away will be BGG.Con 2008 in November.
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Lyle T
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Distance doesn't matter. In fact we'd like to take a longer trip because we both have skymiles to burn. Re: BGG.con, we could probably do that AND another con, since BGG is so close.
 
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M King
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I've only been to Origins and GenCon. My favorite is Origins, but mainly because it is the more boardgame-friendly experience. (though there is plenty RPG, miniatures, etc. there too)

Your description of your friend makes me think that GenCon would be the best fit for you. It is several times bigger, the exhibit hall is much larger with many more exhibitors including lots of very unusual little booths. Most of all, it has much more to offer the average geek--more fantasy, more sci-fi, more everything. There are geek-oriented celebrities (when I went, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly cast members were there). I don't remember comic book stuff, but I bet it is there somewhere, and if it isn't, there'll be plenty of comic-themed gaming from Marvel Heroscape to superhero RPGs. GenCon's sheer size is something everyone should experience. And there's plenty of boardgaming too, including for the first time this past year an open gaming room. So go there for your first con, then next year go to Origins for a slightly different, but absolutely fantastic experience that will be much more about the games.
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Occu Pant
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Clive
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If you want gaming to be just part of the experience, then consider DragonCon. There is a steady stream of gaming (but not anywhere near the level of Origins or GenCon), but there is a ton of other geeky stuff to do at DragonCon.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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There is also WBC.

WBC is definitely a convention for gamers. In fact, it is the most boardgamer focused convention of any mentioned here. What this means is the emphasis is on playing boardgames. As a result, the "vendor hall" experience (things like comic books and the like) is pretty much absent here.

For new gamers, WBC also features a LOT of tournaments specifically structured to help new gamers learn games. It also features a "juniors" tier of events targeted at those age 12 and under, with the objective of raising up the next generation of gamers. This has already borne fruit, as "graduates" of the Juniors program can be found in the "adult" events, winning them a lot and also as GMs.
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Thomas Taylor
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If you wish to game I would advise against going to Dragon Con. If you wish to Shop, I would advise against going to Dragon con. Dragon Con is honestly only good if you want to walk around and look at the freaks.

I've attended, Gen Con, DragonCon, Kubla Con, Genghis Con, Strategi Con.

I would say if I had one to recommend attending, it would be Gen Con there's a lot to do, its fun, there are parties, etc.

Tennessee Valley Game Days is also much smaller, gaming only affair, but I had a very good time and will be attending again.

http://www.tngamedays.com/index.html

 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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sauron

And there was one con to rule them all!!!

bgg.con
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Jae
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Since you live so close, consider BGG con as well as AGGIECON http://aggiecon.tamu.edu

For distance travel, I'd recommend either GenCon, DragonCon or Essen.
 
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Kevin Ellingson
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eightbit wrote:
Does location matter? I'm planning to go to ConQuest in Sacremento next month because I'll be out there for work. http://www.avalonconventions.com/conquestsac/ I'll be less than 2 hours away and it looks like it will be worth going to. Plus I've got a free day and I've never been to a convention before so I don't have a high standard to compare it to.


Then I shall look forward to meeting you at ConQuest SAC. If you have any questions about the convention, please feel free to ask me, as I am the Program Manager for the show. You should be easily able to find me, as I will wearing a blue vest, as one of the staff members.
 
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Ebon Hawk
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Penny arcade Expo also known as PAX sounds pretty on target as well. Video games and table top games are the focus (although video gets more exposure I hear that table top is very well represented). I love GenCon and have gone since before it moved to Indy. I really want to attend PAX as I have two friends who went last year and loved it.
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Russ Williams
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donkeystyle wrote:
Distance doesn't matter. In fact we'd like to take a longer trip because we both have skymiles to burn.
Then Essen!
 
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Mathew Daigle
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If you like board games and video games, and related genre stuff like anime, comics, web comics, etc.

I would recommend either Penny Arcade Expo (Seattle, WA - August) or ConnectiCon (Hartford, CT - August).

If it is your first convention I'd recommend going to a smaller convention, you'll probably have a better experience and it will prepare you for a larger convention down the road if you enjoy the first one.

There really aren't too many conventions out there that try to cater to general geekdom - I do my best with ConnectiCon but I know we could do better, hopefully as our attendance grows we'll be able to offer more stuff to do, 7,000 hours of stuff in 3 days isn't enough =)
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Joel Tamburo
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Counting WBC out on account of vendor area is not necessarily correct.

WBC's vendor area is definitely more limited (by design) than Gencon. For example, only boardgame publishers (and one place that sells historical DVDs and the like) are part of it. However, the vendors do sponsor events in their games, and in addition Rio Grande games has a large setup known as "Cafe Jay" running throughout the convention, where he is doing lots of demos of new games (and also catering food).
 
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Dave Dubin
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ConnectiCon wrote:
If it is your first convention I'd recommend going to a smaller convention, you'll probably have a better experience and it will prepare you for a larger convention down the road if you enjoy the first one.


Really? When I was in my twenties, the small events always seemed a real bore compared with the larger cons. Now that I'm in my forties, I prefer the smaller conventions. I think I'd give the OP just the opposite advice: start with a big con and work your way down.





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Mike Jones
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I think I'd prefer to find a small local con. But, I'm more interested in sitting down and playing games. I'm not interested in a bunch of vendors and guests. If you want a bunch of vendors with the hot stuff and panels. Then a big con is a must.
 
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Jae
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jgerman wrote:

From the looks of things people aren't reading your request... rather they're just posting cons they like which answers your second question but not your first.


I attempted to be very sensitive to the first request.

Aggiecon, GenCon and DragonCon all offer great opportunities for not just boardgames, but other facets of geekdom as well. For example, last year Aggiecon managed to get Richard Hatch to come (Apollo from BattleStar Galactica TOS) and previously they've had Greg Bear, Elizabeth Moon, Robert Asprin, and many other big names in sci-fi/fantasy literature, movies, television and such. They have an annual showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show which is exquisitely staged. They usually have a scavenger hunt. Live Action boardgames such as RoboRally human sized is popular. They have a 24 hour anime room rhroughout the four day convention. The vendors range from authentic swords and armor to games, to toys, to out of print and hard to find novels. There is an art auction (which I consider a must do). Harlan Ellison is a frequent attendee. Lord British (the guy who made ultima) has shown up and I believe Steve Jackson has made the trek once or twice. I got to meet Aaron Allston at aggiecon one year (a prolific writer for D&D). I got to meet the editor for the Superman comic (though his name escapes me...I remember it being a girls name which I though was weird).

So yes, I was thinking of both questions the original poster posed.
And better yet, this con I've described here is practically in his backyard...or at least on the other side of the swamp.
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