Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Game Con Update!

Last month we figured we had finally listed every gaming con on earth . . . then we found another 23 game cons this month!

Here they are by region:

Asia Game Convention List:
  • Licence2Play (December 7-9, Singapore)
  • HobbyCon (December 8-9, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia)
  • Comic Fiesta (December 22-23, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • C2Age (May ?-?, Malaysia)
Australia Game Conventions:
  • ConVic (November 23-25, Cheltenham, Australia)
  • WAI-Con (February 2-3, Perth, Australia)
  • Toy and Game Expo (June 8-10, Sydney, Australia)
  • Pax Australia (July 19-21, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Manifest (August ?-?, Melbourne, Australia)
  • ConCentric Games (September ?-?, Tanunda, Australia)
  • Conformat (September ?, Adelaide, Australia)
  • Unicon (October ?-?, Melbourne, Australia)

Canada Game Convention Calendar:
  • Spellstorm (March 1-3, Toronto, Ontario)

UK Games Conventions:
  • DevaCon (December 1-2, Chester, UK)

USA Game Cons by region:

Mid Atlantic Gaming Cons:
  • AnimeNEXT (June 7-9, Somerset, NJ)
Mountain Region Games Convention List:
  • Las Cruces Game Convention (March ?-?, Las Cruces, NM)

Pacific Region Gaming Con List:
  • Independent Games Festival (March 25-29, San Francisco, CA)

South Central West Game Con Calendar:
  • DwarfCon (May 3-5, Austin, TX)
  • Delta H Con (July 12-14, Houston, TX)

Upper Midwest Games Cons:
  • CogCon Game Day Plus (March 8-9, Rolla, MO)
  • Minicon (March 29-31, Bloomington, MN)

Online Gaming Convention List:
  • InfrnoCon (December 14-16, Online)
  • Star Frontiers Virtual Con (March ?-?, Online)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Game Convention Review: AetherCon

When we first started gathering game con listings for GCC the first online game convention I ran across was AetherCon.  For a while I thought they were the only online con (check out our Online Game Convention page as there are at least half a dozen at this point). 

I had the pleasure of attending AetherCon this past weekend and was quite pleased.  Whenever I write a review I am caught between the desire to compliment the hard work I know goes into an event and the desire to provide an accurate review of the event.

Let me start by saying AetherCon deserves an A+ for effort.  What they attempted was quite ambitious - close to 100 events, all using Roll20, plus dozens of vendors, artists and lectures.  As for execution, I'm going to give them an A as well, but this time I am grading on a curve . . . an aggressive curve.  There were a lot of tiny little issues but again, considering the scope of the event I was easily able to forgive them.

All games took place on Roll20 virtual table tops (review coming later).  Roll20 itself worked fine, but none of the games I played in managed to get the audio/video chat right and we ran Google hangouts for that (there is a Roll20 plug in for Google+ which most used, I however ran one monitor for each program).  I suspect the issues with the audio / video was just the load from the con.

My one real complaint was the lack of game grid that most conventions offer.  The website listed the games sorted by start time but you had to read down the list of games and their descriptions to find the times you were searching for.  They also allowed GMs to schedule their games at any start times and of varying durations.  [Most conventions are run in multiple four hour time slots and most games fit into some fraction or combination of these slots.]  (While AetherCon did publish a .pdf program, it was a series of interviews and neither listed the con's games nor their times.) 

The various time slots at AetherCon (excluding demo games). Numbers in ( )'s are the number of games that slot.
Since there were gamers attending from all over the world, varying start times could have made sense however, the real issue came when trying to fit games together to form a weekend.  Games that started at 10am wouldn't be over in time to jump into a 2pm start time game and so on.  It also became an issue when games were canceled or under booked.  My Friday night game need some extra players and while I found a couple of interested people, they were waiting on 8pm games that were also under booked and were holding out hope.  Had all the Friday night games started at the same time, it would have been easier to combine the available gamers into full tables.

Thinking more about the various timezones attending the convention, it also seemed odd that there were no overnight games.  My 7pm EST Friday night Call of Cthulhu game had me in EST, another players in PST and our GM who was in Australia (complete with bright morning sun shining through his window on the video chat).  While I was heading to bed after the event, he was heading out to the pool since the convention was then closed until Saturday morning in EST.  The scenario was set near his home in Australia and was quite a bit of fun (more of an action adventure than an investigation but a blast all the same).

There weren't enough gamers for my Saturday morning game and I decided to get some chores done around the house instead of looking for a replacement game (damn you real life!).  My second game was also CoC and again the players were scattered (we had at least two European gamers, one or two Canadians and the remainder were Americans from across the timezones.  This scenario was a traditional CoC investigation complete with horror, plotting, insanity, possessions and a last minute spell to seal a portal into our world!  [You're welcome, planet Earth.]  Another truly great game!

My Sunday morning GM was a no-show and since it was an 11am start (while most others were 10am) there weren't any other games to jump into.  By Sunday afternoon I had a home emergency (squirrel in the attic) but I also never heard from that GM.  And that is the one downside to attending a con from the comfort of your own home, it is very easy for real life to find you, much easier than if you are hours away at a convention's hotel.

The final analysis is this, when AetherCon rolls around again next year you should definitely attend.  They have a lot of little issues to smooth out but I'm sure they will.  There may have been some kinks but overall it was a great time!

So, did you attend AetherCon?  If so what were your thoughts?  Have to been to any other online conventions?  Feel free to comment below!

[p.s. if you'd like to review a game convention here on GCC, just reach out using the Contact Us form at left.]

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Update

Wow, we found yet another 26 gaming cons this month!  If you know of any others that we are missing, by all means, use the submit a con link above and add them!

We broke them out by region this month:

Capital Region gaming cons:
  • Capclave (October 12-14, Gaithersburg, MD)
  • NOVA Open (August ? - ?, Arlington, VA)
Great Lakes area game con calendar:
  • Youmacon (November 1-4, Detroit, MI)
  • Penguicon (April ? - ?, Dearborn, MI)
  • Ambercon (March 21-24, Detroit, MI)
  • Pandoracon (September ?-?, Cincinnati, OH)
Mid-Atlantic game convention list:
  • Burning Con (October 26-28, New York, NY)
  • Queen City Conquest (September ?-?, Buffalo, NY)
Mountain region gaming con list:
  • Battle in the Bosque (Nov 2-4, Albuquerque, NM)
Pacific region game conventions:
  • ZOEcon (November 9-11, Tukwila, WA)
  • California Extreme (July 13-14, Santa Clara, CA)
  • Duty Recall (November 24-25, Santa Clara, CA)
South Central East game cons:
  • Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention (Nov 9-11, Memphis, TN)
South Central West gaming conventions:
  • Octopodicon (October 5-7, Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Realm's Con (October 12-14, Corpus Christi, TX)
  • Tokyo in Tulsa (July ?-?, Tulsa, OK)
Upper Midwest game cons:
  • Conjecture (October 19-21, Bloomington, MN)
  • XenoCon (April ? - ?, Davenport, IA)
  • Amber Central (July 18-21, Bloomington, MN)
Canada gaming con list:
  • Gamealot (Sept ? - ?, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada)
Europe Game Con Calendar:
  • Forum (September ? - ?, Ringe, Denmark)
Online Game Conventions:
  • MonkeyCon One (October 19-20, Online via Skype)
  • CONcurrent (August ? - ?, Online same weekend as GenCon)
UK game convention list:
  • Crispycon (November 17-18, Peterborough, UK)
  • Rezzed (July ?-?, Brighton, UK)
  • RocketCon (November 3-4, Gravesend, Kent, UK)

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Update

We've added another sixteen cons to the list:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August update

It's been a slow summer for us but we do have some updates:

We've added five new game conventions to the list:

GaspCon (November 9-11, Pittsburgh, PA)
TwisterCon (March 8-9, Midwest City, OK)
WittCon (March 24, Springfield, OH)
Hanover Spielt! (April 20-21, Hanover, Germany)
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Con (July ?-?, Online)

Metatopia moved up one weekend to November 2-4.

We've also begun working on a searchable database for the con listings.  More news on that as we get closer to completion!

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Game Con Review: Dexcon 15

The GameWick Booth at DexCon
Well, another amazing Double Exposure run game convention has come and gone and boy was this one a doozie!  Five days of non-stop gaming and the biggest Dexcon crowd I’ve ever seen [and yes, I was at the first Dexcon in '92]. I attended this summer’s con as a part of the GameWick Games crew. I’ve been with GameWick for most Double Exposure's cons for the past three years. This year we were showing off GameWick’s hot new offering, the Zombie Apocolypse Game: Pittsburgh ’68. It was a blast! I ran 7 of the 13 demos for the weekend. Lots of players survived but plenty more joined the zombie hordes.

In between, I managed to get in a game of Castle Panic (we survived with two towers left), ran a game of WEGS Old Skool (Wingbit’s Dunge ‘o Doom where the players fled from a Minotaur and his undead band minutes before midnight [they claim it was so they could make the d20 burlesque]) and finished the weekend with a cool new horror RPG (link is to author’s blog). It isn’t published yet so I won’t go into too many details but it is a quick little system that doesn’t get in the way of a good story – and a good story we had – them nazi zombies and zombie minotaur didn’t stand a chance! [Anyone noticing a theme to the weekend?]

War Game Room at Dexcon
Overall there were an amazing number of events (over 1000 listed) including roughly 50 LARPs (some with out-of-this-world costuming), a board game room bursting at the seams, hundreds of RPGS and many more events. I do regret not poking my head into the war game room a bit more often but I did catch the setup of a hero clicks game with 3D scenery (including a couple of city blocks, a model of the Justice League and a third model of the bat cave)! Truly amazing stuff.

Double Exposure runs a fall game designers con in November called Metatopia and a winter con in February called Dreamation. I’m reasonably sure I’ll be heading to Metatopia (although there is the off chance I’ll head to Scranton for MepaCon (that same weekend instead) and am planning on hitting Dreamation come February. Can’t wait!

Anyone else hit a good con this month?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July Update

Great news! We've now listed over 400 game conventions!

The breakdown is as follows:

Australia/New Zealand - 17
Canada - 34
Europe [non-UK]- 30
Online - 1
UK/Ireland - 32
USA - 287
World [all other] - 6

We're taking a break from searching out more cons at this point but will probably stumble across more as we move forward. We do have a list of game conventions in Europe yet to process so that number might tick up a bit.

We're now reaching out to the organizers of the listed conventions to see if they'd like to improve the descriptions we've added for their con. It's a work in process. Through out this process we've found a couple of really interesting game conventions and will be adding those to the blog as well.

Happy gaming!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Primer on Roman Numerals

It’s quite common for older game conventions to use a roman numeral in the name of a convention, noting how many times that particular convention has run since its inception. It appears that the majority of newer cons instead use the current year. PolyCon XXX versus PaizoCon 2012 for example.

Here’s a quick reminder on how roman numerals work:

I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L= 50
C= 100
D = 500
S=1/2 (although I've yet to see a Con use this)

There is no concept of decimals in Roman numerals so 1.5 is impossible, but 1½ is not.

When using these to create a number it is generally accepted that you can't repeat the same roman numeral more than three times (in a row) and that you can't subtract from a number more than two places larger (i.e. I only subtracts from V and X, not L-M). So 49 is XLIX not IL.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Game Con Terms

Game conventions have a terminology all their own. This glossary of definitions should help you navigate any gaming con:

1e, 2e, 3e, 3.5e, 4e, etc. - First Edition, Second Edition, etc. Refers to the edition of a game.

2nd, 3rd, etc round - some events are played in multiple rounds. Generally, one needs to play in/win the first round to play in later rounds (but each event will have its own rules).

Anime - Japanese style animation. Some fans of Anime will dress up as their favorite characters. Anime fans have their own conventions as well but often there is cross-over.

Badges - Essentially a name tag that shows you have paid to attend the convention.  Required for entry into most areas of the con and all game events.

Boxed Text - part of a RPG module read aloud to the players.

CCG - Collectable Card Game such as Magic: the Gathering (M:tG or Magic for short) or Pokemon where players compete with decks of cards they assemble themselves. See also - Sealed Deck Tournament.

Con - short for convention. No one says convention. Most conventions include 'con' in their name: DexCon, GenCon, Comic-Con, Dragon*Con.

Flavor Text (see Boxed Text above).

Generic – (see Tickets, Generics below)

In Character - To say or act as your character in a RPG/LARP. See also OC (Out of Character).

Indy Game - a game (usually an RPG) produced by a small independent game company. Games like Capes, Fiasco, and WEGS are all Indy Games.

LARP - Live Action Role Playing (Game). A game in which players act out the actions of their characters. Can be contained in a single room or expand well beyond.

LARPers - the players/participants in a LARP. Usually easily identifiable by their costumes.

LARPing - the act of participating in a LARP.

Living Campaign - See RPGA below.

OC (Out of Character) - to say or do something as yourself (and not your character) in an RPG/LARP. Generally frowned upon by hardcore roleplayers/LARPers.

Open Gaming - An official area for unscheduled games. See also, Pickup Games.

Peace Bonding - tying off a weapon so it can not be drawn, or clearly identifying it as fake (if it is so).

Pickup Game - an unofficial unscheduled game in a random area of the convention/hotel.

PreGen - Pre-Generated Characters. An event in which fully fleshed out characters are provided by the GM. These characters often have intricate interlocking back stories.

PreReg - Pre-Register. To register for a convention before arriving. Most conventions offer a discount if you prereg early enough.

Registration - the area where convention goers sign in, pay, select their games for the con.

Ribbons – a pay once option at some conventions that use tickets. A ribbon sort of functions like an unlimited Generic Ticket (See Tickets, Generics below). Every con is different so be sure to review their specific rules.

RPG - Role Playing Game.

RPGA - a role playing game association that runs modules at many gaming cons. Focuses mostly on D&D. Has a number of 'Living' campaigns in which players bring the same character to each event they play.

Sealed Deck Tournament - A collectable card game tournament in which each player purchases a sealed deck at the start of the event and plays using only those cards.

Slot - A pre-defined time allocation for a game. Most conventions allot 4 hour time slots for RPGs and Wargames, with 2 hours slots for shorter boardgames and card games.

Tickets - in addition to admission, some conventions charge a small fee for each event/game you participate in.  In exchange you are given a ticket to the event that is collected at the game itself.

Tickets, Generics – for conventions that use tickets, this will allow you to fill into an empty slot at any game. Every con is different so be sure to review their specific rules.

WEGS - The Wickedly Errant Game System by GameWick Games. A sword and sorcery adventure game in which players can affect their dice rolls by paying 'Spoints' [Spell Points] into a central copper pot. Has a terminology all its own!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Welcome to Game Convention Central's Blog

Welcome to the official blog of Game Convention Central.  We've listed over 400 gaming cons on the main site but this is where we'll review cons we've attended, announce updates (roughly monthly or so), and share any of the cool stuff we see from visiting over 400 game con sites!

Speaking of reviewing cons, if you'd like to write a guest post about a con you've recently attended, please use the Contact Us form at the left and we can work out the details.  By recently, we mean in the past month or so.  And yes, you are welcome to review your own con as long as you disclose the fact in your review.