Reverb Gamers: Conventions

Question #24: Have you ever been to a game convention? What was it like to be surrounded by so many other gamers? If not, would you like to go to one? Why or why not?

I've stared at this question for a few minutes, and tried to get my head around the concept of gamers who wouldn't go to conventions. I mean, if you're new to the hobby and don't know about them, or live hundreds of miles from the nearest convention, or.. I don't know, suffer from a fear of crowds, then maybe. But otherwise, it's a games convention, you play games, it's full of games, why wouldn't you go?

So yes, I've been to conventions. Not as many as I would like, but time and money sometimes get in the way.

I have not, contrary to some myths, been to Gaelcon every year since 1992. I think I missed the one in... 1998? But most of the time, I'm there for as much of the weekend as possible. I've run charity trade stands there for a few years. In latter years, I've stayed in the hotel, or as near as possible. I refrain with difficulty from dragging friends (who have actual valid reasons not to go) along with me.

I've also been to K2 (a small residential convention held in February or March each year in Kerry) every year for the past four or five. And I try to make it to Leprecon as often as possible despite its terrible habit of landing on a weekend when I have other commitments.

Conventions are, for me, an essential component of the hobby. The ability to get in among a large bunch of more-or-less like-minded folk and play games for two or three days straight is fantastic. And you get to try new games. Some conventions I only try new games, and that's still enough to keep me occupied throughout.

It also gives me a look at what RPGs are popular - not what's on the schedule, mind, since that's deliberately aiming for diversity, but what's on the stands. In the last few years, the stands have actually been very limited. White Wolf, D&D, and a few others - very little sign of the Fate games, Smallville, or any of the other games that get discussed a lot. Whether that's an accurate representation of the Irish games market or not, I'm not sure. It's possible that with games that consist of only one book, it's more trouble than it's worth for a retailer to stock it.

There's a fair degree to which conventions are the community celebrations that mark out the year for me. Gaelcon at one point, K2 at another, the minor celebrations along the way. Kind of, if you like, the gathering-of-the-community equivalent of Easter and Christmas for Christians, compared to the normal church service of the weekly game session. I'm sure you could make a case for rites of passage, too.

Posted by Drew Shiel at February 13, 2012 10:25 AM

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