Monday, October 5, 2009

"Why I Love Oshcon" or "Local Game Conventions; 5 Reasons They Are Gamer Heaven"

By Eric Jome

For the past several years, I've had the great pleasure of attending a local gaming convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It's held at the University there and is run expertly by some great guys.
So, I thought I'd take a minute to sing the praises of the convention and, by proxy, the praises of all the really great local game conventions I get to attend, because they all offer many of the same great perks that Oshcon does!

Easy
- One of the best things about a local game convention is that it is super easy to attend.
Oshkosh is just over an hour away by car; that's so close, I could attend both days and sleep at home if I wanted to... but why? The University offers rooms to convention goers in the dorms!
As a university town, there is great access to food within walking distance and there's plenty of parking. The area is safe and friendly to strangers. The convention itself is held in a university facility, meaning plenty of room that's easy to find and use. It would be hard to wish for a better location, more convenient and easy.

Cheap
- You know what you pay to get in the door at Oshcon? Your Saturday badge is $6. Yes, just $6! Want to go on Sunday too? Add $4! Event fees? None! And heck, there's even a visitor badge for just $1. And the cost savings go way beyond that... want to be able stay the night? $25.50 for a dorm room for one evening. It's not the Ritz, but what are you doing in your room? You're crashing there. You'll be out gaming, so wasting money on a room isn't really where you want to spend it. And this is a university town, not a tourist district. You won't get fleeced for food or drink either.

Fun - Every year, I have a great time... because I make it happen. See, small conventions need you to volunteer to run games so there are events for people to play. When I go to a small convention, I sign up to run lots of games because it helps the convention, but it does something else even better for me. It ensures that there are plenty of games I want to play at the convention! I pick games I want to play and then I am sure that there will be things for me to do that I want to do. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity to pick longer or special games I don't often get to play at my weekly game sessions - there's going to be a whole host of opponents with time to spare to play the big game. And most small conventions offer additional benefits if you run events, like waving fees or a free shirt.

Friendly - There's a lot more community feeling at your local game convention. Many of the people you run into are acquaintances you met last year or know from other stores or events around the area. It's a great opportunity to meet up with gamer friends and play something you all love. The convention staff is easygoing and helpful; you aren't just another number or revenue stream to them. And the people who run events and make the convention happen do it for the love of gaming - these aren't demo monkeys or temps staffing the convention. This is for gamers, about gamers, by gamers... good people. People you can look forward to meeting next year - or invite to your weekly gaming session next week.

Extras - Lots of little things shine through with a small convention. Fun things like raffles and special events are available. You still have shopping opportunities with vendors. Local talents and game companies make casual appearances because, hey... it's easy, fun, cheap, and friendly. I've met major authors, distributors, aspiring designers, FLGS operators, you name it. I've seen auctions and math trades and craft lessons. All because this is a small effort that encourages the attendees to bring to the table everything they can in a receptive, friendly, easy going setting.

Local game conventions offer all sorts of great opportunities for gaming goodness. If you've got one in your area, you should give it a shot. And if not, why not consider starting one up yourself? In an upcoming podcast, we should have some advice on doing just that from Adam Loper of Oshcon and Snarling Badger Fame.

See you at the table, gamer.

Oshcon - http://www.oshcon.org/

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, guys! That was a really cool write up. I'll see you at the convention this weekend and I look forward to being on the show soon!

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  2. Hi, I wonder when is the next Local Games Convention will be held? It looks like a cool events!

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