Summer Gaming Conventions GO!

Who says gamers are anti-social? Photo ©

The summer is half over, and there are still plenty of gaming conventions coming up in the next two months where gamers can not only play but also commune with their fellow geeks. Personally, I’m playing games pretty much every day anyway, but cons are where I can meet up with other people like me who are as enthusiastic about RPGs as I am, people in front of whom I don’t have to contain my enthusiasm for gaming in favor of social propriety. So slap on your best night elf costume, grab your 20-sided dice, and join the party at the following upcoming conventions.

Historicon (July 7-10, 2011 in Valley Forge, PA)

Historicon is the largest miniature wargaming convention in the U.S., and it’s happening right now. This year’s theme is the American Civil War, but that’s just the overarching topic for the convention, and there will be a variety of settings for games all weekend. If you’ve ever wanted to get into wargaming, check the schedule for games that say “rules taught at table,” and be ready to interact with people’s kids. For the experienced wargamer, there is a schedule of tournaments with trophy prizes.

Admittedly, the modern college gamer isn’t mainly into strategic wargaming. For the less hardcore/mentally middle-aged, there is…

Otakon (July 29-31 in Baltimore, MD)

Though not specifically a gaming con, Otakon is the largest otaku culture convention in the Northeast, servicing enthusiasts of anime, manga, video games, and Asian culture. Anime cons always have a game room, and Otakon’s is full of popular arcade consoles, TVs connected to home gaming consoles like Xbox, and LANed computers. Of course, there are tournaments for games popular with the otaku crowd, particularly music games like Dance Dance Revolution and fighters like Naruto Shippuden. The competition may not be as fierce as it would be at a dedicated gaming convention, but there are upper echelon gamers that show up to tournaments no matter who hosts them in addition to crouching tigers, hidden dragons among anime watchers, so coming in first will still be a challenge.

Though Baltimore is far for the NYC college student, there should be plenty of others making the trip. Find people who are chipping in for a bus on the Otakon forums or at college anime clubs. Pack some entertainment for the three-hour bus ride and some snacks from Morton Williams to share.

DexCon (July 6-10, 2011 in Morristown, NJ)

This convention is already in full swing, and pre-registration is required to enter most of the events. However, DexCon is one of the most encompassing gaming conventions in the Northeast, and it is definitely worth looking forward to next year if you plan to compete or role-play. In addition to wargaming, they feature conventional role-playing, LARP, real-time strategy (e.g. StarCraft), and console games of all kinds. If you’re not preregistered, you can still buy a day pass and enjoy gaming at events that have space. Don’t forget to spend all your money at the dealers’ room; there’s nothing like leaving a con with an armful of swag and merchandise.

Once the semester starts, there won’t be many opportunities to run away to game for whole weekends, so I find it best to take advantage of the summer to immerse myself in gaming and the community that accompanies it. But then again, New York Anime Festival and Comic Con is in October…

-Avia Dell’Oste

@Hunter College

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