Its a new year, and just like every year in early January its time to take stock of all the gaming conventions coming up so one can properly allocate and request their days off from work. Here's my expected convention list for 2016 below:
GaryCon - March 3-6, 2016
- Located in Lake Geneva, WI, which is the birthplace of D&D. I don't usually run anything at GaryCon, as its the first convention of the year I attend to purely game around the old guard without having to worry about toting around minis and terrain. Plus all the relaxed gaming helps prime the creativity-generator for new campaign ideas for the rest of the year.
ScanCon - March 19-22, 2016
- This is the personal convention I put on annually in Madison, WI, which usually hosts about 15 members (one or two new attendees are invited each year). I send out puzzle invites a couple months before the convention that the attendees have to solve. Here is where I first reveal any new games I've made up, and where the individual game production values can be maxed out (blacklights, dry ice, etc) because I am in total control of the gaming environment.
BrandonomiCon - May 12-15, 2016
- A convention put on by the illustrious Brando, master of running the all-weekend MEGADUNGEON! He runs a weekend-long convention full of various physical challenges for the attendees on Friday through Saturday morning. Winning these challenges translates into rewards and magic items one can take with them into his 10-hour long megadungeon session starting on Saturday afternoon. I couldn't make it last year because I was officiating a wedding (fun fact: State law allows level 10 DMs to marry people in Wisconsin), but I've been lucky enough to be invited back this year and am looking forward to once again facing the numerous deathtraps in the caverns beneath Waterdeep! I also might try and run one of my RPG events there before the Megadungeon starts.
Nexus Game Fair - May 27-30th, 2016
- Nexus takes place in Milwaukee, WI, everyone's favorite previous home of GenCon. I was invited there last year to run my He-Man vs. Cthulhu RPG event, and met a lot of really cool folks. This time they've asked me to come for the whole weekend and run more of my RPG events (Back to the Future, Tron, etc), which I'm going to try make work. It doesn't hurt that this year Nexus takes place over Memorial Day Weekend, giving an extra free day off from work for gaming!
GenCon - Aug 4-7, 2016
- Ah the giant mega-con of them all. Bloated and simmering in its own dominance. GenCon is a must-go to for many folks, but for me its allure has really started to fade. Its become so huge and ComiCon-like that its lost a lot of the luster it once had for me. The past few years I've just gone for mostly True Dungeon, but with Gamehole Con getting TD that's less of a concern. Nevertheless I'm going to try to make time for it this year and try to recapture the spark. I've never actually run anything at GenCon because I have to cart around so much stuff to run them properly. They are also not cool with people bringing in laser pointers or coolers of dry ice and sublimating it at the gaming table, so I don't push the subject.
Gamehole Con - Nov. 4th-6th, 2016
- The rising star of the D&D convention scene, Gamehole Con has been dominating ever since it came on the scene 3 years ago. Now for this year they're even going to have True Dungeon for the first time, making them the real upstarts against GenCon's otherwise monopoly on fancy gaming conventions. I ran Back to the Future RPG at Gamehole Con 2015, which went great, but I don't know what I'll be running for 2016 yet. I'd really like to return to running the Tron RPG, but its really hard to run that one well without a lot of blacklights set up all around and daft punk playing in the background...
Conventions! If you've never been to one I recommend trying one out! They are a great place to meet new folks who happen to be exactly like you, or to meet other weirdos who are nothing like you but are fascinating to talk to. Either way just about everyone is nice to each other because they're all there to game!