CharCon 2010: A Space Oddity
This week, October 22-24, is the fifth annual CharCon in Charleston, West Virginia. The event takes place once again at the Charleston Civic Center. The theme for this year is ‘Space.’ This convention continues to grow another year with more room; RPGs are getting their own private rooms to be run in, and there are new games and events.
Guests for this year are artists Kelly Brightbill and Tammy Pryce, game designers Jason Matthews andChristian Leonhard, and writers Craig Halloran and Ed Holsclaw, along with the Greenbrier Paranormal Society, who will give a lecture on “Ghost Hacking.”
One of the con’s big events is the CharCon Premier Board Game Tournament, where they select a few new games out this year from a variety of sponsors. Throughout the weekend you learn these games and compete against others. Each time you play, you get points for that game, even more if you win. On Sunday, those with the most points in each game compete in a final game. They declare a winner of each individual game. Also, the person with most points over all the games wins a copy of each game. To compete you need to sign up and pay an entry fee. Every participant will receive at least one board game for just signing up.
Other events include a Settlers of Catan North American Championship Qualifier Tournament (the winner receives a free trip to Gen Con for the finals); a flea market on Sunday for gamers to sell old games, books, comics, and other stuff; a couple of sessions of the Gamma World RPG, using 4th edition D&D, which coincides with World Wide Gamma World Games Day on Saturday; and games of the WWI fighter pilot game Aerodrome have been set up to run all weekend as well. Groups from both the Amtguard and NERO LARP systems will be there too, along with the live action zombie fighting games from Zombie Buddy Productions. Plus there will be plenty more board games, CCGs, miniatures, RPGs, and other games too. Local group Appalachian Board Gamers will be providing a game library to check out and look over as well.
One of the new things for this year is Hack3rcon. It is a separate section of the con for fans of hacking and computers. They have several things set up for their events. They have lined up several speakers on the subjects of tech, security, hacking, and the like. They have planned a couple of LAN tournaments, a “Capture the Flag” hacking game, and they’re setting up their own hackervillage for everyone to share in.
There will also be some video game tournaments provided by The Landing Zone. They might have only five tourneys planned, but there will be plenty of games for free play too.
CharCon has a couple of parties and gatherings set up too. On Thursday is a VIP dinner for pre-regs, the staff, the guest, and a few others. There will also be a Friday Night social for both CharCon attendees and non-attendees at the center’s lounge. It’s a chance for members of the community to come hang out and learn about games and CharCon itself. On Saturday they’re having the Bar at the End of the Universe. It is a chance to try out some special custom “Galactic Drinks” and watch some scenes from sci-fi movies and listen to music. They will be holding a poker tourney that night as well.
CharCon is a good example of a local convention. It’s the highlight of the year for local gamers, getting to play in big tournaments and find new games, plus getting to see friends and other gamers they’ve met in past years. They are able to keep growing, but are careful not to bite off more than they can chew.
Also of mention is the big raffle they do ever year. They set out donations from sponsors, guests, and anyone who wants to help out. Items include games, books, art, passes to other cons, and more odd items for people to put tickets in for. During the announcements of winners is the one time you’ll see the whole con stop and listen, trying to find out if they’ve won anything or not. As a past winner, it is one of the coolest feelings to win something even if you don’t really care about the item that much.