CharCon 2010: Where the Cake is No Lie
CharCon in the past got better each year and this year was no different. Most of the con fits into one big hall, but there were a couple of side rooms used for some things. The main hall contained the vendors, which was nicely diverse with about everyone selling completely different stuff except for collectible games. It also had areas divided out for board gaming, which had a board game library to check out, miniature gaming with lots of terrain to check out, large event area for the LARPers and game shows, and space for vendors to demo and run games. Hack3rcon and the video games had room at the back of the hall for their events. It was a well use of space, with my only complaint being one of the game tables near the front entrance being kind of in the way.
The guests were fun as usual. Kelly Brightbill and Tammy Pryce had tables set up selling their art. Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard were around to help teach games and chat with (got to play a little with them myself at the Friday Night Social). Ed Holsclaw was around to sell his new book and chat with fans though Craig Halloran was only around on Saturday.
Games were varied and good. The Premiere Board Game Tournament went well again this year with more players getting involved. There were vendors demoing games along with attendees playing some of their favorite too. There were several different miniature games, from Gettysburg, to mech combat, to wooden ship battles, to Mad Max type car battles, to WWI fight planes to white water rafting and more too. Games like Warhammer and Magic had big tournaments through out the weekend, along with plenty of Heroclix and Malifaux too.
They had moved the RPG games to their own room. It was a little out of the way from everything else, but no one had a problem finding it. There was plenty of games going on too. The new Gamma World got tested out and was enjoyed by all who played. Several games of Star Wars had
people going back all weekend to play. The room was very nice and worked out well, except on Saturday night with a game at every table, things got a little loud, but not so much that it really hindered any games.
The con also had its share of LARP. Both local groups of NERO and Amtguard were on hand to run demos. The NERO group had a vendor spot to sell items and latex weapons for their game. The Amtguard group helped show people how to make their own weapons. It was kind of interesting to see the two different groups, how they play and how they each look. There was also the return of Zombie Buddy Productions running their zombie apocalypse game. This game has some cool elements with different classes, weapons and items you can use, along with the ability to level up for the next game if you live. It does cost a bit to play, since they are a business, but I feel it is worth it if you have the money to spare.
Hack3rcon had a good first year with several people showing up to hang out. It got started on Saturday with a bunch of good lectures on security and on Sunday was the big Network King of the Hill and Capture the Flag. This is the kind of thing that while small this year already has people talking about coming back next year and bringing friends.
All the socials dinners and meet ups went well. The dinner on Thursday was nice, though with everyone sitting it tables there wasn’t that much interaction, but I was able to meet some new people. The Friday and Saturday ones were better. They had a couple of little simple games set up around the room for everyone to play and several people went from table to table trying them out. They had arranged with the bar for a couple of specially named drinks, like the Dr. Manahan, Sonic Screwdriver, and Godzilla. I stole one of the sheets that listed the drinks cause the descriptions were so amusing. I don’t drink so I can’t tell you if they were any good or not.
The con also provides some kid related activities on Sunday. They had their kid’s costume contest again, pumpkin decorating, trick or treating through the vendor area, and face painting.
The raffle this year was even bigger this year. They had several RPG book lots, various board games, miniatures and miniature accessories, statues, real and fake weapons, gift certificates to vendors and next years con, art from past and present guests, a mystery box of at least $350 value, and the big prize of the raffle Thor’s hammer, about 3 feet tall. I personally was able to walk away with 5 wins, but I did have over 60 tickets in. Everyone gathered around to listen for the winners and hope they were lucky enough to win.
On Sunday, the con gave everyone a big surprise. They brought in cake for everyone to enjoy, for free. They had five cakes, each decorated with a different past years program cover. There were chocolate ones, vanilla, and marble. A line quickly formed for the cake and we were able to eat most of them very quickly. All and all a good con.
The con keeps growing in good ways and even though they are bringing in non gaming related stuff they still maintain a good gaming base and aren’t forgetting how they started. This is a good con for gamers and those who like meeting new people. There is a very friendly atmosphere; people open doors for each other, if they see you drop something they’ll get it for you, always willing to teach new games, or just start up a conversation with someone.