27 October 2018

TokenCon: Oklahoma's First Board Game Convention

The Oklahoma Board Game Community recently hosted TokenCon. This two-day event was the first board game convention in Oklahoma. So of course I had to attend. I will now share my thoughts on that event with you.

the banner image for TokenCon. The OK in Token is a different colour, with the space in the middle of the O shaped like the state of Oklahoma. The O in Con resembles a 6-sided die. On the right end of the banner image is the text 'Oklahoma's first board game convention.'

As a first-year event, this convention was obviously very small. I'm sure that it also makes a difference that we are in Oklahoma, which is not known for being a very cosmopolitan location. In areas closer to the coast, or to heavily populated areas like Chicago or Detroit, there would be a much larger population interested in such events.

Obviously, even with these factors, a new event would still have a ways to go before being able to rival more established events like GenCon or Geekway to the West. But all told, I wanted to ensure that I support this new event. Being able to help grow the local gaming community was too important a goal for me to pass up. So although I felt the entrance cost was perhaps a little higher than I felt may have been justified, I went ahead and registered.

All told, it was a nice event. They had a portion of the main courtyard portioned off for the event, as well as several rooms for different purposes. In the courtyard, there was the check-in table, a snack bar, and several booths for local game designers. Three rooms were set aside for events (panels, RPGs, and the like). There was a small vendor area. But of course, the main draw was the free play area:

A view of the free play area. A hall in the hotel with a number of long tables surrounded by chairs. Many of these chairs are occupied by people playing a variety of board games.

At one end of the area was the games library. Attendees were allowed to check out a game from the library. There were signs available that said either 'Players wanted' or 'Teachers Wanted.' Thus, people were meeting new friends and getting to try out new games. Right in front of the games library was a 'hot games' section, where a number of popular games were available for demonstration. I'm pleased to say that Fae was one of these games!

Absurdist Productions had a booth in the local game developers area, where they were demoing their recently successfully kickstarted game Churrascaria. A new start-up group was demoing their game Mixed Company, which they plan to launch on Kickstarter in a few months' time. A couple of other booths were there as well. But the one that had perhaps the greatest draw was Rodney Smith from Watch It Played. He not only spent time talking to people, but had a few panel talks as well.

At one end of the free play hall was the vendor area. Most of the booths here were local gaming shops, such as Loot & XP, Game HQ, and PB&J Games. In addition there was Meeple Realty, a local designer of wooden game inserts (similar to Broken Token), Denexa Plastic Playing Cards, and a gentleman with a variety of cleverly designed dice towers.

A small section of the hotel convention area with several tables, each set up with a variety of games or other products for sale. Some people can be seen either working the booth or browsing the wares.

The convention had put out a call for people to run games. Obviously, a number people ran D&D (all in Adventurer's League format), but there was a Dungeon World one shot as well. And of course, I ran a one-shot of Changeling: The Dreaming. I only had a single person sign up, but her friend decided to join as well when he saw that there was space. They both really enjoyed the game I ran for them, which made me happy.

I didn't attend any panels, as none of them seemed to be of great interest to me. But there were raffles and play-to-win games and puzzles scattered around the area. I got in a few more games of Lanterns from my 10 × 10 list, met some fun new people who wanted to learn to play Blood Rage, and got to sample a variety of neat new games. Perhaps the cutest was this ridiculously adorable game called Echidna Shuffle, a children's game in which players move echidnas around the board with their coloured bugs hitching rides on the passing echidnas in an attempt to reach their home base:

A game board covered in spaces that look like fallen elm leaves, with several plastic echidna figurines distributed around the board. Some of these have coloured bugs mounted on them.

And, of course, I got to spend a little time chatting with some of my friends from Loot & XP, who were usually either working the games library or manning their booth in the vendor hall:

The author, The Game Dork himself, poses in the vendor hall with DC and Jack from Loot & XP.

All in all, I had a good time. I am hopeful for the future of this convention, and I am pleased that I was able to take part in the maiden voyage of this new venture for the Oklahoma board game community.

So, my fellow gamers, I hope you have enjoyed reading about this new event, and until next time, I ask only that you continue to

Game on!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

echidna shuffle is proof that boardgames are awesome