Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tabletop and Boardgame Learning Expo

When Tiffany Franzoni, the owner of my previous FLGS, told me over a year ago that she wanted to create an "event to bring an audience together that normally doesn't play table top games with those that do," I thought she was kind of nuts.  Of course, I thought she was nuts when she quit her day job to run the FLGS full time.  But you know, I tend to gravitate toward crazy people, so I smiled and nodded and told her I thought it was a good idea.  Heck, I even pitched in on her Kickstarter.

Well, over 180 people agreed and kickstarted the Tabletop and Boardgame Learning Expo too.  Oh, and Steve Jackson said he'd show up.  Yeah, THAT Steve Jackson.

It gets complicated after that.  But basically, this little get-together with the non-game-playing-community and the weirdo gamers turned into a full blown convention.  I just came back from the first full day and my head is still swimming.

I have no real idea how many people were there.  A fuck-ton, I think is the scientific term.  I was really worried that it would end up being kind of uncomfortable, with a bunch of non-gamers around.  In my mind, I saw picket lines, people hurling Molotov cocktails, civil disobedience, plague, etc. This is Texas after all, where one of the local churches told its parishioners to not frequent the Tiffany's game store, since, you know, ungodly things were happening there.  But no, the EXPO turned out to be a bunch of people having fun and learning.

Steve Jackson and his peeps were there, demoing many of their games.  I even got to play GURPS.  I've never been a player in a GURPS game before.  EVER.  Until now.  It was a very simplified game designed for the complete novice to RPGs, but it was really fun.  We came away with an appreciation for Chupacabra: Survive the Night and Cthulhu Dice, which, somehow, I had avoided playing all these years.

I got to play the tongue-tied, gushing fan boy with Steve Jackson while The Boy snagged a signature from him.  Oh, and there was SWAG.  (and yeah, that looks a lot like Finn and Jake Munchkin, no?)

There was a lot going on - so much is a blur.  There were lots more games and game designers and such.  Jeff Dee was there with his Caveman stuff.  I did get to talk with Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo as well.  Groovy guy.  Oh, and Matt Finch was there.  Yes - THAT Matt Finch.  And the dude STILL remembers my son's name after all of this time.  He ran us through a VERY simplified version of S&W, designed for complete newbies - and it was awesome.

And yeah, that IS a feather in his cap.

It's not even Sunday yet, but I declare the Tabletop and Boardgame Learning Expo an overwhelming success.  Tiffany of the FLGS has done an amazing job pulling a gaming con out of thin air.  Well, not just a con, but outreach program to a skeptical public as well.

- Ark

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