Entries in Conventions (3)


Everyone Brought Their ‘A’ Game


February 2nd may have seemed to be a write off at first glance.  There was a fresh layer of snow.  It was cold and very grey. However, there were many reasons for being upbeat about the day.  Wiarton Willie did not see its shadow, giving us an early spring. It was Winterlude’s opening weekend.  The highlight for gamers, though, was the 6th Game Summit.

The winner of the Heroscape tournamet, Trong KhoiClose to 1000 people came through the doors of the Palais des Congrès for the convention.  Inside, free tables were at a premium.  Organizers were expecting that once the convention closed its doors the next day, close to 2000 people will have been there.

Part of that may have been due to the incorporation of the Geek Market to this year’s convention. Local artisans gathered together showing off their wares. Everything from steampunk watches to medieval inquisition kits was there for those looking to find something unique at the event.

At the other end, those looking for insight on bringing a game from a concept to tabletops everywhere could listen in on a talk from Jason Anarchy, the creator of Drinking Quest. The audience was treated to an informative and funny recap of his experiences bringing the game to market.  Quite a few in the audience seemed to be ready to run home and implement all the advice given.

One person who didn’t end up needing his advice, though, was in the main hall.  Last year Louis-Nicolas Dozois showed his new game Shake Out.  The day after the Game Summit convention, his game got picked up by a publisher. Since then, the game has been renamed to Roll n’ Bump. From there it’s ben nothing but success for him. He managed to get his game sold in major retailers across Quebec like Archambault. The morning of this year’s convention, he got news that his game will now be available at Miss Tiggy Winkles.  Turns out this convention is a great place to discover games before they get popular everywhere else.

New to the staple of giant games this year is Giant Catan!That was likely the biggest draw of the event.  Gamers were able to pick up and try any new game that caught their eye.  They could even enlist the help of the volunteers in explaining a new game.  Ashley Cabecinha, whose business card lists her as the Most Honourable Chairwoman of The Meeple’s Republic, was on hand to help anyone with a new game.

Her company holds events to help people socialize while learning a new game.

“We want people to understand why we like board games,” Cabecinha said.

For those that went, that summed up the day entirely.


Put Your Game Face On

They decided to show me their best game face.

There was a time when the mere mention of board games elicited dreary images of playing a monotonous round of Monopoly.  Things have changed from then.  Now people actively seek new games to play with friends at board game cafes and watch web series based around playing them.  With Game Summit at the Palais des Congrès, there’s even an entire convention devoted to finding, learning and playing new games.

This year’s event, running from February 2nd to 3rd, is predicted to be nearly twice to three times as popular as last year’s according the event’s Chief Games Ambassador, Marquis Côté.  That’s saying something since last year they had about 900 people in attendance. 

This is likely thanks in part to the event’s friendliness to newcomers as well as veteran game players.

“If you want to learn a new board game, this is the place to be,” Côté said.

Logo_GameSummit_ELearning a new game can be quite an intimidating process.  The printed rule sets can often be difficult to understand.  If the rules come in a thick booklet, they can even be a little intimidating. To that end, there will be 100 volunteers around to show newcomers how to play any game that interests them.  Intimidating instructions can be left in the box.

Along the same lines, the event has become even friendlier to families with little children.  The introduction of the Kinder Zone to this year’s event sees an entire section where little children can play.  Parents can drop the children off with the staff from Monkeying Around while they go and explore the rest of the event.

“We know, as parents ourselves, we know that spending four hours and having kids around and trying to play a game is difficult,” Côté said.

Those looking to take a little bit of a break between gaming sessions can also find some shopping available.  The Ottawa Geek Market has joined forces with Game Summit to bring together exhibitors and artisans for the event.  Two entire halls will be devoted to artisans showing their wares.  So if a steampunk timepiece is what’s desired, chances are it’ll be here.

The event has been picking up steam year after year.  People from all over Ontario and Quebec make their way down to Game Summit each year.  Some even come from as far as Boston.  It’s garnering the reputation among geeks, and those who want to be, as something not to be missed.

“That’s what we want it to be,”  Côté said.


A day of fun and games


Keegan MacDonell and MacKenzie Shaheen from Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's playing a game of Quiddler

The crowds lined up early Saturday morning, February 18th at the Nepean Sportsplex.  Everyone stood there eagerly awaiting for the doors to open. Some have been waiting for hours.  Then, at nine o’clock a.m., the doors opened to let the enthusiastic crowd in.  This was day two of Game Summit 2012.

“The show gets better every year,” said Gary from Toys on Fire. “It’s incredible!”

Launched back in 2008, it expanded quickly from an attendance of around 100 people at the Canadian War Museum to Saturday’s total of more than 1000 people at the Nepean Sportsplex.

There are all sorts of board games for everyone to try out.  There is family friendly fare such as Quiddler, a scrabble like card game.  Then there are the more niche games such as Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons. 

Those who volunteer here are avid enthusiasts themselves. Some of the organizers even took it upon themselves to rescue “Game Day” tables from destruction.  The tables, which were created by Games Workshop for the Game Day events, feature some lovingly crafted tables.  Every facet of this table looks like weeks of work were put into it.  They’re here today solely because the organizers and volunteers didn’t want to see the work destroyed and knew those in the tournament would appreciate playing on them.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have board game designers who are demonstrating their creations and trying to generate interest.  It wasn’t uncommon to find a game by a local designer become a new favourite.

“This is the new Yahtzee for my family,” said Sen-Foon Lim regarding the board game Shake Out by local creator Louis-Nicolas Dozois.

A risky move by a Jenga playerPerhaps the reason why this event has grown tremendously in such a short time is the inclusiveness of the crowd.  It wasn’t uncommon for someone to get invited to a game with total strangers.  Wander around aimlessly for a while and the invitations to join a game would come flooding in.  It’s impossible to be at Game Summit and not have fun.

“This is the one show where I have the most fun” said Gary.