Spotlight on Games
Game convention report – click on images for larger versions
Fri Aug 12 19:15:39 UTC 2011
The convention was held over Labor Day weekend at the swanky and
fashionable Sofitel Hotel in Redwood Shores.
some of the lovely shores
lobby/restaurant and nearby free Internet and printing
Sign points the way (to the upstairs); unfortunately not
visible until one was leaving.
There were several rooms of RPGs, three or four tables per room
It wasn't that crowded, but one RPG spilled out to a hallway table.
Nice to see special attention being devoted to the young.
Here are some of them, playing under adult supervision
and their game library.
The first room one encounters is sort of an outer lobby
which contained registration, the game library, food service
and some tables. The latter were fairly popular and usually in use.
registration and the game library
this area continued to be popular into the night
Coming into the lobby room – at the far end are
double doors leading to the dealer and miniatures areas. At right
are doors leading to the main board gaming room.
Mainly society games were being played here, e.g. Kevin at
Fluch der Mumie.
Another look at part of the game library; turn in your driver's license to check out a game
The dealer area wasn't a separate room but an area
off to the right in the large miniatures area. Dealers included
local shops (Game Kastle, Endgame), publishers (Chaosium) and
unknowns (Three Stages, Zombie Smith, Nerd Kung Fu and Maria Berry).
The front part of the big room was designated for open gaming;
was being played a couple times.
And then there were the minis; someone in the first one looks
Next two represent a 1915 battle at the Tigris and Euphrates with
someone who may be Frank Chadwick looking on.
The room at the right had about ten tables and was where tourneys
were conducted. I played in the one for basic
which garnered four players, including the organizer.
Some prototypes were played also, this one by Candace Weber.
Turnout at the con was expectedly small as this is its first year at
this location and Pacificon, dating back to the 1980s, continues to be
held on the Labor Day weekend. Celesticon offered free admission to
Pacificon attendees on Sunday and I noticed at least one taking
advantage. But attendance could be measured in handfuls, perhaps
RPGers outnumbering other types and miniatures players certainly
getting the lion's share of the space. Some veteran game players
have told me that they didn't even know about this event, so there is
the possibility that if this event continues it could grow.
The convention began at 2 PM on Friday and was to continue to 2 PM
Monday with full weekend participation priced at $50. A day pass went
for $30. The convention price for hotel rooms was $105 per night.
Happily parking in the hotel's multi-story garage was free for all.
The master schedule showed four pages of events, many of which did not
come off due to lack of signups.
There was apparently a flea market, but scheduled at the odd time of
11 PM on Friday night.
Thankfully there were no annoying bracelets to wear (I'm talking about
you, Kublacon). There were no LARPers in evidence either.
Except for minis players who need a lot of space
and possibly RPGers who need the players, it's not all that clear
that the general, big tent games convention is useful to anyone
anymore. Shopping is better conducted on-line and contact with
industry notables can be conducted that way also. For pure playing
and trying out new games, the invitation-only style event tends to be
the more pleasant way to go. But this con was notable for a
surprisingly high level of friendliness and relaxed yet fun
atmosphere. If one wanted to attend a general con in the Bay Area,
mostly for playing purposes, though not for flea marketing,
this is a good choice. Certainly this is a beautiful hotel to enjoy
Official Celesticon website
Spotlight on Games