Are you new to game conventions? Will DunDraCon 2018 in San Ramon be your first game convention? I remember my first game convention, it was Dundracon 1984! Board Game conventions have become more mainstream since the days of "Revenge of the Nerds". But one thing hasn’t changed; gamers having a weekend of fun, friendship and of course, playing great board games.
If this is your first trip to the West Coast's Premier Game Convention, you chose a great first convention. And if you are ready to risk just one day to try your first game convention, here is my advise on how to have fun at DunDraCon in a single day.
1. Start in the Open Gaming Rooms
DunDraCon has many scheduled games and events, but you don't have to wait for a scheduled game. This con is great because there are always boardgames happening in the open game rooms. Just watch for the “Player’s Wanted” flags and play something right away. You will jump into the fun and make some friends right away. If you prefer a scheduled game, start with one of the Spotlight Events where DunDraCon calls attention to events and games that are new, unusual or visually spectacular.
2. Watch the Combat Demos
Local melee enthusiasts have been dueling with foam covered swords and shields for decades in the front of the San Ramon Marriott Bishop Ranch. Check the schedule and plan a break outside to watch some dueling. These demonstrations are fun to watch, kid friendly and you might even be challenged to a battle!
3. Get to the Dealer Room
Cthulhu novels, comic stickers, unique jewelry and many board games await you. You can easily keep it under $100 and still walk out with games and other loot. Be sure to ask the game dealers what games are hot. Then you can buy it and start your own pick up game in open gaming. Smart shoppers can find experienced players at the con to teach you how to play your new game.
4. Play Something in the UnPub Room
DunDraCon has a wonderful unpublished game event. Randy Angle and Mark Schynert have attracted many talented game designers to their growing Unpub event. Meet game designers who are testing their prototypes and be part of making a new board game. You might even win free games just for playing.
The 2016 prototype for Rise of Tribes I played at DunDraCon. Check out the final version published by Breaking Games a year later.
5. Play Something in the Young Players Room
I know it seems like ageism might be an issue if you don’t have kids in tow, but these rooms are a great way to learn new games from adults and wiz-kids who have volunteered to teach games to players of varied ages. It’s where I learned to play Hey, That’s my Fish from a group of 7 year olds who beat me every game. Guess their experience paid off.
DunDraCon Staff Advice
Mark Schynert, a DDC staffer offered this advice for your first game convention, “It can be overwhelming, but the best thing to do is dive into something--anything that looks interesting, really--and give it a go. A lot of games take sign-ups through our player assignment system, but even those game often take drop-in players. Just ask if there’s space; you’re liable to be welcomed with open arms. And if you have any questions, the folks at our centrally-located Info Table (or anyone with a bright green DundraCon shirt on) will be happy to help.”
Much Much More
DunDraCon has a lot more to offer; lectures on gaming topics, the War College where history meets the hypothetical, classes on painting miniatures, LARPs if you want to act and of course many scheduled role playing, board and card games. The good news is that you can see it all in one day. And, if you have as much fun as I do, you may need to check out our blogs and checklists about conventions including:
- 5 Essential Game Convention Tips Before Heading Out
- 5 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for a Game Convention
- 5 Essential Tips on Navigating Game Convention Halls
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