Open Seat Gaming: Our First PrezCon!
Sarah and Marti hit the ground running when it came to going to conventions - our first two were Origins and PAX Unplugged. This year, all three of us actually had the opportunity to go to PrezCon, which is our local convention held in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today’s post is focused on how we enjoyed our first experience at a smaller, local convention.
Marti: I have lots of thoughts on this fun day, and here is just a quick overview of my opinions on the convention.
The Venue: I really liked this hotel - Sarah had been by it before, and it was relatively easy to get to. I never felt super crowded when it came to space, and there were plenty of places to “get away to” if I did. The staff seemed nice, everything was really clean and organized, and it was just a very comfortable convention.
The Library: The library definitely had a few titles that we had wanted to go ahead and try - and try we did! While I would have liked a little more variety (they have a lot of wargames, because the whole convention is actually a tournament convention), it’s a really great library for a smaller convention.
The Open Gaming Space: Other than the fact that some of the tables were a little too close for those of us who are not average sized people, there was actually a lot of space to play games. We never really had a hard time finding a table, and there were lots of games going on. There were definitely some spectacles - near us was a table filled with terrain for some RPG, there were two demo tables outside of the open gaming area so that you can try different games, and more. It was warm and friendly, too.
The Food: We, admittedly, didn’t get to try any of the food that the hotel had. But, because of where the hotel is located, there are tons of options available to eat. Sarah and I go to Charlottesville once a month or so, so we know the area well enough to know where to eat. There are a lot of food options at the hotel (we looked at the menu) and there are many places to eat within 5 to 15 minutes of the venue as well.
The Cost: $30 for open gaming for the day is an alright cost for a convention. I understand why it is that much (the venue is very nice and probably costs a pretty penny to rent out all of the open space), but I do wish it was closer to $20 for a day pass.
The Experience: Above all else, it was a great convention. We got to spend some time with the guys from the State of Games podcast (Chris Kirkman, Darrell Louder, and TC Petty), along with briefly meeting Leslie Louder and Lillian Hagamiester; and enjoying Fate of the Elder Gods with Chris and with Keith Ferguson (@HokieStone on Twitter, designer of Santa’s Workshop from Rio Grande Games). We played a total of 7 games and had a great time. We will definitely be back next year (hopefully for more than one day).
Scott: I don’t have as many specifics as Marti does, but for my first ever tabletop game convention it was a really good time. I’m glad the next one we’re planning to attend we’ll be there more than just 1 day, because I am looking forward to multiple days of gaming and meeting people and generally hanging out and having fun!
Prezcon was rather small (at least it seemed to me, from what I’ve heard of Origins and similar huge ones) but it never seemed lacking. The open gaming room was packed most of the day Saturday, and even well into the evening (there were still a lot of people there playing games when we left around 9pm). They had a moderate library with a lot of the games Marti and Sarah had written down that they wanted to try. I didn’t really know what to think about or look for so I just played games they chose and it was a really good time.
We got to sit in on a playtest for Fate of the Elder Gods which was super fun. I had never played before but that one game made me immediately add it to my wishlist and hopefully someone from OSG will be acquiring it this year, haha. The expansion adds a bit of asymmetrical play and expands the solo mode so I’m very much looking forward to it.
Overall, it was a really good visit to a convention I hope to continue attending in future years and I’m glad my first convention experience was at a smaller one as it’ll help with some of the larger ones yet to come later this year.
Sarah: Our day at PrezCon was full of board gaming fun. The venue was great for the convention. The chairs were ultra comfy and there were nice linen tablecloths. The gaming space had a good feeling overall. I agree with Marti about the cost, but I understand that the nice venue is most likely very pricey. The library was skewed towards wargames, older titles, and heavier games.
I had scoped out their game library listing on their website and had a list of several games to try. We were able to try a handful of them. I feel like most people brought the games with them. Walking around and observing what others were playing ranged from Gaia Project, Rising Sun, and Cthulhu Wars to Dice Forge, Queendomino, and Splendor. My highlight experience of the convention was meeting the Dice Hate Me games crew and getting to playtest the upcoming Agents of Arkham expansion to Fate of the Elder Gods. Playing the game with Chris and being taught the expansion by Darrell was just awesome! In addition, getting tips on strategies for playing as the investigators was incredibly neat. Loved getting to spend some time with such a great group of people! Overall it was a fun, local convention that I look forward to returning to.
So, we loved it! We had a great time at PrezCon and can, hopefully, get to it for a much longer period of time next year. Our next convention is Unpub 8 up near Baltimore - hope to catch some of you there!
Marti, Sarah, and Scott