Sunday, July 8, 2012

DexCon 15 Convention Recap!

It was super last minute, but on the eve of the 15th annual DexCon I made plans to head up to Morristown, NJ and attend my first Double Exposure Convention.

Double Exposure has been around forever in NJ, hosting conventions like DexCon (board games, miniatures, RPGs, LARPing, etc), Metatopia (all about game design) and Dreamation (more games, just in the winter) since the early 90's.

And let me tell you... at a glance, DexCon is pretty hardcore. Almost every single wall in the convention center looked like this:

Over 1000 game events in 5 days. Some big tournaments as well as friendly sessions of favorite games.

It was quite different than anything I've ever been to. Even while standing in line to enter the show, a girl was asking if anyone wanted to jump in on a game of Skip Bo. A group in front of me jumped in on it after saying that they've never heard of it. That was a pretty good example of how the day would go. Friendly gamers, playing games.

I spent most of the day at my table, next to WizKids/Neca, but I did a fair amount of wandering in-between my game sessions. Click through the jump to see what DexCon is all about.

The first area I saw was the little dealers room, which featured about 2 dozen vendors with varying products. There was high-quality art, handmade weapons, artist signings, miniatures terrain, prop replicas, and lots of role playing games. I almost picked up Fiasco in anticipation of this week's Tabletop episode.

After navigating through the dealers room and past the Star Wars food stand (Hoth Dogs and Han-burgers), I found the miniatures area. This took a huge corner of the lobby, and invoked the same feeling I get any time I see miniatures. I get jealous and envious because they look so damn awesome. I just don't have the time or patience (or gaming group) to get started. Maybe one day...

Then I finally discovered the board game room! It was jam packed with games varying from the party favorite Apples to Apples, to the brand new tile variation of Small World, Small World Realms. Unfortunatley I couldn't spend too much time in here, but I was able to meet up with Michael Keller of Visible Hand Games and Stephen Buonocore of Stronghold Games. Michael's upcoming game City Hall (formerly known as Municipality) was looking great. He mentioned that late Friday was big hotspot for sessions. Next year, I'll plan a little better and make sure I'm there on Friday night.

Back to the WizKids/Neca hallway. I drooled over the new Lord of the Rings Nazgul game for a while. It's a semi-cooperative board game, where you play as the Ringwraiths who are trying to stop Frodo from reaching Mount Doom. When I first heard the concept I was pretty blown away and after getting a quick demo, I was sold on it. It's definitely my next big game purchase.

WizKids also had a few big tournaments going on. Quarriors, and a mega-sized HeroClix event. Everyone was playing with the giant sized HeroClix characters, and it looked awesome.

The last part of the Neca/Wizkids area was the art of Brian C. Roll, a/k/a OdysseyArt ( His amazing illustrated Avengers poster was getting a lot of attention, but I was drawn to his Sin City illustrations that were used on the Neca Sin City movie action figure line that I remember so dearly.

And after about 6 hours at the convention, I discovered there was more! Downstairs was "The Arena" a massive room for wargaming, and a bunch of smaller rooms dedicated to LARPing. I watched an oversized Car Wars session, and snuck in on some LARPers that were preparing for battle. The basement was definitely a cool underground spot that I wish I discovered earlier.

And that was my DexCon experience. Very unexpected, and very different than the bigger cons that I've been to recently. It really had the feeling that a bunch of gamers of all ages and backgrounds took over this hotel for the week and just had a great time together. With over a thousand events planned, it felt extremely mellow. Everything seemed to flow just right.

Looking forward to Metatopia in November!

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