Monday, July 1, 2019

Where Have All the Conventions Gone?

So, things are changing a little in my life, and I might start having more opportunity to go to gaming conventions on weekends.  Earlier today, I decided to do a little snooping around on the net, chasing down various convention calendars and whatnot, and was surprised to find how much things have changed.

Years ago, I went to as many as 20 conventions per year, 12 per year was average for a few years.  Most of these were in Ohio, but a few were out of state.  Currently, I'm more interested in the in state conventions.

Of the old conventions,  a few used to be held at large universities, a couple more at high schools, a couple more at National Guard armories.  Others were in various halls usually run by small gaming clubs.  I was quite surprised to find that, sadly, none of these exist anymore. Nor was there much in the way of newer, similar type conventions within a couple of hours of driving distance.

I was also surprised to find a number of conventions identifying themselves as games conventions, but not welcoming miniatures games, or simply not featuring any.  In one case, I found a con that used to welcome miniatures, that now pointedly does not.

I also found a number of one day events sponsored by clubs or groups, sort of mini-conventions or game-days, but mostly they seem to be intended for members only from what I can tell. 

There were a few that I did find: 

CincyCon (not one of my "old conventions") looks to be a pretty good convention, but comes at a terrible time of year for me.  Still, it looks to be my only shot at a "weekend of gaming".

Origins, is in my back yard, but to be honest, during my last couple of visits, the time invested to park and get into the con (even when I was pre-registered) was greater than what I spent at the con.  The miniatures gaming was a bit of a letdown for such a huge event.  It was the first convention that I had been to, where players in a tournament had figures that hadn't been assembled, involved in the game.  Unpainted torsos glued to a stand, with little piles of arms and weapons setting next to them.  Anyway, it just cost too much in time and money for the return.

HMGS- Great Lakes has a couple of good cons, Advance the Colors and Drums Along the Rapids, but I noticed that they are Friday/Saturdays cons now, having dropped Sundays from the schedule.  A little of a letdown, but still consideration for day trips on a Saturday. They also are affiliated with two other one days events, which also will be consideration for days trips.

I don't doubt that I've missed some, but all things considered, I'm a little let down that the gaming scene has changed so much over the years.  I guess it is probably due to people like me, who for various reasons stopped supporting the little cons for so long. 

I'm familiar with a number of HMGS conventions out of state, as well as a few other big or long running events, but all involve 8 hour drives or more, each way, so don't fit into a two day weekend real well.

I'll have to continue my search, but I'm not holding out much hope for a couple of summer weekends immersed in miniatures games at this point.


  1. I share your concerns, there are a few one-day events here in southern Michigan (I don't know where you are in Ohio so that might entail a considerable drive) but the landscape has become rather barren in the past years.

    1. I'm in central Ohio, so generally the Detroit area is probably around 2.5 hours. Five hours is a little more drive time than I'd like for one day event, though I may consider it, depending on the event. I should probably investigate southern Michigan a bit more, and see what I come up with.

      I've done a little more searching, and have found more Ohio conventions that seem to feature RPGs and boardgames. Some mention miniatures, but don't really seem to support it, given table sizes and photos of past events that I can find.

    2. I also share your feeling on this topic. It seems to me that most miniature based cons are
      either type specific (Historical/40k) or are the big once a year event that lasts up to three days like Millenniumcon here in Central Texas. There are of course some smaller cons in this area held at various times throughout the year but, their number has sadly decreased.

  2. I can only think of Reaper Con, Millenniumcon, Historicon, and Geekfest here in Central Texas (I'm down the road from Don M) that welcome miniature gaming. There's also Clash for the Cure but it's specifically for Warmachine/Hordes.

  3. I went to Advance the Colors last year,had to go home early back to Omaha ,due to family emergency.but well done at Clark heritage center.You Ohio guys do a lot of cons. I gamed in Mike Demanas africa game and a WW2 aviation game...good time though short.