Armchair Dragoons PAO, 21 November 2022
Over Veterans Day weekend, a pair of Dragoons – BayonetBrant and BBMike – headed to Charlotte, NC to fly the Dragoons flag at MACE, an annual game convention in North Carolina whose final incarnation was held this year
There is a new organization that will be picking up the convention, and moving forward under the name MythicCon.
MACE is a solid mid-sized general gaming convention, with a large dose of RPGs (including a variety of ‘official’ events for national organizations) as well as large collection of boardgamers. In the past, there’s been a bigger representation of fantasy/skirmish minis than this year; CCGs are a small component of this convention.
There are a half-dozen or so publishers (especially start-ups) showing off their games in a demo room. The vendor room, while more impressive than Buckeye Game Fest, is more accessories, crafts, dice (helllllo, Black Oak Workshop!), and artists, with only 1-2 booths selling games. Carolina Game Tables are normally there, but were off at BGG.con this year.
Overall, it’s a robust game-player’s convention, with a lot to choose from, and a nice collection of ‘side-quests’ (concession stand with real food, massive raffle bundles, play-to-win boardgame room, auction, etc) to fill out the convention.
The Dragoons were definitely a bit out of place as the oddball wargaming crew
click images to enlarge
That said, it was pretty cool to pick up a bunch of non-wargamers joining us for some wargaming fun. The Tank on Tank table stayed busy all weekend, and we probably could’ve added another session or two. Zurmat got a lot of questions as we were setting it up, but didn’t get anyone to commit to playing through a game with us. Commands & Colors Tricorne did get some play, and a lot of walk-by interest, but setting aside a 3-hour block for that one might’ve been a stretch and we should’ve kept the events closer to 2 hours on that one. We were also tucked into a general-interest boardgaming room, when we might’ve benefitted from a more dedicated spot in a corner somewhere that could’ve given us a bit more visibility.
There are big board game conventions and there are small board game conventions. JeffCon – The Final MACE falls into the latter category. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived Friday afternoon to check in. Unlike Origins (definitely a large convention), there was a separate check in for GMs. The regular attendee check in line was already quite long and moving slowly. No one was at the GM check in booth. Score one point for smaller conventions. I picked up my GM badge (with my scheduled conveniently printed on the back for reference!), swag bag, and proceeded to the meeting room assigned to the Armchair Dragoons.
It’s nice to GM a game in one of smaller rooms as opposed to on a convention floor. The noise level is much lower, and you get to know some of the other people there running games. Attendees are also more willing to approach you and ask about the game you are running.
The vendor hall was much smaller than I’m used to but still had a pretty good assortment of boardgames (no wargames), RPGs, and boardgame accessories. I was happy to see Black Oak Workshop in attendance and made my customary tribute to them. 😊
Overall, I really enjoyed the ‘smaller convention’ experience. It was not as overwhelming as larger conventions can sometimes be. Fewer people in attendance give it a more intimate feel and I’m certain that with regular attendance you would get to make some new friends. I plan to attend more of these smaller conventions in the future!
So what are some of your favorite smaller conventions? You can tell us all about it in the comments below, or chatter on about conventions in our forums. And if you don’t see your favorite/local convention on our calendar, you can submit it for inclusion!
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