More Than a Game: Calgary Board Gamers Gather for Annual Convention

Creativity, community and collaboration.

That’s what being an avid board game player means to many Calgarians.

For more than three decades, avid tabletop gamers have gathered at FallCon — an annual board game convention — for a weekend of games, live auctions, and the chance to test prototypes.

From August 26-28, the Telus Convention Center will welcome board game enthusiasts of all ages, experiences and levels of interest for the 35th edition of the convention.

This was the first time the event was held at this location rather than its usual location at the University of Calgary.

« It’s really a hobby that has grown over the last few decades. I think what attracts people to board games is that there are a lot more themes and styles of games than there were in the 70s, which people like me might remember. » said Colleen MacNaughton, president of the FallCon Board Game Society.

FallCon Gaming Society President Colleen MacNaughton poses for a photo during the Board Game Convention. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

She said the change in location is a testament to the popularity — and growth — of the city’s community.

« It’s also a face-to-face way of doing things — we spend a lot of time in front of computers at work, we spend a lot of time scrolling through our phones. It’s a chance to catch up with friends and to laugh about, which is why I think we’re seeing him grow. »

A social experience

FallCon’s format allows players to play games on a wide selection of themes and interests. This can be done as a family, in a large group or one-on-one.

For some games, players collaborate to try to beat the game instead of competing against each other. It’s part of the social aspect of the hobby that tabletop players have come to love.

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The Annual Board Games Convention was held at the Telus Convention Center for the first time this year. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Dan Roscoe is one of those people. He has been playing board games for years.

« I’ve been a gamer all my life. It’s what we do, it’s our hobby, » Roscoe said.

« For me, my 15 closest friends are probably people I met at these conventions, that’s great. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people that you want to hang out with. . »

That camaraderie is something that keeps him coming back to events like FallCon.

A professional hobby

Calgarians also have the chance to play new games at one of the vendor tables or in Prototype Alley.

Board game enthusiast and professional video game designer Chris Cooke brought his own game to the convention this year.

His gameplay involves fighting, cartoons, and a meat grinder.

« I tested this many times, and it was terrible, » Cooke said. « But it slowly got better each time I tested it until it eventually became what it is now – a sort of chaotic battle royale game for three to five players. »

Cooke’s game is to come up with a scheme and watch it « hilariously evil ».

Playing and making games is something he said has become a favorite pastime.

« I’m quite outgoing so it was a way for me to hang out with friends, it became a regular activity that we could do without having to think too much about what we were going to do this weekend, » did he declare.

« It’s a really great way to hang out with people. »


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