SaltCon 2019 finished up Sunday, March 3rd. It is my “home” gaming convention. It’s not because I’ve attended it the longest. It's not the closest. It’s not the first convention I attended either. It’s the convention I enjoy going to the most because of the people and experiences. I have the 2020 dates already entered on my calendar for next year.
Across the country people attend their local gaming convention for the same reasons I go to SaltCon. I’m not going to say my convention is better than your convention because I haven’t been to all the conventions I would like to. I have a family, day job, and writing commitments, so my convention attendance is limited to the restraints of my schedule. What I will say is I hope your local convention has the same feel and gives you the same satisfaction.
SaltCon started on Thursday and continued into Sunday evening. Over 1900 people were present, sharing the experience of playing games. The people are a big part of the positive experience for me. There are always people willing to share their experience with a game and teach it to new players, and there are always players looking to learn new games.
The number of games available to play were well into the thousands. The game library on its own has that many, but many people bring favorites to share and find new friends with. I don’t know how many games I played. It included all sorts of tabletop games from traditional board games to role-playing games (RPGs), older games to new games, and others still in development. There are some great games out there. I have notes on what I played and will be writing reviews. I also attended the convention with another writer/reviewer and look forward to seeing their articles.
I moderated a couple of panels this year. The first one was an introduction to RPGs. Taking a poll of the audience, we found some had never played while most had played only once or twice. We had a great and insightful discussion about what RPGs are about, character creation, and running a game. RPGs are growing again in ways I find exciting (more on that later).
The second panel was about running a Kickstarter campaign for funding a game development project. Another great conversation took place. SaltCon has the Ion awards every year and there is a developers’ guild in Utah, so this panel was well attended. Because I was also on a panel at LTUE on crowdfunding, another article is forthcoming about what came from the two.
The number of RPGs is increasing. When I first attending SaltCon in 2012 there might have been one RPG being run. It may have been hidden in the corner in the backrooms of the lower halls, behind the kitchen. This year RPG tables were packed. Every game had people signed up and on Saturday and Sunday every scheduled game had waiting lists. I even saw some pickup games taking place that weren't part of the official schedule. This year the number of games was even greater than before. And the variety was broader.
A few years back Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder were about the only games available. There were a few others. Two years ago, the choices began broadening as games like Savage Worlds, Seven Seas, and Star Wars were present. It continued through last year. This year the number of different games played in the RPG room (and beyond) was fun. Games like BESM (1st edition), Kids and Bikes, Cthulhu, and Beach Patrol were some of them. I also was able to sit in on some playtesting/preview of two RPGs—Arium from Adept Icarus at adepticarus.com (announcement) and Stone Age from Woerner’s Wunderwerks (partnered with Gallant Knight Games—site). I recommend you keep an eye out for them. I can say that Arium is a world building RPG and Stone Age is roleplaying a member of a tribe in the Neolithic era. Both games get players working together to create the setting and keeps them involved in the scenarios. Both were a lot of fun.
Check out SaltCon, or your local tabletop gaming convention. Every person I’ve taken with me to one has looked forward to getting back to the shared tables. They are a great place to make new friends and meet up with those you already know. You can play old favorites and new games. You probably will have the chance of playtesting games and giving feedback to developers. You might even get the spark to finally take that game idea of yours and put it together.
If I’m there, please feel comfortable to step up and say hello. I’m always interested in meeting new people.
You can find out more about SaltCon at the website (website).