TempleCon: Small Con Fun
In the last year I’ve been able to attend quite a few fantastic cons. You’ve likely heard of some of them, like GenCon, New York Comic Con and PAX East because they are just huge. They happen in major cities, sell out hotels, fill restaurants to capacity for hours on end and provide long lists of big name stars who will be speaking at panels and signing autographs. They’re a ridiculous amount of fun, exhausting and impossible to see completely because there is more to see and do than one weekend allows. Last weekend I attended TempleCon in Warwick, RI. Never heard of it? That’s because it’s not a gigantic con that takes over a major city, but it is the perfect example of why you should seek out the smaller, local cons in your area.
TempleCon bills itself as a Retro-Futurist themed convention, but that’s only a small part of what attendees can experience. In addition to the cosplay, which even includes a ball on Friday night, there is non-stop gaming throughout the weekend. There are tournaments for Warmachine, Monsterpocalypse and Warhammer 40K for the miniature wargaming fans as well as Magic and Vampire:The Eternal Struggle if collectible cardgames are your passion. A diverse selection of panels will help you learn how to paint better models, design the perfect steampunk costume, ballroom dance or even to better appreciate the qualities of a good Scotch. And there are demos of some of the latest and greatest games like Dystopian Wars and Malifaux. The theme of this convention really ought to be Anything and Everything.
Although the diverse events at TempleCon make it fun for just about everyone, what makes this convention great is that it’s more personal than it’s bigger brothers. There are no lines wrapping half way around the building to get into every panel. You don’t have to wait for two hours in the hope that you might be able to see a demo of the new game you just discovered. The vendor areas are not so crowded that you need to wedge your costume sword in between people just to make space to pass. The pace is easy, the people friendly, and the atmosphere relaxed. I even grabbed a seat in the hotel bar on Saturday night without having to wait or feel pressured to move so the next person in line could have a chance at our table. This year, plan to hit up a few local cons in addition to the big ones. You’ll open up new doors of convention fun you never knew existed.