Over President's Day this year, we decided to host our own board game convention in the Bay Area! My friends and I had been discussing starting our own convention for a while, since we had some difficult times at KublaCon with finding table space to play games. We decided to brand it with Board Game Blitz, since we could! This year, we were able to get a small conference room at a Holiday Inn in San Mateo, and we capped registration at 50 people. I had a really great time playing games all weekend and meeting a bunch of new friends!
Over the weekend, I had 33 game plays of 26 unique games. I got to play with over 20 different people, a lot of whom I had never played a game with before!
One of the awesome things about Blitz Con was that I was able to play a game with Crystal for the first time in person! Crystal flew in for the weekend, and we got to hang out for the whole convention!
Crystal, Blitzy (the meepillow I made as a prize for the raffle), and me hanging out at Blitz Con
Our first game together was Ghost Blitz (Amazon). It was Crystal's first time playing, and she actually got really good at getting the items that were not on the card!
One of the events we tried to have at Blitz Con was called Blitz Dating. The idea was that people could come together, bring a short game they like, and play it with a new person that they've never played a game with before. We had a couple people participate on the first day, but then the rest of the weekend no one participated - which was great, because people were already playing games with new people! We also had a Blitz Gaming table - our friend brought a bunch of short games that he could teach to people while they were waiting for a longer game to play.
Blitz Gaming was super popular throughout the convention
Toby and I (along with Daniel, another 18xx player) then taught 1857 to Crystal, her friend Greg, and Joe, who all hadn't played 18xx games before! It was a pretty exciting game. Crystal was able to withhold dividends once with her company to get the first permanent train, which got her way ahead early on. The rest of us were struggling trying to keep our companies afloat, especially Greg and me, who had 2 trains at the beginning that were never able to run! Crystal ended up winning after ~2 hours, and everyone enjoyed the game (or at least they said they did)!
Everyone was super excited to try an 18xx game!
The next day we played a game of Battlestar Galactica (Amazon) with a bunch of expansions. Cathy and Mark from Our Turn! Podcast taught us (we hadn't played all the expansions). I was Kat, the junkie pilot, and had a lot of fun acting all jittery and stuff. I was also a cylon from the beginning (which was pretty stressful). The last time I played BSG, I was a cylon the whole time but lost terribly (because I was acting too much like a human the whole time), but this time I managed to try to sabotage a couple missions, and I was able to reveal at a really good time and do a lot of harm! There were some rules mistakes and the game ended a little abruptly (after lasting ~5.5 hours), but it was still fun.
You can tell I'm a cylon because I'm not smiling
Also, we got some good games of Two Rooms and a Boom (Amazon) on Sunday night! I'd never played Two Rooms at a convention before, so this was the biggest group of people I'd played with. It was very fun, especially the last round where we played with mostly gray roles. I was leader of one room and ended up negotiating with all the people in the room so that everyone would win. Only two people lost in that game, one of them being Steven, since I lied to him about where the President was. Sorry! =P
20 person game of Two Rooms and a Boom!
Although this was a slightly last minute convention, I was able to connect with a few sponsors to get prizes for Blitz Con. One of these was Double Exposure Envoy, a program that sends out games for Play to Win programs. So we had a pretty decent library of play to win games that everyone was able to try out during the convention.
We also had some sponsors give us raffle prizes, and I made a couple sets of meeple coasters for some prizes. Then there was Blitzy, the Board Game Blitz themed meepillow that I made! I didn't want to give it away, but we ended up raffling it off as the grand prize.
All the prizes (Play to Win and regular raffle) on the prize table
Everyone seemed to have fun at Blitz Con 2017, and there was always plenty of space for people to play games. I was excited that people were playing games with new people. There were some people that came to the convention that had never been to a convention before, so it was great being able to play games with them! It was also pretty fun meeting some of my Twitter friends in real life.
Everyone had a great time playing games!
We're planning on having another Blitz Con next year over President's Day Weekend, and we'll increase the size to 100! We'll try to keep a lot of the good things we had about the convention, like the table space, and the fun and open atmosphere. But we'll be looking for a better hotel with bigger space (and more bathrooms - there was only one closeby bathroom), and we'll be starting up a library! Also, we may need to figure out ways to scale the registration (I printed and folded all the schedules, and cut out all the badges), so let me know if you have any tips there! If you want to get on the invite list for next year's Blitz Con, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (or let us know on Twitter or something).
Blitzy helping out with registration. Everyone also got a Board Game Blitz keychain from Laser Craft!