October 4th-6th (this past weekend) featured TokenCon 2019 in Oklahoma City. I attended the event with a VIP badge and it was my first time to be at TokenCon — in fact, it was my first time to be at any non-work-related convention. So, fresh off of that event, I thought I would share my top 10 list from TokenCon 2019.
Unlike my normal lists, this isn’t really a ranking from 10 down to 1, but just a list of 10 highlights from the convention.
— Gaming partners — At one point after purchasing my ticket, it looked like I may be attending by myself. And that was okay — I was prepared to either be looking for Players Wanted signs or sitting down with my own game and putting out a sign to try and attract other gamers. Luckily, my gaming group friend Brock was able to join and I had a blast getting to learn 11 new games with him. On Saturday of the convention, my oldest son was able to join us, which just added to the overall enjoyment.
— The library — For a convention that is still pretty new and in its growing stages, I was very impressed with the library selection. Local individuals and businesses pulled together to provide the games available for checkout and there was never any doubt of whether we could find a good game to put on a table…the hard part was simply trying to figure out which one to choose.
— Math Trade — In the month leading up to the convention, a math trade was started for those who would be in attendance. I had heard about these mystical things, but never been apart of one. I have quite a few games that I’m willing to let move along, so I added those to the trade and found a nice handful of games that have been on my interest list. I believe about 16 people participated and I was able to get three games traded away for three new games coming my direction (Eight-Minute Empire, Innovation, and War Chest). It was a fun and great way to get games traded out and I will definitely be on the lookout for more math trade opportunities.
— Event space — My hope is that TokenCon will continue to grow and if it does, it will need a larger space. That said, the Wyndham Garden Hotel (just north of the OKC Will Rogers Airport) was a good location this year. There was a ton of space for gaming tables and even when those started to fill up, there was additional space made available in the atrium for lots more gaming.
— Flea market — With my VIP badge, I was able to get a table at the Saturday morning flea market to try and sell some games. I sold a couple — which was fine — but I was impressed with how many tables were setup and the variety, quantity, and quality of the games being sold. I only bought one item ($20 Hero Realms box that came with the 5 character expansions — which was in great condition!) but there were dozens of good deals on great games that I would loved to have jumped on.
— Exhibitors — Again, TokenCon is a new event and will not compare to the big name conventions out there. That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount and type of exhibitors that were present. A few local game stores had setup, which helped provide great game-purchasing opportunities. The BGG store was there with some of their cool gaming-accessory and components upgrades. Some local gaming-related designers and a few small publishers working to play-test and highlight their new creations. This is where my “newness” to conventions weighed me down. I was SO focused on the gaming (no regrets, really) that I ended up spending very little time in the exhibitor area. I will have to carve out some intended “shopping around” time for the next event.
— Play to Win — If memory serves me correctly, there were roughly 60 games in the library that were sitting in a “Play to Win” section. With these games –> check them out, play them, and get a ‘virtual ticket’ in a drawing to win that game after the convention. My crew has yet to find out if we actually won any of these games, but it was fun to try some of these titles with that hope of maybe being able to add the game to our collections for free. One particular game, Fire in the Library (from Weird Giraffe Games), was a surprise success with the three of us –> a game we would have easily overlooked if it weren’t for the excitement of the PtW section.
— The staff! — TokenCon 2019 had some really great volunteers helping run the event and keep the processes moving forward smoothly, from tournaments to library check outs….to helping teach hot games and just roaming around interacting with gamers and their needs.
— The attendees — Let me start by referencing a couple of things: a) hearsay about conventions –> con crud and smelly people and b) my experiences at local gaming stores and cafés. With those things in mind, I was pleased with the things that I did NOT experience this past weekend. First off, there seemed to be a general positivity and kindness from those in attendance. The event also didn’t seem to be “smelly” — and maybe that’s just because I don’t have the greatest sense of smell, in general, but hopefully that means the overall hygiene-level was at a par or better. And there was only one time where I ran across gamers getting “inappropriate” for a public situation [from my subjective, personal viewpoint]. And considering I was at the event for a total of 23 hours, I’m going to call that a win! I’ve sadly dealt with worse from other gaming environments.
— The Games I got to Play — Yep, I was saving the real stars of the show for last. In that aforementioned 23 hours of conventioneering, I would estimate a solid 80% of that was spent board gaming (finding games in the library, learning new games, and playing games). In that time, I managed to get in a total of 16 plays from 12 different games. From that list, I would be pleased to own (or know that a friend owns…) 10 of those 12 games. I’m not going to dive into the details of what all I played yet [several of these will probably show up on my Top 10 of October list] but suffice it to say, the event was an absolute blast for board gaming!
Well, thanks for listening to my rundown of TokenCon 2019. I hope for Fall 2020, you will consider attending this fun board game event, as I imagine it will only get better in the future.