AndoCon Brings The Gaming Fun… I Think.

I’m going to have to start this convention write up with an apology. Between work and my own mental health that weekend, I ended up not spending a lot of time at AndoCon. Which makes me feel like a terrible convention journalist, but that’s how it goes sometimes. This is only reflective of my own personal experience at the convention.

AndoCon is a small gaming convention in Atlanta. It’s at the same hotel I went to AnachroCon, 221B Con and Shatterdome Atlanta at, so it was starting to feel like a second home by that point. It was started by my friends Ando and Katie Mae Poore as a three day gaming party at their house that eventually grew into a full fledged convention that started last year. In their second year, AndoCon definitely seemed to be catching on to how to run an effective convention. There were plenty of panels to be had, a wide selection games to play, and a small, but hearty dealer’s room. I just wish I knew when a good time to arrive would have been because there was no schedule posted online to let me know about any tournaments or panels that would have been of interest to me.

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The couple of panels I got to go to were really awesome though. There was one about the positive effect of gaming presented by Woody Harris and Brian Peace, a teacher and a therapist. The panel was filled with both personal anecdotes about how the two have used gaming in their careers to educate and to help patients as well as actual research on how gaming effects people. It was a super educational and informative panel and I only wish that the Gamefying Education panel that followed it had been before I had to leave for the day.

Following that panel, there was a panel from Aurora Cruz about Women In Geek Culture. It was more of a rundown about the various things women have to go through in fandom, both good and bad. It was very entertaining and covered a wide swath of fandoms. I especially got excited when she included Rachel Edidin turning the “Fake Geek Girl” meme around.

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I wish I could say that after those panels, I played all the games for the next day and a half. I really do, but that’s unfortunately not what happened. For the rest of the time spent at the con, it felt like any time I went into the gaming hall, everyone was immersed in a very intense board game and there was no way of telling if anyone had an opening that I could fill. The program book said to just find a staff member if you were looking to get in on a game, but it was very hard to tell who was staff and again, I wasn’t feeling super chatty that particular Saturday. I only managed to game on Saturday after I left the convention to a small get together with my friends. If it wasn’t for finding one guy looking to play as well and a quick game of Boss Monster, I would have completely struck out on gaming at a gaming con. The Magic The Gathering players were nice enough in offering to teach me how to play, but I know I’d just rather stick to board games.

Boss Monster was pretty fun though. It’s a quick and dirty card game where you play as a boss monster, creating dungeons to lure in adventures and accumulate their souls. The art is reminiscent of an 8-bit side scroller and the references they sneak into the flavor text on some of the cards is really clever. I think I’m definitely going to put that on my wishlist for future gaming parties.

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Maybe I was too much of a mess to properly enjoy AndoCon this year. Between not knowing the schedule and not really having a clear way to signal “I WANT TO GAME,” I didn’t really have as much of a good time as I wanted to at the con. Still, with the strong panels and the dealer room that made me leave with not one, but two pairs of earrings, AndoCon is shaping up to be a really great convention. I hope the upward path continues and that I’ll be in better shape to game next year.

We have more pictures up on our Facebook album, and as always, you can learn more about AndoCon by visiting AndoCon.org.

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