Gaming, West Virginia style
Four-inch long models of World War I fighter planes seem suspended in mid-air over the gaming table. Nearby, models of futuristic warrior robots battle over a post-apocalyptic landscape. On the other side of the hall, men and women gather around a board game called “Small World” that pits fantasy races like Elves, Trolls and Giants against one another. Beside them, another table is stacked high with board games that will be given away as prizes.
All this and more can be found at the Charcon Gaming Convention, West Virginia’s biggest annual gaming event. Charcon will be Oct. 23-25 at the Charleston Civic Center. You can pre-register for the convention at www.Charcon.org.
In this instance, gaming does not mean the type of wager games found in casinos, but board games, miniature games, role-playing games and collectable card games. The board games played are not typically the kind of games found at Wal-Mart or Target (such as Monopoly), but are sold online or from hobby stores or specialty gaming stores. Miniature games typically are centered on war and combat and usually involve dozens or hundreds of small model soldiers, tanks, planes, ships or fantasy and science fiction creatures such as dragons and aliens.
This year will be Charcon’s fourth year at the Charleston Civic Center. The convention usually attracts over 400 attendees, some from out of state, and occasionally from across the country. The convention features a huge game library with rules explanations provided by volunteers from the Appalachian Gamers group, a board game competition with multiple prizes, a costume contest, a raffle, and many other events. Sunday will be Family Day and will feature many games that can be played by both parents and their children. Attendees will also be able to buy games from vendors during the convention, or purchase used games at Sunday’s gamer flea market.
This year, for the first time, Charcon will features artist and their work. Larry Elmore, a well-known fantasy artist who has been painting for over 20 years will display his paintings, and Billy Tackett, known for his horror-themed work, will be appearing.
Returning to Charcon just in time for Halloween will be a live-action zombie game run by Zombie Buddy Productions. This game allows participants to flee and fight “real” zombies.
“I find it very rewarding to see how excited people get when they come to Charcon,” said Travis Reynolds, Charcon’s organizer. “I feel as if we are enriching the gaming culture of West Virginia, and bringing things to the state that have never been here, and may not have been here except for us … It is a big payoff for me to connect our attendees with products from our sponsors, teach them to play them, and hear them say ‘I’m going to get this game for sure.’”
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