What is a gaming convention?

What is a gaming convention? Well, it’s an event where people spend time gaming. What is gaming? Well in the case of gaming conventions, gaming has nothing to do with gambling:

  • Main Entry: gam·ing
  • Pronunciation: 'gA-mi ng
  • Function: noun
  • Date: 1501
  • 1 : the practice of gambling
  • 2 : the playing of games that simulate actual conditions (as of business or war) especially for training

This entry from Webster’s online dictionary (WWWebster) defines gaming as being one of two things, and in the case of gaming conventions we use the second definition. In recent years, that definition has stretched to include a hobby industry that produces hundreds of games for entertainment purposes, not necessarily training or testing. No wagers are placed in this type of gaming, and no money is won.

Biggest Gaming Conventions 2020

  1. MAGFest 2020 January 2-5, 2020
  2. Téli MondoCon 2020 January 4, 2020
  3. Fandom PDX 2020 January 4-5, 2020
  4. Ichibancon 2020 January 9-12, 2020
  5. PAX South 2020 January 17-19, 2020
  6. Sixty Six Games Expo 2020 January 17-19, 2020
  7. DreamHack Leipzig 2020 January 24-26, 2020
  8. Genesis 2020 January 24-26, 2020
  9. Maynard Comic Con 2020 January 25, 2020
  10. QuadCon Cedar Rapids 2020 January 26, 2020
  11. Savannah Animazing Con 2020 January 31 - February 2, 2020
  12. QuadCon Rockford 2020 February 1, 2020
  13. Life, the Universe, and Everything 2020 February 13-15, 2020
  14. Geeks of Color Expo 2020 February 14-16, 2020
  15. London Anime & Gaming Con 2020 February 14-16, 2020
  16. KupoCon 2020 February 15, 2020
  17. NärCon Vinter 2020 February 20-23, 2020
  18. DreamHack Anaheim 2020 February 21-23, 2020
  19. Lvl Up Expo 2020 February 21-23, 2020
  20. Florida Game Con 2020 February 22, 2020
  21. Geek Days Rennes 2020 February 22-23, 2020
  22. Minefaire Dallas 2020 February 22-23, 2020
  23. PAX East 2020 February 27 - March 1, 2020
  24. GalaxyCon Richmond 2020 February 28 - March 1, 2020
  25. Portsmouth Anime & Gaming Con 2020 February 29 - March 1, 2020
  26. AgamaCon 2020 March 7-8, 2020
  27. Puchi Con! 2020 March 7-8, 2020
  28. Harucon 2020 March 10, 2020
  29. Leeds Anime & Gaming Con 2020 March 14-15, 2020
  30. SwampCon 2020 March 14-15, 2020
  31. Aselia Con 2020 March 20-22, 2020
  32. Queen City Kamikaze 2020 March 21, 2020
  33. Genericon 2020 March 21-22, 2020
  34. MCM Comic Con Birmingham 2020 March 21-22, 2020
  35. Playthrough 2020 March 21-22, 2020
  36. Tiger Con 2020 March 21-22, 2020
  37. Fan Expo Dallas 2020 March 27-29, 2020
  38. Shine Con 2020 March 27-29, 2020
  39. 8-Bit Block Party 2020 March 28, 2020
  40. Superior Con 2020 April 4, 2020
  41. Manchester Anime & Gaming Con 2020 April 4-5, 2020
  42. Sci-Fi Scarborough 2020 April 4-5, 2020
  43. Tsunami Mérida Comic Con 2020 April 4-5, 2020
  44. Conapalooza: Vendor Bender 2020 April 11, 2020
  45. QuadCon Davenport 2020 April 11, 2020
  46. QuadCon Peoria 2020 April 11, 2020
  47. MegaCon Orlando 2020 April 16-19, 2020
  48. Barrie Fantasticon 2020 April 17-18, 2020
  49. Geek-it! 2020 April 24-26, 2020
  50. AniFest 2020 April 25, 2020
  51. Bristol Anime & Gaming Con 2020 April 25-26, 2020
  52. Makers & Creators Convention 2020 April 25-26, 2020
  53. Kingston ComiCon 2020 April 26, 2020
  54. Metrotham Con 2020 May 1-3, 2020
  55. Level Up Maine 2020 May 2, 2020
  56. Birmingham Anime & Gaming Con 2020 May 2-3, 2020
  57. Florida Supercon 2020 May 8-10, 2020
  58. Newcastle Anime & Gaming Con 2020 May 16-17, 2020
  59. Wayback Weekend 2020 May 16-17, 2020
  60. Comicpalooza 2020 May 22-24, 2020
  61. Thy Geekdom Con 2020 May 22-24, 2020
  62. DoKomi 2020 May 23-24, 2020
  63. Dream Con 2020 June 5-7, 2020
  64. QuadCon Altoona 2020 June 7, 2020
  65. E3 2020 June 9-11, 2020
  66. OMG!Con 2020 June 12-14, 2020
  67. Liverpool Anime & Gaming Con 2020 June 13-14, 2020
  68. PortConMaine 2020 June 25-28, 2020
  69. Animaritime 2020 June 26-28, 2020
  70. Planet Funk Con 2020 June 26-28, 2020
  71. GeekTakuFest 2020 June 29-30, 2020
  72. London Anime & Gaming Con 2020 July 3-5, 2020
  73. OtakuFest 2020 July 4-5, 2020
  74. ConnectiCon 2020 July 9-12, 2020
  75. Replay FX 2020 July 9-12, 2020
  76. Southern-Fried Gaming Expo 2020 July 10-12, 2020
  77. GACUCon Cruise 2020 July 13-17, 2020
  78. PokeFest SA 2020 July 17-18, 2020
  79. Metrocon 2020 July 23-26, 2020
  80. NärCon Sommar 2020 July 23-26, 2020
  81. Hazard Con 2020 July 24-26, 2020
  82. GalaxyCon Raleigh 2020 July 30 - August 2, 2020
  83. QuakeCon 2020 August 6-9, 2020
  84. Matsuricon 2020 August 14-16, 2020
  85. Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2020 August 14-16, 2020
  86. Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con 2020 August 15-16, 2020
  87. Animania Wichita Falls 2020 August 22, 2020
  88. Alcon 2020 August 28-30, 2020
  89. Hero Hype Expo 2020 September 5, 2020
  90. Megabit Game Expo 2020 September 13, 2020
  91. QuadCon Coralville 2020 September 26, 2020
  92. Kingston ComiCon 2020 September 27, 2020
  93. Fanaticon 2020 October 2-4, 2020
  94. Realms Con 2020 October 2-4, 2020
  95. HyperCon 2020 October 3, 2020
  96. C3AFA Tokyo 2020 October 3-4, 2020
  97. Tsubasacon 2020 October 9-11, 2020
  98. Newcastle Anime & Gaming Con 2020 October 10-11, 2020
  99. Memphis Comic Expo 2020 October 17-18, 2020
  100. DerpyCon 2020 October 30 - November 1, 2020
  101. Sheffield Anime & Gaming Con 2020 October 31 - November 1, 2020
  102. GalaxyCon Minneapolis 2020 November 6-8, 2020
  103. Bristol Anime & Gaming Con 2020 November 7-8, 2020
What types of games fall into the “gaming” category? Examples include Parker Brothers’ Monopoly™ game, WoTC/TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons™ game, and literally hundreds of games in between. The gaming convention brings an element of friendly competition to these games, and allows people who share interest in playing them a chance to get together and play. A gaming convention hosts tournaments, which are organized play sessions of a certain game, with the winner receiving a non-cash prize. BOARD GAMES – Games at a gaming convention fall into a number of broad categories, including board games, such as Parker Brothers’ MONOPOLY™ game, Mayfair’s Settlers of Catan game, and advanced historical simulation games such as Avalon Hill’s Age of Renaissance or Civilization games. Many of these games have been computerized in recent years, although many people do not know that these complex computer games often had their roots in a tabletop board game.

ROLE-PLAYING GAMES – Another category is role-playing games, in which each player takes on the persona of a character in an interactive story. Although the most popular of these role-playing games worldwide is WoTC/TSR’s Dungeons & Dragons™ game, many other companies produce games in other settings, or genres. Genre has the same meaning in gaming as it does in fiction writing – the setting and style of the story. Dungeons & Dragons is set in a fantasy world, where the players, via their characters pretend to battle fantasy monsters such as dragons and trolls, using imaginary swords and crossbows. Other role-playing games cast the players as characters in a variety of settings, from space to the Old West to the middle of your favorite horror movie.

In role-playing games, the players work together to slay the monsters, or solve the crimes, or save the village. As such, the players are not competing against each other. At a gaming convention, where these games are played as tournaments, the players continue this cooperative spirit in resolving the story, but winners are determined by the players and storyteller voting on who portrayed their character the best. This is basically a combination of how well the player knows the rules of the game, the setting, and the background of the character, an how well they were able to use that information to contribute to the story being enacted by the players. A good role player is often a good improvisational actor.

Each tournament has a different setting, and different characters, forcing the player to quickly assume different personas and portray them convincingly. Many of the tournament scenarios played at conventions come from the Role Playing Game Association Network (RPGA Network™ ), an international organization of role-playing enthusiasts which sponsors role-playing games at conventions, and pays its members to write entertaining scenarios that are sent to conventions around the world and used as tournaments. Players and storytellers are ranked in the RPGA Network based on how many tournaments in which they have participated, and how well they did.

MINIATURES GAMES – Miniatures games are not only popular but visually impressive. Typically, a miniatures game is a reenactment of a certain type of combat using miniature figurines to represent the troops. Battles fought in time periods from the Crusades and the Civil War to thousands of years in the future are simulated with figurines and terrain. Miniatures gaming is a combination of artistic skill in fashioning the terrain and figurines, and strategy, as the tabletop generals decide how to deploy their troops.

TRADING CARD GAMES – A recent addition to the gaming convention are Collectible Card Games, aka Trading Card Games or TCGs. One of the most popular of these games is WoTC’s Magic: The Gathering™ game. These games have been described as a combination between baseball cards and board games. Out of a collection of thousands of cards, the players choose a few to play with. Their opponent does the same, and then the cards are played according to the rules of the game to resolve which player’s card selections and play strategy was more effective. Typically, the cards simulate characters and items, which are combined, deployed and lost according to the rules of the game. Other collectible card games abound, each allowing players to experience their favorite genre, or in many cases, television or movie milieu. Collectible card games are as diverse in setting and genre as role-playing games and have been produced based on a variety of worlds, including Babylon 5™, Star Trek™, Star Wars™, Dune™ and Pokemon™. LIVE-ACTION ROLE-PLAYING GAMES – Some conventions also host live-action role-playing games, which are like role-playing games with fewer rules, and fewer restrictions. Costumes are encouraged in live-action games, and the game is not physically restricted to a table, but perhaps a room, or an entire hotel. The most well-known live-action games are the How to Host a Murder™ games from Parker Brothers. But, as we’ve seen with other types of games, if you have a favorite genre, a game probably exists that will let you experience it.