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 2021

  1. MAGFest 2021 January 2-5, 2021
  2. Téli MondoCon 2021 January 4, 2021
  3. Fandom PDX 2021 January 4-5, 2021
  4. Ichibancon 2021 January 9-12, 2021
  5. PAX South 2021 January 17-19, 2021
  6. Sixty Six Games Expo 2021 January 17-19, 2021
  7. DreamHack Leipzig 2021 January 24-26, 2021
  8. Genesis 2021 January 24-26, 2021
  9. Maynard Comic Con 2021 January 25, 2021
  10. QuadCon Cedar Rapids 2021 January 26, 2021
  11. Savannah Animazing Con 2021 January 31 - February 2, 2021
  12. QuadCon Rockford 2021 February 1, 2021
  13. Life, the Universe, and Everything 2021 February 13-15, 2021
  14. Geeks of Color Expo 2021 February 14-16, 2021
  15. London Anime & Gaming Con 2021 February 14-16, 2021
  16. KupoCon 2021 February 15, 2021
  17. NärCon Vinter 2021 February 20-23, 2021
  18. DreamHack Anaheim 2021 February 21-23, 2021
  19. Lvl Up Expo 2021 February 21-23, 2021
  20. Florida Game Con 2021 February 22, 2021
  21. Geek Days Rennes 2021 February 22-23, 2021
  22. Minefaire Dallas 2021 February 22-23, 2021
  23. PAX East 2021 February 27 - March 1, 2021
  24. GalaxyCon Richmond 2021 February 28 - March 1, 2021
  25. Portsmouth Anime & Gaming Con 2021 February 29 - March 1, 2021
  26. AgamaCon 2021 March 7-8, 2021
  27. Puchi Con! 2021 March 7-8, 2021
  28. Harucon 2021 March 10, 2021
  29. Leeds Anime & Gaming Con 2021 March 14-15, 2021
  30. SwampCon 2021 March 14-15, 2021
  31. Aselia Con 2021 March 20-22, 2021
  32. Queen City Kamikaze 2021 March 21, 2021
  33. Genericon 2021 March 21-22, 2021
  34. MCM Comic Con Birmingham 2021 March 21-22, 2021
  35. Playthrough 2021 March 21-22, 2021
  36. Tiger Con 2021 March 21-22, 2021
  37. Fan Expo Dallas 2021 March 27-29, 2021
  38. Shine Con 2021 March 27-29, 2021
  39. 8-Bit Block Party 2021 March 28, 2021
  40. Superior Con 2021 April 4, 2021
  41. Manchester Anime & Gaming Con 2021 April 4-5, 2021
  42. Sci-Fi Scarborough 2021 April 4-5, 2021
  43. Tsunami Mérida Comic Con 2021 April 4-5, 2021
  44. Conapalooza: Vendor Bender 2021 April 11, 2021
  45. QuadCon Davenport 2021 April 11, 2021
  46. QuadCon Peoria 2021 April 11, 2021
  47. MegaCon Orlando 2021 April 16-19, 2021
  48. Barrie Fantasticon 2021 April 17-18, 2021
  49. Geek-it! 2021 April 24-26, 2021
  50. AniFest 2021 April 25, 2021
  51. Bristol Anime & Gaming Con 2021 April 25-26, 2021
  52. Makers & Creators Convention 2021 April 25-26, 2021
  53. Kingston ComiCon 2021 April 26, 2021
  54. Metrotham Con 2021 May 1-3, 2021
  55. Level Up Maine 2021 May 2, 2021
  56. Birmingham Anime & Gaming Con 2021 May 2-3, 2021
  57. Florida Supercon 2021 May 8-10, 2021
  58. Newcastle Anime & Gaming Con 2021 May 16-17, 2021
  59. Wayback Weekend 2021 May 16-17, 2021
  60. Comicpalooza 2021 May 22-24, 2021
  61. Thy Geekdom Con 2021 May 22-24, 2021
  62. DoKomi 2021 May 23-24, 2021
  63. Dream Con 2021 June 5-7, 2021
  64. QuadCon Altoona 2021 June 7, 2021
  65. E3 2021 June 9-11, 2021
  66. OMG!Con 2021 June 12-14, 2021
  67. Liverpool Anime & Gaming Con 2021 June 13-14, 2021
  68. PortConMaine 2021 June 25-28, 2021
  69. Animaritime 2021 June 26-28, 2021
  70. Planet Funk Con 2021 June 26-28, 2021
  71. GeekTakuFest 2021 June 29-30, 2021
  72. London Anime & Gaming Con 2021 July 3-5, 2021
  73. OtakuFest 2021 July 4-5, 2021
  74. ConnectiCon 2021 July 9-12, 2021
  75. Replay FX 2021 July 9-12, 2021
  76. Southern-Fried Gaming Expo 2021 July 10-12, 2021
  77. GACUCon Cruise 2021 July 13-17, 2021
  78. PokeFest SA 2021 July 17-18, 2021
  79. Metrocon 2021 July 23-26, 2021
  80. NärCon Sommar 2021 July 23-26, 2021
  81. Hazard Con 2021 July 24-26, 2021
  82. GalaxyCon Raleigh 2021 July 30 - August 2, 2021
  83. QuakeCon 2021 August 6-9, 2021
  84. Matsuricon 2021 August 14-16, 2021
  85. Portland Retro Gaming Expo 2021 August 14-16, 2021
  86. Cardiff Anime & Gaming Con 2021 August 15-16, 2021
  87. Animania Wichita Falls 2021 August 22, 2021
  88. Alcon 2021 August 28-30, 2021
  89. Hero Hype Expo 2021 September 5, 2021
  90. Megabit Game Expo 2021 September 13, 2021
  91. QuadCon Coralville 2021 September 26, 2021
  92. Kingston ComiCon 2021 September 27, 2021
  93. Fanaticon 2021 October 2-4, 2021
  94. Realms Con 2021 October 2-4, 2021
  95. HyperCon 2021 October 3, 2021
  96. C3AFA Tokyo 2021 October 3-4, 2021
  97. Tsubasacon 2021 October 9-11, 2021
  98. Newcastle Anime & Gaming Con 2021 October 10-11, 2021
  99. Memphis Comic Expo 2021 October 17-18, 2021
  100. DerpyCon 2021 October 30 - November 1, 2021
  101. Sheffield Anime & Gaming Con 2021 October 31 - November 1, 2021
  102. GalaxyCon Minneapolis 2021 November 6-8, 2021
  103. Bristol Anime & Gaming Con 2021 November 7-8, 2021
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.