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Wednesday, 11 January 2017 14:17

One con to rule them all

Gamers roll into Bangor for SnowCon IX

Published in Cover Story
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 20:55

Edge Mom: Game on

In 2014, we received a board game for the kids from my cool sister-in-law who lives down in Mass. I remember taking it out of the box and scrambling to understand the basics while the kids were all grabbing at different pieces. She grinned as I fumbled with the directions and said, 'I just make up the rules.'

It was some of the best advice I'd ever heard about gaming with young kids.

Published in Edge Staff Mom
Tuesday, 12 January 2016 21:36

SnowCon: Episode VIII

BANGOR For the eighth consecutive year, tabletop gaming enthusiasts will decend to one central location and game the weekend away during SnowCon: Episode VIII. SnowCon will be returning to the Cross Insurance Center on Jan. 16 and 17, with a kickoff party in Brewer on Jan. 15.

For those unfamiliar with SnowCon, it's a two-day convention with gaming, gaming and more gaming. And we're talking table-top, cardboard-boards, dice rolling, role-playing, game pieces and moving board games. You won't find video games here - not they aren't enjoyed or appreciated, just that this is all about inter-personal gaming.

'Part of the philosophy of SnowCon is that games are great for people - all kinds of people. And we have games for all kinds of people,' said Bouchard. 'SnowCon is an all-ages event, and we encourage families to come and game together. We have options for people of all ages, and there are opportunities for everyone.'

For many people, gaming is more than just a hobby or a pastime; it's a community of friends. And as people grow older, start families and have more and more social and professional obligations, sometimes it becomes harder to maintain a regular gaming group. For some people, SnowCon is the time they get to hang out and play with friends that they haven't seen since the last SnowCon.

'It's really a wonderful place to renew a love of gaming. Some people don't have time to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) or their game of choice, but they really miss it. Or it's been years, and maybe they want to introduce it to their kids, or they don't have a group to play with, or the rules have changed,' said Bouchard. 'This is a great opportunity for lapsed gamers to come home to their gaming community and reawaken their love of that game.'

SnowCon has always been friendly to gamers of all stripes. Whether you're a hardcore veteran of various board games, or you're just idly curious and want to see what all the fuss is about, there is something for you. It's the perfect place for you to try out that new board game you got for Christmas, but haven't been able to coax your family into trying.

'We love SnowCon's friendliness,' said Bouchard. 'There's a substantial Game Library and there's a chance to revisit classic games. You can bring your own game and you can almost always find somebody to play with. There's good comradery with warm and friendly people. We're very proud of the community that has built around SnowCon.'

This year there are some interesting playtests and tournaments taking place.

'S.U.E.T. the Card Game by First Stall Productions is a card game where you play evil geniuses vying to build a doomsday device to gain entry into the Society of Ultimate Evil and Terror,' said Todd Caron, co-organizer of SnowCon, in a Facebook message. 'FSP is demoing and playtesting their game as they work towards a Kickstarter campaign.'

He noted the 5th Epoch Publishing will be in attendance with two games: War of Epochs and The Vampire Codex RPGs.

'Based on the original fantasy role-playing game Metal, Magic and Lore, War of the Epochs broadens the horizon of play to intercontinental conflict among six major races: Men, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Minotaurs and the dreaded Serpenti,' said Caron. 'In this Axis & Allies-style board game it is Good vs. Evil. Will the forces of evil rise and ban together to take the civilized world, or will the forces of good squelch the rising tide? Come find out!

'Using the 5th Epoch Engine, The Vampire's Codex is a role-playing game based on Jeff Dohm's refreshing new vampire setting. With never-seen lore, this role-playing game brings a new and exciting perspective to vampire-based settings,' continued Caron. 'The game system is based on the 5th Epoch Engine, a percentile based RPG, compatible with Metal, Magic and Lore and the upcoming spy game Ultimate Operative. Come interview the publisher, learn about this game in a discussion based setting and find out if it is for you and your fellow RPGers. Hold the product, see inside, check the system!'

The Play-to-Win Gaming Library has expanded significantly for this year. Derek Porter, co-organizer of SnowCon, noted that the Envoy program really helped with the expansion.

'The Envoy program is run by Double Exposure, Inc. that helps game publishers demonstrate their games at conventions across the country,' said Porter via Facebook. 'Publishers often receive hundreds of requests for convention support each year, and it takes time and energy to determine which conventions to support and how to support them.

'Envoy simplifies this process by ensuring that games get into the hands of people that are willing to teach them at conventions, as well as present them properly. The Envoy program currently represents 50 different game publishers, each with diverse libraries of games,' he said. 'With Envoy's support and the support of the companies they represent, we have greatly expanded SnowCon's Play to Win library this year. With over 20 games from several different publishers, there's something for everyone in SnowCon's gaming library.'

And if you want to try to play to win, it couldn't be easier. Players simply check the game out of the library, play it with gusto, and then when it's returned everyone who played is entered into the contest. Porter provided a list of just a few of the games you could win there are literally dozens more. Visit the website for a full description.

- Codenames from Czech Games Edition. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES. In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

- Dark Moon from Stronghold Games. Welcome to Dark Moon, the mining station of Saturn's moon, Titan. A routine excavation operation has gone wrong, and certain crew members contracted an alien virus and have begun acting paranoid and violent. Players must determine who the Infected players are and keep them Quarantined as they await rescue, while the Uninfected players must secretly attempt to sabotage the station.

- Favor of the Pharaoh from Bezier Games. In ancient Egypt, even the lowliest peasant could seek audience with the pharaoh. In this game, players must begin with only a few dice and work their way up the levels of society, gaining more dice and special ability tiles, until they can roll seven of a kind and win the queen's favor, which in turn allows them to win the Pharaoh and the game!

- Three Kingdoms Redux from Starting Player. Relive the epic story of China's romanticized Three Kingdoms! The three states of Wei, Wu, and Shu vie for supremacy during this tumultuous period of history and it's up to you to lead your state to victory.

There is a discount if you purchase tickets early through online registration (which is open until Jan. 15). A weekend pass is $40 and single day passes are $25 for Saturday only and $15 for Sunday only. Day-of registration is $30 for Saturday only and $20 for Sunday only, and there are also observer passes available. All passes are upgradeable. There is also a family-cap plan that allows families with many children to attend without breaking the bank.

The So You Meet at a Tavern (and Everyone's a Bard) kickoff this year will take place at the Blank Canvass Brewery, 74 Center Street, in Brewer. Tavern-goers are advised to eat before they come, but there will be plenty of beer on hand. The highlight will be Nerdaoke (nerdy karaoke). Participants are encouraged to write their own geeky lyrics set to their favorite pop-song. Marissa Lopez will be the Nerd DJ for the evening of dancing and singing and don't worry if someone picks the same song as you. Your words will be different.

For more information, including a full schedule and listing of games, visit www.snowconmaine.com.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 11:33

SnowCon 2013

Five years of fun and games

ORONO For the fifth straight year gamers from across Maine, New England and the United States will gather at the Black Bear Inn to crawl through ancient dungeons, cast arcane spells, try to evade insidious madness and barter for sheep or lumber. SnowCon is back.

This is a weekend of live gaming, as opposed to video gaming. It's people around a table rolling dice, playing cards or moving pieces, whether it's role playing games (RPGs), strategic board games or various card games (think of everything from 'Magic: the Gathering' to 'Apples to Apples').

Published in Cover Story

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