Written by Matt McCloud
Lexicon was a true gamer’s convention with literally tons of games to be played and hundreds of players to play with. They had board games, card games, miniature games, war games, live-action roleplaying games, and even virtual computer games. So much energy was spent making it a great gaming convention, while the extraneous “stuff” found at other conventionss is largely put to the side. There were no panels, cosplay, or much else to distract a hardcore gamer at Lexicon.
It was easy to locate the two main rooms where Lexicon’s games were being played: the open gameplay room with seating for at least 300 and a smaller room holding about 200 people for scheduled demo play. Kerry Breitenstein, of Twilight Creations, was in the demo room with a bright and cheerful face. Kerry was testing out a new carrying case for her game, Zombies, and demonstrating its many fun and creepy expansions.
She also demonstrated other games, including Jupiter Rescue in which players are robots trying to save humans on a quickly disintegrating space station before the humans all transform into “Creeps”. I thought it was an entertaining game for just two players, but may be biased as I had the best teacher: the game’s creator.
As the day went on, it quickly became standing room only in both rooms as hundreds of avid gamers came to play some of their favorite games including Kingsburg, Catan, Carcassonne, Last Night on Earth, and more. There was an enormous gaming library for free use of the most popular games including many a bingo online game around but being stuck in the corner made it a long and tedious process to check out games, especially as the crowd grew. The Dealer’s area was also stuck in the corner. It was pretty bare bones, with offerings of games from the local game stores and a few t-shirt and knick-knack dealers.
Out of the hundreds of tables full with gamers – and yes they were all full – there was a mere smattering of 10 or so RPG games run by a few game masters. Pathfinder, Shadowrun, and Dungeons & Dragons joined a few local developers bringing out their products for a test run. One local developer, Joe Meade of Mystic Forces, guided players through a few preset adventures of his making. Joe said he loved seeing all the players at the convention.
“It looked a little more board game and card heavy than RPGs,” he said. “So, I was a little more limited in the market but I was having a good time.”
He mentioned that the Lexicon people are super nice and very friendly. He said they make you feel at home here. On that, I wholeheartedly agree.
At another table, I met former Lexicon vendors Chris Chancellor, Kitty Faulhaber, and Cassandra Florence playing Kingsburg. In the course of conversation, I discovered they’d been to all three Lexicons and enjoyed coming this time strictly as gamers.
“So far, we enjoy just being here to play the games,” said Kitty. “Everyone here tends to be pretty cool. You walk up and it’s like ‘hey, what are you playing? Can I just sit here and watch for a little while?’ And usually people are totally cool with that.”
Chris said he liked seeing everyone here and how the convention has grown.
“Even (Friday) it was already packed!” he said.
Kitty said that the people in charge at the Lexicon made a good decision in a smaller venue. She said it is really helping them grow slowly and really let the people who wanted to be here to be here.
LexiCon is a great local gaming convention that knows how to pack them in. Overall, LexiCon does one thing extremely well: board games. Whether they’ll choose to expand other formats, like tabletop RPGs, is still uncertain.
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Episode 8 – Game Camp at Cabbage Patch Settlement House
In this episode, we talk with CJ & Matt who are running the upcoming Game Camp at the Cabbage Patch Settlement House. The Game Camp will run from April 4th to 9th and feature a wide variety of activities that involve learning, playing, and even designing a game.
The Cabbage Patch is a local, non-profit, religious organization that focuses on helping at-risk children with extracurricular activity and educational resources. The Game Camp is in its infancy, but is growing out of a Wednesday “Patch Con” that CJ runs regularly at the Cabbage Patch. The Cabbage Patch believes games are great educational tools.
- CJ Duffet, education specialist
- Matt Spalding, youth & recreation development coordinator
- Overview of the Cabbage Patch in Louisville KY
- In 100 year history of Cabbage Patch, first Game Camp
- Discussion of “Patch Con”, the precursor to Game Camp, where kids have learned to play games
- Games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, etc. being excellent educational tools
- The age range of kids at the Cabbage Patch
- CJ & Matt’s background in tabletop gaming, roleplaying games, and collectible card games
- The Firefly system and playing in that game as a captain (not Malcom Reynolds)
- Matt begins roleplaying when he’s four years old, 1st Edition AD&D, Gygax, vampire mind control
- The genesis of Game Camp, bamboo bo staffs
- Parental interaction with the cost of games and donations from local game stores
- Jack Chick, the evil of games, demons, magic, and leading kids astray within a religious-based non-profit
- Local game designers and industry professionals who are coming to Game Camp, including Jeff Dehut of Pocket Dungeon Quest fame
- Designing and developing a game with the kids
- Foe Hunters and Slur Your Role
- Mouse Guard, Burning Wheel, Redwall, Grimm RPG
- Dave Mattingly, Muppets, and volunteers who may want to participate in the game camp
- Field trip to game stores (Heroes Comics & Gaming or Through the Decades)
- Inspiration from a literary camp run at Cabbage Patch
- More on volunteering and aiding in the Game Camp, especially game designers
- A trip to ConGlomeration with the kids and open gaming
- Fluxx card game (“A game that you just follow the rules,” said Matt)
- More on games as educational tools, gamification, brushing teeth
- CJ reflects on getting destroyed in a Yu-gi-oh tournament by a six year old at Something 2 Do
- Plans for an expanded Summer Camp
- Find Cabbage Patch at www.cabbagepatch.org and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cabbagepatchsettlementhouse/
- Mike Pfaff
- Matt McCloud