Gaming Solo at a Convention

June 6, 2016 Leave your thoughts
Checking out the LA tabletop gaming community. Guild Masters anyone?
Checking out the LA tabletop gaming community. Guild Masters anyone?

Got to check out Gamex for a second year, this year, the event, though fun, seemed markedly different from the last time I went. I wanted to share my thoughts on it and overall how to make the experience better, as a solo person going to a gaming convention.

One of the highlights of Gamex was the ability to easily tty out new games with others. Though the event had their awesome library, the open gaming area was filled with people heavily invested in mostly strategic games that play an hour or longer—these, of course, are games that are harder to gauge when they will end. The demographic also skewed family and older—not the younger more exploratory group I was expecting.

Beyond the open gaming area, the dealer hall and other nooks of the hotel were noticeably empty. No more apparent was the emptiness than on Monday when I went slightly after lunch. Already dealers were cleaning up and only the most ardent of gamers were still around. This sight, in particular, made me wonder were the diversity, that I think of with the LA gaming community, went.

The scheduled gaming hall the last day at Gamex
The scheduled gaming hall the last day at Gamex

At the end of the day, I played two games—one of which was my own and another my friend, Matt Austin, was working on. Although I had fun and made a few new friends, I would definitely do my experience differently the next time around. This brings me to a couple of points on how one can do gaming conventions solo, better.

1. Come with a Partner

If you can, bringing a partner makes the number of games that you can play much higher. Even if it’s just the two of you, most games can accommodate two players pretty easily. Pairs also allow one person to find a table and sort through a ruleset while the partner wrangles other players.

2. Have Some Idea of Games to Play

Oftentimes, players may go into a library only to become easily overwhelmed and default to games they know. Having a small list of games that you may want to play provides a good starting point for actually trying and discovering something new.

3. Try Not to Go on the Last Day

People are checked out by this day. Only the most intrepid of gamers and exhibitors will be around to play and sell things. Especially if you’re looking to snag more popular games, coming earlier during the gaming convention can help greatly.

4. Show Interest in a Game and Ask to Join the Next One

Groups of gamers aren’t just going to invite you to play because you’re standing around. Many gamers might not even notice you intently hovering around. Fix this by being proactive. Find a nice group of gamers, potentially with three or five players, ask them about their experience, the game, and then if you can join for the next game.

5. Try Something New Via a Scheduled Game Event

Oftentimes at these events, there’s no shortage to the number of events that are going on. Whether a tournament, a playtest, or something in between; take the opportunity to try out something new. Even if you’re a pro at playing Settlers with your friends, tournament-style Settlers can be a fun and refreshing new way to experience the game.

Overall, I’m not sure what contributed to the difference in crowd, but hopefully things will change. I have to admit that it’s awesome to have a gaming convention so close to home. Gamex is great for organizing this and bring the overall Socal gaming community closer together.

What are your thoughts on doing conventions solo?

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