Category Archives: conventions

Upcoming Arizona Game Conventions – late 2017, early 2018

Rincon is returning to Tucson September 29 to October 1, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel.  I’ve attended this convention a few times and always had lots of fun.  Definitely recommended.  The Tucson people have a YUUUUGE gaming library that you can borrow from, and tons of good eats to be had in the area.

A new to me event is Crit Hit AZ, a group that runs a (the?) game room at Phoenix ComicCon.  They run multiple events throughout the year, such as a day to support the Souljourner Center, a domestic violence service organization.  Their most recent convention was in July at the Phoenix Airport Hilton, I would expect similar timing and possibly the same location for 2018.  Like MaricopaCon, they fund their convention via Kickstarter and that will kick off sometime in January 2018.

We have the Arizona Game Fair on February 9-11 at the Mesa Convention Center.  Admission for all three days in advance, if their prices from last year hold steady, looks like $30 for adults.  Their web site is in transition and has some info for last year still up and no info for this year up yet, I’m sure that will be changing soon.  But you can sign up for their mailing list, so that’s worthwhile if you’re in a position to attend.  I’ve heard no reports, good or bad, as to how their event was this year.

And I assume that MaricopaCon will be returning in early August 2018.

Speaking of MaricopaCon, that’s what I’m attending right now.  Thus far I’ve gotten in three games that are new to me (Colt Express, Kittens in a Blender, and Boss Monster) and seen several friends that I pretty much only get to see at game conventions.  So fun is being had.  MaricopaCon, as stated above, is funded via Kickstarter in January/February and chances are very low that any memberships will be available at the door.  This is my second year attending, and this year I got to haul my wife to it.

Last year a friend of mine had purchased an extra ticket for someone who was unable to attend, so I got in for free.  This year I purchased three memberships and was able to give one to a friend of mine who is celebrating his birthday this week, so I got to pay it forward and that was cool.  I’m hoping that he, and some other local friends of mine, will actually buy memberships next year so more of my gaming companions will be there to share the insanity.

Have a spare €250 (plus airfare?)

Yesterday, Robin Laws posted about a gaming event in Germany called The Kraken at Schloss Neuhausen (NE of Berlin) in October.  Three days with meals included for €250 or so!  That is a heck of a deal.  And the panels are mostly in English.

Of course, flying to and from, if you’re not already in the area, isn’t exactly chump change.  But Germany in October?!  Man, I’d love to be there.

Upcoming Phoenix Conventions

I grew up in Phoenix and still have deep roots there, and I have no problem at all shilling for good conventions regardless of where they’re at.

Conflagration: June 22-24, Tempe Mission Palms Hotel.  They advertise 24 hour gaming, and their little flyer says: role-playing, card games, miniatures, board games, LARP, dealer’s room, used game auction, tournaments, prizes, hospitality suite.  Sounds good to me!  Sadly I think I’ll be in Milwaukee at that time, maybe I can make it next year if there will be another.


Phoenix ComicCon: May 24-27 (Memorial Day weekend), Phoenix Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency.  Man, I cannot count how many sci fi cons I attended at the Hyatt in the 80’s and 90’s!  Good times.  Phoenix ComicCon has been around for 12(?) years!  They started small, three or four years ago they moved to the Phoenix Convention Center and I understand they’ve been doing great.  This year they’re having most of the crew of Star Trek: Next Generation, they’re also having William Shatner!  Should be great.  Sadly, once again, I’ll be on the road.  I think I’ll be in Denver or en route somewhere else about this time.


Flying Buffalo Con: July 20-22, Scottsdale.  Flying Buffalo is one of the oldest game companies in existence.  Period.  Rick formed it as a play-by-mail (PBM) game company over 40 years ago while he was in the army.  He ran games out of shoeboxes.  PBM games are simple in concept but can be amazingly detailed and nuanced.  Take, for example, Star Web (SW).  In SW, you’re building a stellar empire, and so are the other dozen or so in your game.  You play different types (berserkers, empire builders, merchants, etc.) which have special abilities to help you carve out your empire and do battle.  You get a printout every turn showing the status of every fleet and world that you control, every where you can see or probed, and the results of battle and merchant actions.  You write up an order sheet, send it in, and on the due date everyone’s orders are processed at the same time.  New printouts are generated and sent out, and the process repeats.  And this is just one game that they offer.

The annual Buffalo Con is a hyper-accelerated game event.  Games are processed as soon as everyone gets their orders in, so you can have multiple turns an hour.  You’re also battling face-to-face, so diplomacy and conspiracy are definitely in play.  It’s pretty cool.

Flying Buffalo is also the publisher of the fantasy role-playing game, Tunnels & Trolls.  It’s been in print for pretty much as long as Dungeons & Dragons, and its nigh uncountable editions, have been around.  Also published by Buffalo is the Nuclear War card game series, the Lost Worlds combat book series, the creator of the Death Dice line, and the publisher of Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes (MSPE), one of the first espionage/spy RPGs, published around 1983.

And this is where I come in.  I’ll be running MSPE Saturday night at the convention.  I was there two years ago and ran a mission that was a lot of fun for all involved, hopefully this year will also be a blast.  I’m not running straight MSPE, I have some additional rules that increase survivability. (MSPE is an incredibly lethal game).

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