Bakuretsu Con Game Nights at the Brownell Library

A Game of Thrones board game. Photo by François Philipp.

A Game of Thrones board game. Photo by François Philipp.

Bakuretsu Con hosts a monthly game night at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, starting June 10th. From the Facebook event listing:

Join us for a new Bakuretsu Con hosted event. The Bakuretsu Con Monthly Gaming Night! Come and play board games and card games. There will be plenty of games on hand or bring your own! This event is FREE to the public!

Bakuretsu has hosted anime- and gaming-centric conventions since 2002, when they came on the scene. Recently, they’ve begun sprinkling shorter events throughout the year, in addition to their big three day weekend anime convention in the fall. This latest event is wonderful news. Of late, Vermonters seem spoiled for choice when it comes to places and times to play tabletop games. That Bakuretsu’s partnered with a library is icing on the cake. When geekdoms align, wonderful things happen.

Settlement Farm Apiary Does the Time Warp Again

Bee inspection. Photo by Brennan.

Bee inspection. Photo by Brennan.

Settlement Farm Apiary’s blog has a swirl of activity bringing us up to date on doings in the home and satellite bee yards last summer. Of particular interest, you can catch a glimpse of what seem to be bees in the process of extruding wax to build honeycomb, and the threat of invading mites.

Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction #4: Jeanne Beckwith

Hosted by the Renegade Writers’ Collective and Geek Mountain State, Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction featured Vermont writers delving into the unnatural and fantastic last year. We had a camera on hand to capture those moments for you. In this second installment, Jeanne Beckwith stages her short play “Mission to Mars” with Joe Lasten and Vince Broderick.

This reading and others from that night are cablecasting on VCAM, Channel 15 on Comcast in the greater Burlington area, at 10:00am and 10:30pm on Fridays for the next eight weeks or so, moving into sporadic rotation after that. You can also find them on Geek Mountain State’s YouTube channel. as they are released.

Game Designers’ Hard Work on Display at Champlain College and ArtsRiot

The 2014 Senior Game Show at Champlain College. Photo by Steve Mease, used with permission.

The 2014 Senior Game Show at Champlain College. Photo by Steve Mease, used with permission.

Last night, the seniors at Champlain College’s Game Studio showed off their final projects and their demo reels. Teams of students collaborated to create playable games, demonstrating the skills in planning, design, execution as well as programming and computer art during their course of study. The development teams displayed their games’ trailers, as well as their personal demo reels. The keynote address by Jason Della Rocca, co-founder of Execution Labs, hit on the opportunities to learn from failures as much, if not more, from successes.

The live stream of the proceedings is available on the Game Studio’s Ustream channel. The students’ games are on exhibit at ArtsRiot on Pine Street in Burlington for the next two weeks. Pop by and play them yourself.

Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction #3: Patrick Dodge

Hosted by the Renegade Writers’ Collective and Geek Mountain State, Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction featured Vermont writers delving into the unnatural and fantastic last year. We had a camera on hand to capture those moments for you. In this second installment, Patrick Dodge reads his story “A Toast to Tom Macready.”

This reading and others from that night are cablecasting on VCAM, Channel 15 on Comcast in the greater Burlington area, at 10:00am and 10:30pm on Fridays for the next eight weeks or so, moving into sporadic rotation after that. You can also find them on Geek Mountain State’s YouTube channel. as they are released.

Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction #2: Daniel Mills

Hosted by the Renegade Writers’ Collective and Geek Mountain State, Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction featured Vermont writers delving into the unnatural and fantastic last year. We had a camera on hand to capture those moments for you. In this second installment, Daniel Mills reads from his story “Isaac’s Room.”

This reading and others from that night are cablecasting on VCAM, Channel 15 on Comcast in the greater Burlington area, at 10:00am and 10:30pm on Fridays for the next eight weeks or so, moving into sporadic rotation after that. You can also find them on Geek Mountain State’s YouTube channel as they are released.

Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction #1: F. Brett Cox

Hosted by the Renegade Writers’ Collective and Geek Mountain State, Strange as Night, Dark as Fiction featured Vermont writers delving into the unnatural and fantastic last year. We had a camera on hand to capture those moments for you. In this first installment, F. Brett Cox reads from his story “The Serpent and the Hatchet Gang.”

This reading and others from that night are cablecasting on VCAM, Channel 15 on Comcast in the greater Burlington area, at 10:00am and 10:30pm on Fridays for the next eight weeks or so, moving into sporadic rotation after that. You can also find them on Geek Mountain State’s YouTube channel. as they are released.

International Tabletop Day 2014 in Vermont

tabletopday2014_600x500International Tabletop Day 2014 is this Saturday. Founded by the team behind the web series Tabletop, in which Wil Wheaton and his friends show how much fun board games are to the denizens of Youtube. In addition to introducing cool games to new players, the show is a hoot. International Tabletop is a natural extension of the series’ “play more games” ethos, encouraging friends to get together for the day, as well as seeking out hosted events at local game stores, libraries and more to meet new folks and try new games.

In Vermont, we’ve got a few options already on the rolls, collected below for your convenience. If you’re not able to make it out to a public event, host your own Tabletop Day! The official website offers some free downloads to spruce up your event’s venue, including a printable trophy in honor of the one Wil bestows upon — and promptly takes away from — each episode’s winner.

Burlington

Brap’s Magic offers a slate of scheduled games — Android: Netrunner, Dominion, Magic: the Gathering tourneys in particular — plus open gaming. They’ve also committed to being open for Tabletop Day from 12:01am to midnight.

Quarterstaff Games hosts two Tabletop Day events. At the store itself on Church Street, you’ll find open gaming. At the Holiday Inn on Williston Road, competitive Magic players can join in the fall 2015 pro tour qualifier and Star City Games invitational tournament.

Danby

Chaos in the Valley is a brand new tabletop convention, based at the Silas Griffith Inn in the southwest corner of Vermont. The innkeepers, gamers themselves, host a full weekend of tabletop fun at their establishment. Check their Facebook page to find out about registering in advance.

Fairlee

The Fairlee public library offers their own game collection plus snacks, and invites everyone to bring their own games to share as well.

Winooski

The Winooski public library hosts tabletop gaming from 10am to 5pm on Saturday the 5th.

And that’s just what’s happening in Vermont. For details on events in neighboring states and nations — hi, Montreal! — visit Tabletop Day’s web site for a complete listing.

The Vermont Convention Scene

Gen Con 2003. Photo by  Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Gen Con 2003. Photo by Alan De Smet. CC-BY-2.5; CC-BY-3.0.

Word’s getting around that Vermont’s getting its own comic convention in the fall: Vermont Comiccon. Information is sketchy at the moment, beyond the date and place: October 25th and 26th at the Sheraton hotel in South Burlington. The convention’s Facebook page is doling out guest announcements as they come. The prospect of a new convention in Vermont is pretty exciting, so we’re all keeping our eyes peeled for more information as it appears.

Addition: Throughout the 1980s, Greg Giordano ran four instances of Greeen Mountain Comicon, which included guests such as Vermont’s own Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, Eastman & Laird and several other Mirage Studios guys, Mark Shainblum(Northstar) and Bernie Meirault(The Jam) and others.

Geek conventions in Vermont go back to at least the 90s, from my own personal experience. They’ve never approached the scale of mega-conventions like San Diego Comic Con or Gen Con, owing to Vermont’s population density and the facilities available to host such gatherings. Instead, Vermont conventions tend to be more about catching up with friends you don’t normally get to see, and discovering you share an interest with near-by neighbors.

Crisis Comics hosted comic shows in the Burlington area, which for me, in an age before the ubiquity of online sales, was a bonanza of picking up back issues that local dealers didn’t have. Quarterstaff Games hosted seven occasions of Northeast Wars, all about tabletop gaming. After Northeast Wars became dormant, Carnage picked up the tabletop convention torch and carries to this day in the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. The Society for Creative Anachronism’s shire of Panther Vale — comprising the northeast quadrant of Vermont — began hosting Pantheria, a weekend-long outdoor gathering, in 1996.

In 2002, Bakuretsucon kicked off as a combination anime and gaming convention in the Burlington area. After a couple years, gaming spun off as Lore Con, while Bakuretsu focused on anime and moved to the fall, steadily growing in vibrancy every year as they descend upon Colchester. Northeast Wars briefly revived for a couple years, before returning to dormancy. The oft-missed Langdon Street Cafe in Montpelier hosted Geek Week annually until its final closing, dedicating each night of a whole week to a different area of geekiness. Green Mountain Gamers formed in 2010 to host mini-convention style game days throughout the state all year round.

Of course, those are only the conventions and convention-like events of which I’m aware. There are few works on the subject, none of which focus on Vermont in particular. If you have memories of conventions past, or information of conventions to come, share in the comments below.

MEGA Meltdown Game Day

Settlers of Catan board.

The Settlers of Catan. Photo by gadl. CC BY-SA 2.0

Green Mountain Gamers host their annual Spring Meltdown game day, now MEGA-fied, on April 12th at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont. The MEGA Meltdown runs from 9:00 in the morning to midnight on the 12th, giving tabletop enthusiasts from all over Vermont and beyond the opportunity to share their favorite games and try out some new ones. In addition to the usual potluck mix of games people bring, MEGA Meltdown offers the Play and Win library for the first time, populated with games donated by publishers, which will be raffled off to people who play them during the day. A silent auction of donated games and more will raise funds to be donated to the Vermont Foodbank, as well. To find out more about the MEGA Meltdown and the Green Mountain Gamers, you can visit their website. Also, vice president of the club, Alex Clay, recently appeared on Carnagecast to spread the good word.

Your gadabout tabletop correspondent will be there as well, so say hi!