Orc Con 2020 took place at the LAX Hilton on February 14-17. This event is part of the Strategicon family of events that focus on board games and tabletop RPGs. While the topic may not seem as glamorous as pop culture or anime, it offers unique experiences. This is a convention where you can play dozens of games, get demos from the game creators, stay up all night gaming on the show floor, and even find that hard to get module at the dealer hall. From children to grandparents there was a large variety of people that were all there to enjoy the world of table top gaming.
The location is a team favorite due to the LAX Hilton offering plenty of space for everyone considering it has three floors and numerous rooms per floor as show space. The is a discount voucher that attendees can get to reduce daily parking to $10, but due to this parking fills up fast. Thankfully, they also offer a voucher for $20 valet parking, which our group used. There are a few other parking locations around the area, but none will offer that kind of value and all of the other parking lots require a long walk. There are plenty of reasons to stay the night at the Hilton, including late night gaming and having a place to put all of your convention swag. While staying at the hotel is not necessary for locals, it is something the Scarlet Rhapsody team is interested in trying out.
This convention doesn’t have any panels per se. However, there are plenty of demos and premieres of new games that give the attendees are more one on one experience. The basement features a free gaming area and the D&D Adventurers League. It was also the area where some people used for relaxing and getting away from some of the crowding of the other floors. Our group does have characters created for Adventurers League and we played a Tier 1 round of D&D with three other players. It was a fun experience bringing back my Cleric and Deb’s Monk to join up with other players while protecting a convoy across the desert. I really do recommend trying an Adventurers League game if your local convention offers them as they are a good way to get introduced to the rules of 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons as well as a way to meet new friends.
The lobby floor had the Miniatures Hall and the Dealer Hall as well as a few restaurants. This was the busiest floor as the Dealer Hall is where many people spent their time and the lobby was utilized as the socializing area. The Dealer Hall was good sized and had four aisles with plenty of tables selling everything from board games to water bottles. Some of the standout booths were the indie game booths showing off games like Escape from Dulce, Play 5, and Up Staged. Sometimes it was difficult to get a chance to test a game as there was almost always someone trying out a new game. The dealer hall also had a candle booth, a LARPing item booth, and a print shop to make custom maps. There were plenty of things to check out and the game variety is high enough to ensure that something will catch your eye. However, the most eye-catching part of the whole convention was the Miniatures Hall.
The Miniatures Hall was huge and filled with dozens of tables playing everything from Warhammer to Game of Thrones to Battletech with several other war games set up as well. It is a grand spectacle and a great way to show off your hard work as well. In addition to that, they have an area where they can train you to paint figures and even provide a figure for you to use as practice. This is one of the most interesting places to explore, even if you don’t play miniature themed games. It is also a fun way to discover new games and learn the basic rules while watching the team that customized the board and figurines play a match. Before entering this area our team didn’t have much interest in miniature gaming, but after walking through the hall we really want to put something together and perhaps enter the competition someday.
The second floor is the location of Registration as well as a variety of gaming rooms. Registration is a quick process, but it might get heavy on some mornings, however we arrived on Saturday at 11 and we had no problems at all. The second floor is home to the video game room as well as a simulator providing more content than just the standard table top faire. There was also a kid’s zone on this floor, but there were also several children running around unsupervised making the second floor a little hectic. Despite the kids, there were plenty of places to game and try out new games in RPG, war games, and indie games. It might seem overwhelming, but the program guide does have a list of games and where to play them. That kind of organization makes things much easier for those planning their convention trip.
One of the biggest surprises of this convention was the good attitude that everyone had. There was a very positive vibe that made Orc Con very welcoming to everyone. No matter the experience level or age it seemed like everyone was having a good time. There were plenty of games to try, demos to teach, and people to meet. However, it would make the convention more enjoyable if people could keep control of their children/grandchildren as they were very disruptive on the second floor. Overall, this is a fun place to meet new people and play games with those who are seeking to do the same.
In previous years, members of our team have volunteered at various Strategicon events, which Orc Con is the first of the three this year. This was years ago when this convention was really small. When we arrived this year to cover it as press we were shocked at how much it had grown. It was a bustling event with too much to do in one day. From the outside it might seem like four days is really long for a convention dedicated to board games, but when you look over the offerings then it becomes obvious that you need to attend at least two days to get the full experience. We kept running around trying to take in everything we could and we didn’t have the time to do everything. It cannot be overstated enough that Orc Con was a wonderful experience that made all members of the team lament we had not covered this convention in previous years. Even if you have a passing interest in table top gaming or competitive card games you will find something of interest at a Strategicon event. I highly recommend Orc Con and I hope to cover more of their events this year.
- It has been a long time, LAX Hilton
- It has been even longer, Strategicon
- No cosplay, but they do have LARP
- Parth rides again!
- I want to try out a Barbarian
- I wish I got that Jaws game
- Learn to paint miniatures
- Too many games
- Note to self: bring a lunch
- Don’t forget to hydrate
- Looks like I’ll miss the next one…
- RE: 13 – Sigh….
- Go with a team
- Who’s up for some Call of Cthulhu?
- Card games or tabletop?
- I want to do more demos
- Everything happens for a reason