So convention season has officially started for us, and we felt that to kick off convention season right we would just attend one not as a vendor but with just the intention of enjoying games and meeting people in our local area. Our first con of the year was EsCon in San Diego, California.
This is a smaller board game con that we attended last year for the first time, but from last year to this year it showed so much growth. EsCon is in its 5th year and they moved to a new location which allowed for much more room to accommodate the increase in attendance.
Another exciting change this year is that they partnered with an UnPub (an event where game designers of un-published games can come demo and play test their game with people) and brought in a ton of games that people could come check out and play test.
The first day that we went was Saturday and it was the day of the UnPub. We were excited to play test some games and meet new people. When we first showed up we were greeting by Steve who runs the convention, who is a huge reason for the success of this convention and contributes a lot to the positive gaming community in the area.
He and his family do an amazing job with planning and putting on a fun and organized con. What is really cool about this con is that the playable game library available to the attendees is composed primarily from Steve’s 2000+ personal game collection. You can expect to see over a hundred top ranked and hard to find games in the game library.
Right away there was a large crowd of gamers filling up almost every table in the main play room of the venue. There is also a long hallway dedicated to a flea market where any con attendee can post games for sale without charge. We brought a few games ourselves to put up for sale and had great success in selling games that we love but just sadly don’t have room for anymore.
We made our way back to the UnPub section of the con and it was packed! We ended up spending the entirety of our first day at EsCon in the UnPub area playing four different games. A couple of our favorites were Code 3 by Black Key Games and a game called Deliverance by a local game maker.
Code 3 is a game that was recently successful in its funding on Kickstarter. It’s a very brightly colored, cop-themed cooperative game that has some really fun mechanics. We did what we could to keep the town in check with all the madness happening each round and ended up winning and had a great time playing this game.
Deliverance is a game that we were greatly looking forward to playing as we had seen it a few times at other cons; we had heard about it from a few well known board game reviewers (Sam Heely from the Dice Tower has spoken about it as one he is looking forward to). It definitely lived up to what we had heard about and we cannot wait till this game goes to Kickstarter.
It’s a skirmish game where the players cooperatively play as angels ridding a town from the evil demons that have been invading it. Each angel plays very different and when you combine that with the variable set-up cards, it makes for an exciting experience. Even though we ended up losing the game we wanted to immediately play again, but unfortunately it was nearing the end of the day and we knew we wouldn't have time to finish another game.
Along with the all-day game play there were lots of snacks made available to keep our energy up: they had a snack bar open that sold hot dogs, personal pizzas, grilled cheese, a nacho bar, candy, chip options, and tons of drinks. You don't have to leave to get good food with tons of options, which is usually very difficult at conventions, so that was a huge plus for EsCon.
We also went back to the convention on Monday to enjoy some more gaming. We were so excited that Moonshine Empire came down to play test their game. The creators of this game are amazing guys and they have created such a clever and fun game that will be coming to Kickstarter in March.
It’s a game about creating moonshine and delivering it to customers without letting the gators, sheriff, or other players steal it from you. Keep an eye out for it and you might see the inclusion of some Sand Box Gaming products :)
Here are links to more details on the games we talked about in the post:
Code 3 - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/code3game/code-3
Deliverance - https://deliverancethegame.com/
Moonshine Empire - https://moonshineempire.com/
EsCon occurs twice a year so if you will be in the Northern San Diego area watch for the summer EsCon details to come out. Hopefully we will get to see you there next time. We just went to Strategicon in Los Angeles last weekend and cannot wait to share all the fun we had there.