It’s official: GeekGirlCon ’13 is on like Donkey Kong! Feeling lucky? Traverse down to the lower level of the Seattle Conference Center. There you’ll find a den of gaming wonder all weekend.
Are you exploring GeekGirlCon with a child or two? Family favorites like Connect Four and Jenga can be found here. Bring the little ones on by for endless entertainment.
Do tabletops littered with cards make your competitive streak come out? From Munchkin to Revolution! to Magic: The Gathering, you can shuffle, play, and deal all day.
Of course, no gaming section is complete without Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons. Classic role-playing games will bring longtime fans and new learners together for optimal fun.
Geeks needing a video game fix can kick back for a bit with controllers in hand, too. Who wouldn’t like a minute of Peggle to top off this nerdtastic event?
Whether you had to miss Saturday’s sessions or you’ll be returning on Sunday for more, be sure to hit up GeekGirlCon’s awesome game-related panels tomorrow! Starting at 10:00 a.m., “Writing for Role-Playing Games” will get you in touch with your inner author.
Next up at 11:00 a.m. is “How to Build Inclusive and Welcoming Game Communities,” where you can learn tips on expanding your gaming circle.
The “Gaming and Comics Panel” at noon is sure to be bursting with color and comedy as panelists discuss connecting role-playing techniques with cartoon story building.
Multi-generational gamer families will appreciate the 2:00 p.m. panel, “The Family Who Games Together.” Parents and their offspring of all ages can share their passion for playing games, and discuss the triumphs and tribulations of growing together through these unique bonding experiences.
Round out your weekend at 4:00 p.m. by catching “QUEER GEEK!: Women in Gaymer Communities.” This important discussion will touch on establishing, growing, and keeping gamer communities safe for queer girls, women, and more. Anyone interested in fostering a respectful, safe, and fantastic community for gay gamers should be sure to attend!
We hope your first day at GeekGirlCon ’13 has been filled with laughter, learning, and lots of playtime! If you haven’t been able to join us yet, we hope to see you tomorrow, at GeekGirlCon ‘14, or at any of our geeky events throughout the next year. Game on!
by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
I am often asked, “But is GeekGirlCon okay for kids?” As an involved member of the GeekGirlCon community, and a mom, I always answer with an enthusiastic “YES!”
One of the most family-friendly aspects of GeekGirlCon is the gaming floor. At GeekGirlCon ‘11, we spent hours at the Steve Jackson Games table playing Munchkin and learning new versions of the game. Steve Jackson games appeared at GeekGirlCon ‘12 and returns to GeekGirlCon ‘13. They produce over a hundred varieties of board, card, and dice games with geeky twists.
Look for Bhaloidam Adventure, a game designed to help you tell stories; Cheapass Games, a company that has been making affordable games for almost two decades; Green Ronin Publishing; Paizo, who will be running one-hour demos of The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game; Story Games, presenting several of their peer-to-peer tabletop RPGs; Valor, a game for those at least in their teens and older meant to increase performance in both combat and challenge for in-game characters; and Wizards of the Coast, to give your dungeon crawling skills a workout.
Game designer Keith Baker will be talking about games and running demos all weekend. So check out The Doom That Came To Atlantic City and get an early peek at his latest game, Phoenix: Nine Deaths. Kenny Owens will guide you through playing “staple” board games, such as Settlers of Catan, and helping you figure out other games you’ve always wanted to learn.
Want to have your own figurine for game play? You can attend the workshop to “Learn to Paint Miniatures and Take One Home!” Privateer Press is sponsoring this workshop in room LL1 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Stop on by to paint your own miniature to add as a part of your own tabletop and board game play, and you’ll have a fantastic GeekGirlCon ‘13 souvenir!
Other workshops include LARPing and designing a tabletop RPG in an hour! Don’t know how to LARP? First, attend the session to learn the basics of live action role-playing by LARP Master Shoshana Kessock, then spend a couple hours putting your new skills to use. Want to expand your RPG library? Andy Munich is there to help new players and seasoned campaigners learn and play a variety of games.
My family has also enjoyed the Game Lending Library. GeekGirlCon ‘13 has loads of board and card games for you to try. We found a bunch of new games we later added to our board game collection by playing some of these generously loaned games.
Don’t miss the EA/PopCap Games console game room, generously repeating their hosting the console room during GeekGirlCon ‘13. You and your family can enjoy EA and Popcap games on XBOX 360 and iPads. This year, a raffle benefiting a local Seattle charity with a mission to encourage girls to pursue STEM education and careers can benefit you with some marvelous prizes. Consult your Strategy Guide to learn more.
Not to mention all the panels on game-related topics, such as “Women in Gaming, Female Characters in Game Design,” “Let’s Make a Game Right Now,” “20 years of MYST,” “You Should Make Games!,” “Yuri Anime/Manga Battle!,” “Writing for Role-Playing Games,” “How to Build Inclusive & Welcoming Gaming Communities,” “Gaming and Comics Panel,” “The Family Who Games Together,” and “#1REASONWHY,” among others. Please note that not all the panels listed here are necessarily family-friendly.
But wait, there’s more! Gaming isn’t the only thing you can do with your family. While our science programming is for all ages (so a great spot for families), bring your kids to out “Edible Astronomy” panel, “Ask the Astronomers,” and “Making Science Fun: For girls, Boys, and Everyone.”
Other programming exists for your kids. Your teens may want to learn about strong female characters in young adult literature, or your cosplaying kid may want to get an intro to costume craft and cosplay, or your comic-enthusiast child may want to learn about keeping girls real in comics, or your Star Wars fan may want to learn about all the opportunities for all the ways to enjoy their favorite galaxy far, far away.
Want to connect with other parents—whether you, your kids, or all of you are geeks? We’ve got programming for you, too. Attend a workshop called “You and Your Connected Kid” about safety, privacy, identity, and plagiarism, while being media-positive and encouraging use of social media. “The Family Who Games Together” is a panel to talk with you about being a multi-generational gaming family.
Maybe your kids aren’t interested in panels. The Exhibitor Hall and Artist Alley offer fun and engagement. And your kids will not want to miss all the cosplay. In fact, the Zelda family will attest to the fun of cosplaying together! And your kids will not want to miss all the cosplay. At GeekGirlCon ’12, the Zelda Family, the Darth Vader Princess (Darth Makenna), the little Wonder Woman, the robot, and every other outfit left us “ooo”-ing and “aww”-ing. These young children are truly our future, so thank you for encouraging them to ask questions, think critically, and believe in themselves.
So come on out to GeekGirlCon ‘13 for your gaming interests, a safe place for your family, and all your geeky indulgences! Children under 5 are free and ages 6-10 are only $5! Get your passes now, pick them up Friday afternoon (so your children need not wait in line), and bring your family to a weekend of geekery they won’t want to miss!
Guest post by GeekGirlCon Manager of Gaming Alyssa Jones
World of Warcraft: 4th place at the 3v3 PvP tourney!
My journey to Geekdom is perhaps slightly different than my fellow GeekGirlCon cronies. My story is about a shy girl looking in from the outside of the Geekverse.
Although I didn’t think so at the time, my family was actually incredibly geeky throughout my adolescence. We’d watch Next Generation every Sunday, played hours of Golden Eye, and fought over who got to be Storm when we were pretending to be X-Men (I won, by the way).
But my life at home did not reflect my time at school. In kindergarten (at the not-so-far-from-infancy age of 5), my classmate informed me that Power Rangers were for babies. I was Shy Level: Hinata (extremely shy), so finding new friends didn’t really seem like an option at the time.
Observing the effects of the Void on video games at PAX 2010
As I changed schools, I adjusted by finding other, more relatable interests. But I always had my eye on that table in the back of the library where the boys were playing Magic: The Gathering, discussing their D&D characters, or going on about how to get flame arrows in Ocarina of Time (which I already knew), but I was still too shy to join in.
Eventually, I felt so disconnected from Geekdom, that I started to feel unworthy of donning the title. I didn’t (and still don’t) know how to build a great Magic deck, I watched Dragon Ball Z, but not GT, and I could never remember how many sides my attack die had. Since video games were the only medium I felt I was decent at, I turned in my Nerd Badge for a Gaming License, and was known to all as a Gamer.
In my freshman year of college, I hit level 60 with my priest in World of Warcraft. At the time, I played WoW a lot (as in, “I only know the day of the week because of the raiding schedule,” a lot). My dorm R.A. actually held a mini intervention one day when I neglected to walk to the cafeteria with the rest of the dorm. Naturally, I was excited to be level cap, but I didn’t expect any of my real life friends to care.
However, the next day, I walked into the common room after class to find that my friends had planned a party to congratulate me on getting to 60. There was even a cake (not a lie)! I was shocked that they cared about that part of my life. When I asked why they had decided to throw a party, they explained that since my birthday was in the summer, this was the closest way they could celebrate the passing on to another year/level.
Having way too much fun with paint. Moon Prism POWER!
And then they said it: “You’re a geek, Lyss. This is probably better than your birthday for you anyway.” This was the first time anyone had ever labeled me as Geek. I was surprised that the people whom I had excluded from my geeky side were well aware of it. Turns out, I couldn’t contain all the geek.
They say admittance is the first step to acceptance and in my case it was true. Since that day, I’ve let myself be more open about what I love. I don’t let the fear of being a total noob ruin my chance to learn something new. Now that I’m a staff member at GeekGirlCon, I love that I get to help others find and release their inner Geek.
It’s summertime, which means that besides doing family chores and playing in the pool, the tweens are enjoying their free time by playing games. I asked my kids and their friends about some of the games they are playing this summer. They are going under the names Mei, damage6, Haruhi, and Boyzsuckjkjk*.
League of Legends (LoL) came up as the game to play this summer by several of these just-into-and-out-of middle school kids. The worst part of the game? “The players can be toxic, and will hate you forever if you do something that they don’t like,” reports damage6 about LoL. This sentiment was shared by all the kids playing LoL. Haruhi and Boyzsukjkjk both said, “The people are mean.” Even though damage6 plays League of Legends, he said he has no favorite games right now. He just likes to play, stating, “I play with people I don’t know and real life friends.”
Other games that were brought up included TFL, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Unanimously, the kids said their favorite part of these games is that they can play with their friends. A bonus of Animal Crossing is that you can customize, reports Mei. According to Gamersyndrome, characters, clothing, furniture, and interactions are customizable, giving a lot of individual play.
I also happen to know that Sonic and All Stars Racing: Transformers is being played nightly with one of these girls and her father. This is leading to family bonding and working together to reach goals of unlocking characters, mods, and more races.
What games are your favorites this summer?
*All names given in this post are gamer usernames or pseudonyms.
Did you know that today is International TableTop Day? Find a game to celebrate with this installment of Ask GeekGirlCon: What is your favorite tabletop game?
Betrayal at the House on the Hill
“My favorite tabletop game is Betrayal at the House on the Hill published by Avalon Games. Every time you play this game, there is a different scenario. You build the game board as you go, and every time a different set of circumstances triggers the big bad Haunt. There are dozens of endings to this game and I’ve never seen the same one twice. I remember the first time I played I was beyond intimidated because my friend had to pull out his giant binder of endings and I thought it was the rule book. Even though the game varies so much, it’s still easy to learn and easy to play. And did I mention everyone has the chance to randomly become a traitor? What’s more fun then turning on your friends half way through the game because you’ve lost your sanity and turned evil?” – Jex Ballard, Volunteer Program Manager
“We play a lot of games in our house but my favourite game to play would be Antoine Bauza’s Tokaido. Tokaido is simple, relaxing game where you and fellow players travel along from Tokyo to Edo on the famous Tokaido.
This is a simple game with point to point movement where each player chooses a traveler at random to travel one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. During your journey, you will buy souvenirs, eat amazing meals, visit temples, meet new people, and see gorgeous vistas all as you travel the East sea road.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
“It is so hard to choose a favorite! Right now, I would say it is Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. I had a lot of doubts when I picked up the game, as I have played many bad games based on TV shows or movies. Battlestar Galactica is a rare board game that is not just a lot of fun, it also remains true to the show. You really feel as though you are playing a character on Battlestar Galactica. While the game is mostly cooperative, one or more players are secretly cylons or cylon sympathizers working against the human crew. There is a lot of bluffing, deception, and deduction. This makes it fun to play over and over!” – Susie Rantz, Manager of Public Relations
Your turn, folks! What’s your favorite tabletop game? Any suggestions on what to play next?
Here’s today’s Geek Fact of the Day: The Sims launched on February 4, 2000. Happy Birthday to The Sims!
In honor of this nostalgic video game many of us played growing up (or still play today), we asked GeekGirlCon staff members to share their favorite video game from childhood. Check out some of their answers.
Elevator Action NES Cover
“Choosing only one game was really hard for me as I have so many good memories of game time growing up. However, there is one little known game that I always come back to partly because I played it so much and partly because almost no one has ever heard of it. It’s Elevator Action. In this 1983 NES classic you’re a thief trying to get into the hotel, steal the goods, and get to your getaway car (using the elaborate elevator system, of course) without getting shot by the good guys or squished by one of the many elevators. It’s partly puzzle, partly reactionary, and mostly just plain fun! There’s nothing better then hearing that short few notes that said you made it to the car and you’re headed to the next level!” – Jex Ballard, Manager of Volunteer Administration
“My brother and I LOVED Torin’s Passage. It’s a point-and-click PC game, and you play Torin, who’s on a quest to rescue his family from an evil sorceress called Lycentia. Torin travels to the “lands below” to worlds beneath the surface of the nested planet, through colossus crystal columns called phenocrysts. He is aided by a purple cat-like creature called Boogle, which is able to change itself into a variety of shapes. It’s got lots of fun puzzles (some of which were pretty hard for a children’s game), but the best part was the humor. The game was designed for parents to play with their kids, so a lot of the jokes went over my head as a child, but they are hilarious now. BRB, searching Ebay for Torin’s Passage…” – Amber Dawn Bushnell, Designer
“Frogger! At the end of every semester when I was in Catholic grade school, we had a school party day at the local roller rink, Rollero. I never had very good balance with wheels on my feet (I still don’t), so I spent most of my time–and lots of quarters!–in the little video arcade room. There was Donkey Kong, some ridiculous shooting ducks game, Ms Pac-Man (also a favorite), and then there was Frogger! For some reason I loved being the little green frog dashing across all those lanes of traffic. I wasn’t terribly good at it–we only went twice a year, plus a birthday party here and there–but I just loved it. Play the game here.” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter
“The game was simple: one button, one 2 ¼” trackball.* Me versus one determined centipede! I would play that game for an indeterminate amount of time on a pair of quarters at our local arcade. Once I played before a high school volleyball match and I played so long, that the next day, I had to hit the ball with my left hand because my right was so sore. If I see the game, I’ll get a nostalgic twinge and dig for quarters in my wallet so I can play.
“The coolest thing is that several years ago, I learned that the game was designed by Dona Bailey, one of the few female game programmers in the industry.
*The same size as a billiard ball.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
The Magic Map!
“When I was a kid, I bought King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow at my neighbor’s garage sale (for 25 cents!). It quickly became my favorite game of all time. As a kid, it was thrilling to use the game’s magic map and discover some seriously awesome lands. I loved that Sierra incorporated stories like Wonderland (the Isle of Wonder), Beauty and the Beast (Isle of the Beast), and Theseus and the Minotaur (Isle of the Sacred Mountain). Both my sister and I played through King’s VI many, many times – frequently as a team. I sincerely hope a King’s Quest reboot is on its way!” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator
“Mine was Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? One of my earliest memories of DOS games. My dad was a total astronomy enthusiast and just sat me down with this and I was hooked, engaged by the graphics and enthralled with researching V.I.L.E. operatives, planets, and moons. Since I love space, this definitely stood out for me more than any of the other games in the series. The imagination behind the dossiers was particularly impressive. I remember reading that thing more than a few times, for sure. A few years ago I wanted to play it again to see how it held up but there’s next to nothing on the Internet about that installment of the Carmen Sandiego series. Definitely the best one, too.” – Kathryn Storm, UX Designer
So readers, what’s your favorite childhood video game?
Hi folks! In this installment of Ask GGC, we asked our staff members about the most memorable gifts they’ve received. Read up on what some of them had to say:
“My first pet, a baby black and white kitten I named Domino! I asked for a cat (from Santa) when I was seven and decided to test Santa’s reality by putting my christmas list in a neighbor’s mailbox down the street (instead of my own where my parents could find it!) I never mentioned wanting a kitten to my parents, and I wanted one SO badly … and it turns out the neighbors found my letter and brought it back to my parents the next day. So Christmas morning, I woke up to a little black and white ball of fur under my neck! It was seriously one of the most magical moments from my childhood! I was convinced Santa was real!” – LB Chambers, Manager of Fundraising
Sarah’s gift: a talking Dalek!
“I dated a very nice guy several years back, and he was pretty good with gifts. For my birthday, he got me a pair of sterling silver earrings with pretty purple stones, and a gift card to Barnes and Noble — both right on the money. The best gift he ever got me came wrapped in the newspaper — comic section, of course. I opened as we were driving to dinner, and I remember bursting into delighted laughter. He got me a talking Dalek from Doctor Who — black case, flashing lights, rollers underneath it. When I hit the button it croaked out, ‘Exterminate the Doctor!’ and ‘Obey! Obey!’” – Sarah Grant, Copywriter
You can’t go wrong with Snoopy!
“One year, I asked Santa to bring me everything Snoopy … which were my exact words. ‘Bring me everything Snoopy!’ My mother saved all the letters, so there’s tangible proof. Among the avalanche of Snoopy memorabilia, two items tie for some of my most memorable gifts. There was the super-cool Snoopy snow cone machine that my cousins always wanted to use during the summer. It was a lot of work for a little treat! And I loved my Snoopy soap dispenser. The contraption attached to the counter with a suction cup, and it used a weird granular dry soap that looked like dry laundry detergent.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
“My most memorable gift was a Super Nintendo from my dad that was bundled with Donkey Kong Country when it first came out. We didn’t have much money growing up, so any kind of gift more than $50 wasn’t something I could hope for. My Pa and I used to play on the NES together (he’d ALWAYS AND FOREVER beat me at Tetris) so he thought of it as an investment in family time. My SNES still works perfectly, and I marathon Donkey Kong every so often!” – Meg Humphrey, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator
Stephanie and her boyfriend, Robert, celebrating after completing a half-marathon.
“My awesome boyfriend spoiled me on my birthday! He bought tickets for Wicked and got me a Camelback — complimenting my geeky and sporty interests.” – Stephanie Little, Web Administrator
Thanks, Staff! Readers, what was your most memorable gift?
Holidays are for the kids! Whether you have a geeky kid or are a geek who needs to buy for a kid, here’s your guide to geeky gifts for kids. Your guide writer here has kids ranging from baby to teen to buy for, and I’ve got some ideas for you.
We’ll start at the top: the teenager. Buying for teenagers is almost the toughest. They can be really picky and also pricey. First to ask, what is your teenager into? Mine is into cosplay. Here’s just a few:
Do you have a tabletop gamer in your universe who has been on the AWESOMESAUCE list? Can’t figure out what to get that d20 high roller? Well, take a gander at a few of these gift suggestions!
What’s great about DiXit is there are 3 expansion sets! That means more illustrations and endless fun!
Asmodee’s Dixit is a favorite in my household. My husband and I have introduced many of our friends to this fun game, which is recommended for folks as young as eight. With beautiful illustrations and tons of replay value, this game is sure to be a favorite with your geek.
Guesstures, 1st Edition
Guesstures, a table top twist of the game charades, is a classic for players 12 years old and up. Act out suggestions from drawn cards and have your team guess them all before the “mimer-timer” runs out.
Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook, 4th Edition
Now, I just started playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I am having a blast! Whether you’re a seasoned GM (game master) or it’s your first time picking up a character sheet, one can always benefit from some D&D swag!
Do you like some crafting along with your tabletop game? Warhammer is going strong. Visit the Seattle Bunker or a store near you to learn about all the armies and games Games Workshop has been developing. If you are a fan of The Hobbit, there’s a game to go along with it.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — The Bundle.
You can never go wrong with a couple of accessories! For the steampunk enthusiast, check out this steampunk dice set:
A plethora of dice is a tabletop gamer’s ally.
So many dice and no bags of holding in sight? Check out a few of these dice bags on etsy!
PAX 2012 was like PAX usually is: tons of stuff to see, lines to wait in, and free swag to get.
Just walking the show floor is an experience worth the cost of the badge, with grand displays set against the deafening noise of games and attendees. I’m always comparing it to a theme park: tiring, exciting, and fun. I played almost too many games to note, a couple of my favorites being the hilarious Octodad and The Walking Dead.
The moments I always remember, though, are the ones spent in random rooms on the second and third floor playing board games with friends and people I’ve only just met. It’s not just because I love tabletop; I think that this is where the community of PAX still lives on through the noise and the overstimulation of the exhibits. There’s a very simple joy in gaming that’s hard to find as you get older, and to be able to share that with your friends is a great feeling.
There’s also a great mix of simple, complex, lighthearted and serious tabletop games available in the library, so no matter who you are playing with (or where your exhaustion level is at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday), there’s something for you. Some of the highlights in tabletop for me were Ufology and Cards Against Humanity, which I had never played before this weekend.
Ryan Gosling may or may not have been at PAX…
Now all I have left is lots of sleep, a Magic the Gathering coloring book to do, and a list of games that I absolutely *must* buy. Oh, and a TMNT costume.