When we first arrived in Canada, tabletop gaming was integral in how we made friends. It was through RPG.net that we met the lovely couple who took us in that first week, and showed us around this strange new city. Once we got our own place, the first thing I did was Google local game stores and went directly there, where I met many of the friends I still have today. And I still use tabletop gaming as an ice-breaker for making new friends.
So when I discovered a new tabletop gaming convention was having its first event back in 2014, I knew I had to be there. And I've been going every year since.
Terminal City Tabletop Convention, or TCTC, is a weekend long tabletop celebration started by one man, and has been my favourite annual event of the year four years running. This years TCTC was March 4th and 5th, and I'm already looking forward to next years. Every year I anxiously await the chance to playing with friends I only get to see at the con, as well as making more new friends every year. My phone contacts list is filled with "John TCTC", "Michelle TCTC", and so on, and my group email gaming list grows every March.
TCTC is a great opportunity to play old favourites with new opponents, try brand new releases, classics that you missed, or just something different. Better yet, there has been strong support since the very first year for independant local developers to show off their in-development creations and get feedback on them. Prototype Alley is always a busy corner of the convention floor, and this year, there was even a new award and prize for the most promising prototype submitted, backed by support from Panda Game Manufacturing. I played a bunch of stuff all weekend, and taught a whole bunch more, but I'll leave those details for another post.
One of the more popular areas of TCTC on the Saturday is the silent auction, which started in 2015 with just a few small tables on the stage area, grew last year to fill every inch of space available on the tables, to this year where the stage quickly burst its banks and flooded onto several overflow tables off to one side. The auction gives attendees the chance to bring along and sell games they no longer play, and pick up games they might be interested in second-hand. I've sold something at every auction to date, and usually buy sometihng as well, but this year I was way too busy playing games to bother with the stress of trying to outbid others that I just didn't bother.
I love teaching games. I bring a few bags filled with games I'd like to play or teach, and I do end up spending a lot of time sharing out my collection and teaching others to play while I play something else, or even go teach another game and drift between both as the group play their first few turns. TCTC has a Game Steward system to help attendees pick out and learn new game. Seeing as how I love teaching anyway, it made sense to sign up and help out. I ended up teaching probably over half a dozen games, including Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Tsuro, Onitama, Tak, Patchwork, Santorini, and four different games of Captain Sonar!
One thing that struck me as odd was the number of requests for two-players games. I forget that although I'm there to play with as many people as possible, some folks are there to find new games to play with their partner. It made me wish I'd brought my copy of Quoridor along.
If I had one complaint it was that it had become too popular for its current venue. I'm delighted to see it grow and grow, because that means more people for me to become friends with, but it's outgrowwn it's current space. In previous years, numbers have been limited to comfortable levels and I felt that everyone had a table to be at all weekend. This year, Saturday especially, there were plenty of folks wandering the hall looking for a corner of a table to set up and game on. People seemed to be on top of each other, careful not to knock into the gmae beside you with your elbow while you played your game. At one point, we had to move out to the hallway and use two tables in the public access area. Thankfully, while I was writing this post, it has been annouced that TCTC 2018 will take place in a much larger venue! Woot!
Year after year Terminal City Tabletop Convention has been a great experience, meeting and making friends, playing a bunch of games and having a great time. It's the kind of thing I wish we had more often in Vancouver, but it's extra special because it's only once a year.
Roll on 2018!