So many games to play: Gamicon kicks off this weekend in downtown Iowa City

Gamicon 2014 attendees settle into a  -- photo courtesy of Gamicon
A group of Gamicon 2014 attendees settle into a match. — photo courtesy of Gamicon

Gamers, your weekend has arrived. Gamicon, Iowa’s longest-running gaming convention, kicks off this Friday at 1 p.m. in downtown Iowa City.

Located at the Sheraton Hotel, the convention runs until Sunday at 3 p.m., and offers attendees a slew of board games, card and dice games, role-playing games and (of course) video games to sink their teeth into. Visitors are encouraged to learn new games, play for fun or even enter a tournament for the chance to win prizes. This year will also include a costume contest — a new addition for Gamicon.

On-site registration (located in the lower level of the Sheraton Hotel) will be available throughout the event, with passes ranging from $5-25.

Gamicon — a non-profit — encourages attendees to bring in their own games to teach, play or donate to the auction. All proceeds from the convention, including money from the auction, go to the upkeep of the convention and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital of Iowa City.

Every year, Gamicon also features special guests, and this year includes Dan Proctor of Goblinoid Games and Tyler Walpole, an Iowa City artist who has done work for various comics and games. The guests run games of their choosing.

“It’s an amazing treat to play a game with the creator/developer of said game!” said Gamicon committee member Ryan Smith-Burns.

This year is the 24th installment of Gamicon, but their first year in the Sheraton, after spending many years in the Iowa Memorial Union.

“The IMU was unsure that construction in/around the main ballroom would be completed by the time of our event. However, with the shift in venue, we’ve found a lot of new opportunities, like the option to hold later scheduled events,” said Smith-Burns.

Now, attendees have the option to reserve a room in the Gamicon block of the hotel for one of the nights or for the entire weekend. The Sheraton will also be able to hold more people than past years. Smith-Burns estimates around 450 attendees this year, which would be the most Gamicon has ever had.

Every year, Gamicon names their conventions after the corresponding Greek letter; this year is “Omega,” the 24th letter. Interestingly enough, it is also the final in the Greek alphabet, so Gamicon will be asking fans what next year’s “Gamicon 25” should be named.

“I’m sure that all those years ago, Gamicon Alpha’s staff did not expect this to continue into figuring out another numbering scheme, but we are very proud to continue their tradition of providing uplifting gaming experiences to a varied audience,” said Smith-Burns.

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