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Con Review: DunDraCon 42

DunDraCon celebrated its 42nd year, and that can only mean it celebrates three things: life, the universe, and everything.

And also lots of tabletop games, of course.

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DunDraCon is, as the name would suggest, a convention celebrating tabletop games, from “Dungeons & Dragons” to “Connect Four,” and everything in-between. Game rooms were filled with tables for games of all shapes and sizes, and were constantly filled with players. Another room was set aside with games for younger attendees to enjoy, and sign-ups were set up for players to find a new game to enjoy.

Some games, however, were too large to be confined to a single table. Some games took up massive table spaces, filled with modeled maps and intricately detailed miniatures. The intense games were not for the short of patience, but created some truly epic gaming tales.

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Additionally, game designers could test out their upcoming products at the “Protospiel” tables, where they’d demonstrate their games in progress. Anyone looking to learn a new game before it hits the stores and help with the playtesting could sit down and have fun, and their feedback was essential for the designers.

Naturally, “Dungeons & Dragons” was a big part of it. D&D Adventurers League games ran throughout the weekend, with tables for experienced players and beginners alike. Saturday night ended with an Epic – a multi-table event where players worked together to complete quests and missions within the time limit, saving the day as a team and fighting off an army of angry undead pirates.

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Similarly, Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society games had a large presence as well. “Pathfinder” has been a popular alternative to “Dungeons & Dragons” ever since D&D 4e chased a large portion of its fanbase away, and “Starfinder” has taken the game to a new interstellar level by placing the game in space. Experienced DMs were at the ready, running adventure paths for players throughout the weekend.

For those who felt pen and paper aren’t quite enough, there were plenty of LARP games that attendees could sign up for. Anyone wanting to get even more active could pick up a foam sword and learn how to spar, or sit back and watch experienced fighters from the Society for Creative Anachronism go at it.

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As such, there were a fair amount of costumers about. While not like a comic or anime convention, where cosplayers are the norm, it still wasn’t unusual to see attendees dressed in medieval finery, or wearing armor before going out to bash someone with a foam weapon.

For those who wanted to go shopping, there was a fine selection of games and goods in the Dealers Hall. As part of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide” theme, special towels were also on sale, for as we know, a towel is the most useful item an intergalactic hitchhiker can have. Those looking for rarer items or deals might be able to find a lucky sale in the Bazaar, where people could rent table space to sell their old games, books, and miniatures to collectors on the lookout.

The San Ramon Marriott proved a fine location for the convention, with plenty of room for the games and fine food options. A shopping area with cheaper eateries was a short walk away, so people weren’t forced to spend hotel prices. However, parking proved very difficult for anyone arriving past nine in the morning, which was a common complaint throughout the weekend (though one of the only complaints to be had).

As it was the 42nd DunDraCon, the convention was sure to celebrate “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” A trivia contest on Saturday let players test their knowledge about the book series and could win prizes, and Sunday held a parade of towels, followed by tea and cookies. It was a fitting celebration of the literary classic.

Throughout the long weekend, there were games to be played, miniatures to be painted (at the free painting table, which is always welcome), and fantasy fights to be won. For anyone who enjoys tabletop games, it was a good weekend indeed.

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About rpleasant

A would-be writer, who enjoys living the geek life and indulging in comics, cosplay, anime, and more. He hopes to one day have something created that other people can enjoy and review, but until then continues to work on various projects such as parodies and short stories.

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