I decided on the spur of the moment to head down to TempleCon today. I sort of remembered that it was being held this month, but mostly ignored it, until a friend emailed me about it on Friday. There weren’t any events I was really interested in, and I wasn’t about to try running my own stuff, but I was curious to see it just to have the comparison point with other local cons. So Jenn and I hopped in the car and went down for an hour or so to just roam around and check it out.
The convention is in a large hotel down in Warwick RI, and it really sprawls about various rooms of the hotel. It took some time to get our bearings. The first room we entered was really more of a hall, but contained some tables of scenery on which a couple minis games were being held, and the War Store‘s booth. The War Store seemed to be packing mostly War Machine stuff, but had a few bits of generic scenery that were interesting. Not interesting enough to part me with any of my money though.
We found another large miniatures room next. Miniatures games seem to be the major thrust of this convention. At least, that’s where we saw the most people actively playing, and it looked like the most space was devoted to it.
Next we discovered the Rotunda, a very nice high ceilinged room which held several vendors. Nothing really grabbing there again, except a very eager author who seemed rather desperate to make a sale. I tried to be polite, but eventually just had to turn my back on the guy and walk out.
The board game room was a good size. We bumped into an old friend there who was helping demo some stuff. Looked like there was a mix of pre-registered events and a large library for more casual play, though the room looked pretty empty while we were there. Perhaps it was because it was late Sunday morning though.
There was an equally sized video game room, though even less people in this room. Maybe a quarter of the room seemed to actually hold machines being used by gamers, but the rest of the room was empty. No machines, no gamers, just empty tables. At this point though, I was starting to wonder where the heck the RPG players were hiding. We wandered about some more, and eventually finally discovered the Atrium, which seemed to hold about half the RPGs according to the schedule.
The atrium was a big sunny room with a lot of empty tables. Only one seemed to have an active game running. It was like the ghost town of conventions. Where were the gamers? Were we too late? Was our timing simply bad (it was almost noon by now, which should be about when one batch of games ended and the next started). We went back to peer at the map, and Jenn pointed out that there was an area called the “Clockwork Bazaar” which was supposed to hold more vendors, plus a room for minis and another for RPGs.
And bizarre it was. It appeared to be a long corridor with two good sized meeting rooms on one side, and normal hotel rooms on the other, though perhaps those rooms were a bit larger than normal hotel rooms. Each room on the left held a single vendor. Some of them did a reasonable job making their room appear more like a vendor area that I was supposed to be in. Others still had unmade beds from which they had clearly just dragged themselves, and I constantly felt like I was intruding on someone as I roamed around.
We poked our heads into the two meeting rooms. One was clearly full of 40k players. The other had about three tables (half the room’s allotment) of RPGs running. I was glad to have finally found some roleplayers at the convention, but was clearly feeling like roleplaying was not the major draw here.
So, there you have it, TempleCon. I was there mostly as a point of reference to compare to other conventions and to better decide what cons I’d like to attend next year. At this point, I’d say it’s unlikely I’d attend TempleCon next year. I’ll hold my judgment though at least until I’ve seen TotalCon in two weeks and can compare the two.
And of course now I’m really starting to anticipate GenCon. I think it may have been the scent memories triggered by the unique odor of a gaming convention, one part hotel sterile and one part gamer funk.