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STG Con Review

When you’ve got a fever and the only cure for said fever is more board games, what you need is to attend a board game convention! Board games galore, people who actually understand your love for tabletop gaming (and maybe even surpass your love for it!), freebies…Let’s be real; board game conventions are everything you are missing in your life.

I was fortunate enough to attend STG Con this year. ConSTG Con is a board game convention located in St. George, Utah. It began in 2015 and the convention organizers plan to continue on the growing tradition. The convention I attended took place from August 4-6, 2017. This was my second time attending this particular convention, my first being in 2015 during its inaugural year. I enjoyed STG Con my first year, and was excited for the opportunity to attend again this year, and it did not disappoint. I attended with my wife and a friend who lives in St. George, and with our powers combined, we set out to have a most enjoyable experience.

Allow me to take you on a guided tour of the ins and outs of STG Con.

Join me as I guide you through the inner workings of STG Con!

Inside the Convention
There was a lot going on inside the convention, the most obvious of which included (wait for it…) people playing board games. But a convention is much more than just playing games (although that’s what the bulk of the time is taken up with). Here’s what those in attendance experienced.

Open Play Area
As is important in a board game convention, there was a dedicated room to playing board games. Because STG Con is a smaller convention, the room wasn’t particularly large, although it didn’t feel crowded, either. Along the outside perimeter of that room were hallways with tables lining the walls. These tables were also filled with gamers, and the hallways provided a bit more solitude from the family-friendly gaming room.

The main game area.

More gaming tables lined the outside of the main gaming area.

I appreciated that the hosts of STG Con had optioned to make the main gaming room family friendly. We brought our 10-month-old baby with us (our 2-year-old stayed home with Grandma), and while there wasn’t much room for him to crawl around, we did find space to box him in and distract him with toys. He also crawled around between tables on occasion, and everyone who crossed his path was incredibly nice to him and didn’t seem to mind his presence in the slightest. That right there is a fine example of the type of people that attended STG Con. Everyone was so nice and friendly, which helped ease our concern about having a young child there with us, and subsequently allowed us to have an even more enjoyable time. We made friends with a few groups of strangers while we were there as well, which made gaming even better.

Game Library
STG Con boasts an impressive game library, especially considering the small nature of the convention. Anyone with a convention pass could check out any game they wanted (assuming it was available). Games ranged from super light to massively heavy (in both physical and mental weight). Those running the game library were friendly and helpful in helping us find new games to play.

Game Demos
Each day, certain games were taught to those interested. This made it easy for folks to learn new games without having to figure it out by themselves. A few games that were taught included Vast: The Crystal Caverns, Incan Gold, Mysterium, and Cthulhu Wars (the same Cthulhu Wars of which I reviewed the Windwalker Expansion). Of course, more games were taught than just these, but it provided an easy way to enjoy a new game with someone who knows all the ins and outs, because sometimes, rule books are the last thing you want to read.

About to start learning Amasser Dragons by ShawnSolo Games.

The good folks at STG Con gave away a ton of things, most of which were games (although some food certificates were also handed out). Each person that registered – either in advance or at the door – received raffle tickets, which tickets were drawn at the close of each day and the lucky winners received special prizes. That always brought an added sense of excitement to the convention.

Aside from raffle tickets, gamers could check out games from the Play-to-Win library and, after they finished playing and checked it back in, they entered their name to win that particular game. I myself spent some time playing games from that section (which included Adrenaline and Titan Race, just to name a few) in hopes of winning one of them. Alas, I did not win, but I had a great time playing the games, which is the whole purpose of attending these things. There were around 50 games in the Play-to-Win section, which is quite a bit!

What’s a weekend of games without some friendly competition? STG Con held a number of tournaments of various games each day. I participated in a few of them, including the X-Win tournament on Friday night. I came second place in that tournament (I’ll refrain from mentioning there were only two players – me and one other – due to some confusion regarding the date and the need to bring one’s own squad), and won not only a pretty sweet 3D printed “runner up” medallion, but a new X-Wing ship as well!

Vader vs. Vader made for a rather interesting dogfight.

Other tournaments included Captain Sonar, Coconuts, and Code Names: Pictures, just to name a few. I participated in the latter two mentioned, and botched the end of both games, effectively showing myself the proverbial door. Still, I had a ton of fun, even if I did ruin our chances at Code Names: Pictures by choosing the tile with the spy instead of the winning image. But hey, that’s part of the game, right?

The concentration is real during Mayday Games' Macroscope tournament.

The winner and runner up of the Coconuts tournament.

Even when I wasn’t participating in the tournaments, they were fun to watch. Everyone was very much into them, and the tension was palpable in a lot of them (if not all). And, no matter the outcome, there were always smiles and a lot of laughing.

The Captain Sonar tournament looked intense!

Silent Auction
In order to help pay for the convention, the organizers of STG Con set up a silent auction in which people could secretly write down their bid for a certain game. There were quite a few games (and bags of games) to choose from. Unfortunately, it didn’t look like a lot of games were sold in this manner. Personally, I think some of the games had the minimum bid set a bit too high, which deterred some potential buyers, but those are lessons learned for next time.

Silent Auction

Flea Market
The first place I went when I entered the gaming hall was the Flea Market. This is where convention goers could drop off their games – coupled with the asking price and the seller’s phone number – and try and make an extra buck or two. I brought in a handful of games myself, but only ended up selling two. Still, that’s twenty-five dollars in my pocket that I didn’t have before, and a little extra shelf space for other games. There were quite a few good looking games in the Flea Market, and a good number of transactions took place. It’s always fun to find a game you’ve been looking for at a pretty good price, and that’s exactly what the Flea Market had to offer.

Sell your games, make money, buy more games!

Aside from gamers, the main gaming hall had a few vendor booths set up, most of which were game stores (I may or may not have used the money received from the Flea Market to buy some Star Wars Destiny boosters from one such store…). There was one game designer there, however, that had a large booth set up. This was ShawnSolo Games, designer and producer of Amasser Dragons, a game in which players take on the role of dragons, fly around the countryside, fight monsters, gather gold, and fight each other. While not a very well known game, I actually had the chance of playing it earlier this year, which both surprised and delighted Shawn Wilson – the game designer – and his wife. My wife and I ended up talking with them for a little while, and found them to be quite down to earth and enjoyable people. Shawn mentioned he’s working on another game, and I’ll be quite interested to play that when it releases.

A fun wheel to spin at one of the vendor booths.

Atmosphere plays a huge role in events like STG Con. A location that fits everyone but doesn’t feel right just won’t work. Fortunately, the atmosphere at STG Con was stellar; everyone had a great time, and the feeling of fun and excitement permeated the convention at all times.

While there were plenty of games to play and giveaways to win, the best part of the convention was, by far, the people. Everyone I talked to radiated a kindness for others and a passion for gaming. This made talking with strangers easy (which, if you know me, isn’t something I’m too big on). Everyone was there to have fun, and that mindset helped everyone they came in contact with to have fun as well. And let’s be honest, at a convention as small as STG Con, everyone came in contact with most of the attendees quite frequently.  

Overall Thoughts and Impressions
In a nutshell, STG Con is a great experience. I met people who were frequent con attenders, and some whose attendance at STG Con was their first ever board game convention. Whether a convention veteran or first-timer, everyone looked to be having a great time, and I was no exception.

My wife and I had a blast playing with others in tournaments, helping people learn games, and simply talking with others. My friend who I brought along said he had a great time as well, and he’s not what one would call a “hardcore gamer.” He like games, but doesn’t play often. This, too, was his first board game convention, and when I invited him up to SaltCon next year, he didn’t hesitate when he agreed to come for that one as well. Looks like we have a new gamer in our midst!

STG Con, while small, packs a punch of fun and excitement. The organizers are friendly and love what they do, which certainly helps the experience of all involved. I was sad when it ended and wished I had more time there, but, all good things must come to an end, and STG Con was no exception. I anticipate its arrival next year (and hope I am able to attend once again).

I won’t rate the convention like we normally do board games, but hopefully you are able to determine if you’d like STG Con or not for yourself from what I’ve written. To be perfectly candid, I thought it was great. Here are a few takeaways from the convention:

The Good:
-       Small size encouraged meeting new players and making new friends.
-       The people (both organizers and attendees) are amazing!
-       Fun atmosphere.
-       Lots of board games.
-       Giveaways!
-       Not a lot of vendors to distract our playing of games.
-       Close to many of Utah’s beautiful state parks.

The Bad:
-       Small size left some things lacking
-       Tournaments were less than organized (we waited over half an hour past the start time for the X-Wing tournament to begin, and similar wait times hampered other tournaments as well).
-       Not a lot of vendors to visit with and try out their wares.
-       Not very close to other cities (Las Vegas is the closest big city, about 120 miles away).

Final Thoughts:
Did STG Con have flaws? Of course it did; what event doesn't? But that didn’t stop me and hundreds of others from enjoying and immersing ourselves in our board games. Some people don’t like the small feel of the convention, but that’s their prerogative. Personally, I liked its small feel, especially since there were less people trying to play the same game I wanted to play, thus having it always vacant from the game library (that was a problem I faced up at SaltCon earlier this year).

If given the chance to go again, I certainly would. And when I do, I hope to see you there as well.

Check out STG Con on:


About the Author:

Benjamin Kocher hails from Canada but now lives in Utah with his wife and kids. He’s a copywriter, social media manager, freelance blogger, and SFF author. When he’s not writing, Benjamin loves to lose himself in the wonderful world of tabletop games, especially those with a rich, engaging theme. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and read his board game-inspired fiction at BenjaminKocher.com.

STG Con Review STG Con Review Reviewed by Benjamin Kocher on August 14, 2017 Rating: 5

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