Southern California. Well-known for being the home of Hollywood, Disneyland, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Not to mention, sandy beaches, palm trees and nearly year-round 70-degree weather.
It comes as a surprise then, that there isn’t a big board game convention hosted in southern California, where gamers from across the country could visit and enjoy the best of the outside world in addition to our gaming habits. Currently, our choices include braving a crowd of 100,000+ for the very popular and broadly-themed Comic Con, or becoming good friends with the couple of thousand or so people who attend any of the multiple Strategicon events.
Too large and too small; we seem to be missing the sweet spot of a just-large enough convention that could attract more of the bigger players in the board game community.
A way to fill this gap could be to encourage the broader tabletop community to come together for a SoCal event, a member of the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society—Pacific Southwest Chapter (HMGS-PSC) said.
We were at Mini-Wars 2017, held by the HMGS-PSC at California State University, Fullerton last Saturday, September 30th.
Most prominent at the event were rooms with huge tables covered in highly-detailed war and miniature games.
The games spanned historical battlegrounds such as the Battle of Saalfeld in 1806, to sci-fi and fantastical worlds, such as a version of ancient Egypt, complete with a crocodile army.
Vendors and sponsors included Warlord Games, The Warhouse, Brookhurst Hobbies and Osprey Publishing.
And, for the first year, there was a room dedicated to board games.
Going through the war game rooms was a bit intimidating. The games were so large and detailed. They looked complicated; players rolling dice and talking out rule complications. When they referenced the rule book, one book was a homemade binder with dividers for six versions of the game.
Everyone was welcoming and excited to show off their work (the miniatures and sets are hand-painted and sometimes completely handmade).
Even though the war gamers were willing to chat and introduce us to their games, I was really more excited to see what the board game area would have in store.
What games did HMGS-PSC think could bridge the gap between war games and board games?
The board game area, while small this year, is a step in the right direction.
To me, board games are a little less intimidating than war games, more likely to attract a wider audience, and families. Perhaps board games are a gateway to war games?
We will have to find out, as HMGS-PSC hopes to make Mini-Wars an annual event. We hope to see you there next year!
Here’s what we could find as far as other annual board game and tabletop game events in the Southern California area.
SoCal Tabletop Events
ES Con – January – Escondido – tabletop games, board games, card games.
Strategicon: OrcCon – February – Los Angeles – featuring board games, card games, miniatures, role-playing, and collectibles.
Strategicon: Gamex – May – Los Angeles – featuring board games, card games, miniatures, role-playing, and collectibles.
Strategicon: Gateway – September – Los Angeles – featuring board games, card games, miniatures, role-playing, and collectibles.
Mini-Wars – September – Fullerton – featuring war and miniature games as well as board games.
SoCal Open – October – San Diego – featuring tabletop gaming events and tournaments.
SoCal Games Day – November (variable dates) – Burbank – strategy games, abstract board games, family games and card games.
San Diego Historical Games Convention – November – San Diego – miniatures, board games and tournaments with historical themes.
Are we missing any of your favorite local events? Let us know in the comments!