Big Events Happening This Weekend at Strategicon, L.A.’s Largest Gaming ConventionAugust 31, 2018 Off By Ruel
Tabletop fans from all over converge in Los Angeles this weekend for Gateway 2018, the final of three annual gaming conventions hosted by Strategicon. From board games and miniatures to party games and role-playing games, Gateway 2018 offers plenty of opportunities for players to find what they’re looking for on the tabletop.
With over 900 gaming events being held this weekend at Gateway, gamers won’t find themselves wondering what to do with a free hour or two. According to Board Games Supervisor Shane Sauby, the events cover the gamut of gaming, with one of the biggest events celebrating its fifth anniversary: The Power Grid World Tour.
“This is a series of events I created in 2014 that spans all three conventions each year,” Sauby said, “and allows players to play many of the different maps that are available for Power Grid.”
Every year Strategicon holds three gaming conventions on holiday weekends: Orccon on Presidents Day Weekend in February, Gamex on Memorial Day Weekend in May, and Gateway on Labor Day Weekend in September. As each convention grows (expected turnout this weekend is over 2,000 attendees), Sauby recognizes the challenges in running such a sprawling operation, from organizing an all-volunteer staff to maintaining an Excel spreadsheet of the convention’s events.
“Getting that many people into a hotel and playing games I feel is an achievement,” he said. “And we do this three times a year, which according to my family and friends with convention experience, is just nuts. But we are passionate about this show and providing opportunities to our community, so we do it with a smile.”
In addition to the scheduled events and tournaments, there are games seemingly tucked into nearly every nook and cranny of the LAX Hilton. Besides the main ballroom, a lower-level open gaming area is available to attendees 24 hours a day until the convention ends. Gamers can bring their own games or they can take advantage of the con’s game library, which offers hundreds of games to borrow, along with lots of suggestions of what to play.
For those looking to buy some of the hot new titles or pick up a hard-to-find game, Gateway has a few options, whether it’s the dealer room for retail purchases or the flea market outside of the main ballroom. Additionally, like any good gaming convention, there’s a math trade regularly run by Rick Baptist, with hundreds of games being traded.
“Math trades can seem daunting to a newbie but it’s really not that difficult once you do it one time,” Baptist said. “It’s a great tool that allows you to have complete control of what you want to trade for what. Our math trades are usually giant successes.”
As gamers play until the wee hours throughout the weekend, the scheduled events run smoothly thanks to Sauby and the volunteer staff. And even with so much to do, Sauby still manages to play a game or two during the con; he’s especially excited about the return of his favorite Gateway event, the spaceship bridge simulator Artemis.
“We did not have [the Artmeis] event for a couple of years,” he said. “Now it has returned, with a new volunteer, new technology, with updated and upgraded game-play. We are lucky enough to have a staff time specifically set aside, since many of us can’t get away during the normal operating hours.”
Gateway 2018 runs Friday through Monday, August 31-September 3, 2018, at the LAX Hilton. For more information, visit the Strategicon website.
About The Author
Ruel Gaviola is a writer based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, Star Wars, and date nights with his wife. He writes for Geek & Sundry and iSlaytheDragon, podcasts for The Five By, and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name.