Gateway 2018: A Journey into the Heart of Los Angeles Gaming (Part 2)September 7, 2018
To read Part 1 of our Gateway 2018 coverage, click here.
Like any larger gaming convention, you’ll find the most foot traffic in the main hall and vendor room. Whether you’re looking for an overview of a certain game or searching for a copy of the latest board games, there were opportunities galore at Gateway 2018.
In the main hall there were several tournaments, gaming 101s (rules explanations), and ongoing events such as paint-and-take-home miniatures. For most of the day the ballroom was a flurry of activity, with most attendees making it a point to stop in to check out the action.
It’s this wide range of gaming that remains one of my favorite things about every Strategicon. It’s all made possible thanks to the tireless efforts of the many volunteers. One of them is Antoinette Cisneros, a first-time volunteer in the party games department.
“I was nervous at first,” she said. “It was like the first day at a new job. I didn’t know anyone.”
Cisneros ended up bonding with her fellow volunteers during their long shifts together and she’s looking forward to volunteering at next year’s conventions.
“My favorite part was everyone in our crew,” she said. “Everyone was easy going and I had a great time. I honestly didn’t want to go to the Lower Lobby to game because I wanted to stay with our crew.”
According to Strategicon Director of Marketing Eric Downing, attendance exceeded 2,400 during the Labor Day Weekend and planning for the next convention, Orccon in February 2019, starts soon.
“This is our long break so we take the time every year to evaluate how the previous year went, figure out what needs to be changed/fixed,” he said. “We fired on most cylinders this show, with a few relatively minor issues, so the whole staff deserves praise.”
The vendor room was once again anchored by Strategicon mainstay The War House, a Long Beach gaming store that’s been around for decades. There were also retailers selling gaming-related accessories and a few independent publishers demo-ing their latest games.
After I resisted the temptation to buy new games (I got my new-game fix thanks to the math trade and virtual flea market), I met up with a few of my fellow Twitter board gamers. It’s always nice meeting social media folk in real life and getting to play games with them is a thrill.
“I don’t necessarily attend this convention to try the new, hot games, but to hang out and enjoy the chill environment,” Meeple Lady said. “Since I only attended one day this time, I focused all my time on gaming with friends. I normally sign up for a long wargame or a civilization-building game for one of the days I’m there, but didn’t do that this time.”
Along with Twitter regulars BoardGameGeekCA, Kiki, Ben O’Steen, Albert Le, and other local gamers, Meeple Lady played Trickerion, Sidereal Confluence, and other games. I managed to join them for an 11-player game of Welcome To ...
Le appreciated the chance to connect with board gamers he knew from Twitter. “The highlight for me was being able to play games with both my local game group and friends I’ve only interacted with through social media,” he said. “I mainly stayed in opening gaming most of the con.”
Despite the lack of quality air conditioning and wi-fi in the Lower Lobby (aka The Dungeon), attendees managed to pack the open gaming room throughout the long weekend to enjoy their favorite hobby.
“I normally measure the success of a convention, personally, by how many new games I learn and how many ‘fires’ I have to put out,” said Board Games Supervisor Shane Sauby. “While I didn’t get any new games in, there was only the two things that I had to deal with and everything else went smoothly [and] I was lucky enough to spend most of Saturday with friends who do not normally make it to con.”