On tabletop of the world

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DayCon Game Day brings gamers of all stripes to Fairborn

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: The Uncharted Seas by Spartan Games, one tabletop gaming option at DayCon’s Game Day, Feb. 18; photos: Randy Miller

Like most great events, this Saturday’s DayCon Game Day 2017 started out as a small venture that quickly snowballed into something much bigger.

“Sometimes, you scratch your head and say, ‘How did we get into this?’” says Randy Miller, one of DayCon’s organizers.

What originally began as an idea from Miller and friends to attract “new blood” into historical miniatures gaming has grown into a day-long celebration of all things tabletop.

“I think we’ve got 43 games spread over three different timeslots,” Miller says, explaining DayCon is home to three different styles or types of games: board and card, tabletop miniatures, and role-playing games.

Miller is eager to share his love of a very specific category of tabletop games with others. “We are gamers that just play a lot of different genres of games,” Miller explains. “On the trajectory of tabletop miniatures, historical miniatures were super popular in the ’80s and ’90s. There were a lot of great miniature manufacturers, but [these days] there aren’t as many historical gamers.”

In recent years, other types of tabletop gaming have taken their place, reaching unprecedented popularity in the Miami Valley. Here, Miller and his gaming buddies saw an opportunity.

“We thought, ‘Gosh, we have so many different gamers in the area. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an event where we could showcase all the different styles and genres of games that we like to play, and maybe we could see some crossover between them?’” Miller says. “That was kind of the idea. We just saw some declining numbers in the number of historical gaming conventions in general, and in the attendance of those.”

DayCon organizers originally hoped for about 50 attendees, but as of this writing, about 100 have registered for the event, still days away. They expect even more by game day.

Well-known game vendors and publishers will be on hand throughout the event. Special guests at DayCon will include Dayton-area board, card, and role-playing game creators, eager to display their products and teach attendees how to play their games. Locally created games include Robot Rise, Bellum, and Cold Steel Wardens.

“We’ve got amazing game designers coming in,” Miller remarks. “A lot of regional game designers, all coming in and showcasing their flagship games. In addition to that, Mayfair Games is coming. It’s nice to have an introduction to games that you may not have seen before, some that are very unique and new.”

What makes DayCon really special compared to other gaming events in the area is the tantalizing selection of miniatures games on display.

“We’ve got a really interesting combination of games,” Miller says. “A chariot race game that’s fully three-dimensional, about a 5-by-4-foot colosseum, with actual chariots. We’ve got a Star Wars X-Wing trench run game. Star Wars X-Wing is a hybrid. It’s a board game, but you play it on a tabletop using pre-painted miniatures. We’ve got a local guy who’s built a Death Star that’s probably 5-feet-by-7-feet, and it’s got the trench. And then we have Kings of War, which is a fantasy-based tabletop miniatures game. So again, when you come to the event, you’re going to see all types of games.”

DayCon is no ordinary gaming experience, either. “When we say we’ve got some cool games,” Miller adds, “it’s just really unique terrain and eye-catching experiences that you’re not going to find at a regular Friday night game night.”

There are no less than 10 stores in the Miami Valley that sell board games, many of which host weekly gaming events. This boom in popularity has even lead to the opening of D20, a “board game bar,” in Kettering, the first of its type in the area.

Miller speculates on the recent surge in the popularity of tabletop gaming: “My wife and I […] think it’s really about social interaction. It’s tactile. There are people that you’re interacting with. I don’t know if that’s what it is, but it’s just fun. You get to hang out with friends.”

The result is quality time spent with people you care about. In Miller’s case, he’s finally been able to share his hobby with his wife and 15 year old, who never used to play games. It was the story-driven miniature board game Zombicide that finally brought them into the fold.

“Playing Zombicide is just like watching a movie. My wife…and my daughter fell in love with this game. So, believe it or not, instead of playing Sorry! or another traditional family kind of game on Friday nights, here we’re playing Zombicide, slaying a hundred zombies in about three hours. That’s pretty cool.”

DayCon Game Day takes place Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Rona Banquet Hall, 1043 Rona Parkway in Fairborn. Pre-sale badges are $10, and admission is $15 at the door. For more information, please visit DayConGaming.com.

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Josher Lumpkin
Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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