Gottacon 2014 descends on Victoria

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Now that Toronto’s Fancy Videogame Party is in the books, we’re turning our attention to the other side of the country. Gottacon 2014 kicks off today at the Victoria Conference Centre in Victoria, B.C., so you’ll want to check out the festivities if you’re in the area.

Unlike many hybrid cons – the glorified comic-cons that have expanded to incorporate other elements of the nerd lexicon – Gottacon is an entire weekend devoted exclusively to gaming. The veteran organizing committee expects to draw more than 2,000 players (the first iteration attracted 600 people in 2009).

To that end, the Gottacon program features play sessions for hundreds of RPGs, board games, card games, video games and miniatures, ensuring the convention will have something for gamers of every persuasion. Seasoned combatants will be able to test themselves during one of the weekend’s many tournaments, while novices will have the opportunity to learn new games in a more welcoming environment.

Gottacon will also have many of the trappings of a traditional convention. There’s a silent auction, an improv show, a costume contest, a video game burlesque, and the usual array of panels. Discussion topics range from GM troubleshooting to the future of video games.

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But the games are still the main attraction. The signature event is a League of Legends pro-am tournament that offers the winning team a $1,500 cash prize, while a Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Qualifier provides a similarly high-level venue for those who prefer gaming offline. Many of the LAN events will be streamed during the convention, which speaks to the growing demand for gaming as spectator competition.

If you’re hoping for something more accessible, smaller tournaments will run throughout the weekend in digital and analogue arenas. (Check the event list here.) Most of the activities will take place in a more casual setting, with many introductory sessions scheduled for beginners.

Here at Dork Shelf, we tend to focus on Toronto, but Gottacon 2014 is a timely reminder that gaming is taking off all over Canada. There are travel and hotel deals available for con guests if you’re looking for a late notice day trip or weekend getaway, although you probably have to be reading this from B.C. in order to take advantage of the offer.

The panels will be released online after the show, so in addition to LAN streaming – with an emphasis on League of Legends – there are plenty of ways to participate from afar. But the atmosphere won’t be the same. Gottacon is yet another reason to consider heading west, so best of luck to all the players able to make the journey.

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