The 12th annual TengaiCon returned to Pottorf Hall to bring together board game lovers of all ages Saturday in in CiCo Park.
“We host TengaiCon in order to have a local convention for gamers to meet each other,” Erica Miller, chairwoman of TengaiCon, said. “We have a very diverse community of college students, soldiers from Fort Riley and local families. We want everyone to get together to play games.”
The Kansas State Board Game Club volunteered to help at TengaiCon this year. Jordan Laurin, senior in bakery science and vice president of the Board Game Club, said it benefitted both parties.
“Because they only have a few people to set everything up, they wanted volunteers to help put everything together and move stuff around,” Laurin said. “They offered us positions as volunteers so our members could get discounts into the [convention].”
TengaiCon attendees could purchase concession food, browse items available from local vendors and enjoy playing a wide variety of board games from the convention’s game library.
“The game library started as a personal collection of the person who’s now our vice chair, and it has grown with corporate donations from game producers that send us their games and private donations,” Miller said.
As a nonprofit organization, TengaiCon uses the annual event to support community involvement and charity. This year’s convention featured a silent auction benefitting the Manhattan Public Library by providing money to start a monthly board game night, Miller said.
“We’d be providing the games, and this helps them with the other supplies to do that,” Miller said.
Previously, TengaiCon donated to a group called Child’s Play, a national charity that helps children fighting deadly diseases like cancer by providing them with fun experiences and funds to pay their bills, Miller said.
In addition to games and shopping, attendees could participate in live action role-playing and meet members of the Broken Arm Academy of Swordsmanship, a group that promotes the study and practice of chivalric martial arts in the greater Manhattan region.
“We had been doing demos with TengaiCon to curry interest in our group for the past couple years now,” said Robert Trigueros, founding member and head of the Broken Arm Academy. “But we decided to, in conjunction with Josh [Warren]’s 40th birthday … invite people from outside the region to take part in this and make it into a slightly bigger event.”
Many K-State students were present to enjoy the activities at TengaiCon. Connie McDowell, sophomore in computer science, said she came with her friends.
“They have a lot of games,” McDowell said. “It’s really cool. I did the ‘roll the big dice and try to win a prize.’ We painted minis. It’s a lot of really cool stuff.”
The board games at TengaiCon appealed to students for a variety of reasons.
“This always gets into the debate of artistic value versus technical stuff,” Laurin said. “For me personally, I love dealing with the mechanics of different games, like if I have this, what can I have with it? How can I push this? Can I push it to the breaking point? … So that’s what I like about board games, is to be able to find board games that have that.
“Whereas others like the artistic story,” Laurin continued. “Some of them have hand-painted cards for different board games, so they really get into that because it’s almost like a collector’s item.”
Students interested in joining the Board Game Club can attend its meetings Fridays from 7 – 10 p.m. in the Student Union, room 206.