TABLE, or Tabletop and Boardgame Learning Expo, is a small gathering of gamers that has grown since last year to bring light to our wonderful hobby. With supporters such as BoardGameGeek, Dallas Games Marathon, Roll2Play, The Nerd Nighters, TABLE occurs in Grapevine, TX to gather gamers together to play their favorites and discover some new ones. We were honored to attend for a day and get in on the action!
Upon walking in we were greeted at the check-in table where we got a small bag of goodies including some dice, flyers, and info on some of the booths throughout the convention. What I liked and noticed first was that nothing was intrusive. I felt like there was plenty of room and freedom to move around and explore the booths, talk with the friendly folks working them, without worrying about being in the way of others. This is in no way to say the place was abandoned though, as it was sometimes a challenge to find a place to sit and play with all the people!
A beautiful game library was set up by the folks at Roll2Play, the store behind this little convention. Additionally, there was a little retail store for those wanting to take some games home by a local game store called Collected: Comics & Games. You could check out from a large selection of games, take it to your table, and even get some LFG (looking for gamers) signs if you were a few people short. We got in on a few games of The Resistance!
Many demos were taking place as well for those that wanted to learn to play games! Sandy Petersen was in attendance with Cthulhu Wars, as well as many tables demoing games such as Mice & Mystics, Star Realms, and more.
Around the perimeter of the room were booths from artists, game designers, and local companies involved with the tabletop world. Special artist Clint Cearley (MtG) was there for discussion, too. Other artists booths that we enjoyed included Vampire Cow and Irish Coffee Studio.
There was a booth from some folks called Table Full of Awesome, a company producing terrain for wargaming and RPG’s. They have some cool terrain pieces, and you can read more about them at their website. Another booth we enjoyed chatting with was called Geekfest, an all-inclusive geeky convention at the Central Texas College in Killeen.
Another table of note was from a company called BoardCraft. These folks spent quite a bit of time chatting with us about what is up their sleeves, and we’d recommend keeping your radar on these guys. In short, they are working to create blueprints for gamers to be able to print just about any terrain piece from their 3D printers and use them for their games. They are producing some games of their own, but they hope to eventually have a full platform for gamers to create their own scenarios, build their own terrain, and share it with the community.
Also on the main floor was a large mini painting booth. You could pick up a mini and sit down to paint! They had a large display table full of painted minis that were pretty impressive!
A special guest panel featured folks such as Rodney from Watch It Played, Rick Loomis from Flying Buffalo Games, and more. It was an entertaining time to hear about the experiences of those in the gaming industry, how they got into it, and what they enjoyed the most.
What I enjoyed the most at this convention was that it was busy, but busy by the attendees – the gamers. Organizing games, gathering folks to sit down and learn something new. I encountered many friendly people, and loved watching some games take place. Raine even volunteered to run some demos while we were there. There were drawings for games and chances to win games by playing demos of them. Even with the room bustling, I felt that there was a feeling of calm once you found a place to sit. I didn’t feel pressured or stressed by anyone or anything and it was a fantastic experience. I absolutely want to attend next year for the whole thing.
If you live in the Northeast Texas area, I’d encourage you to check out this event next year. It has been funded via Kickstarter for the last 2 years, so keep an eye out on the TABLE Facebook page for information on what will happen for future years. It costs $10-$30 to attend, depending on what package you pick up. Be sure to browse the Kickstarter page for a preview of how they build the event and what various pledge levels got attendees this year.