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GameCon V

GameCon V took place on November 14, 2015 at Rampart High School. Over 260 students and parents and over 50 volunteers participated in the event. You can view our printed program here: Guide to GameCon, Issue 1, November 2015

Below you'll find a few of the highlights from GameCon V. The GameCon organizers wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all of the volunteers who contributed to the success of our event and the well-being of our students. Your energy and enthusiasm make a huge difference in many lives. We also wish to express our regrets that we are not able to better highlight all of your wonderful efforts. The blame is ours, and we will work to more thoroughly document your efforts during GameCon VI.

Retired and award-winning District 20 teacher, John Spengler, teaches the mechanics and subtleties of ship to ship combat to students from the Pikes Peak region. The game is Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Mr. Spengler came prepared with fleets for the students and an eye patch for himself. Mr Spengler reported that the students were hooked, and after the cannons were done firing the students took home ships of their own. Another popular miniatures game was Star Wars Miniatures, run by volunteer Eric Widiger from the Colorado Springs Gamers Association.

GameCon V was privileged to see in attendance Travis Petkovits, a former employee of Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. Travis is a brilliant game master who guided the students through the great adventure, the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Students were delighted, and one student reported that he learned a lot about game mastering from Travis. 

The largest department at GameCon V was the collectible card game tournaments department. Featuring games such as Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokémon, the tournaments were managed by Sam Payne, RHS Audio/Visual Clerk Nathan Prater, and several other volunteers. Using computer terminals, a web-based tournament system, and a public announcement system, Mr. Payne adroitly and efficiently managed over 100 players all day long in swiss-style tournaments. The level of competition was high, and the top ranking  players took home booster packs and card sleeves.

OJ Pinckert, a game master and organizer for the Pathfinder Society, guided many students through games of Pathfinder. OJ was assisted by Pathfinder volunteers Sean Dineen, Calvin Kirkham, and Glen Kirkham. The Pathfinder Society does a great job of introducing students to roleplaying games and has been a centerpiece of GameCon events since its inception.

Air Academy teacher Michael Madsen is GameCon's chess manager. He supervised the chess tournaments at GameCon V. Mr. Madsen reports that the level of competition was the highest yet at GameCon. 
Medals were awarded, and other prizes were given out. GameCon V saw the first use of clocks and web-based tournament software to expedite the tournaments. Mr. Madsen also says that the students were, in addition to being competitive, very friendly and helpful to each other. One student was especially helpful with the younger players and may join the next GameCon as an official volunteer in the Chess Department. 

GameCon V was visited by imperial officers, stormtroopers, and Chewbacca. The volunteers who so generously donated their time and brilliant costumes are from the Mountain Garrison of the 501st Legion. "The 
501st Legion is now recognized as one of the largest costuming organizations in the world" and is regularly involved with charitable activities.

Students attending GameCon V voted on the t-shirt artwork for the next GameCon event, GameCon VI, which will be held on April 30, 2016. The students voted overwhelmingly for the dragon artwork shown here. Admittedly, the author was disappointed at the outcome, since he preferred a different piece. Organizer Carolyn Payne preferred the third candidate. The winner was announced at the end of the day.

Rock star game master, Philip Krogmeier, an employee of the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD), has a following among students. Several students requested his game prior to the event, and Philip enthralled students with a day-long adventure in Dungeons and Dragons. Thanks to 
Wayne's Books, prizes were given out that included first edition copies of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, the original collector's items from the 1970s.

The PPLD has been an active supporter and contributor to GameCon since its inception. Jonathan Margheim from the PPLD introduced students to several new games. Crystal Carter and Adam Clotfelter, also from the PPLD, performed invaluable services in registration and with helping to judge the Magic the Gathering tournaments.

Many teachers and educators participated in GameCon V. Angela Duca and Randy Thomas helped with administrative duties. Teachers from Widefield High School and Fort Carson Middle School led groups of students to GameCon V. Others helped out with registration and concessions. Security and facilities personnel provided essential services. Many administrators and teachers around the Pikes Peak region advertised the event to students.

GameCon V was supported by local businesses 
Petrie's Family Games, Gamer's Haven, and Tale Spin Games. Petrie's contributed several volunteers and a booth under the stewardship of Cameron Crawford. Gamer's Haven efforts and volunteers were led by Ed Klein. Both establishments are pillars of our community. Several other companies donated games and materials: Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Cubicle 7Evil Hat ProductionsBarnes and NobleEasy Roller DiceTroll and ToadWayne's BooksCoolStuffInc., and Geek Fuel. 

GameCon is a bi-annual, non-profit gaming convention organized for middle and high school students by public school teachers. GameCon is managed by a committee of teachers. It is our goal to provide tabletop gaming opportunities to students in the Pikes Peak region. The committee believes that tabletop games teach and reinforce a variety of cognitive strategies, promote social skills, foster prosocial involvement, and reinforce academic standards. The committee believes that schools should provide opportunities for students to play tabletop games.

Student feedback:
My favorite part about GameCon was the chess tournaments and meeting new people ... I also liked that the people were good sports about winning and losing.
GameCon was epic!
GameCon was super awesome - coming back every year!
GameCon was a huge success!
GameCon was a lot of fun. I liked that the matchups were of very equal skill.
My favorite part about Savage Worlds was the variety of situations you can be in from space to Egypt. The game master was awesome because he imitated the enemies and was very helpful.

by Dustin Flesher, November 16, 2015