The year of virtual conventions: Ettin Con

With much of the world practising social distancing, a lot of geek conventions are going on-line this year. That means that wherever you are, you have a much better chance of attending events you’ve only dreamt about. Regardless of whether a convention is going completely on-line or only replacing some events with virtual ones, the opportunity to attend global conventions are just too good to miss. Fortunately, NerdVerse is here to help you figure out what you need to get involved.

So what kind of conventions are we talking about? PAX Online, Gen Con, and UK Games Expo just some of the conventions that announced on-line versions after initially cancelling their events entirely. Even South African conventions have gotten into the spirit of the thing, with ComicCon South Africa and FanCon both hosting on-line events to celebrate geek culture. But it’s not just about big name conventions – this is also a great opportunity to discover smaller cons that offer plenty of great games and events. So let’s start off by spreading some love to a more independent conventions, shall we?

Ettin Con 2020

Ettin Con is an Australian geek convention happening this very weekend! That’s right; it’s happening on 18 and 19 July; it’s free; and the events include a variety of boardgames, card games, tabletop role-playing games, and even video games.

According to their official site:

This year only, we’ve moved our convention online to protect players during the pandemic.
Since 2015, we’ve been hosting events where people can meet to share, explore & enjoy social games of all kinds on tabletops and screens. Originally one day twice a year, we’re now a whole weekend each Winter. All are welcome within our code of conduct for a safe and fun experience, whether you’re already in the gaming world, or just curious about what people play these days. We have plenty of tables available, and each day is full of opportunities! If you’re curious about our name, or how it began, click here.

Note that although website registration has closed, you can still find Games On Demand and specific Discord sessions that will accept new signups. Just be aware that Australia is 8 hours behind South Africa, so some of these events are super early.

The boardgames on offer include two by Australian designer Keith Franks, Spirits of Carter Mansion and Castles of Caleira. Both games will be demonstrated all day, and don’t take long to play. Other boardgames include Mission to Planet Hex, which is currently running a Kickstarter; Down in Flames!; and Blood on the Clocktower. (Note: The last link will take you to a Discord server.)

In terms of RPGs, they are offering a large selection of games. Again, bookings have closed, but you may still be able to get into specific events by joining the Discord server and checking the different channels (link on their site).

  • Drama at Olympic Academy!, where you play a discontinued Olympic sport trying to graduate high school and reach true Olympic glory.
  • Secret Prince, a “no-prep, GM-less storytelling card game about broody secret royals where you win by having the most tragic backstory.”
  • Strom in Schleswig, a MÖRK BORG game which is a “deadly, old-school-yet-rules-light, Swedish doom metal apocalyptic fantasy!”
  • “Return of the Little Green Men” is a Dark Places & Demogorgons game where you play a bunch of school kids in a small semi-rural town.
  • There are also two Index Card RPG games: “Ghost Mountain – Gold Fever” is set in the weird West, and “Bearcats” is set on exoplanet TC3. “Journey Under Her Wing” is a one-shot Ironsworn/Worldbuilder game that I am gutted to be missing.

They’re also hosting a few Starfinder, D&D, and Call of Cthulhu games.

This will be my first year attending this convention, but I’ll be waking up at 6 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday morning to attend it. I’ll let you know how it went when I post a (brief) review soon!

A final note on local conventions

Finally, if you’re more of an arts and drama nerd, you can also check out the South African National Arts Festival. As per the official website: “For the first time in its 46-year history, the National Arts Festival was held entirely online from 25 June to 5 July 2020. We have extended the viewing period for the ultimate virtual celebration of South African arts until 31 July 2020.”

Whatever you’re into, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find an on-line event that caters to your interests. So why not check out a few of the sites mentioned above, and leave a comment about some of your favourite experiences below?