Funny thing about having kids: you don’t realize how much time you invest into their many activities until those things are no longer crowding the calendar. Don’t construe that as a complaint because it isn’t. Scott and I adjusted our work lives to ensure we were there for the girls whenever they needed us. For help with schoolwork, meals together, extra-curricular activities, game nights, family travel or whatever life presented, we were there. When they headed to college we realized we had more time for us. We added regular trips to the movies to see more of the latest releases on the big screen. Because we enjoy them so much, we decided to add more game conventions to our to-do list. We were in Lincoln, Nebraska a few weeks ago for a game meet-up then again last weekend to attend Great Plains Game Fest. In between those two trips across the state of Iowa, we flew to Charlotte, North Carolina for TantrumCon. It’s hosted by the team from Tantrum House and organized by Monica Rasso who also runs a board game cruise. It was exactly what we expected: a gaming convention filled with personality.
Pretty much every gaming convention has areas to sit and play games, but TantrumCon has something the others don’t: events specifically for eating AND playing. Dubbed the Tournameal, there were multiple events throughout the convention, each with a different game, sponsor and theme. Some included full meals and were scheduled during mealtimes while others were offered a snack (like ice cream) in the middle of the afternoon.
Participants paid a small fee but it included the food along with dedicated time to play games and opportunities to win a copy of the featured title. For the boop. Tournameal, the TantrumCon team created a quilt and cat ear headbands of different colors so attendees could join a human-sized boop. game! It was positively amazing. It pretty much summed up the “go above and beyond” and “make this event unique” attitude that TantrumCon exudes.
Of course, there’s MORE than just that! If you enjoy meeting designers, TantrumCon offers opportunities to not only see them, but also interact personally. Each year, they open up VIP events where attendees could sign up to play a game with the designers. In addition, there are usually meet and greet times for autographs and photo ops.
While everyone attending TantrumCon enjoys playing games, there are also a handful who are trying their hands at creating one. TantrumCon Proto-Tank gave budding designers an opportunity to pitch their game to industry professionals for feedback. Of those who presented their games, a few received a care package intended to help them take their design to the next level. It included a designer’s journal, supplies and a ticket to attend ProtoATL where they will be able to playtest their idea(s) even further.
Then there’s their signature Table Flipping Tournament. Multiple mini contests are run to determine who gets the honor of flipping a table filled with game pieces into the air and off the stage. While table flipping is generally associated with frustration at a situation, they’ve turned the tables (see what I did there?) on the phrase and made it a good thing. People vie for the opportunity to participate in this extremely exciting, jovial and entertaining tradition at the convention.
With all that along with a modest vendor hall, a flea market, tournaments, gaming library and more, TantrumCon is worth attending. Whether you’re an avid gamer, just starting out or simply like to game with family and friends, watch for the tickets to go on sale for next year. In between now and then, you can find a lot of great gaming content on Tantrum House‘s various channels including Facebook and Twitter.
Which unique aspect of TantrumCon most appeals to you?