A Game Against Evil: BASHCon XXIX comes to UTWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the student organization that puts on BASHCon — the University of Toledo’s long-running yearly celebration of all things gaming — preparation always begins early. Really early.
“We’ve been planning since the day after last year’s BASHCon,” said Lexie Mettler, the marketing coordinator and secretary of BASH.
“We work on BASHCon almost year-round,” said Jared Hightower, in his second year as executive coordinator of the event. “Almost nine months. Once BASHCon ends, we pretty much take the end of the semester and study for exams and catch up on our school work. It does start to pick up once January comes around, so this is sort of our — we’re down to the wire, it happens in a month, we have all this stuff to do.”
This year’s BASHCon XXIX will take place Feb. 14-16 at the UT Student Union. And like the 28 versions that have preceded it, this year’s event is designed to unite gamers from all over the area in their passion for play, no matter what the form.
“BASHCon is, first and foremost, it’s about fun. And we bring a thousand people to the university to meet and make friends, and just have a lot of fun while playing games,” Hightower, a communications major, said.
“BASHCon is a great place to get into gaming,” Mettler, a sophomore in the chemical engineering program, added. “There’s everything from video games to board games to pen and paper games. And if you ever want to get into gaming, it’s a great place to start.”
This year, BASHCon is adopting a pulp fiction motif, with its “A Game Against Evil” theme coloring the weekend’s proceedings. But as always, the star of the event is the games themselves, with a focus this year on the talents who help bring those titles to life.
“This year, we have reached out to other developers, game developers, and we’re bringing them to demonstrate their new products, and their games in progress,” Hightower said. “And attendees can come in and visit their booths, and play their games, and talk to developers about what they do in their games.”
“We’re going to have a ‘Super Smash Bros. Brawl’ tournament, we’re going to have a bunch of ‘Magic: The Gathering,’” Mettler said. “I know there’s at least 25-30 ‘Pathfinder’ events we are running.
“And there’s even a table literally in the middle of the auditorium, we set up a table of board games. So if you want to try out different board games, you can even try out those.”
The ability for attendees to experience new titles that may be outside their traditional frame of reference is one of the best parts of the event, Mettler noted.
“I myself, I like watching games. But last year at BASHCon, I think I played, I think like 15 different board games with people. They’re like, ‘Play this game! Play this game!’ I’m like, ‘OK!’ So I learned a bunch of new board games last year — I was never really big into board games, I was more into video game stuff.
“If you look at a bunch of other conventions, like a couple years ago I went to PAX East — which is one of the biggest ones in the United States — mostly they had, like, card games and video games. They didn’t really have any RPGs or anything. So we branch out to that part,” she added. “Not only do we have video games and card games, we have board games and RPGs.”
As usual, attendees themselves set up the majority of the events, bringing each year its own unique flavor and structure. It’s all done in the name of sharing and trading gaming experiences — literally, in some cases.
“We have the Games Bazaar, where every year our attendees can bring in their old board games and they can get new board games in return — they trade, and there’s an unofficial auction type thing that goes on,” Hightower said. “We’ve seen some really cool, old, classic board games, and everyone’s really excited, and they all want them. It’s really cool.”
And as soon as this year’s event closes, the students involved in organizing BASHCon will set their sights on next year’s 30th extravaganza. The year-round work resumes — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We are the largest student-ran event on campus, which is what I am really proud about,” Mettler said. “It’s all student-ran, and we really put our souls into it. So it’s exciting.”
BASHCon XXIX will be held at the University of Toledo Student Union, 2801 W. Bancroft St. Admission costs $10 per day for nonstudents, $5 for non-UT students. UT students are admitted free. A general admission weekend pass costs $15 dollars. For more information, visit the BASHCon website at http://www.bashcon.com.
Tags: "A Game Against Evil", 'Super Smash Bros. Brawl' tournament, BashCon, BASHCon XXIX, board games, Executive Coordinator, Games Bazaar, Jared Hightower, Lexie Mettler the marketing coordinator and secretary of BASH, Magic the Gathering, PAX East, role playing games, RPGs, table top games, Toledo Student Union, University of Toledo