ConBravo, located in Hamilton, Ontario, is a relatively new convention in the Ontario circuit. The convention touts itself as a weekend celebration for geeks, giving them an intimate setting with plenty to do. Unlike larger events such as Fan Expo, ConBravo's experience feels a lot more personal, with an older crowd in attendance. This was RPGamer's first year attending ConBravo, and we had a lot of fun exploring what the convention had to offer.
Being a smaller and more intimate convention has its pros and cons. There's only so much space for people to roam, take pictures, and interact, but the con did a great job trying to have something for everyone. One of my favourite aspects of ConBravo was the arcade museum, wherein people could play the cabinets for free. I may have played a few too many games of Ms. Pac-Man, and I loved watching the RPGamer crew play some of the racing games together. A lot of yelling ensued! There was also an area for people to build their Warhammer armies and cities, as well as space to play some board games. One game Becky and I had the chance to try out was Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game, which fuses RPG and platformer elements into a sidescrolling deckbuilding game. Pixel Lincoln was quirky, charming, and easy to learn. It's definitely worth checking out if you are and board game fan.
I always love walking up and down the aisles at smaller conventions. There's always a ton of artists and crafters to interact with and a wide variety of fandoms displayed. One seller hand-crafted an intricate Tetris quilt, while others had crocheted goods. I didn't do as much shopping as I would have liked, but I feel like the artists did a great job representing their work. Later in the evening we also had the chance to interview Commander Shepard himself, Mark Meer. You can listen to the interview here. He's quite the lively fellow. I think ConBravo has a ton of potential and I look forward to watching it grow in the coming years as it was a wonderfully pleasant experience.
ConBravo was a small, laid-back con, which I quite liked. It was mostly focused on TV, anime, and gaming fandoms, and had quite a few talented cosplayers in attendance. I particularly liked the two ladies who put a creative spin on cosplaying as Xerneas and Yveltal, the legendary mascots from Pokemon X and Y. The picture I was able to take didn't do justice to their costumes.
I enjoyed checking out the classic arcade cabinet room, as well as browsing the good selection of classic games in the merchandise area. The prices on many import and classic RPGs were far better than I usually see at cons, so I guess the lesson is that if you want a good price on that stuff, try a small-town con instead of a big one! Chatting with Mark Meer was also a good time. While I admit that I've never personally heard the vocal stylings of ManShep, Meer was very personable and was a lively conversationalist.
Overall, going to ConBravo was a fun day out with a pleasant crowd of fellow geeks and run by a staff that was quite hard-working and professional. Thanks to everyone who helped us out and posed for pictures!
Tabletop News Editor
Con Bravo is a fan-run regional con that is in its third year of operation… and it feels exactly like a three year old, volunteer-run regional con. It's a handful of rooms in an older conference centre in a crummy neighborhood. There were a few organizational issues; programs appeared to be more of a rough guideline than anything else. It also had some charm as the guest line-up was mainly comprised of web video producers who seem to be much happier and more approachable on the floor than the average cable star. One highlight was an impromptu Onyx Path presentation, as the community manager went through their new business model, along with the release schedule for the remainder of the year. I look forward to seeing this team get better and this show get bigger in the coming years.
If you have any questions or would like your picture removed, send me an e-mail. A huge thank you to the staff and crew of ConBravo for inviting us to attend their wonderful event. See you all at ConBravo 2014!