ICON Comics and Games Convention is always held of the last weekend of the winter school holidays and for the past 10 years or so has been held at the Jabula Recreation Centre in Sandringham, JHB. It is arguably the biggest fantasy/sci-fi/table top gaming event of the year for most South Africans. For some reason it always coincides with a cold front, but that never stops people from attending in droves.
If you want to meet like-minded people, attend tournaments, break your bank balance or just try out new games ICON is the place to be.
I used to be an ICON regular, playing in the 40K event every year. When I could I’d attend on the Friday to play some MTG or board games too. Life happened and I dropped out of the gaming scene (bar games nights at home) for about 6-8 years. I was over the moon with excitement that I could actually attend this year.
Arriving early on Friday morning I did the first thing any sane ICON attendee would try to do. I bought a mug. Some people collect these, I know people that buy 2, one to use and one to keep. It is a must buy for anyone attending ICON for more than just shopping as it doubles as a bottomless cup of coffee or tea! Caffeine and sugar, is all a gamer needs to keep going across 3 days, it also helps with the cold.
There are tons of events happening across the weekend. From Anime screenings to LARP’s & Cosplay. Even if you’re not playing in the planned events you could just browse and ask questions. Everywhere you looked you would find someone who was willing to share his or her knowledge on their hobbies. It’s a great place to try something new, or to find others who are into something that you might be considering yourself.
Along with events there were loads of stalls setup to part the gamer and his hard earned cash. Books, Comics, Games, T-shirts, Knives… a lot of usually niche/hard to find (in South Africa) merchandise all in one place. The guys selling fudge and cookies must have made a killing! I know that I spent far too much money but I don’t regret itJ.
I did not go in my personal capacity this year. I was offered the chance to help the Boardgames.co.za team and I jumped at it. This meant that I did not have too much time to run around taking pics. I doubt that I would have had much time anyway as I would have probably joined one of the many events happening.
When I had a break I did take a walk around and visit the Wargaming are there were Warhammer 40K and Fantasy were well under way. There were also people playing Flames of War a WWII game. Sunday hosted a Star Wars X-Wing tournament. If there is an Armada tournament next year I might consider signing up.
The MTG halls must have been having a lunch break too when I walked in ‘cos it was unusually empty, but the RPG tent was so full I could not even get in! Another corner of the centre I saw 2 armoured knights having a duel near the LARP area. There was just soo much to do that I almost wished it was a 4 day weekend.
I had most of my time split between running demo board games in one of the 2 board game halls and up on the main stage assisting people looking for board games to purchase. While I did not have time to play in any of the scheduled events over the weekend I did meet a lot of people and had many laughs all while playing lots of different games. All in all I had a fantastic weekend and I’m going to try my best to have a repeat of that in 2016!