DraconiCon 2012 – Israeli Gaming Convention

Next Thursday, the 9th, is DraconiCon – an Israeli gaming convention which will be held in Tel-Aviv, organized by the Pundak Publishing guys. The conventions will feature a variety of events, including role-playing games, card and board games, miniatures as well as the launch of a new Hebrew role-playing game called the “Arrow of Time” and a panel by the Israeli Roleplaying Association about RPG theory.

If you know how to read Hebrew, check the DraconiCon website here.

The Israeli geek culture scene features two major conventions each year:

ICon, in October, a general convention for all things related to sci-fi, fantasy, role-playing, comics and so on. One of the main features of the ICon festival is its guest lecturers, which in the past included some notable figures as Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card and Guy Gavriel Kay among others. It is also the biggest convention in Israel, attracting some 5000 people every day (and for all its fame, ICon gets an English Wikipedia article. That’s cool).

The other major event is BIGOR (or Big Israeli Gathering of Role-players) which is organized by the Israeli Roleplaying Association. It’s a three day role-playing games conventions held annually in April (over the Passover holiday) and really the most extensive role-playing event we currently have in Israel.

In the past, smaller IGOR conventions occurred several times per year sometimes moved around the country to cater for other audiences. Nowadays those smaller conventions are rarely held anymore, many because of their costs and required manpower – there is a limit on the number of GMs our country can put out for those events, after all. Many people prefer to only attend major conventions, either because of time restraints, monetary ones, or both.

DraconiCon has a unique position in this landscape, since it’s branded as a gaming convention. It offers a middle ground between the festival-like attitude of ICon which support any and all activities related to (what can only be described as) geek culture, and the specialization of BIGOR as a RPG-only event. DraconiCon, which was held for the past three years, is still considered “the new kid on the block” and it’s only a single day convention – with all the benefits, as well as the drawbacks. It’s been on the rise since its inception, with a larger crowd attending each year.

This year will be my first time attending, and really my first time in a long time going to any gaming event. The reason being I generally don’t like those gatherings – it seems to put hundreds of geeks & gamers in a closed area bring the worst of this culture to the surface. The reason I decided to go is because I don’t consider gaming as a hobby anymore, but a profession. I run this website and its connected media channels (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and starting to write games for a living (more on that, in a future post). I consider attending those kind of events to be part of my job – and you people (yes, YOU) are my target audience, with all of you glorious and weird behaviors.

So, what am I going to do in DraconiCon?

This convention for me is all about the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game. My personal preference is for rules-light games and action oriented games, both of which are prominent in MHR. It’s one of the only role-playing games for a long time which I got really into (and, well, maybe some of it is because of the marvel universe itself).

There are three tracks in the DraconiCon – morning, noon and evening- and I’m running games in all of them. I won’t have a moment to catch my breath- it will be an exciting day. In the first two sessions I’m running a MHR introductory game, presenting it to new people and to players which are maybe used to “classic” style of role-playing and want something different. The morning track session is open to just about everyone, but the noon session is limited to people above the age of 15.

In the evening track I’ll be running yet another MHR game, but this time not based on the Marvel universe. It is a game that inspired by the long running Anime franchise Mobile Suite Gundam, in which the players will play as Gundam pilots in my home-brew near-future sci-fi setting. Since MHR is designed around running comic-book games, I believe it will work just as well with Japanese Anime and manga as it runs Western style comic books.

Other than that, I plan a big coverage of this convention. I’m bringing a friend with a proper camera to take stills and maybe some videos. I’ll be rolling with my webcam and hopefully record the session themselves, as well as maybe vlog from the event floor. I even made special Icel.me shirts for this.

That’s it for now, more updates in the near future.