TotalCON 34 Preview

New England’s Largest Tabletop Convention is back. Are you ready for it?

TC34 logo

UnderdogThere’s no need to fear, Family Game Night is here. To tell you all I know about the best little gaming convention. In New England. In the month of February. Last year, I went to my very first Board Game Convention, Total CON 33. I had a blast, but I felt a little overwhelmed. But I learned a lot, so I’ll try and help you out.

wacky racersAnd away we go on the Wacky Races Total CON 34. Let’s start with the basics. Total CON is a convention that celebrates Tabletop gaming and role- playing games. No video games allowed. So, put down your ipads, laptops, X-boxes, Intellivisions, Commodore 64s, and Atari 2600s. You won’t need them. But you will need a heaping bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs to celebrate this year’s theme. Welcome to the Total ConToon, celebrating all the classic cartoons us Boomers grew up with every Saturday Morning.

scooby dooScooby, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The convention will take place during the February School Vacation from Thursday, February 20 to Sunday, February 23. Like last year it will be held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough, MA. Rooms are available at the hotel for convention guests if you are travelling from afar.

flintstoneYabba Dabba Do buy your badges before the convention. Pre-order badges are $25 per day or $65 for the 4-day weekend, which is less than the price at the door. But more importantly it allows you to “buy” your tickets for the special events that you want.

fat albert gangHey! Hey! Hey! What’s all this about extra tickets that I got to “buy”? This is one of the CONfusing things about TotalCON and frankly kept me from doing some events last year. But there is no cost for any of these tickets. When you buy a ticket, you are really just reserving a seat at the event. And some events can only accommodate a few people, thus the need for tickets. The price to attend any of these limited space events is still $0. Why they label it this odd way is beyond me. Okay, so what is there to do at TotalCon?

verbsVerbs! That’s what happening! You can play, you can buy, you can watch, learn, meet, gawk, paint, parade, and most of all you can enjoy; some of the best that tabletop games have to offer. The main draw for the casual gamer is the Lending Library. There are hundreds of games available to borrow. Just pick a game, sit at a table, and play. If you don’t have enough players, put up a “Players Wanted” sign and someone will show up and play. And if you don’t know how to play, very likely a volunteer will teach you. Learn new things, meet new people, and learn from a stranger? It’s an introvert’s nightmare! Get over it and have fun.

yogi bearBut I’m smarter than the average bear, Boo-Boo. And if you think you’re smarter than the average gamer, you could try and play in one of the dozens of tournaments for all sorts of games from Azul to Wingspan and everything in between. Or maybe you could take on one of those crazy 8-hour-long miniatures battle extravaganzas. Or maybe you think you can beat the Dungeon Master at his own game; and adventure in one of many RPG events, including D&D, Cthulu, Top Secret!, and more.

wilma betty“Charge It!” My favorite part of the convention and my wife’s nemesis is the Marketplace. Dozens of vendors are on hand with some amazing games and products for your gaming life. I actually prefer this more personal selling venue to the giant warehouse market at PAX. But what I really love is the Flea Market that occurs on Thursday night. It’s the world’s best yard sale and filled only with games. The best part is that any badge for any day will allow you into the Flea Market, so save your pennies.

hall of justiceMeanwhile, at the Hall of Seminars… There are some really cool events lined up. One of my favorite YouTubers, Seth Skorkowsky, has a channel about role playing games. He will be giving a couple of talks about RPG philosophy and writing combat encounters. I have my tickets; I hope you get yours. And if you have an interest in game prototypes, there are several workshops for you. Whether you have a game in development or are just curious to see what’s new, you should stop by. I will be bringing in my prototype; come and help me test it. There are plenty more seminars. I’m sure you can find the ones that interest you.

seth skorkowsky
I am weirdly fan-boy-ishly looking forward to this seminar.

porky pigTha-That’s All Folks!

Of course, that’s not all. There are tons of other things to do. There are demos, shows, contests, costumes, mini painting workshops, and more. For a full listing of the events, and to purchase badges or “buy” tickets check out their website at

As always, we’ll see you at the CON, and Game On!

TotalCon banner
I don’t know the year, but this is my favorite TotalCON banner.

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