conSCIENCE Review: Forge 2012
May 25-27, 2012
This being their inaugural year, the gaming selection was a little sparse for mainstream events like D&D, Pathfinder Society, and Savage Worlds, but there was a lot of demand! Only one of Clint’s games did not make, but it was the very first one on Friday just as the con was starting. Most of the problem was the game registration, which ended up being a massive spreadsheet to accommodate the CCGs, LARPs, board games, and RPGs. (They have already acknowledged they need to work on that!) I anticipate a much higher prereg number next year.
The Lexington Convention Center is downtown, with lots of food and things to do nearby other than gaming. The arena nearby hosted a lot of graduation ceremonies. There was a massive Exhibit Hall that was free and open to the public, which was nice, and also a food court on that same level. Upstairs were plenty of rooms for everything. There was a little Area Knowledge needed to find your way around, but the convention staff had signage everywhere. And iced water stations and trash cans were plentiful and maintained, which was very nice!
We got a 2 doubles room that had very comfortable beds and an air control system that actually worked! No free breakfast, but there was a microwave and microfridge in the room. There were lots of food options nearby as well. One of my girls enjoyed the pool Saturday night, which was tricky to get to (behind the restaurant) and not handicap-accessible (there were stairs any which way I could figure to get to it). This is a 3.5 star hotel according to Priceline, which is nicer than most con hotels we stay in, but the room rate was very reasonable.
While you can eat out of your hotel room fairly easily, with all the great food options available it was next to impossible to do so! We saved money on the hotel room and booth space as Exhibitors by participating in their Sponsorship program, so if you are a vendor I wholeheartedly endorse it. We spent too much, unfortunately, on the food, but it was better than making ramen noodles in the room.
This is a family-friendly convention with a few caveats. There were some vendors there who showed a little more flesh than some families would be comfortable with, but everything was covered. There were games for the kids, but no “babysitting.” While the convention felt cozy, it was in a large public place, so keeping track of the little darlings can be tricky at times. So yes, please bring your kids! Then have fun gaming with them.
Exhibitors. There were so many cool exhibitors there that it was nearly impossible for me to stay in the booth! Facilities. Both hotel and convention center were clean, well-lit, organized, and spacious. Game Demos. They had so many demos in the Exhibit Hall that several people were busy just playing the free games. But then again, playing the Savage Worlds demo in the booth led to all the Savage Saturday Night games fill up completely, so people were obviously paying for and using their badges for real games.