My first con in 2 years

So I made my way last weekend to NEA GAMEFEST in Jonesboro AR for my first convention of any kind since GenCon 2019. I had eying this event since i learned about it earlier in the year. It seemed to be a smaller event, but very focused on Tabletop gaming, with a reasonable entry fee. The main thing I was monitoring was their vaccination/masking policy. After several months, the team for NEA announced that they would be requiring not only masks during the entirety of the event, but also proof of vaccination.

So I put in my time off for the Friday, and made plans to attend.

My original plan was to attend Friday/Saturday and skip Sunday. With Jonesboro only being an hour forty-five drive from my house, and since I am set to attend BGGCon next month, I figured it best to drive back and forth both days to save money on an overnight hotel stay.

The morning of day 1, I load up my car with a bag full of games and set out. I was going to the event not knowing anyone, looking to simply get some game time in person, which has been sorely missed, with the Delta variant rise the past several months (we put a hold on in-person gaming). The even was being held at the Garden Hilton Inn of Jonesboro. Based on the venue, I knew this event would be a smaller sized event. And that was okay by me.

I arrive around 11:00am, grab my bag full of games, and make my way inside. I check-in, showing my COVID vaccination card. They folks at the check-in table were friendly and welcoming. I receive 5 raffle tickets that I can use on various raffle items that are laid out on a long run of tables near front of the game hall.

When I arrive, there are maybe 20 or so con’goers who are already in the middle of various games. I scan the rest of the room and find folks from the Central Arkansas Board Gamers FB group and make my way over to introduce myself.

After hanging out for about 20 minutes, another gamer enters with a handful of games, I walk over and introduce myself, and ask if he would like to hop in a game of something? Issac and I play a game of Res Arcana (which was a new one for me), and when we’re done, I break to go grab a bite for lunch.

After getting back, I spend the rest of the day playing various other games, 6 in total, some I’ve played before and some were new titles for me. The last one ended around 9:30 and I decided it’s time to head back home.

The best laid plans…I didn’t make it back on Saturday as was originally planned. Such is life. Not because I didn’t enjoy my time at the event the day before. Quite the opposite. I had a lot of fun and will fully look to attend next year.

So for those who are looking for a tabletop convention that is not too bloated, but has enough attendance to give a good event experience for someone looking to play games with other like-minded people, consider checking out NEA GAMEFEST. A very well run event that will hopefully continue to grow and help foster the community for years to come.

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