Last summer, Sequim played host to the region’s first gaming convention when Opttacon came to the Guy Cole Center. A weekend-long event in its first iteration, Opttacon brought board gamers from all over the Olympic Peninsula and beyond together for play sessions, demonstrations and more.
Now as the summer approaches, Opttacon organizer Jeff Tinglestad of Open Door Gaming is preparing for the 2019 edition of the convention.
“We were very happy with how many gamers from all over the area we were able to bring together last year,” Jeff told the Gazette, saying that they brought in around 150 attendees in 2018, well more than the 100 or so they were expecting.
“Being able to bring so many young people together in an area like Sequim that isn’t known for giving them things to do was great,” Tinglestad said, noting that some of last year’s visitors said they’d come from as far as Ellensburg to attend.
This year, Tinglestad is hoping to get closer to the 200-person limit of the Guy Cole Center.
Like last year, Opttacon 2019 is being funded by a pre-sale of tickets and premium packages on Kickstarter. The funding drive was fully funded to cover the convention’s primary expenses in its first week, with further tickets and packages still available through May 31.
As in 2018, the convention will be sponsored by Anime Kat, a gaming and comics store in Port Angeles. Opttacon will also include a number of vendors, artists, and demonstrations, including the return of Cherry Picked Games, a Seattle-based company that develops a number of role-playing games.
Other notable guests will include Cammry Lapka of Port Angeles-based comic company Pugmera Studio, as well as Donna Barr, a comic author and cartoonist.
Volunteers will be on-hand to help play and teach games to gamers of all kinds, from experienced board game veterans to those who have only played a game or two of Monopoly and want to learn more. There were some learning sessions last year, but according to Tinglestad it will be much expanded after feedback from last year’s attendees.
One major change from last year is that there will only be two days’ of events. Friday night will host the VIP night for those who purchase special ticket packages ahead of time with special events and sessions with some of the vendors, while Saturday will host the general run of the convention.
Last year there were also gaming sessions, a silent auction, and giveaways on Sunday for general admission customers, but according to Tinglestad those are being either added to or merged into other events on Saturday after scheduling issues and to allow more flexibility for attendees coming from further away.
Purchase tickets and keep updated on developments about Opttacon 2019 by checking out their Kickstarter at www.kickstarter.com/projects/opttacon/opttacon-2019. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Tinglestad and others also organize a weekly gaming sessions at the Sequim Library, information for which can be found at the Meeples of Sequim Facebook group.