After three years of cancellations and postponements, Manitoba's favourite community gaming convention is back.
Game-itoba is Winnipeg's annual weekend-long tabletop gaming convention. The past few years were cancelled due to the pandemic, and it has been reworked to make its appearance at the end of January—previously hosted at the beginning of November.
Kirby Gehman is the spokesperson for this event, and he is also the head of the demo team. Meaning he takes his team and a bunch of games and stations themselves at other conventions, such as the Science Fiction Convention, the Anime Convention, and more. All of this is to offer a space for people to relax, learn different board games, and meet new friends.
Game-itoba resembles this mission but creates its own convention around it.
"The weekend has board games, as well as card games and role-playing games and miniatures games and any kind of tabletop game that people are interested in," says Gehman. "We've got 250 more scheduled board games over the course of the weekend where you can sign up for the game and someone who knows the game will teach it to you, and then you sit down and play it with either just your friends or with anyone else who's signed up."
Gehman says this is a great way to meet new people, and no skill is needed because there are beginner-level friendly games available, as well as some that may be more challenging to master.
This weekend-long convention also offers families the opportunity to bond with one another, the spokesperson says that since the pandemic, a lot of families have learned to spend quality time while playing games.
"There's almost no other way that you can sit down with your kids, your teenagers at a table for over an hour with no computer, no phones, no anything, and actually talk...it's such a powerful thing for families and for friends. We see the power of sitting down across the table from someone and doing something together. There is a real shared bond in doing that and it's a wonderful thing."
Gehman says that his favourite game to play, based on the number of times he has played it, is Rhino-Hero. He describes it as a card version of Jenga and there is a tiny rhino that players have to keep moving up the building as the game goes on, and the tower gets taller and more unstable and the rhino figure goes higher up.
He says that by the end, everyone is yelling with excitement as the tower teeters back and forth. He says that Rhino-Hero is a good game to start a night full of fun.
Game-itoba runs for the entire weekend at the Bronx Park Community Centre. The schedule is as follows:
- Friday, January 27 - 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Saturday, January 28 - 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Sunday, January 29 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets are sold at the door (cash only), and children 11 years and younger enter for free.
There will also be an opportunity for winners of certain games to qualify for a draw to win a prize.
For more details on the prize draw and Game-itoba, visit https://game-itoba.ca/.