Gaming, cosplay and charity invaded the Student Center this weekend for a new convention.
The first CarbonCON was held this weekend inside the Renaissance Room. Role-playing, card games, board games, costume contests and magic were just some of the activities at the charity event.
The event cost $10 on Friday and Sunday, and $15 on Saturday—or $30 for the entire weekend.
All the proceeds from the event will go to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which serves returning veterans, and the Jeremy Rochman Memorial Park, a park dedicated its namesake, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1993.
Many gaming stores in the community were at the convention and contributed to the charities by giving 15 percent of their earnings to the organizations.
Brandon Hale, a cultural anthropology professor at Lindenwood University, is the financial officer for the Student Association for the Study of Esoteric Philosophies, and was the chairman of the convention. The association’s constitution states the goal of the group is to increase student interest in esoteric philosophies.
He said he wanted the event to be a community where gamers can interact with each other.
“It’s supposed to be a place where people can come together,” Hale said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a card master or a Castle Perilous customer, it’s supposed to be about the community of gamers.”
Hale said in the ‘90s and early 2000s, the Strategic Gaming Society, a now-defunct RSO, held another gaming convention, called Egypt Wars.
He said his RSO wanted to see if they could add more facets to the convention.
“The first com, we just wanted to see if we could continue the conventions that have happened in the past,” Hale said. “I think it has been a success.”
The Medieval Combat Club, another RSO, also represented their organization held some demonstrations. They were just one of many groups that brought something different to the convention, Hale said.
He said they also reached the goal of gathering more attendees than previous conventions, with more than 150 participants during the weekend.
The convention was open to students, members of the community and those who play at gaming stores around the community.
Carbondale resident, Andrea Till, has been to multiple first-year conventions, and heard of this one through Castle Perilous.
“I would love to come back to this one next year if they have one,” she said. “I knew a couple people from playing at Castle Perilous, but I met a bunch of people just to play games and hangout with.”
Benjamin Sloan, a member of the association, said he thought the convention was a success even though there were drawbacks.
“I think this weekend, overall, was pretty good,” he said. “We had some setbacks with some stores bailing on us but other than that, other stores stepped up and made events happen, so that was good.”
He said stores were obligated to donate to the two charities and stay for the weekend.
Christa Boubeau, Steve Jackson Games Representative and the head auctioneer of the convention’s charity auction, said she thinks the cosplay contest was a big highlight of the weekend.
“The cosplay contest was great, we had 20 people show up for the contest,” she said. “Being our first year it was amazing.”
Hale said the attendance was higher Friday and Saturday than Sunday, but is happy with the overall turnout. He said the RSO may hold another convention in the spring, with even more gaming experiences.
Gabriella Scibetta can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @gscibetta_DE