By Stephen Seitz
KILLINGTON—Once again, the gaming event Carnage Con came to Killington Mountain Resort the first weekend in November.
“We’ve been coming here for four years now,” said Robert Rousse of Springfield, one of the convention’s organizers. “We were at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, and we loved it there, but we simply grew too large.”
Since 1997, Carnage Con has been a haven for New Englanders whose hobby is playing games: board games, role playing games, card games, war games, and original games, too.
Mike Paine, of Greenville, N.H., has never missed a Carnage. “I’ve been to every one and I’m sure not going to miss Number 20 next year,” he said.
Paine has created a large and elaborate model of a port city in the Far East he’s named Hang Hai. “There was a real Battle of Shanghai, but I’m not trying to be too historical,” Paine said. “Here, I can have Americans, the French, and White Russians. Players get to choose which side they’re on. We usually get a pretty good crowd. Usually it’s four or five people, but I’ve had as many as 15.”
One of them is an 11-year-old boy from St. Johnsbury, Nico Sipples. He said he comes from a gaming family.
“My dad always brings me here,” Nico said. “This is the first one I’ve played at. My brother is here, and he wanted to sign me up.”
“It’s nice to have fans,” said Paine.
Carnage Con features something increasingly rare in modern American society; there was hardly a Smartphone to be seen. Rousse said there was no limit to the games being played. The convention is so large it takes up all the Grand Hotel’s conference rooms and some of the Snowshed Lodge next door.
“There are card games, like ‘Magic, the Gathering’ and ‘Pokemon,’” he said. “There are historical games, and live-action role playing games. Some of those can take all day. We have five tables of ‘Diplomacy.’”
While the convention was founded mainly for New England players who had trouble getting together, Rousse said many outsiders attended.
“In ’Diplomacy,’ we have someone from the Bay Area of northern California, and we’ve had players from England and France,” he said. “Most come from New England and New York State.”
Three of them came from Bradford: Heather Hood, Ryan Lockwood and Monique Priestley. They were involved in a board game called “Gravwell: Escape from the 9th Dimension.”
According to the game’s publisher, Cryptozoic Entertainment, the players’ spaceships have been taken to a different dimension through a black hole, using up their fuel. The players have to collect the elements needed to refuel and go back through the black hole to home. However, this isn’t one of those games where the tokens move in one direction. Players may also move backwards. The game uses 26 alphabetized cards to determine movement.
“I like this one because you can learn it in five minutes,” said Lockwood. “There isn’t a thick manual of rules like some of the other games.”
For more information visit www.carnagecon.com.
By Stephen Seitz