Quincon brings gamers to town, offers lots of niches

Bob Iliff from Kansas City gestures after making a move while playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the Quincon 28 Gaming Convention at the Quincy Senior and Family Center Friday. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Posted: Jul. 19, 2013 10:43 pm Updated: Aug. 2, 2013 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Combatants from World War II were doing battle at one table, while an English fort in Pennsylvania surrendered to American Indians only a few feet away and a science fiction battle for the solar system was raging nearby.

Quincon 28, Quincy's annual gaming convention, had no trouble accommodating all those diversions at the Quincy Senior and Family Resource Center, 639 York.

Ray Davis, the organizer of this year's convention, was pleased with Friday's turnout. He hopes to exceed last year's attendance of 167 gamers by the time the convention ends on Sunday.

"We've got board games and role playing games and some computers. We've got miniatures and sci-fi and historical games and fantasy," Davis said as close to 50 gamers gravitated toward their favorite pursuits.

Quincon is sponsored by the Great River Gaming Guild, which was founded in the early 1980s and launched the annual convention a few years later.

"This gives people an opportunity to play a game they've never played before. It's nice for us (who live here) and it brings in people from out of town," Guild President Rob Cook said.

Larry and Jane Zoet of Grand Rapids, Mich., had a vendor booth in one corner of the convention hall. They sell games, jewelry, oriental dragon items and steampunk watches where the internal workings are visible through transparent panels.

"This is about the 10th year we've been here," Larry Zoet said.

"This is a small-to-medium convention for us. It's a homey convention. People are friendly here and they like to play games."

The Zoets carry the kind of inventory that can satisfy the newest generation of gamers or offer board games from the 1960s or 1970s -- the kind created by Milton Bradley or Parker Bros.

Steve Leenerts, the guild's treasurer, said Quincon helps raise money that is donated to the Quincy Public Library's Children's Department. Over the years the guild has funded more than $3,000 to interest children in reading.

"We want to give back to the community," Leenerts said.

Lester Smith was telling people about a new game he designed. Clashing Blades is a card game that simulates a fencing duel. Smith said playing a card in spades signals an attacking move or lunge. A diamond represents the parry, a defensive technique.

"I worked it out so it has the feel of fencing and I wrote up the rules," Smith said.

Now living in Delavan, Wis., Smith used to work for the company that created Dungeons & Dragons. He now works for an educational firm, but designs games "more as a hobby." It's a fairly prolific hobby, with games such as MonsterCon, Wolf Man's Curse, Invasion of the Saucer People and other role playing games.

"I started coming to Quincy for these when my daughter, who is 30-some now, was about 8 years old," Smith said.

Longtime Guild member Jim Brown used to organize Quincon and was all smiles as he watched gamers sign in.

"We've got one guy who comes from Indianapolis for our auction and there's another guy who usually comes down from Chicago," Brown said.

Game makers often donate items for the auction, which will be held about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Cook said the Guild welcomes new members and keeps gaming between conventions.

"We get together for about four hours on Sunday nights. We usually get about 35 people," Cook said.