"Link, Thor and Ash! Oh my!"

UBCon continues to grow as 25th annual conference is held over weekend

The Spectrum

If you walked around North Campus this weekend, you may have seen resemblances of Zelda's Link, Marvel Comics' Thor, Dragon Ball Z's Goku or even Pok?(c)mon trainer Ash Ketchum.

Over the course of the weekend, characters of every size and shape from TV shows, video games and comic books flooded North Campus, primarily the Student Union, for the 25th annual UBCon, a weekend celebration of gaming and animeheld by the Strategists and Role Players Association.

The convention took place in the Union, Clemens, Knox and Baldy Halls and the Special Events Field from Friday to Sunday. With almost130 different events, guests and fans had many options from which to choose.

It was senior psychology major Lauren Bunker's first time attending UBCon. She was dressed as Black Canary of DC Comics' Justice League.

The convention included events and exhibits, including featured talks with Eric Vale, a voice actor, Sarah Wilkinson, a nationally known entertainment illustrator, Jess Hartley, a writer for White Wolf Publishing (who has written content for more than 30 role-playing game products), Nigel Sade, an abstract artist from Ohio, and Nick Landis and Scott Frerichs from Team Four Star, which creates humorous "abridged" versions of series like Dragon Ball Z.

When patrons weren't in question-and-answer sessions or playing games, they could walk down Artist's Alley in the Flag Room or SU 145, which was filled with cards, jewelry, cosplay and gaming supplies available for purchase.

The event boasted organized tables for gaming. Strategists gathered around tables to play games like 1775, Civilization and Cache Me If You Can.

The tables were busy, with a constant stream of characters waiting for their turn to dominate the board.

"We've got games dated from 3500 B.C., such as Senet from ancient Egypt, the oldest tile game known," said Richard Zimmerman, a native of Tonawanda and owner of The Goblin Parlour, an online store that sells a wide variety of cultural board games from different time periods.

Zimmerman said the shop even has Ringo, an old German "circular game" that few people know about.

Zimmerman said he hopes that attendees took full advantage of the varied experiences UBCon had to offer. He added that the convention has expanded beyond its origins of board games and role players to also include things like manga, anime and cosplay.

"I have been attending [UBCon] for four years now," said Emma Patterson, a Niagara Falls native. "It's a lot more organized than other conventions that I've been to and it's not disappointingly small. Also, the staff is typically outgoing, happy and look alive unlike other conventions."

"Baldo," who gets his nickname from his Rochester shop Baldo's Armory, has been attending the convention for the past 19 years. He said the conference has grown since its beginning in 1989 and he's noticed the anime and gaming clubs working more closely together.

Dressed as Dr. Horrible from the web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and surrounded by Magic playing cards, "Baldo" explained why he continues to come back to UBCon.

"The nice thing about coming to the same convention for so long is that you begin to see the same people," Baldo said. "Then you start to see these people bring their children, to expose them to the world they loved and to meet up with their old friends. The convention is held the same weekend every year, so everyone just knows when to go and where to meet."

email: arts@ubspectrum.com