A magical gathering

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The Spectrum

Nations engaged in a bloody war, witches and wizards cursing each other and, to top it all off, brain-craving zombies running amok. Who knew all of this could happen at UB?
The 21st annual UBCON kicked off last Friday and ran nonstop until Sunday. With hundreds of fans in attendance, dozens of events taking place and violent battles fought throughout, this year's UBCON was an impressive sight to behold.
For those who put so much time and effort into this event, nothing was more important than providing the fans and attendees with the best weekend that they possibly could.
"This is a big thing ... [Strategies and Role Players Association] and Anime Club, all together to give all these people here a really fun weekend. There's a reason why people stay here all weekend without getting a single hour of sleep," said Christopher Wood, a first year graduate student.
There was no shortage of interests at UBCON over the weekend. The staff went out of its way to arrange enough events to cover a wide and varied range of personal tastes. This way there was plenty to see and do for everyone in attendance.
"There's a lot of magic playing, there's LARP [Live Action Role Playing], people play board games, people play video games. It's a fun place," said Wood.
Though the card games, board games and costumes were as striking as they were numerous, for many it was the infamous Nerf war that drew them to UBCON.
For both Friday and Saturday night, UB's Student Union played host to one of the largest Nerf wars in North America, according to UBCON's Web site. The game lasted over six hours and was comprised of over 100 players. However, there was more to the war than just point and shoot.
"They choose ten people to start off as zombies. Literally everyone else, which is almost 100 people, has to kill them. But if you get killed by a zombie once … then you turn into one. There's also a team death match, which is self-explanatory, and capture the flag, which is also self-explanatory," said Ben Fox, 18, Amherst.
But even if attendees did not come prepared to play, UBCON had them covered with the Dealer's Room. Inside SU 145, attendees could find a marketplace brimming with everything any anime or gaming fan could ever want or need.
One wall had dozens of board games for sale. Another boasted a collection of various jewelry and clothing. Also for sale were cards, drawings, weapons, action figures and assorted candy from across the globe. The Dealer's Room was a conglomeration of everything that brought UBCON fans together.
Even more impressive than the amount of items for sale inside the Dealer's Room, however, was the everlasting battle for glory taking place on the field right outside of the Student Union.
Dozens of warriors from all over had gathered to battle one another in the full-contact sport of Dagorhir on North Campus.
"There are groups of us all over the country that do this," said Ben Jackson, a senior Spanish education major from Buffalo State. "Basically, it's a full-contact combat simulation sport … We try to be as realistic as we can while still being safe."
The battlefield was filled with players garbed in multicolored uniforms and armors, brandishing weapons. While the weapons themselves were harmless and created out of foam, the armor was as real as could be.
"You're allowed to wear armor, which has to be authentic, meaning that it has to be made out of real materials that historically people made armor out of … If you wear armor, you feel it. It's a lot heavier; its limits your mobility. But it gives you an additional shot in any portion of your body that's wearing it," said Jackson.
For fans of cards, board games, anime or just beating up someone else, this year's UBCON had something for just about anyone. UBCON will return next year, but it'll take some magic to make it better than this year's event.

E-mail: arts@ubspectrum.com