Buffalo's Annual Gaming Gauntlet

A Preview of UBCON XXIII

The Spectrum

Between the full-scale medieval battle, countless sorcerers and superheroes, and inevitable zombie uprising, campus may not be the safest place this weekend.

Entitled "Mis-Judgement Day," UB's 23rd annual UBCON begins this Friday, bringing its witchcraft, warlords, and role-players together in every Buffalo gamers' Mecca over the weekend.

Boasting community-engaging events like Zombie Action Role Play, StarCraft II tournaments, and a panel consisting of '90s anime icons Eric Vale and Monica Rial - voice-actingDragon Ball Z's Trunks and Bulma respectively - this year's event is charging up to be the best one yet.

"For this year's UBCON, we actually have 14 guests. Last year, I believe we only had about six guests...and we're expanding our artist gallery as well," Miller said.

Miller, a junior communication major and this year's UBCON event coordinator, meticulously planned this year's event to try and satisfy the school's diverse range of gaming tastes. On Monday, the web site - ubcon.org - provided a list of over 160 events to attend, with more being added all the way up until the event begins.

"We have a lot [of events] for different people [who may be] interested in RPGing, interested in more online stuff, [and] the viewing room will be open," Miller said. "Some old guests, some new guests, something for everyone."

While role-playing and collectible-card games are old helms for most dungeon delvers, North America's largest NERF war is not - the event is exclusive to the Buffalo crowd. Starting at 11 p.m. and going well into the night, teams of over 40 plastic-clad combatants go head-to-head in games of capture the flag and the traditional team death match, leaving Student Union hallways covered in foam-flung artillery.

For foam-wielding warriors looking for more of a "hands-on" approach to combat, look no further than the Live Action Role-Playing world of Dagorhir. Contestants form clans to compete in mock combat with padded weaponry, pitting player against player with UB's Student Union Activity Field lending itself as the group's (hopefully barely) blood-spattered battlefield.

"[LARPing] gives me a chance to be somebody else. To be a master fighter or something crazy like that," said Alexander Joel Vanderpoel, a junior economics major. "LARPing gives me a chance to just do whatever I want. Same reason people play video games."

Fans coming unequipped for the event's activities can always find what they're looking for in SU 145, a room solely dedicated to the sale of everything players will need to get their games going throughout the 72-hour Con. Besides sporting every gaming accessory from card, miniature, and the latest board games, SU 145 briefly becomes a manga-lover's dream, providing an extensive library of titles found nowhere else in the Buffalo area.

"We're expecting about 1,000 attendees this year," Miller said. "Last year we had about 850, but I've been planning the event since May of last year so this is 11 months in the works."

Off-campus attendees have, in the past, found refuge in Capen, Baldy, the Student Union, and anywhere else on campus in order to catch a few hours of sleep in between the festivities.

"Sleeping on campus through [UBCON] allowed me to experience the entire programming of the event," said Charles Nassor, a senior biology major and UBCON 2009 attendee. "There are events that go on even late at night (i.e. the rave, anime screenings, and NERF war). I would suggest to anyone asking to sleep on campus if you want to experience the event in its entirety. One of the best decisions of my life."

UBCON XXIII runs Friday through Sunday and costs $20 pre-sale through the SA web site, or $10 per day at the door.

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com