March 12-13, 2016
Pearkes Arena, Victoria BC
Tickets: $30 weekend pass
or $15 per day (pre-registration).
LANtasy‘s motto is “Play Games, Have Fun” at their upcoming event taking place March 12th and 13th. For the fandom living in Victoria, BC, hopefully everyone can put the incidents of 2015 behind them. The final quarter of that year was less than positive: GottaCon (GC) announced they were closing their doors and Island Fantasy Convention did not happen. The reaction by the community was not kind with how the latter event was handled. However, with a new year Tsukino-Con remains strong and the technical crew behind GC decided to continue the legacy the broad-spectrum gaming event represented.
Jeff Pedlow is one of the department heads. He says this show will exist to bring people together and his group really loves the gaming community that exists here. Despite the name, they are not playing favourites over what kind of activities are being offered at this show. Yes, there will be a heavy Local Area Network (LAN) gaming presence, but there is more to the show than just that — board gaming, miniature gaming and RPGs are offered. People will be encouraged to come in costume (cosplay). Essentially, this event will be just like GottaCon in their early days. In what’s for certain, Pedlow says that his group does not take any money from the event and their goal is to throw community-centric gaming events for everyone living on the island. As their Facebook page shows, there are qualifying events taking place in and out of the Capitol Region that will lead up to the finals at LANtasy.
“If we grow in size, that’s always great, but our primary concern is throwing fun events for the community to come out and enjoy,” said Pedlow.
Even though this event is two months away, perhaps fandom should start planning. In addition to their FAQ about this event, Otakunoculture talked to Jeff about other lingering queries:
How did this convention get its start? As I understand, it was part of GottaCon but I am not sure if it is its own entity.
LANtasy was actually around before GottaCon’s closure. We mainly consisted of the group that handled the infrastructure for the LAN event for the past 5 years at GottaCon. We were brought on to handle the LAN infrastructure, we set up the networks / switches / servers / load balancers / firewalls and et cetera to ensure that it ran smoothly for the events team to run their tournaments (which, now, members of the events team are members of LANtasy).
Who decided to continue what another group had started?
We had always wondered what it’d be like to throw our own event, so with the closure of GottaCon we had planned to keep the LAN going. Upon other groups (which also were involved with GottaCon) finding out that we were throwing an event and had space, they joined us. The core administration (Evan Hatch and Carson Upton) of GottaCon are not with us though. While LANtasy has the LAN name, it’s a bit of a misnomer, we have cosplay, board games, RPGs, tabletop minis and the LAN. Some would say we’re a “broad spectrum” gaming event.
After the closure of GottaCon, it was natural for us to decide to throw the LAN, we spoke as a group of directors (myself, Rowan Townshend and Chris Dobbyn) about how to best approach things and decided it would be advantageous to try to be near the timeline when GottaCon was to not interfere with the dates of other events. Thankfully the folks in Saanich were extremely accommodating to us and we were able to book a date at Pearkes (Recreation Centre).
In light of what happened last year with IFCon and it being cancelled last-minute, what measures do you have in place to qualm the fears the local fandom has?
IFCon … ugh, what a disaster. It’s extremely hard to be unbiased after watching such a thing happen to the community. I’ve spoken with several event organizers from other conventions and we pretty much all share the same feelings… this isn’t the first time this has happened to the folks at IFCon and in the end its the community as a whole who pays the price for their care-free attitude towards how they throw events. It’s HUGELY impacted us, we’ve had dozens of people tell us they won’t buy tickets before the show because of IFCon.
For us — we have emergency plans in place to prevent that. Besides just basic things, like paying our deposits, the layout for the show is planned, we have our insurance, we have all of our sponsors lined up, our events are planned, our schedule is 99% planned. Everything’s paid up.
We have all of our planning documentation shared throughout our staff, we have 3 directors who know how to run the entire event by themselves, we have at least 2 members for every core team running the event in the case one becomes ill or hit by a truck… And yes, Insurance is a MUST. In fact, most venues will not allow a convention to take place without proof of insurance. Ours is fully insured!
Who are you hoping will come to this event?
We are hoping for everyone! Our only hitch is that our insurance provider REQUIRES all people younger than 16 be accompanied by an adult, other than that, it’s open to everyone from all walks of life! Our event is for gamers by gamers and thrown for love of gaming (not for making money).
Sadly our insurance only allows a parent to be present. Otherwise we’re responsible for that child and we don’t have the volunteers to do that. We’re hoping to find a solution with our insurance company, so I will keep you updated!
What will be different in this version of the show? The name alone suggests a lot of LAN gaming, but (as I see), other types of gaming will be offered too, like miniature battles, RPGs and board games.
I brushed on that a little already but, we had the name set before we started adding features, we are debating whether a small rebrand will be worthwhile for future years. Combined with the other events, the LAN is roughly ⅓ of the event, the other areas are just as large.
As for differences, we are going for little improvements every year with: event offerings to attendees, website and ticketing system automation and integration, network automation and integration, improvements with delivery for exhibitors and sponsors et cetera. Priority #1 though is LINES. That’s what we are hoping for people to really notice for our first year, we want people to get in to the event without absurdly long wait times in the line.
How much space in the Pearkes arena will this show take up?
Actually we’re taking up ½ the entire floor this year, we’d rather start small and grow to full size in 2017 then worry about the extra planning and costs. A ‘soft’ start, so to speak. Rest assured, the ½ size is roughly 13000sq ft of jam-packed gaming.
What is being offered during the show for the casual gamer to participate in?
We have board games, RPGs (from beginner to expert), exhibitors and cosplay that are drop-in anytime. Additional gaming like tabletop minis or the LAN require an add-on expense to help with the costs of running those events.
We will having an exhibitors’ listing on our website (www.lantasy.com) where people can see who else will be coming to the event! We have approximately 16 booths for people to come check out, in addition to regular pass access to the RPGs and board games.
How many people do you expect to show up in this “reboot?”
For attendance, we are hoping for 350-400, and have room for 500. Honestly 350 would be an extremely exciting start for us!
Are you embracing the open air gaming attitude that GottaCon had?
We will have mostly open air, we just ask attendees to not block lane ways for the LAN or tabletop MINIS area. Other than that, it’s a fairly familiar layout for those who had attended similar events held at Pearkes before.
How will you deal with the noise complaints the early shows had since it’s all in one big arena?
The noise factor is a hard one, there are certain groups that are extremely loud, sadly it’s hard to dull the sound throughout the venue, it just carries so well! We have been on discussion on how to mitigate it going forward and are always looking to improve!
What are your plans for 2017 and beyond?
Let’s just say it will be 2016 x 2. Here’s hoping the community comes out and supports us so we can support them by throwing awesome cons.