SaltCON is a board game convention for families, gamers, and game designers. This convention is quickly becoming the preeminent board game convention of the Intermountain West. SaltCON happens each year during the first weekend in March near Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2016, SaltCON added more space, regional tournaments, and more games to give away, including over 100 play-to-win games. The total attendance this year was 1142 people, up 37% over last year.
The Meeple Nation Podcast was at SaltCON again in force. We ran social games each day, including Ultimate Werewolf, Two Rooms and a BOOM!, and Live Codenames. We love the social games and many of the players came back the second day to play with us. We must have done it right. The same player won both Live Codenames sessions, which means he was on the same wavelength as Ryan, who created the clues. Ryan is not sure if he should be scared or if he’s ready to start a new podcast with a new co-host.
Our game of Ultimate Werewolf was one of the best games Nathan has ever witnessed. The discussion was rife with accusations and outright attacks. Pleas of innocence were abundant. The first game with 15 gamers lasted almost a full hour before the werewolves were finally sniffed out.
We also played six games of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, one of our new perennial favorites. We had little trouble finding investigators. Paige, Aaron, Sydney, half of HUGG, Trent, Michael, and Matt. With twelve players, we had a surprising number of accurate guesses in the first round of the game. Our forensic scientists demonstrated some mad clue-giving skills.
We recorded a podcast live in front of an audience with guests Ryan Bruns of Mayday Games, Ben Hilliard from Daedalus Productions, and Claudine Finlay and Julie Balazs from HUGG. We talked about attending conventions and being prepared to attend the big one. We spoke about attending from a gamer perspective as well as from that of a game company. Some good advice all around. Also, Brent was finally famous enough to be interviewed on Meeple Nation.
We recorded podcast audio with about 20 board game professionals, including Seth Hiatt from Mayday Games, Andy Van Zandt, Michael Mindes, and Seth Jaffee from Tasty Minstrel Games, Matt Saunders designer of Mow Money, Greg Spence from the The Broken Token, Chris Urinko from Daft Concepts, Michael Coe from Gamelyn Games, and Dale, Dan, and Sean the organizers of SaltCON.
The convention was largely focused on open play with a “hot games” area and an Envoy room where volunteers taught the play-to-win games. Every day was packed with dozens of scheduled events, including panels, tournaments, and roleplaying, which ran continuously in a dedicated room with 306 participants.
The Ion Award, an annual board game design contest, was judged and prizes were awarded. Board games donated by game stores and game companies were given away. The grand prize went to a Meeple Nation listener. Dave Bremer won 504 and The Gallerist. Great job. Nathan won a few duds, but at least he won something.
We even managed to play a few games along the way. I’d call that a success. We are already looking forward to next year. If you live anywhere in the Intermountain West you should definitely check out SaltCON in 2017.