Gaming and comic convention comes to Prince Conference Center

File photo.
File photo.

The Grand Rapids community will be able to experience its very first gaming and comics convention, to be held at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College from Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22.

GrandCon is set to offer a plethora of games, activities and events for gamers with different interests and skill levels. The agenda during the convention will include an exhibition of local and national comic artists, tournaments and a game room.

The game room will have more than 1,000 games displayed with tutorials for beginners. Seminars, instructional lessons and competitive events will be happening each day throughout the weekend, according to Grandcon’s official website.

Grandcon also has book signings and workshops planned with internationally known guests, such as Wizards of the Coast artist Mark Nelson and game publisher Boyan Radakovich.

Two of the masterminds behind the plan, Brian W. Lenz and Marc Specter, are fervid gamers themselves and are excited to bring this new convention to West Michigan.

Having grown up as gamers, Lenz and Specter hope to share what they have loved with people of all ages. They emphasized that gaming can be a family event and really want the community to enjoy something novel.

“This is going to be huge,” Specter said, claiming more than 500 people have already pre-registered for the weekend, not including some of the 100 vendors that have committed but not pre-registered for the weekend. The vendor room is completely sold out.

“We’re really hoping that attendees will be able to do everything at Grandcon,” he said.

The convention has already gained significant hype across the internet, Grand Rapids and Calvin College, according to Specter and Lenz.

For some of the more experienced gamers, the organized play will be more competitive, Specter said. Some of the events planned are a Magic the Gathering tournament and a Settlers of Catan World Championship Qualifier. Calvin even has a club dedicated to trading card games, aptly named the Trading Card Game (TCG) Club.

“As a club, we’re really looking forward to an event like this so close to home,” Brandon Raterink, vice president of Calvin’s TCG club, said in an interview a week before the convention. “We’ve hosted card game events before, but nothing of this magnitude. You can bet that our club will show up.”

Participants with a valid Calvin College ID will receive a $3 voucher for the event which can be redeemed for merchandise at a majority of the vendors.

Specter also said he and Grandcon partnered with Helen Devos Children’s Hospital Foundation, based here in West Michigan, to raise money for a drive called “Extra Life.”

Lenz and Specter pledged to donate a dollar from each admission ticket, and they hope to reproduce the success they had from their last partnership with the foundation.

“We raised money for them a year ago, and we really wanted to do it again,” Specter said. “There will even be some events that further sponsor the foundation.”

About the Author

Loukas Peterson

Loukas Peterson is a newly hired writer for Chimes and couldn't be more excited. He's a junior studying math and graphic design with a minor in writing. His skills go beyond journalism and include juggling, reverse pickpocketing, and he can even cook Minute Rice in 56 seconds flat.

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