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Game Summit grows, moves to new venue

By Jared Davidson on January 28, 2013

Here at Apartment613, we like our digital media. Heck, for all you know we could be computers, sent from the future to enslave all humans with our blog posts. But as enamoured as we are with the world of ones and zeroes, it still doesn’t eclipse our love for clunky, physical board games. Nothing beats the joy of setting out a brand new board game, learning the rules, and crushing your friends with epic dice rolls. Multiply that joy by 100, and you have something of an idea of why we’re so excited for Game Summit this weekend.

If it was possible to overdose on board games, Game Summit, Ottawa’s premiere board game convention, would probably come with a public health warning. A day or weekend pass to the convention gives you access to a library of over 600 games, eight massive shelves full. And, since no one likes reading rules, the folks at Game Summit will teach you to play the games themselves. “The majority of people come just to learn new games,” says Marquis Côté, Chief Game Ambassador for the Convention and one of the masterminds behind its creation.

Over the past six years, the Summit has slowly but surely outgrown its previous venue, the Nepean Sportsplex. “The last two events, people were wandering around looking for tables and had no table to play at,” says Côté. And so, the convention moved across the river to the Palais des Congrès de Gatineau. “[The venue provides] the carpeted cozy space to sit down and play for eight hours,” says Côté. It’s also a lot larger than the room they occupied at the Nepean Sportsplex. And it’s a good thing, because this year they’re expecting 2,000 to 3,000 participants. That’s a lot of board game.

In addition to the countless games to tinker with, Game Summit also attracts people whose gaming takes a more competitive bent. Those who enjoy reveling in their victories can book spots in the various tournaments the summit runs ahead of time. “We’re a week away and they’re kind of filling up,” says Côté. “We are expanding certain popular ones when needed.” There are serious prizes involved. Filosofia Games and Z-Man, a Montreal publisher, is contributing $2,000 worth of games from their games library to be won. Additionally, tournament winners will be sent to compete in national or international tournaments. So—you know—serious stuff. You can also enter smaller tournaments on the day by plunking down a couple of the tokens which come with the event passport.

There will be tons of stuff to see at the convention. Film screenings, lectures and previews of new board games by big designers are all included in the entry fee. There will also be some novelty oversized games, including a giant Settlers of Catan board featuring plushies instead of cards. “There’s a garage sale as well,” says Côté. “You bring your stuff to our staff, they tag it, and when you come back they give you your money.” That, in addition to their partnership with Ottawa Geek Market, means there will be tons of cool stuff to buy.

In conclusion, board games are awesome.

Passes to Game Summit are available via their website. Until Thursday, they’re on sale for a discounted price.