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Q&A: Donna Prior Talks About OrcaCon, Games

Events for Gamers normally covers computer and consoles game industry events but has been eager to grow into the vast board and card game industry for a while now. As its mission statement reflects, OrcaCon is a true games and geek convention that includes board and card games, role-playing games and miniatures. The inaugural event is in January 2016, and in this interview, Donna Prior talks about OrcaCon and games.

Q: OrcaCon is a cool name for an event! What does it stand for?

A: The name? It’s funny, because I’m always amused when non-Puget Sound folks ask “Why an Orca?” We’re surrounded by them up here, and we wanted to match the theme of the region.

What does OrcaCon itself stand for? Inclusivity and diversity in tabletop games. Welcoming all to the table, from brand new players to super experience tournament players. Our goal is to create a safe environment, where marginalized people are welcome and supported.

Donna Prior Talks About OrcaCon

Q: What drove your team to create OrcaCon, and is it just for card/board/RPG/miniatures fans?

A: A few things really. Basically, I created the convention I have always wanted to attend. At least, I hope I have. The idea came up at another convention, where a bunch of us were talking about how we missed having a convention in Snohomish County, which is north of Seattle. There isn’t a lot of opportunity for geeky gaming and nerding between Seattle and Vancouver. We’re more affordable and approachable than the giant conventions. A more intimate environment, and we are doing our best to keep all business local, from our convention T-shirts, to the beer sold at the hotel bar.

And yes, currently OrcaCon is all analog. Board games, card games, RPGs, miniatures, CCGs and such. Basically, non-digital games.

Q: Card and board games are a huge part of our own team’s game libraries. What are some of your favorites, and will they be available to play at OrcaCon?

A: Oh, gosh. My faves change all the time, as there are lots of amazing games coming out all the time. Right now, I’m a huge fan of X-Wing Miniatures, and I plan on bringing my Warmachine miniatures. For board/card games, I’m really into Splendor, Ticket to Ride, Hanabi, and just learned how to play Lords of Waterdeep. We probably have 300+ games in our personal collection. For RPGs, am currently playing a D&D 5th Edition Forgotten Realms game, and just wrapped up a great Hunter: The Vigil game, which is transitioning to Changling: The Lost.

OrcaCon board games

We’ll have heaps of games to play, both on our schedule and in our open play library. Our friends at Card Kingdom are sponsoring our Game Library, and our Play and Win is supported by The Envoy Program by Double, Exposure.

Q: The panel lineup looks great! The last one on the event’s website is “Game & Geek Events in the Pacific Northwest.” How strong is the card/board game community in the area?

A: It’s huge! The Pacific Northwest has the largest group of tabletop game companies in one area. From large companies like Wizards of the Coast and Paizo, to smaller ones like Cheapass Games and Green Ronin Publishing. There is a large indie dev crowd here, too. Plus we have distributors such as GTS. If you do a search of Meetup.com, there are game and geek meetups every night of the week. From general games groups to specialized groups such as Queer Geek Seattle, Inclusive Geekery, GeekGirlCon Social Meetups. Sometimes it is hard to pick just one game night, as there are numerous all over town. And finally, we have numerous pubs, bars, coffee houses, libraries who support game nights and geeky crafting meetups.


Q: There’s huge potential to meet a celebrity at these kind of events. Which ones can attendees expect to find at OrcaCon? Will we see any famous board game designers there?

A: Well, that’s kinda funny to those of us who work in tabletop. There are very few “famous” type people in tabletop. There are recognizable names, to be sure. Our Games Guest of Honor is Chris Pramas, CEO of Green Ronin Publishing. Our Artist Guest of Honor is Linda “Brasse” Carlson, who is not only an amazing artist and goat rancher, but the director of community at Trion Worlds. We have numerous special guests, but we have even more folks who will be doing panels, workshops and running demos of their games.

Q: How are volunteers critical in the event’s success, and what can we expect for volunteer opportunities in 2016?

A: We have a core staff of volunteers and a small group of volunteers who will be helping to keep things going smoothly. I wouldn’t be able to do all this amazing stuff if it wasn’t for their support. The leadership positions actually went very fast, because there are so many great local conventions and folks who like to run them. Most of my staff volunteers are PAX Enforcers and/or GDC Conference Associates, the cream of the crop of volunteers, as it were.

OrcaCon volunteers

Q: What else can attendees look forward to for the inaugural event in January 2016?

A: Games. Games. Games. We’ll have some amazing panels and workshops, which you can see on our Programming page. We’ve hand-picked some fantastic artist, crafters and game retailers, which can be found on our Dealers Hall page. We’re featuring numerous local conventions, charities and other organizations in our Community Row. Finally, we are keeping things local and fresh, with the addition of Blackfish Stout, brewed by Edmonds local, Salish Sea Brewing. You’ll be able to buy this special beer, made just for OrcaCon, in the hotel bar.

Q: Thanks for letting Events for Gamers attend as guests for the full experience of OrcaCon!

A: Thanks so much for the questions and allowing me to gush over OrcaCon! We’re super stoked about our first convention and have already signed for OrcaCon 2.0, which will be focused on race and accessibility in tabletop games.

Be sure to visit the official OrcaCon website for more information.


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