On the 15-17 of March I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to attend Breakout Con in Toronto, ON. Never have I been to an event which had such a welcoming, friendly, and inclusive environment. Just from the looks on the attendees faces, you could tell that they were truly enjoying themselves. Of note were the number of independent game developers(who were more that happy to demonstrate their game) in attendance, the buy and sell auction area, where you could grab more games than you needed, the open play room, the 24-hour gaming room, and an amazing group of organizers and volunteers.
Speaking with two of the event creators, Rob Deobald and Kate Bullock I learned that Breakout was created to fill a need by the Toronto Area Boardgame Society (TABS)for a place where people who played board games, role playing games, and tabletop games could meet and socialize. The current organizers were brought on to run the RPG side of things 4 years ago. When approached by TABS, the organizers brought the Toronto Gaymers (who sponsored the lanyards this year) on board, to help ensure that the convention would be an inclusive, safe space for marginalized voices. “…it was always one of our core tenets, so we brought that with us when we came to the table”, says Bullock As one attendee put it, “…I’ve never been to such a gay con, there’s more queers here than Pride.” When asked what the future holds, I was told Breakout isn’t going anywhere, and while shows don’t do well “going on the road”, the organizers are available to give advice on how to avoid the myriad of problems that an event organizer can run into; and that many larger cons have done.
Probably the greatest kudos I heard over the weekend came from one of the Toronto Gaymers, who is a die-hard video gamer. “Other than dabbling with D&D I’m not into tabletop gaming, and I love this convention.” So if you have any interest in gaming at all, it is definitely worth the trip to Toronto for this unique gaming convention.
I still have interviews with developers yet to be completed, so check back regularly, as I will upload links to those as they become available. Have a great week nerdlings.