Gaming convention offers plenty of fun and "networking"
March 3, 2005
KALAMAZOO--Southwest Michigan's largest gaming convention will draw young and old alike to Western Michigan University in March for three days of fun and some serious "networking."
The Marmalade Dog convention will take place Friday, March 11, through Sunday, March 13, in the Bernhard Center on the main WMU campus in Kalamazoo. The event, now in it's 10th year, is open to the public and features a variety of board, card, role-playing and miniature games as well as a LAN party, charity auction and vendor exhibition area.
Marmalade Dog 10 is being sponsored by the Western Michigan Gamers Guild, a registered student organization at WMU that also is open to nonstudents. It is named after the Guild's mythical mascot--a shaggy orange dog wearing a horned helmet and a bandoleer.
WMGG President Michael Schim, a junior from Royal Oak, Mich., majoring in international studies, says the annual convention has been growing steadily since its debut.
"About 300 people attended last year's event, which was the first time we extended the convention to three days," Schim says. "This year, we've expanded the number of individual events by over 25 percent," he adds, citing larger numbers of role-playing and board games as a big part of the growth.
A highlight of the 2005 convention will be the fifth annual LAN party on Saturday. In this event, participants will set up their own computers and play video games together on a network. Although players are welcome to run whatever games they wish, convention organizers will have servers prepared for computer games such as Battlefield: Vietnam, Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty: United Offensive, FarCry and Unreal Tournament 2004.
Businesses related to the hobby gaming industry will again be exhibiting their wares. Among this year's participants will be Flak Magnet's Miniatures, Larry's Games and Stuff, and local retailer Fanfare Sports & Entertainment.
Three other returning Marmalade Dog mainstay events are the miniature figure painting contest, the anime screening room and the charity auction, which this year will benefit the American Red Cross.
Registration and game times will vary throughout the weekend. Doors will be open 2:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Convention activities will take place in the East Ballroom on the second floor of the Bernhard Center on Friday and Saturday, then move to the cafeteria and rooms 105-107 on the center's first floor on Sunday.
Marmalade Dog 10 admission fees are $20 for all three days, $15 for Friday and Saturday only or Saturday and Sunday only, $10 for Saturday only, and $7 for Friday or Sunday only. WMGG members with photo ID will receive a $5 discount on their total admission.
There are no vendor fees, and game masters who registered before Dec. 1 will receive free admission on each day they run a game. A Friday-only parking pass may be purchased for $5. Parking will be free at meters in most lots around the convention site on Saturday and Sunday.
WMGG has a mix of student and nonstudent members, but only enrolled WMU students may serve as officers. The organization gives members a chance to meet gamers who share their interests as well as a convenient and consistent time and place to play in pick-up games and long-term campaigns. Members also have access to WMGG's game materials library of more than 1,000 items and receive discounts on WMGG tournaments and gaming events.
For more Marmalade Dog 10 information or to register as a player, game master or exhibitor, visit the convention Web site at <www.marmaladedog.org> or contact Michael Schim at (269) 387-2292 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, email@example.com