Its official, board games are cool now! Last Saturday, April 1 2017, more than 60 board game lovers ranging from newbies to the most dedicated collectors gathered for BAECON 2017 at Wine Musuem in Pasay City.

Hi! Im Ron, one of the organizers of Boardgame Advocates and Enthusiasts Convention, endearingly shortened as BAECON. A month ago a question came up in one of our chats, “how can we give back to our growing board game groups?” We came up with an idea of bringing various board game groups for a whole day of gaming. We are entering a new age in Philippine board-gaming and it is high time we have a gathering of enthusiasts. Moreover, we felt the need to empower potential game groups.
What started as a simple meet and greet for all the leaders of the various friendly playgroups quickly grew into something bigger.
Our game group follow a simple building formula.

  1. Invite: Reach out to potential leaders of an area or vicinity.
  2. Connect: Meet them personally, share stories and most importantly play board games!
  3. Repeat: Plan for a regular schedule and commit to it. Form habits that build friendships and meaningful associations.

We followed the same formula for the big event.

We asked the core volunteers to bring in 10 potential leaders. The core volunteers contributed more ideas, soon we had a program, registration system, tickets, posters, awards and more volunteers. The venue, Wine Museum, was sponsored by one of the leaders Javi Joseph of Boardgamers of the South (B.O.T.S.). Thank you Javi and Wine Museum!

We had challenges in the actual allocation of space, overshooting the target number of invites and then some attendees backing-out. Throughout the event, the team kept a cool, positive outlook treating each hurdle as a blessing and focusing on the goal.

The big day arrived and we were overwhelmed by the tremendous support and love from the community. The venue was quickly packed to the brim with games and gamers, advocates and enthusiasts. Gamers clocked in more than 12 hours playing all sorts of games; gateway games, family friendly party games, medium to heavy strategy games, euro games, and even some prototypes from local published designers!
Bryan Danta of Tabletop Gateway PH gave a keynote talk about maximizing technology and social media to connect people together into the welcoming tribe of people who love board gaming. Huddles were formed throughout the convention to talk about how to best teach and play certain types games, how to building more game groups and what are the future plans for the convention. I personally got to attend an enlightening game design publishing huddle held by Nicanor Valdez and his wife Aya of Balangay entertainment.

Board gaming is quickly gaining popularity. It is no longer just an activity to do during a rainy day or a niche hobby that only nerds play. The board gaming community in the Philippines continuously growing evidenced by the thriving board game cafes and the proliferation of more innovative games in the market. The true value of board-games is being with friends, having real, face to face interaction something lacking in video games or apps.

I believe the success of BAECON came from genuine connections. Our affiliated game groups believed in the same ideals and easily rallied together towards the same goal.

What goal? This would be summed up in a conversation a day after the event.

Synmaker: Worth going, thanks for the event coordinators. What a great experience. Lots of games and cool folks. Yeah. Hope another this year or the next.
Ron: Yes, let’s see if we find a good place to accommodate more people, in the meantime, we encourage everyone to form regular playgroups to carry on the joy of this hobby. Join us in our regular weekly meetups, and invite us in the ones you have formed or will form. Have fun with more friends and family!
Synmaker: Copy that. More games, more people, more buddies.

Go out and make more game groups. Keep it light, open and welcoming. Build a game group for your friends, officemates or schoolmates. Build a game group for your area or city. And of course, build a game group for your family.
To those that have experienced BAECON, the formula is simple, Invite, Connect and Repeat. See you all in the game groups!

Shoutout to the core volunteers helping during and before the event of #BAECON2017. Thank you very much for all your time and contributions.

Javi Joseph
Duane Lemuel Galang
Ron Teruel
Denmarc Manalo
DJ Alborte
Erwin Anciano
Keo Gonzalez
Raphael Velis
Daniel Sumalabe
Justin Aaron Quiamco
Redge Tolentino
Jose Roxas
Jae Adriano
Jose Antonio Kahn
Paolo Garces
Aaron Andre Alberto

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