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Wizard World Toronto Comic Con 2011

Scott Wachter
Saving Throw Columnist

I'm coming up on a year working here at RPGamer, and as a guy in a niche aspect of the site, I've gotten used to doing my own my leg work for everything that ends up in my column. So, I got really excited when the Wizard World's PR company invited me to apply for a press pass to their show. I felt like I'd really made it as semi-fake internet journalist (also it gave me an excuse to get some business cards printed, though even I thought it would be too unprofessional to list my job title as 'Dread Columnist'). I was so excited that I arrived an hour early for the show; I beat the pizza guys there. As a tangent, I love when these conventions take place in giant centres with multiple events running at the same time. There's something about seeing stormtroopers holding open doors for a group of walker-clutching ladies on their way to the flower show that is just priceless.

1. This is what an empty convention hall looks like.
2. I think this guy is from a JRPG.
3. You said you were okay if we broadened our coverage, look forward to our extensive previews of Lego Halo.

While I was waiting for the doors to open I was stuck by two things: first, this room is still very empty, only three quarters of the vendor booths and fewer than half of artist's alley were occupied. Only a handful of their special guests were present. After speaking to some of the volounteers they assured me that they were expecting a full house on Saturday, but it makes me feel bad I didn't clear out more time over the weekend to take in the con at it's best. Second, this was a comic book convention. I should explain, some conventions use the term 'comic con' as a generic gathering of nerdyness and others use it mean a convention focused on comic books. This was the latter, there was a Magic tournament, and a scattered amount of videogame and anime vendors, but by far and away this con was a about buying comics and interacting with comic creators.

1. I'll say one thing about Yu-Gi-Oh, at least it made card games midly interesting to watch.
2. The only pen & paper RPG products in the entire building.
3. It's not so much that he thought digital distribution itself was bad, it's that he thought DRM and copy protection are bad, and thus digital distribution can't be good.

That being said, I did sample Friday's analog gaming offerings. I had a great, if heated, discussion with a panelist on the role of digital distribution in tabletop RPG manuals in the future. I also got to touch base with the Epoch Toronto LARP group, click here to listen to me interview their president, Jennifer Mills. You can also find out all about her group on their website.

Best decorated booth at the show.

After that chat I did participate in their boffer combat demo, after watching and photographing a few bouts I decided to enter the ring. My first match I elected for a dagger and shortsword combo in pseudo-florentine style in a match against a Syaoran cosplayer, in which I managed to acquit myself quite well, winning 5 hits to 4. For my next attempt I decided to try a shield and long blade. The thing you should know about shields is that they are heavy and screw up your balance, also relevant is that concrete is both slippery and hard. After falling on my butt twice and getting my legs hacked up by nerf I left the arena firmly resolved to continue roleplaying from the comfort of my chair.

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