David Holmes digs through a pile of board games during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con at Douglas Public Library on Jan. 28. The full convention is scheduled to take place this weekend, the first time ever in September, following the reopening of Centennial Hall. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)

David Holmes digs through a pile of board games during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con at Douglas Public Library on Jan. 28. The full convention is scheduled to take place this weekend, the first time ever in September, following the reopening of Centennial Hall. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)

Thousands of games, hundreds of players

Platypus-Con happening this weekend for the first time in September

The most ready connotation of the word “gaming” these days may be video gaming, followed by games of chance in casinos, but the board game is holding its own.

That’s what the annual Platypus-Con Board and Card Game Extravaganza is all about. It doesn’t matter if you gravitate toward Azul — a tile placement game that turns players into artisans competing to make the most beautiful mosaic — or chess, or even Monopoly, said Joshua Warren, president of the nonprofit Platypus Gaming, which produces the event.

The conference normally held in January was bypassed for COVID-19, but aside from that “each year we’ve gotten bigger,” said Warren, who founded the organization in 2014. This is the first time the tournament is taking place in September, due to the just-completed renovation of Centennial Hall that kept the convention center closed since last December, but they will return on Jan. 26-28 as well.

One of the best things about board games, and this event, is that there are thousands of options, he said. That means it appeals to a wide variety of people.

“We have all ages. Some of the older people come every year, and we have a whole area for young kids games,” Warren said. That area isn’t cordoned off, but rather a way to make it so both families and older groups can find a place to play that fits.

“When you enter, we have the main hall, and that is going to be table upon table upon table,” he said. There will be staff there teaching games or people can venture into the Egan Room, which houses the library over the weekend, and check out a game. Badges enable easy checkout of the 2,200 games, which are then taken to the main hall to play.

There are nine tournaments this year, two of them new. Azul, the tile-artisan game, is one of them. The other is Century: Spice Road, where players are caravan leaders who travel the famed silk road to deliver spices to places far away.

Last year they held a Catan tournament. With that game players are settlers on the island of Catan who compete to build their civilizations faster than the others. That tournament will still happen, just as part of Platypus-Con held in January.

But there are many games to choose from. Included in the mix are “abstract games,” which include things like chess and backgammon. The “classics” also are available, as well as some games that “riff on classics.”

“If you want to play Monopoly, you can play Monopoly,” Warren explained. “If you want to play a game similar to Monopoly, we’re happy to point you in the right direction.”

There are board game conventions around the world, hundreds just in the United States, according to Gamenightgods.com, a site that features content about hosting board game nights. The conventions range in size from a couple hundred people to GenCon, which features 60,000, according to a March blog post at the site.

Know & Go

What: Platypus-Con

Where: Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive, Juneau, 99801

When: Friday, Sept. 8, 6 p.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tickets: http://platypusgaming.org/registration

Cost: Weekend pass, adults $35, $20 for 12 and under. Single days adults $20, $12 for 12 and under.

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

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