The Bellevue Hilton will play host to superheroes, villains, soldiers, kings, queens and even zombies this January.
OrcaCon, a tabletop gaming convention, will kick-off its fifth year Jan. 10-12.
OrcaCon is the place for all role-playing games, card and board games and miniatures wargames. The 60,000 square foot venue will house titles such as Dungeon & Dragons, Magic: the Gathering, Catan, Wingspan, Warhammer, Scythe, and Starfinder.
The Bellevue Hilton isn’t a stranger to gaming conventions. It has served as the host for Dragonflight, another gaming convention, for the past 12 years.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs, an OrcaCon advisory board member, has been with OrcaCon since the beginning.
In fact, it began at Dragonflight.
Hobbs, a longtime board game player, attended Dragonflight with a few of his fellow board game-loving friends.
“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have something like [Dragonflight] in Snohomish County?’” he said. “And two years later, OrcaCon started in Everett.”
Hobbs said he was nervous before OrcaCon’s debut.
“We hoped for maybe 300 people,” he said. “We got 800.”
The first two years of Orca Con were held in Everett. Due to changes to the venue, OrcaCon found a new home at the Bellevue Hilton.
While OrcaCon offers gamers an opportunity to meet and play new games, the convention also hosts seminars and workshops featuring artists, writers, retailers, game developers and designers, distributors, and CEOs of indie game companies. OrcaCon also features demonstrations of games from many local indie game companies, plus tournaments, such as Car Wars.
Last year’s OrcaCon saw some 1,200 tabletop game enthusiasts from across the country for the three-day convention.
Since its beginning in 2015, Orca Con has evolved but the mission is the same.
The mission of OrcaCon is to promote diversity in tabletop gaming. For Hobbs, he said diversity and inclusivity is important to him.
“Growing up, there weren’t a lot of folks like me — I’m half Japanese and half white — in characters, game pieces, etc.,” he said. “Representation matters.”
This year’s focus will be supporting Latinx and Mexicanx creators in tabletop games. Guests of honor include Katherine Cross, Victoria Caña, Brian Cortijo, Brittanie Boe, and Aaron Bowersock, all who are well known and revered in the industry for game development, support, community, and social justice. Others from the industry include Misha B., Sarah Gulde, Mike Robles and Lynne Hardy. A full list of guests can be found on the OrcaCon website (www.orcacon.org).
OrcaCon will also feature Wizards of the Coast LGBT/Allies Employee group, who bring games and community to OrcaCon, Hobbs said.
“It’s always so amazing to see all the people,” he said. “I love seeing them have fun and making new friends. It’s a wonderful community.”
The all-ages convention will be Jan. 10-12 at the Bellevue Hilton. For more information about OrcaCon, go online to http://www.orcacon.org.