Mama Madison: Gamehole Con comes to Madison

To game or not to game?

When I tell my kids, or anyone else for that matter, that I don't want to play games, it's the literal variety I am talking about. If it comes in a box, is played on a board or needs a 52-card deck, I'm not interested. Even as a kid, I never warmed up to anything manufactured by Milton Bradley. One of my most memorable childhood injuries (mostly ego) was suffered in a game of Twister. And frankly, I don't give a damn what Miss Scarlet did to Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room with a Candlestick. As far as I'm concerned, he got what he deserved. He did agree to play a game, billiards, with the woman, after all.

But my kids feel differently, especially my middle son. He loves "gaming" in every sense of the word. His favorite thing to do when his aunt comes to visit is challenge her to a rousing round of Yahtzee. He regularly plays poker and Risk with his buddies. And just this past year he discovered the joy of role-playing games with a delightful introduction to Pathfinder (a variation, as far as I can tell, of Dungeons and Dragons). Some of his very favorite Sundays are cheerfully spent rolling a pair of polyhedral dice in hopes of taking on the Goblinblood Wars and Gunslinger issues. All under the watchful eye of one of his best friend's dad, himself a gamer.

There is no question my son has found his people -- even if some of them are pretending to be elves.

So I couldn't be more thrilled he's going to have the chance to take his passion for all things board (but clearly not boring) to the next levelat the first (and hopefully annual) Gamehole Con, taking place this Nov. 1-3 at the Sheraton on John Nolen Drive.

According to its website, Gamehole Con will be the premier tabletop gaming convention in the region. And with Wisconsin being the birthplace of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the nation's leader in gaming stores per capita, it kind of makes sense that the convention's organizers want the Dairy State to be known for more than just cheese, beer and bratwurst.

I did though question, when registering him, what, exactly, is a "Gamehole"? It does kind of sound a little yucky. And I needed to know, after all, if it is an appropriate placefor a 13-year-old to be spending a Saturday night?

As it turns out, the inspiration for the convention's name is literary. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel begins, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

A "Gamehole," much like the hobbit hole, the event's organizers assure me, should also be a wonderfully safeand comfortable placefor gamers of all ages.

So while I'll likely spend the convention in the comforts of my own game-free Mama hole, I couldn't be more thrilled that my kid has founds friends that will "play" with him for a weekend solid.

And he'll definitely have a role to play -- that of a kid having the time of his life.

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