Carnage brings games to Killington
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | November 09,2013
KILLINGTON — The ski resort becomes an indoor playground this weekend.
Carnage, Vermont’s largest gaming convention, is located at Killington Ski Resort for the first time this year following more than a decade at Fairlee. The event opened Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday.
This is not gaming in the computer or gambling sense, but a weekend of board games, card games, miniature wargames and tabletop role-playing games.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” organizer Rod Sheldon said. “Whatever you like, we’ve got it.”
The annual event was beginning to outgrow its previous home, the Lake Morey Resort, with pre-registration for hotel rooms filling up in a day in the last few years. Sheldon said attendance ranges from 450 to 500.
“We looked at Killington a few years ago,” Sheldon said. “We liked it, but we thought it was a little out of our area.”
Continued growth forced the issue, and Sheldon said Killington’s closer proximity to New York might mean an even greater draw.
“We’ve been pre-reging now for about a month and we’ve seen a lot of New Yorkers coming over, all the way down to the capital region,” he said. “We’re not looking for it to grow, but it’s kind of a good happenstance that it will grow. We’ll see.”
Carnage was founded 16 years ago by a group of friends who attended the now-defunct Northeast Wars, a Burlington convention.
“We all threw in a bunch of money,” founding member Gaylord Newcity said. “The idea was, we’d finally get to a point where this year would pay for next year. We’ve finally reached that point.”
Newcity said the convention scene is friendship-driven.
“We are a small convention compared to some of the other ones and everyone knows each other, if not by name, at least by sight,” he said. “It’s fun to play with other people, as opposed to online. ... There are some games that are eight hours long. Usually, you can’t play those at home.”
While board games are well and widely known, much of the rest of what gets played at Carnage might need some explanation.
Magic: the Gathering and other elaborate, specialized card games might be called board games without boards.
Miniatures wargames involve using figures that represent either small units or individual soldiers, depending on the game, to simulate military engagements — some historic, some purely fictional.
Four Revolutionary War battles fought in the area — Bennington, Hubbardton, Saratoga and Valcour Island — will be gamed out alongside the Death Star battle from Star Wars and engagements from World War II, the American Civil War and the Zulu War.
Dungeons & Dragons is the most famous tabletop role-playing game, and it is one of several that will be run at Carnage. Several games are part of a “living” campaign, in which games this weekend can have implications on ones to be played at future conventions.
Activities are spread around the resort but based at the Killington Grand Hotel. Admission is $30 for a single day and $55 for the entire weekend — $45 if you are part of a group of five or more.