Game on All ages turn out for Carnage on the Mountain’
By Elicia Mailhiot
Correspondent | November 11,2013
Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
A board game featuring exotic islands and pirate ships is played by people attending the Carnage on the Mountain tabletop gaming convention at the Killington Grand Hotel on Sunday.
Four men sat around a table engaging in conversation, watching a light snow fall on top of the mountain nestled just behind them. They talked about their families, an old Mustang one was restoring, and their day jobs ... in between gaming, of course.
This was a common scene in Killington over the weekend at the 16th annual Carnage event, themed “Carnage on the Mountain.” The weekend served as a celebration of tabletop gaming and draws a crowd of all ages and backgrounds.
For many, like Frank Laflame, the Carnage games bring an opportunity to share experiences with friends he has met through gaming, including Burlington native Mike Scheck.
“The best thing is being able to make friendships,” Laflame said. “I met Mike at a home game on a whim.”
Now, the two join Mark Willis and Ethan Miller, a student at Colchester High School, for a weekend of Pathfinder, a role-playing adventure game modified from Dungeons & Dragons.
Carnage might be new for Miller, but the other three men are seasoned veterans.
“I’ve been coming here for the last 12 years,” said Laflame. “I started coming to these conventions when I was just out of the military.”
Like Laflame, Scheck has been playing since he was 7 after his cousins introduced him to the world of gaming.
“I’ve been playing since Boy Scouts, sitting on the side of the road at a campground with nothing to do, so we grabbed some books and a pen and paper and played. That was back when it was just plain Dungeons & Dragons, though,” he said.
The same is true for Willis, who has been playing since his high school years. He is now 49.
While Miller lacks the experience of gaming that comes with age, he has been surrounded by it since he was younger and has embraced it as part of his own life.
“It’s a big part of our household,” Miller said. “My dad’s been playing about (as long as Scheck), and he taught my brother and I how to play when we were about 7 or 8.”
Scheck says his gaming has also influenced the younger generation of his family.
“My daughter’s 10 and she adamantly wanted to come this weekend,” he said. “She still might be too young for 80 hours of gaming though.”
What started out as a hobby has now turned into a way of life for Scheck and the others at the table. But what attracted them to gaming at first?
“For me, initially it was something to do, something different, instead of playing Risk or Monopoly or some other board game that we would get tired of,” Scheck said.
But what’s kept them playing is the camaraderie they have with each other, as well as the other gamers they meet.
“It’s a great way of getting friends around a table,” said Willis. “You could see that last night when we were playing hard tables erupting in laughter.”
Laflame believes gaming has introduced him to 400 individuals he would not have met otherwise, including those from other countries like England and Canada. Gaming in a social setting is great because it always provides a new environment, he said.
“It never plays the same way twice,” Laflame said. “It’s kind of like golf.”