The Save Against Fear con is “a 3 day tabletop gaming convention to raise awareness for not only therapeutic gaming, but also the Bodhana Group’s mission of reducing the impact of sexual abuse,” according to their Facebook page. Emily Bowman, of Tomboy Togs, attended Save Against Fear last weekend, and gave us an in-depth report.
What festival/con did you attend, and what dates and where?
I attended Save Against Fear, located at the Best Western Premier in Harrisburg, on October 14-16, sponsored by the Bodhana Group.
What topics or fandoms was it celebrating, i.e. Star Trek, fantasy, Ren Faire, anime?
This was a new type of con for me. It was a table top gaming con. I’m sure you’re wondering what constitutes table top gaming, is it a bunch of people sitting around playing Monopoly, or what? Actually, it’s a little bit Monopoly, and a lot more of the “or what”. This con had all kinds of gaming, for all ages, experience levels and genres.
How well was it organized? Was there something they could have done better?
I feel like Save Against Fear was very well organized. From a vendor perspective, the Bodhana Group (the organization running the con) was awesome. The organizers checked in with us many times through out the weekend to make sure all was well, we as vendors were allowed to join in on the gaming ( as long as our booth was manned), and everyone was very friendly and welcoming. I think my biggest issue with it as a vendor was that the vendor hours were a bit too long, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. made for a very long day. I think if they would have shortened the vendor hours to 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. it would have been a bit easier to manage. But all in all, it was really well organized.
Looking at it from a participant perspective, I think they did a great job as well. Save Against Fear made everything into a game, when you registered you were assigned to a team, and each time you did something through out the con, (won a game, purchased from a vendor, etc,) you earned points for your team. The team with the most points at the end of the con won money for the charity that the team was representing. So not only was there gaming, but the event as a whole was one big game! How cool is that?
Who or what was most impressive about it?
I was really impressed by quite a few things at this con, here are things that top my list:
1. The location. The hotel that was chosen was not only beautiful, but it was right off of the highway, and very easy to get to!
2. The food. I’ve been to lots of events where you end up paying your first born child for a hockey puck like hamburger because it’s convenient, and quick. Fortunately, this was not the case at Save Against Fear. For this event, the hotel turned the lobby bar (just feet away from the gaming rooms) into a concession stand during the lunch and dinner hours. You could actually step away from your game (or vendor booth) for 2 minutes with $4 and come back with a hot, fresh, lunch or dinner. And, if you were in the market for a longer more relaxed meal, they had a lovely Irish themed pub connected the hotel as well.
3. Family Fun day Sunday! As a way to introduce families to the fun of table top gaming, Save Against Fear made Sunday family day. They had free activities for kids and families such as live action versions of some games, a magic show and an appearance by the Capital City Jedi Knights Cosplay group. All for free! If you decided to stay and play table top games, you were welcome to pay the registration fee and stay.
4. Last but not least, I was impressed by the Bodhana Group itself. The Bodhana Group the organization that put together this fun event) is a nonprofit organization that advocates the use of tabletop gaming as a directed therapeutic and clinical practice. Short version, they use table top gaming at a form of therapy! How has no one ever thought of this before? According to the Bodhana Group, table top gaming helps with social skills, coping skills and behavioral management. So then I thought to myself, does this make Save Against Fear one big therapy session? In talking to one of the people in charge, Jarred Ebert, I learned that Save Against fear actually started just a few years ago in a local gaming store as a fund raiser for the Bodhana Group. So while yes, gaming is therapeutic the primary purpose of Save Against Fear is to raise money for the Bodhana Group so that they can help others.
Were there a lot of cosplayers? If so, who did you like best?
The Capital City Jedi Knights cosplay group were on hand for Sunday Family Fun Day in all of their Star Wars cosplay glory. They brought their light sabers and took lots of pictures with everyone. Every time I see these guys at an event they are really a class act. Their costumes are always on point, and they are some of the friendliest people you will meet. At Save Against fear, they had Jedis, a Tusken Raider, Greedo, and more.
Would you go again?
At this point whether I want to go again or not is irrelevant. My both of my boys (11 and 6 years-old) have informed me that they had so much fun that they want to go back next year. I will say though that even though I did not personally get to play any games, I had a great time and am very much looking forward to next year.
Did you attend Save Against Fear? Let us know what you thought in the comments!