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Play to Your Heart's Content at the Midwest GameFest

Kansas City is a sprawling metropolis filled with great food and adventure for every traveler. Known for hosting some of the best barbecue restaurants in the United States, foodies will find Kansas City a welcome destination. Enjoy amazing food, such as can be found in Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue, and in Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, both of which are local favorites. With over 50 years of sports history featuring Royals baseball and NASCAR races at the Kansas Speedway, there is plenty of entertainment to keep your trip to the city exciting.


And while you’re visiting Kansas City, check out the Midwest GameFest! From November 1 - 4, enjoy a wide variety of roleplaying and tabletop games, as well as organized cosplay and workshops and panels with game designers! There’s plenty to do here, and had a chance to sit down with the director, Brad Kelley, to learn more about this amazing festival.


RAL: Tell us a little bit about the event.

BK: Midwest GameFest is an annual four-day tabletop hobby game convention held each fall in the Kansas City area. Attendees enjoy role-playing games, historical miniatures, board games, card games, organized play, cosplay, workshops, game designers, dealers, benefit events, a used game sale and more! Midwest GameFest is organized and funded by The Role-Players Guild of Kansas City, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the tabletop gaming hobby.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

BK: The RPGKC has been running events like this since 1990, though the names have changed over the year. First it was ShaunCon, then later it was KC GameFair. We reorganized and changed the event name in 2015 to Midwest GameFest. This will be our 3rd year under this leadership and with this name.


RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?

BK: We average about 500 attendees, all with a passion for gaming.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract?

BK: This is a family event and we welcome everyone. Our audience is mostly divided among fans of tabletop miniatures, role-playing, and board games. Children 15 and under are free with paid parent or guardian. However they do need to be supervised at all times.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

BK: There are very few four-day tabletop hobby gaming events, and none in the midwest. We have even added an art auction and contest this year as well as additional Video Gaming options.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

BK: The doors open at 8:00 am and the first event slot starts at 9:00 am. Most folks try to pack as many games in as possible into the time available. They might start their day at the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, break for lunch, then play Dungeons and Dragons with new friends, break for dinner, and play board games until the wee hours. It is up our attendees to pick what they want to do and how they want to spend their time. There is always something to do and fun, like-minded people to play games with!


RAL: What kind of activities will be at the event?

BK: There is so much to do: role-playing games, historical miniatures, board games, card games, organized play, cosplay, workshops, game designers, dealers, benefit events, virtual reality rigs, a spaceship simulator, a used game sale and more!


RAL: Any special guests?

BK: This year we are featuring Daniel Oliver, who is the Shadowrun Missions Developer for Catalyst Game Labs. Missions is the organized play group for the Shadowrun role-playing game. Organized play provides a way to use and develop the same character no matter what convention you are attending.


RAL: What will the dining be like?

BK: Independence has some of the region's best food options, many of which are only a short drive away. But for folks who want to stay at the convention facility (and maximize their game playing) the hotel offers McCoy's Whiskey & Wine Bar, with typical bar fair plus a great selection of exclusive wine and local craft beers. There are a number of great restaurants nearby, including one right outside the hotel, and many within walking distance or a short drive. Snacks and sodas are available near the hotel desk, and hotel guests receive complimentary breakfast. No outside food or drinks are allowed.


RAL: What is the atmosphere like?

BK: Jovial and welcoming. The showrunners love tabletop gaming and it can be infectious! There is an exciting and bustling main hall with so much to do but we also have some side areas that are not as full.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

BK: Midwest GameFest is being hosted by the fabulous Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Independence, Missouri. Stoney Creek offers a unique convention space and hotel with a lodge theme. Earth, wood, stone... we fell in love the first time we visited, and we think you will too!


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

BK: These are local people looking to expand the hobby and interact with other passionate people. This is something that we look forward to every year, and something the tabletop gamers of the midwest look forward to as well.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

BK: We host a number of tabletop gaming and fantasy-related dealers, vendors and small press game companies. A lot of these companies are local and active in the community, so the event is largely promotional for them. Attendees contribute to the economy through hotel room purchases, meals, and travel costs. Our benefit raffle for Harvesters Community Food Network helps us give back to the community directly.


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

BK: Midwest GameFest is not a charity itself, and neither is its parent organization the Role-players Guild of Kansas City. However, we have historically provided a charity raffle benefiting Harvesters Community Food Network, a large community food bank in the Kansas City region. You can learn more about this at our Benefit Raffle page. Additionally, separate groups at Midwest GameFest have historically gathered donations for their own charity causes, such as Heroes of Rokugan's annual Toys for Tots drive. We are also hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive Friday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

BK: Midwest GameFest includes a number of tabletop gaming industry insiders, artists, authors, cosplayers, and other special guests who will be running and/or playing games on their own schedule at the convention. Some may even be available for panels or workshops. For tabletop hobby game enthusiasts there is no better way to spend the weekend!


For more information about this wonderful festival, please check out the event website.