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Grand Rapids' first gaming and comic arts convention

Brian W. Lenz and Marc Specter are bringing the first tabletop gaming and comic book convention right to the heart of Grand Rapids. They plan to give local families an unforgettable social experience.
Marc Specter and Brian W. Lenz

Marc Specter and Brian W. Lenz /courtesy of Brian W. Lenz

Underwriting support from:

Date and Location

September 21st – 22nd, 2013

Calvin College
Prince Conference Center
1800 East Beltline SE
Grand Rapids, MI

GrandCon 2013's Official Flyer

GrandCon 2013's Official Flyer /Garrick Greathouse

Grand Rapids is now the hotspot for the first fully developed gaming and comic book convention. Brian W. Lenz and Marc Specter are two passionate fans who are working together to hold the first annual GrandCon 2013. GrandCon 2013 will be held at the Prince Conference Center. Events include a board game room with over 1,000 games, a vendor hall, a media room with seminars and films, a Magic the Gathering tournament, and Settlers of Catan World Championship Pre-qualifier.

Lenz initially founded a Meetup group for local gamers called West Michigan Tabletop Gamers, while Specter has invested time into his traveling board game team, Grand Gaming Academy. With the influx of community-centered events such as ArtPrize and LaughFest, they feel that it's time to bring a family-friendly convention that will unite both hardcore fans and interested onlookers.

Specter explains, “We really want to appeal to families. There are a thousand things commanding your attention right now, from your phone to your computer. Board games are an opportunity to sit down with your kids, no matter how old they are. Whether they’re 4, 14, or 24, you can find a game that’s going to engross all of you."

Serving as a gathering place for passionate fans, Lenz describes GrandCon 2013 as “a social experiment, to be able to intermingle with other enthusiasts and hobbyists of the same genres. To introduce it to people who may not know too much about gaming or comics but want to satisfy their curiosity or do something fun with their kids for the weekend.” Beginners won’t even need to worry about knowing the rules; all of the games will be led by dedicated volunteers who will take the time to teach the rules before each session.

Many local organizations have been enthusiastic in their support for GrandCon 2013. Lenz and Specter have teamed up with their old community partners and will donate a dollar of every admission fee to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. They have already raised $3,396 for the hospital in the past with a 24-hour gaming marathon. According to their Facebook Page, GrandCon 2013 has also recently been officially sponsored by Celebration! Cinema.

While they have used a lot of their own time and funds to plan GrandCon 2013, Lenz and Specter feel that it was worth every effort.

"The payoff is in the people: To see the joy on someone’s face when you’re teaching them a game and they get it,"  Specter admits. "To have the chance to meet your own childhood hero – or the people who draw them to life. It’s amazing to be able to bring that kind of experience to Grand Rapids.”

Visit GrandCon 2013 Presented by Celebration! Cinema for a full schedule and registration details.

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