The electric energy on campus the weekend of November 9th was hard to avoid! Groups of friends buzzing amongst one another, talking the various decks they’re going to use, or how excited they are to crack open a brand new pot of paint that was purchased just for this weekend, and how they can’t wait for their new friends to come and experience the event with them! What event is this? None other than Madison’s own Nanocon!
If you are unaware, Nanocon is a annual event hosted by Dakota State University students (with specialized help from the Games Club and the E-Sports Team,) and venders from and around Madison that offers a full four days of nerdy hobby activities to join in on, free of charge! Mini painting, Magic the Gathering Tournaments, Dungeons and Dragons one shots, and venders of all kinds! Let’s take a quick walkthrough some of the events that were hosted this year!
It is no secret that DSU is an incredibly popular place for competitive and casual games alike! Magic the Gathering had a special spotlight this year with a few dedicated tables for daily play and competitions, and also hosted specialized events! On opening night, Thursday, there was a free draft, a card pack “Flip it or Rip it” on Friday, and on Sunday another campaign like event! MTG is FAR from the only card game that was offered! Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and a plethora of board games were also available as soon as you walked through the door!
If card games aren’t your thing, Nanocon still has you covered! There were daily tournaments / brackets of Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros, League of Legends, Warhammer, Counterstrike 2, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Mortal Kombat! If you love games, you will happily find a place to fit in!
The four day event has so much more than just competitive, pre-registered game play! If you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, experienced Dungeons Master and/or Game Masters were there, ready to take you onboard to their one shot! Trestle tables set for you to sit with a few friends, and make new friends for anyone who was interested in mini painting! A large portion of the room in the playhouse was dedicated to the E-Sports team and E-Sports hosted events! Plenty of open room to walk in between and around the desks to catch a glimpse of the action, and even join for yourself!
One of the more unique things Nanocon offers, is the plethora of vendors! Student run and operated tables sit at the front hallway, offering student art in the form of prints, stickers, keychains, jewelry, and other displays! Some of the vender’s even accept commissions during the con! You simply walk up to their table, ensure they make and can complete a commission, and enjoy the con while they work on your art! In 2022, I ordered two separate Pokémon commissions, and received them both in excellent quality and loving care! I have them framed to this day!
In the main playing room, there is a mini mall lining the wall! During my walk through this year, I noticed a LOT of venders selling sealed Pokémon cards and various Poke-Products! I also noted a large set up, selling Warhammer boxes and rule sets, vintage sealed toys/action figures / memorabilia and sealed DVD / VHS sets! There were a few Dungeons & Dragons and other RPG set ups, some cosplay / crochet items, and even a large table set up, taking commissions to make custom costume, prop, fur suits, merch, and other wearable items!
I have loved Nanocon more and more as I further develop my love of Mini painting and Dungeons & Dragons, but even if you are unfamiliar with some of the events going on at this event, Nanocon isn’t an event to skip out on! There is food, karaoke, trivia, and a TON of your friends, colleagues, and classmates to go and have a good time with! Nanocon has only been getting bigger and bigger as the years progress, there is certainly something there for everyone!