Nanocon 2022

It’s time to get ready for DSU’s biggest Nanocon yet! The four-day convention will be held in the Dakota Prairie Playhouse from Thursday, November 10th to Sunday, November 13th with more than 400 people already preregistered to attend! This year’s theme is “The Frozen Wasteland” and several events, like the Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Age of Sigmar tournaments, will have a narrative to fit with the theme.

Some of the other events going on at this year’s convention include a two-day open chess tournament, a competitive poker tournament on Friday night, and a cosplay competition on Saturday. The convention planners ordered 100 wooden models to paint for the “Paint and Take”, which will have a judging during the closing ceremony. Freeplay tables will be available throughout the convention for those who would like to set up a game of their own. The fighting games collection this year includes Smash Bros. Ultimate, Dragon Ball Fighters Z, Guilty Gear Strive, and DnF Duel. The Madison Mystery Games Tournament is a new event that allows you to compete over a gauntlet of several randomly selected puzzle, racing, and fighting games which will change at random times!

Concessions will be served every day of the convention. Hot dogs are sold for 2 dollars (which disappeared quickly last year) and pizzas for 5 dollars.

It takes serious manpower to run an event like Nanocon. PCs and miscellaneous games and equipment will be hauled in and out. Chairs and tables will need to be moved for each different event and ethernet cables will need to be dropped. A live stream on the convention’s YouTube channel, with a donation link to Sanford Children’s Hospital, will be running throughout the entire convention. Many gaming club members will be working multiple days to help run events, concessions, or the help desk. Because it’s a multiple-day event, some brave souls will be volunteering to be on the “Gravediggers” team, who work from 12 AM to 6 AM to clean up the mess of the previous day and set up for the next day’s events while event attendees are gone.

Sophomore Chad Compton, the events coordinator / convention manager took some time out of his evening to explain the club’s planning process for one of DSU’s biggest yearly student-ran events.

Did you guys start planning for this right after last year’s convention was over?

We had bi-weekly meetings, which were a little lighter, but recently, we’ve kicked it up to every week just because of the time being imminent.

How did you guys come up with the theme?

We thought it would be really fun to do an environmental theme because it fits in with some of our more hardcore tabletop games like Magic the Gathering and Warhammer. You can do cool-themed stuff with those games. We already have a theme picked out for 2023. I’m not supposed to disclose what it is yet, since we’re announcing it at the end of this convention. All I can say is that we’ll be “heating it up a bit”.

Do you feel like this has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants operation or do you feel like things have fallen into place?

It depends on what it is. This year we’re starting a couple of new things, the extra live stream being a big one. The cosplay competition is also a pretty big one. We’re also doing a scavenger hunt, get-involved sort of raffle system that we’re developing. These specific things are kind of like an “Alright I guess we’ll plan it and see what happens.”, but with everything else like our chess tournament and our fighting games tournament, they are a lot more meticulous and we kind of have a game-plan and someone has a vision in their head of what those will look like and exactly what we need.

So the paint-and-take was an old event you guys are bringing back this year?

We had a lot of ideas and fortunately, because of all of the community support, we have quite a lot of money to work with this year! This was something we had thought of later down the line. Like, “Hey, we should bring this back. The ‘con’s been going on for twenty years and this is something they’ve done prior and a lot of people really liked it.” We’ve got a high school coming from Sioux Falls and they’re looking forward to this event. A lot of us said, “Yeah! It’s a great idea”, and then I went to bed and thought, “Oh crap. Now I have to plan that too.” But, it all comes together when we have a few people brainstorming what to do.

How has your experience as convention manager been this year?

I absolutely love doing this. It’s something I get a lot of joy out of. It brings me lots of stress, but it’s a good kind of stress. It’s like an addictive thing for me: there’s a lot of things on the line and we want to do a good job. We need to perform and do it better. I’m stressed, I’m anxious, but it’s good how anxious I am. This is going to be a big deal. We’re giving a lot of people an opportunity to have fun and it’s basically at no cost to them. It’s a fantastic thing but you want it to all go right, so you kind of stew on that. For me, it’s taught me to get past the feelings of negativity and worrying about what might go wrong and focus on what goes right. I’m definitely going to continue doing this. I’m having an awesome time!

Check out the event schedule and learn more about the convention here:

All events are free to sign up for and you can register on-site! See you at Nanocon!