‘Gamers and Geeks’ takes over Pensacon 2020
Hobby store Gamers and Geeks from Mobile, AL took over running the 2020 Pensacon game room in the Pensacola Grand Hotel, offering board, tabletop and card games to attendees.
In previous years, local businessman Mike Bobe, owner of Bobe’s Hobby House, ran the game room, but announced in December that he would be stepping down this year due to business complications (including his store closing in late January).
“This is a year of transition for us,” Bobe said, “both for the convention and for gaming.”
Bobe reached out to Gamers and Geeks to fill in as his replacement for this year, and they accepted. The game room opened Friday afternoon, shortly after the convention opened.
This year’s game selections included a wide array of pen and paper role playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, miniature games like Warhammer 40,000, and a library of roughly 2,800 board games for guests to rent and play.
“We’ve got a lot of different games going on this weekend,” Jason “JD” Vertrees, a manager at Gamers and Geeks said. “We pride ourselves on being a comfortable place for everyone, and we’ll have something for you.”
Throughout the weekend, volunteers demoed and taught visitors how to play various games, many of which have smaller followings.
“There’s a game called Necromunda that is a miniature skirmish game that takes place in the Warhammer 40k world,” Vertrees said. “Gorgeous models, fun terrain, quick and easy, you throw dice, you kill things.”
Necromunda was offered each day of Pensacon, inviting curious fans to enact small gang wars in a dark science fiction setting with customized miniatures and a board designed to look like the underbelly of a futuristic city.
“Another guy is running a new-ish game called Crisis Protocol, which is based on Marvel comics,” Vertrees said. “It’s another skirmish game because that’s the best thing for a con like this, small skirmish games that you can play in half an hour.”
Crisis Protocol came out last November and volunteers demonstrated that it is a game designed for players to create their own battles using Marvel characters.
“Overall, the games that we had went well,” Vertrees said. “The volunteers that we had did well. I didn’t see anyone not demoing games at all times, which was great.”
Over the course of the weekend, the Pensacola Grand Hotel saw hundreds of attendees looking to play games during the convention, impressing employees and volunteers alike.
“This year, gaming as a whole felt better,” Tanner Pledger, a volunteer running card games, said. “Friday was a little rough due to space, but the weekend went well.”
Based on visitor reception at this year’s event, Gamers and Geeks intends to return next year with larger plans and more volunteers, but this will rely on Pensacon’s administrative staff.
“I’ve told people all day, they ask me, ‘Hey, are y’all doing this again next year?’ and I say, ‘Only if y’all want us back,’” Vertrees said. “I think it’s going to be based on the feedback Pensacon gets from the customers and the attendees.”
Hosting the game room for the 2020 Pensacon has made Josh Taylor, head store manager at Gamers and Geeks, confident for next year’s crowds.
“Now that we’ve gotten a feel for it how things are going to look, what people are going to play, especially what people are going to buy, we have a better idea of what to bring [next year],” Taylor said.
Until the vendors are announced for next year’s convention, Gamers and Geeks can be found at their main location at 5701 Moffett Road in Mobile, AL.