The event, part of a national movement that originated in Ann Arbor, Mich., will reprise in September and should help stimulate the hobby scene in an area that was once a major center for game design and publishing. The founders of Lake Geneva’s TSR, Inc. pioneered the tabletop role-playing genre in the 1970s with Dungeons & Dragons, and Milwaukee hosted the titanic gaming convention Gen Con until it moved to Indianapolis in 2003. Its departure weakened the city’s reputation as a gaming hub, as did TSR’s decline in the 1990s.
People like Gordon Lugauer, owner of the local Board Game Barrister stores, have endeavored to keep gaming alive in Milwaukee. They run tournaments delving into both the obscure and the familiar, such as Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering. “If these events aren’t making a significant and positive impact to the gaming community,” Lugauer says, “I’m not doing my job.”
Klausen’s game Pharaoh’s Builders, which he hopes to see published, underwent heavy scrutiny on that dim but exciting March day at the Ramada. As he received precious feedback from playtesters, representatives from a few gaming companies met with local designers and took notes. “It’s all about social networks,” says James Mathe, owner of the area’s Game Universe stores and the Minion Games imprint. “Especially among gamers.”
|This article appears in the City Guide 2013 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.
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