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Nerd Scene: UBcon XXXI

Each year, University at Buffalo students take the initiative to run a massive event dedicated to tabletop games, video games, anime, comic books, and much more. Run by the college’s dedicated gaming club, SARPA (the Strategists and and Roleplayers Association), this tremendous convention is known as UBcon. The upcoming UBcon XXXI will take place from Friday April 24th to Sunday April 26th at UB North Campus. Nerds of any kind should look forward to it.

Convention-goers can expect to experience a wide variety of events at UBcon, including a cosplay ball, anime viewing, and an anime and gaming themed improv show called “Whose line is it, Anime?” This will be the first year that opening and closing ceremonies will be held, further adding to the grand feeling of the con. The full convention schedule will be available by March 14th on UBcon’s website.

This exciting event may primarily be run by SARPA, but there is some collaboration with other student organizations, such as UB Anime, UB Cosplay, and Pokémon Club, for help with running certain events during the con. Not only is it inspiring to see these students putting their hearts, minds, and months of planning into something so big, but it’s uplifting to see so many of them working together to bring such a joyous occasion to so many people.

You may be asking yourself if a convention hosted by college students would be worth attending when there are so many other conventions in the WNY area. The 2,500 attendees (and counting) would tell you that it absolutely is. It goes later than just about any convention, as events run until 12:00 AM, with the gigantic, fan-favorite NERF war being held from midnight to 3:00 AM. With gaming freeplay areas, artist alleys, an anime viewing area, and plenty of vendors, there is always something going on. Don’t you worry though – despite being held on a college campus, UBcon is open to anyone and not just students!

Similar to other conventions, UBcon provides attendees with the opportunity to meet with celebrity guests. In the past, big names like Phil Lamarr and Spike Spencer have appeared at UBcon. For this year, SARPA is currently talking to a rather exciting guest that will hopefully be announced soon.

While other conventions often have an artist alley where artists can display and sell their work, draw sketches, and sometimes sell other merchandise, UBcon offers two artist alleys! It’s also suggested for attendees to check out the vendors room to explore what sorts of figurines, plush toys, t-shirts, and other goods are being sold. The entire list of vendors for UBcon XXXI has yet to be finished, but there are some who attend each year like Phase ID, the hidden gem of the Eastern Hills Mall.

One of the biggest and best parts of UBcon, and any convention for that matter, is cosplay. There have been some shockingly impressive cosplay at UBcon in the past like Monster Hunter costumes with outstanding armor and a RWBY cosplayer wielding a huge homemade scythe. The Cosplay Contest is one of the most popular staples of UBcon. You’ll be surprised at how big and beyond these cosplayers go. Typically, over half of the convention’s attendees cosplay.

The other biggest and most-anticipated events that attendees look forward to every year are the LARP, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and always-epic NERF war.

The other biggest and most-anticipated events that attendees look forward to every year are the LARP, the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and always-epic NERF war, all of which would be devastating to miss and couldn’t be experienced anywhere else.

If you can’t make it to UBcon this year, definitely be sure to check out MiniCon. MiniCon is a smaller, one day convention/gaming tournament hosted by SARPA. It may not be as grand as UBcon, or have as many attendees, but it is absolutely worth experiencing to get a minor taste of what SARPA’s convention-hosting skills have to offer.

No matter what you like, whether it’s gaming, TV shows, or comics, there’s something at UBCon for you. It’s one of those rare experiences that allow you to make lasting memories and unforgettable inside jokes.

UBcon XXXI is right around the corner, so be sure to check it out for a guaranteed great time. Keep up with any announcements regarding UBcon XXXI and purchase tickets by heading over to their website at ​ubconofficial.com​ and follow them on social media at ​facebook.com​.

Written by David Theriault

David Theriault

David Theriault is brand new to Buffalo, NY, hailing from New England, where he was born and raised. David has worked in television production since 2016 and puts his Creative Writing degree to work by writing scripts. He is in search of nerd culture communities throughout the WNY area where he can share his love of all things nerdy. You can find him at your local comic book or gaming stores, cosplaying at conventions, or online at his nerd culture blog: www.nonstopnerd.com

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