I can’t say I had ever heard of Wolfcon. In the 13 years I lived in Lombard, Illinois, little did I suspect the nearby College of DuPage hosted this little gem of a game convention. I didn’t learn of Wolfcon until Robert Lindauer reached out to me via Chicago Geek Guy looking for judges and GM’s. I took the opportunity to talk with him about the convention.
CCG: Let’s start with your personal history of gaming? When did you start? What have you played? When and how did you decide to run a convention?
I couldn’t imagine how something like that could come from a game
Robert Lindauer: My father owned a number of Avalon Hill war games, and we used to play them together. These were the old games with little cardboard chits signifying military units. We played Luftwaffe, Tactics Two, Stalingrad, Squad Leader, etc.
Then one day in High School, some friends of mine were talking about a game they played where they were battling centaurs – and they described what happened in great deal. I couldn’t imagine how something like that could come from a game, so I accepted the invitation to play D&D. That was my first introduction to RPG’s. That group of friends and I played for many years and attended GenCon when it was in Wisconsin, regularly.
So, I was introduced to gaming at a young age, and played a wide variety of games, from Risk to Diplomacy, to Star Feet Battles, to Top Secret and Gamma World, to Magic – about every game that I have come in contact with over the years. Lately, I have been playing a lot of Pandemic and Codewords.
Running a convention has introduced me to many new games.
But I also play Puerto Rico every so often, Times Up, and Settlers of Catan. It all depends on the group of friends participating. I was even playing Heroclix for a little while with my nephew. Running a convention has introduced me to many new games.
At Wolfcon, I run Call of Cthulhu and an ongoing D&D campaign set in ancient Rome that I originally started while in college.
Wolfcon itself was predated by a game day run out of a local church by John Kavain, the other principle organizer. I was introduced to him by a mutual friend. He needed judges to run some RPGA events, and I was a passable GM by that point. He convinced me to join a local game club, GB7, of which the Wolfpack was a chapter. I remember that the thing that sold me. He gave us all free t-shirts with the word “Wolfpack” and picture of a wolf.
We had a sort of “your uncle has a barn, and I have these old costumes – let’s put on a show” moment.
About 14 years ago give or take, the key members of the Wolfpack, 5 friends, John Kavain, Bill Murray, Rob Reichel, Jeff Stein and myself were sitting around talking about GenCon wondering why there wasn’t something closer. We had a sort of “your uncle has a barn, and I have these old costumes – let’s put on a show” moment. GB7 had an extensive games library we could use. We knew lots of judges. We had experience running a game day. We had connections to sponsors. Perhaps most importantly we had a venue thanks to John’s friend at the church, Father Claiborne.
We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years. We lost several of the original members, but also made great connections, and great discoveries. Wolfcon could never have existed without the support of judges, vendors, Mayfair Games, Days of Wonder…. There is a long list of people and organizations that gave us what we needed when we needed it.
CCG: What do you look forward to the most when the con comes around?
They are the nicest, most accepting, inclusive people I can think of, anywhere. Every year when they come together – it feels like a reunion.
Robert Lindauer: By far, interacting with the people who make up the gaming community. They are the nicest, most accepting, inclusive people I can think of, anywhere. Every year when they come together – it feels like a reunion.
CGG: What did you want to accomplish when you first started working on the convention? How far have you gotten in those goals?
this year is looking to be a growth year
Robert Lindauer: When we first started, we just wanted to see if we could do it. Still, I have always wondered if we could turn it into something larger. I always thought it would be nice if there were a family friendly convention in Chicago that matched its thriving geeky/game community in scale. By that measure, we are a failure, or at least the jury is still out. While we have had as many as 240 attendees in the past, over the last few years that number has gone down dramatically.
Though, this year is looking to be a growth year.
But as I think on it. I haven’t ever really measured success by size. Whatever scale we run at – I am satisfied if the people who come out have fun.
CGG: How many attendees do you expect this year? How many events total and of each type?
Robert Lindauer: My best conservative guess is that we’ll have around 80 attendees this year, give or take a dozen. We have about 30 role- playing (Pathfinder, Sparks, Call of Cthulhu, D&D) events, and a couple of different board game tournaments scheduled. There will likely be several dozens of board game sessions – but these aren’t typically scheduled. We’ll also run our collaborative computer starship simulator non-stop through the convention. I’m also hoping that we add a few more events in the next few weeks as well.
CGG: What do you hope for the future of the convention?
Robert Lindauer: I am hoping to attract more people and groups interested in collaborating on putting the convention together, and for the convention to be a nexus for the various gaming communities in the Chicago area to connect with each other.
CGG: What would you like to say to someone considering going or attending the con for the first time?
Robert Lindauer: Give us a try! We have a full slate of fun events (most free with admission) – role playing, board games, prize tournaments, a puzzle hunt, giant Jenga, a games auction, a starship bridge simulator, and perhaps most importantly, a chance to connect with some of the nicest people who play games in the Chicago area all in air conditioned comfort with free parking. AND – If the very affordable $10/day or $20/weekend cost is too much for you – send me an e-mail we always need volunteers.
Wolfcon at College of DuPage
Student Resource Center (SRC 2000),
425 Fawell Blvd , Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Fri, Sat, & Sun, July 7th, 8th, & 9th, 2017