It’s nearly Easter again, and in Melbourne, Australia, that means it’s time for OzBunnyCon. The origins of this annual event have long been lost in the mists of time. Ancient pagan rituals, Freemason initiation ceremonies and MK-Ultra mind control conspiracies have all been put forward, only to be discredited one by one.
So this year Games vs Play decided to get to the bottom of the mystery once and for all! To discover the truth we caught up with Kerrin Addis, the convention’s lead organiser and founder (pictured left). Kerrin told us how OzBunnyCon began, why it’s so much fun and, most importantly, how you can attend.
Games vs Play: Thanks for talking with Games vs Play, Kerrin. Maybe we could start by asking what can people when they attend the OzBunnyCon boardgame convention?
Kerrin Addis: Four days of open gaming in a family friendly environment. For some, a chance to play all the board games you have bought but haven’t been able to get to the table. For others, playing favourites, catching up with friends and making new friends. Everyone seems to have a different reason but what we all have in common is we want to play board games.
GvP: Running a convention seems like a big job. Why did you decide to start your own boardgames convention?
Kerrin: I love going to boardgame conventions. The longer the event the better. The people you meet make it a wonderful experience. During 2010 – 2014 I travelled to USA to attend World Boardgaming Championships (7 day event), Gen Con (5 day event), EuroQuest (4 day event), BGG Con (5 day event), Dice Tower Con (5 day event) KublaCon (3 day event) Pacificon (3 day event). In Australia I attended CanCon (3 day event), BorderCon (3 days, now 4 days) ConCentric (2.5 days), MeepleCon (2.5 days). In 2014 when I stopped travelling to USA (budget reasons), one of my American playing buddies said, “Why don’t you just run your own?” I thought, “Why not?” And here we are.
GvP: What’s been the hardest thing about running a games convention? Can you tell us any stories about something that happened that was unexpected?
Kerrin: The hardest thing is finding the right venue for the right price. Everything is so expensive in Australia. In the USA most cons run in a hotel. I spoke with a lot of function centres/hotels in Melbourne and everything starts at $5000 a day! Plus security (which we don’t need). Last year I teamed up with Melbourne Meeples Inc. who run MeepleCon and NSEG. You get better hire rates from council properties if you are incorporated or not-for-profit. We can also share admin/knowledge and convention tips and tricks.
GvP: How many people does it take to run a convention?
Kerrin: Ha ha ha, sounds like the beginning of a joke. Wish I could think of a good punchline … I do have a background in putting on events. Decades ago I used to run New Year’s Eve parties and other social events, so I knew what had to be done. OzBunnyCon is just me with some support on the days getting stuff to and from the venue, setting up and packing up. This is done by the attendees and every year I try to reduce the amount of work required as I want people to play games and have fun. I don’t really want to have a roster even though people are willing to help. I have tried to make OzBunnyCon self running and this year I think I have done it. Ask me after the event if it worked!
GvP: You’re clearly very passionate about boardgames. How did you first get into playing games yourself?
Kerrin: Loved boardgames as a kid. Played a lot of card games, Careers, Squatter and Cluedo (found Monolopy tiring). In 2006 I moved to USA to work and live in Silicon Valley. Being new in town I was looking for social activities to join. Found meetup.com and an event that was just around the corner playing a game called Settlers of Catan. I had never heard of it. Loved it and asked if there were any similar groups. There were many. The following weekend I went to an event at a library. Around 80 people there. Walked up to a table that were setting up a game and asked if I could join. They said yes. That game was Power Grid. When I got home, I told my friends “I found my tribe today”. It has been that way ever since. I think that is why I love conventions. I feel at home.
GvP: What are some of your favourite games at the moment, and why? Do you have any all-time favourite games?
Kerrin: Anyone who knows me, knows the answer to this question. Agricola, Agricola, Agricola. The most recent game that I can’t stop thinking about is The Colonists and can’t wait to find some other fans of the game to go on the epic journey with me. I avoid all games with direct conflict, bluffing, zombies and a few other things. I like games where you build/create something and get a sense of achievement even if you don’t have the highest score.
GvP: What are some tips you would give to people wanting to start their own conventions?
Kerrin: I get asked this a lot! Get a good ticketing system. I recommend trybooking.com. Find an affordable venue. Then get the word out.
GvP: And finally, what’s next for you?
Kerrin: Find people who will play The Colonists Era 1,2,3,4 is one sitting. Not sure it is even achievable but if you are interested, please contact me
Games vs Play would like to thank Kerrin Addis for permission to use images appearing in this post. OzBunnyCon 2017 will run in Melbourne over the Easter long weekend from Friday 14 – Monday 17 April at the Mount Waverley Youth Centre (pictured left). Click here to buy tickets, or go to the OzBunnyCon website for more details.
To find out more about the latest reviews, stories and other cool things in the world of games, like us on Facebook. And remember – if you’re game, we’ll play!