Skip to content

Gaming and cosplay convention for students returning after successful debut last spring

"Our reach has expanded and there is a bit more of a community that's built up around [tabletop gaming],” said Janice Lamb, organizer of the high school gaming convention exclusive to Moose Jaw 
Eric La France runs a game of Dungeons and Dragons at Lvl Up 2019. (supplied)

After the success of last year’s inaugural student gaming convention Lvl Up 2019, organizer Janice Lamb is looking forward to the event’s second iteration at Riverview Collegiate.

Lvl Up 2020 will return to the high school on Feb. 29 with another 12-hour gaming convention for students from grades 9-12. The event will focus once again on tabletop and role-playing games, offering students a chance to play against each other or take part in one of the organized sessions run by volunteers. 

With several sessions of Dungeons & Dragons running throughout the day, as well as workshops on cosplay prop-building and writing for an RPG, a judged cosplay contest, tables of Magic: The Gathering play, and other facilitated tabletop games, the convention is sure to have something of interest for everyone.

Lvl Up 2020 is also levelling up itself, so to speak, with the addition of the video gaming element: a Nintendo Switch Smash Bros tournament, thanks to the aid of a volunteer and some projectors. Students wanting to take part in the tournament can bring their Switch consoles with them to join in. 

Last year, organizers noticed how popular both the board games lounge and the Dungeons & Dragons sessions seemed to be, and so both will be returning again this year, operated by volunteers from the Moose Jaw Gamers Association.

“We had quite full Dungeons & Dragons tables last year, so this year we're adding more games masters for Dungeons & Dragons,” said Lamb. “The Moose Jaw Gamers Association has really stepped up to help with volunteering [and] it’s really great to have that partnership because they're so knowledgeable and they're so well organized.”

For Lamb, seeing the swell of interest in tabletop gaming is satisfying in several ways. As a gamer herself, she enjoys seeing others find enjoyment in the gaming experience, and as a teacher, she finds that the RPG format has real life benefits for some students. 

“I've noticed some pretty astounding growth in the students that have come out in my Dungeons & Dragons program, how they've grown socially and are willing to work as a team and be able to problem solve more effectively,” said Lamb. “So from a selfish standpoint, I find a lot of gratification just out of being able to play, but watching the student growth is truly amazing too.”

In the past year, Lamb has noticed an increase in interest towards tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, with the Dungeons & Dragons sessions at the Moose Jaw Public Library and the ongoing board game nights hosted by the MJGA. 

“I think between those three things, our reach has expanded and there is a bit more of a community that's built up around it,” said Lamb. 

The hope, said Lamb, was that by creating a city-wide high school gaming event like Lvl Up, students might be more interested in helping create a teenage gaming community across the city and possibly foster some Dungeons & Dragons groups like Riverview’s in other schools. 

To help that goal this year, the Lvl Up organization committee has representatives from each of the four high schools working on the event, to encourage that intercollegiate mingling of interests. 

Lvl Up 2020 does require registration, although the entire event is offered free of charge once again. The event will start at 10 a.m., wrapping up at 10 p.m. on Feb. 29. 

Registration will be available at all four high schools in Moose Jaw as well as online through the Lvl Up website, which will go live sometime in the next week. 

Those wanting to keep an eye on both the day’s schedule and registration ability can do so through the event’s Instagram or Facebook pages.

“It was so successful last year. I was so impressed with how well it went and I'm just looking forward to more,” said Lamb.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks