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Players of all ages enjoy weekend of fun and games during GAX 2024

Annual Moose Jaw Gamers Association event taking place this weekend at Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Build it, and they will most definitely come.

Throughout the recent history of the Moose Jaw Gamers Association Expo -- better known as GAX -- that couldn’t hold more true, and this past weekend offered another perfect example.

The first day-and-a-half of the three-day event saw all sorts of players coming through the doors at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre, with close to 150 board gamers, RPG enthusiasts and video game fans taking part in the event to that point.

Seeing that kind of support wasn’t all that surprising to MJGA president Brooks Nancarrow, given how GAX has become pretty much circled on the calendar for many attendees of the annual showcase.

“It’s been happening for years and people know about it and really look forward to it,” said Nancarrow, who estimated that 80 people took part in activities on Friday evening and a further 70 had come through the doors by noon on Saturday. 

“The LAN side has died down a bit because people don’t really want to haul their computers around when they can play together just as easily online at home, but people really enjoy the social interaction and we’ve seen the board games and tabletop RPGs take off. We have the room packed with people playing board games, multiple sessions of D&D going this weekend, every session has been pretty much full. So we’re really happy to see this kind of support.”

The change in what interests GAX participants is part a sign of the times. Role-playing and board games have seen a surge in popularity as of late -- in no small part due to the pandemic keeping people indoors for the better part of a year -- while Local Area Network-linked computer parties have dropped by the wayside as internet speeds have increased.

“Back when GAX first started, LAN parties were a novelty, so it was neat to have an event with 30, 40, 50 people all bring their computers and all playing the same game together,” Nancarrow said.”But things have changed more to the board games and things like that, and that’s something we’ve always have a lot of people interested in.”

Dungeons & Dragons was naturally one of the biggest games, featuring five tables playing the Harried in Hillsfar module on Saturday afternoon, with each dungeon master offering their own take on the proceedings.

Then there was the seemingly infinite number of board games, with styles, designs and play-types of all kinds available for folks to try out. Titles like Terraforming Mars, Pipeline, Twilight Imperium and, of course, Magic The Gathering were all in action on Saturday afternoon.

Then there were the large-scale table-top games like Warhammer 40K and Flames of War, each featuring sculpted models and figurines nearly as intricate as the games’ rulesets.

“Little Chicago Entertainment donated some games for us to use, and one of our board members, Janice Lamb, brought in a whole bunch of games from her own collection, which is really cool,” Nancarrow said. “It’s really nice to be able to offer so many different games so everyone has something they can enjoy.”
Of course, the LAN room was still plenty busy, with staples like Smash Brothers and Mario Kart taking place Saturday alongside newer premium offerings like Baldur’s Gate 3.

A major part of GAX is it’s charitable component, with close to $15,000 having been given to local charities over the years. This time around, the Moose Jaw Health Foundation will be the recipient of proceeds from the event.

“The last couple of years we’ve been able to make more of a donation because costs have dropped, so we’re hoping it’ll be the same this time around,” Nancarrow said.

It certainly doesn’t hurt to have the support of the gaming community in Saskatchewan, either, with Dragon’s Den Gaming out of Saskatoon once again stepping up to help make GAX what it is.

“Every time we have an event coming up they’re like ‘here’s a bunch of stuff, have fun’,” Nancarrow said. “They want to get it out there, get people going and it really helps with the weekend, too.”

There’s still plenty of time to check out everything GAX has to offer, with action running until midnight on Saturday and then picking up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The cost is $20 per player, and tickets are available at or at the door at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.


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