PopiCon! Game Convention

PopiCon! Game Convention is focused on non-digital, tabletop games. Tabletop games include board, card, role playing (Dungeons and Dragons), and miniatures games.

2022 marked the inaugural PopiCon!. This event acted as a memorial service where friends and family could celebrate the life of Tom "Popi" Crisovan, my father-in-law, who was an avid gamer his entire life.

Once we could open up to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed, we sought to make it a larger, public, and annual event in Downtown South Bend.

On Saturday, February 4th, 2023 we held the event at Stockroom East with the ambitious goal of having 200 attendees. The response exceeded our expectations with nearly 400 people attending the event throughout the day.

Included in the attendees were 10 vendors, each an individual entrepreneur or small business selling unique and in many cases hand-crafted items. Multiple vendors expressed how well they did in terms of sales at the event and how much they are looking forward to next year's PopiCon!

It was important for us as organizers to hold the event downtown to support local restaurants and businesses. They were very supportive of the event by offering gift certificates and other prizes to hand out to game winners during the event.

We wanted a family-friendly event so offered tickets at no charge for anyone 14 or under. Of the 400 attendees, we had roughly 50 kids attend and play games. People could also get in free by hosting a game at the convention.

The only criticism we heard throughout the day was that we needed a large venue. We agree and are seeking larger venues to grow PopiCon! 2024 once again. We think with enough community support we can triple in size.

In addition to growing the event in 2024, we aim to diversify our audience by reaching out to the LGBTQ Center, La Casa de Amistad, and South Bend Heritage Foundation. We have hopes of hosting a role playing game for Spanish speakers.

Funded by South Bend, IN (July 2023)