Narrated by Sam Shick

Do you need a safe space to relax and have fun?

That’s the kind of environment that local nonprofit Tri-City Area Gaming (TAG) is dedicated to providing throughout their events.

This is especially true for their annual convention, TAGCON, which returns to Tri-Cities later this month.

Games at Tri-City Area Gaming Convention

The convention will be held at the HAPO Center April 19 through 21, featuring board games, card games, tabletop role playing games, workshops, and much more. TAG boasts a library of over 400 games, which will be available for play at the convention. Attendees are also welcome to bring their own games.

Gamers can take part in an official CATAN tournament to fight for a qualifying spot for the national tournament.

CATAN Championship 2024 National Qualifier

Additionally, TAGCON will offer Jackbox Games sessions, a VR room, and toy options for young children available for check out.

There will be plenty of prizes available, as well as an auction and swap table. This year’s convention will be the biggest thus far, according to TAG.

The Nerd Swap Table (always a fan favorite) uses a "take something, leave something" system. So bring the things you don't want anymore and walk away with something new!

“We invite all game enthusiasts, educators, families, and community members to join us at TAGCON 2024,” states the press release from TAG. “Your participation not only guarantees an unforgettable experience but also supports our mission to use gaming as a tool for education, empowerment, and community building.”

Building community is an important element of TAG events, aimed at bringing together gaming enthusiasts with other community members, and allowing growth as individuals and as a group through games. The convention organizers say it is aimed at being a three-day experience of “fun, learning, and meaningful connection.”

TAG events offer fun extras, like capsule machine prizes!

TAG focused on safe spaces

One of TAG’s commitments is for events to remain accessible to community members with a wide range of needs. Maintaining a safe space for all participants is crucial to TAG’s core values. This is achieved through multiple dedicated actions, including physical space accommodations and environment regulation.

The convention will include a sensory room, where attendees can go to decompress if they get overwhelmed or overstimulated. The room will offer a calming environment, fidget toys, and puzzles. It also includes a plushie adoption table, so if you’re ready to part ways with a plushie, consider putting it up for adoption. Others can stop by and adopt plushies they are drawn to.

The game library includes language-agnostic games, so participants don’t need to speak English to have fun. There are games for different ages, interests and gaming styles.

Multiple special sessions will take place at the convention, including some focused on using games to empower underserved community members.

“Accessibility is more than just making accommodations,” TAG Secretary Sara Quinn stated in the press release. “When people feel safe, they can really have fun. Everyone at TAGCON agrees to our Code of Conduct. We create an environment that fosters kindness, respect, and community.”

“Tri-City Area Gaming is committed to creating events that are accessible to community members with a wide range of needs,” states the press release. “We are queer-friendly, trans-affirming, welcoming to neurodivergent gamers, and actively anti-racist.”

Tickets for TAGCON are available online and will also be available at the door during the convention. Standard tickets are $40 for the weekend, and discounted tickets are available for students, educators and those dealing with financial hardship. Children 12 and under with an attending adult can get in for $5.

TAGCON is an annual board game convention in the Tri-Cities:

Karlee Van De Venter is a full-time reporter at the Tri-City Herald who contributes Arts and Entertainment coverage for Tumbleweird. Through a co-publication agreement, this content appeared in the Herald as well.