conSCIENCE review: SCARAB 2012

conSCIENCE review: SCARAB 2012

SCARAB Game Convention Stats

Jan 13-16, 2012

Columbia, SC

300 attended

Scottish Rite Convention Center

Days Inn Hotel and Suites


A bank of computers in the front lobby (and staff assistance) made the ubiquitous Warhorn site a lot easier, although there were not as many pre-reg’s as we’d like. Pathfinder and board/card/miniatures gaming seemed to have the best attendance. We hosted a Savage Saturday Night and our inaugural Iron GM Contest, which was so much fun we’re definitely doing that again!


The Scottish Rite is right off I-77 in east Columbia, very easy to find, and surrounded by quick dining options. The main room at the convention center was used for the dealer’s room/board gaming/kids track/cantina, and the floor-level stage in the auditorium used for RPGs. SCARAB also uses the meeting spaces in the Days Inn for the minis gaming. Both locations show their age but are clean.


We snagged a room with 2 kings and it was still very spacious. The hotel serves a free hot breakfast ($5 for SCARAB attendees not staying at the hotel) which included a waffle maker as well as biscuits, white gravy, sausages, and scrambled eggs. It’s a 2 Star hotel, so it’s not fancy, but it was very clean. The main complaint I heard was about hard beds; No one mentioned a single bug.


You get 4 days of gaming for a $50 badge, making it less than $13/day for all the gaming you can stand. The hotel rate is an unheard-of $50/night for 2 double beds, and we only paid $60/night for 2 king beds. Free Parking, Free Breakfast, and the GMs can earn cash for the games they run. My girls used their GM rewards at the cantina and pretty much fed themselves all weekend!

Family Rating

I can’t say enough good things about the Kids Track gaming. No other con focuses as much on the kids actually playing GAMES. SCARAB is on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, so there are little to no days of school lost. Ages started at 6: this is not a day care. This was not a “party con” which made for quiet nights of rest. There was very little cosplay, and definitely no “adult themed” cosplay where the kids would see it. In short, my kids lost track of how many games they played in at *20.*


Prizes! Swag bags at registration were heavy with Pathfinder novels, comics, and minis (for the first 100 I think). The Prize table was loaded with board games, books, etc. Board Game Library! When the booth was slow I checked out a board or card game from the library and played with whatever kids were handy, meaning I got to play Munchkin (I forgot how much fun that is!) to my heart’s content. And did we say enough about the Kids’ Track? No. No, we didn’t say nearly enough.


SCARAB website

SCARAB Facebook page

SCARAB photos

Sean Fannon’s After Action Report

SCARAB Kids Track blog post


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