conSCIENCE Review: Con Nooga 2012
Con Nooga Stats
Feb. 17-19, 2012
There were separate areas, one for Pathfinder and one for everyone else, which made it a little difficult to go from one to the other, but next year Con Nooga will be using the convention center, so that might change things. One major bonus to the smaller separate rooms is it kept the noise level down! This is a fandom convention, so there were more no-shows for preregistered seats than I anticipated, but there were always plenty of walk-ins, so I didn’t hear about any games not making.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo is a historic hotel and you can’t find a better Victorian Steampunk setting! Ironworks frame just about everything, and you have to check out the ceiling in the lobby as well as the pool in hotel 1. There are lots of dining options available and 3 separate hotel buildings. With the trolley tours and downtown horse-drawn carriage tours, plus nearby attractions like the aquarium, there is plenty for the non-gamer to do.
Our hotel room had 2 doubles and we easily fit a roll-away cot and sleeping bag on the floor. The Choo Choo has so many separate areas where things are happening that it gave us plenty of exercise. There are shuttle buses moving folks from one area to the next, which was wonderful, but I think persons of limited mobility would have difficulty at this convention. We stayed in hotel 1, which has an indoor pool that is fantastic. Even more fantastic was the Pool Party Saturday night for the kids!
You get 3 days of gaming for a $40 badge, making it less than $14/day for all the gaming you can stand, as well as cosplay, musical performances, films, SciFi/Fantasy, Anime, Paranormal, Comics, and Literary tracks, and a bunch of great guests like us. The hotel rate was $89/night. There were meal options in the exhibitor hall as cheap as a $3 hot dog, $1 chips, and there are multiple dining options right there at the Choo Choo: 7 in all, ranging from a coffee shop to dinner theater.
First of all, kids eat free since it is a Holiday Inn property. Kids 6 and under get in free. There is a fantastic kids track with everything from costuming to Wizarding World of Harry Potter vs. Wizards of Waverly Place debates. There were kid-specific games being run, and the pool party Saturday night was the biggest hit for my little fins. They had Debi Derryberry, voice actress for Monster High and Jimmy Neutron, as a special guest. The downside is there are vendors in the exhibitor hall that are not child-friendly, like the lingerie sellers and horror film booths, and costumes at night can be risque. This is a BIG convention and you need to keep younger children close.
Cosplay. Even if you don’t dress up yourself, there is nothing cooler than seeing a bunch of Jedi and anime characters running around. Panels. Not all cons do panels, but Con Nooga offers up a wide variety of options and does a great job organizing them. Con Kids. My kids have a great time at this convention, and there are a lot of volunteers involved in just this track. Geek TNG is well in hand here! Guests. If you see a guest on the lineup here, odds are you can have a drink with them at a party and get to talk to them, really talk to them!