Who: Donors of non-electronic gaming material (Bring out your dice!)
What: Ziggurat Con, possibly the first gaming convention in a combat zone, also described here
When: June 9, 2007
Where: Camp Adder / Talil Airbase, Iraq
Why: Gamer-to-gamer direct support seems like a spiffy idea.
How: Send games (e.g., Babylon 5 RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, D&D, D&D RPGA, GURPS, Historic Miniatures Battles, Magic Tournament, MechWarrior Miniatures, Rifts, Shadowrun, Starship Troopers, White Wolf System-Vampire, White Wolf System-Werewolf, XCrawl), minis, and dice via the APO address found on the web links above.
Con chair: SPC David Amberson david.amberson (at) iraq.centcom.mil
The Con's historical landmark "mascot" — the Ziggurat that gives the Con its name — can be found on the post, and hails from the ancient city of Ur. Nearby is the house where it is believed that Abraham (a large figure in the Bible, the Koran and the Torah) was born. Cool digs for a Con — if not for the fact that there's a war going on. Amberson, however, emphasized the need for soldiers to relax and kick back with enjoyable activities from time to time.
"There is a deeper sense of camaraderie in a war zone than you see back home," said Amberson, who is a supply soldier with Alpha Company, 86th Signal Battalion. "You eat with these people, work with them on a daily basis, and can even share a tent with the same people. When work is over for the day, we can sit back, relax, drink our favorite sodas, eat our favorite snacks, and play a bit of D&D. This helps us relax in a very stressful environment. We found a place where we can go somewhere far away from the IED's, mortar attacks, and gunfire, without ever leaving the safety of our camp. The next step was only logical."
I've asked the board of my local SF-and-gaming con non-profit (OSFCI) to support the con, by paying freight for dice ( Bring out your dice, Bring out your dice) and minis (Parcel Post), and for RPG manuals and supplements (Media Mail), but as a Red Crosser, I've learned a long lead time is required to get parcels to troops, so if you like the idea, start preparing NOW. And, I'm not alone:
aethereal FORGE, Sovereign Press, Final Redoubt Press, Goodman Games, Paizo Publishing and Steve Jackson Games are among those that have thrown in their support for the convention. But Amberson indicated that the soldiers could definitely use more.
"This convention is currently in drastic need of prizes and giveaways for the troops," he said. "Everything donated will go directly to the troops, or to MWR (Ed. note: Morale Welfare & Recreation) to use as loaner books for the soldiers."
John Bartley K7AAY PDX OR USA
"The state which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools." — Thucydides"