Elf Confidence

In order to defeat the minions of the enemy, you must survive The Gauntlet, avoiding the Pocket of Death. If you fail, millions will die and the world as you know it will crumble into ruin and despair. But The Gauntlet is only one of the gaming opportunities at the DarkCon 2004 convention for gamers and fantasy enthusiasts.

"If you like to game, whatever your thing is, there is something for you," says Lee Whiteside, publicist for the event as well as a longtime gamer and sci-fi aficionado. "A lot of people get together at home to play, but here's a chance to go full bore and do nothing but game all weekend." Just about every role-playing game will be represented in some form, from Axis and Allies to Battle Tech.

The Lord of the Rings-themed party on Friday is not to be missed, and there will be 24-hour gaming including RPG, board games, live-action chess, miniatures, card games, multiple LARPs as well as computer gaming. There will also be an appearance by Diana Vick, whose illustrations appear on collectible card games such as Magic, the Gathering.

All participants are encouraged to come in costume (medieval, LOTR, etc.), and prizes will be awarded. "We have a guy who gets swag from the movie studios," Whiteside says. "So we have more and better stuff at our show than at the L.A. ones."

But Whiteside says not to fear if you don't have anything to wear. "There will be a merchants' bazaar, with everything from gaming supplies and comics to stuff to wear," he says. "There is a group that will even fit you for a corset if you're into that sort of thing. It's kind of always an ongoing party in there."

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Quetta Carpenter