Anime and Cosplay

Seven Most Sublime Finds at GhengisCon 41

HEY, GUYS! COME LOOK AT MY MERCHANDISE! GUYS!
HEY, GUYS! COME LOOK AT MY MERCHANDISE! GUYS! Teague Bohlen
GenghisCon is billed as "Denver's largest gaming convention," and since it's been around for over four decades, that only makes sense. (We all get a little bigger as we age, don't we?) The 2018 GenghisCon has taken over the Hyatt Regency Aurora through Monday, February 19, and organizers already think they'll see a larger turnout than at their fortieth anniversary event in 2017. Day passes are available at the door, and even if the gaming tables are full, plenty of geekery goodness is on display, both as cosplay and as merchandise for sale.

There's dice, of course (Chessex, one of the old-guard dice companies, has brought its usual impressive display), and games, and miniatures, and general gaming paraphernalia. But there's more than that, thanks to some Colorado-based artists and small-business owners who're displaying awesome and unexpected items. Here are seven of the most sublime.

click to enlarge Also at the ready for any pants-splitting gaming disasters. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Also at the ready for any pants-splitting gaming disasters.
Teague Bohlen
7. Dice Bags While You Wait
Okay, more than a couple of booths sell custom dice bags — mostly images from sporting gaming memes, but sometimes other stuff, like baby Cthulhu or Pokémon or Wonder Woman. But only at this booth, run by Colorado Springs entrepreneur Midnight Geek Creations, can you pick your bag material (both inside and out — the bags are reversible!) and have it sewn up for you while you wait. Awesome (and maybe mandatory) if you've just given in over at the Chessex booth and bought an entire pitcher of dice.

click to enlarge Rumor has it that the hats also make you a bit giddy. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Rumor has it that the hats also make you a bit giddy.
Teague Bohlen
6. Knitted Character Hats
Cosplaying is hard. It's expensive, it takes a ton of time to prep, and, honestly, it can be a pain to wear a costume around all day. But don't despair: If you just plain don't feel like cosplaying, you can at least wear a hat. Choose a character you like, then let your geek flag fly courtesy of Denver's own Loopy Llama, which lets you express your love for Cookie Monster, Jack Skellington, Pokémon, Spider-Man and a whole lot more just by donning some hand-crocheted headwear.


click to enlarge You know you're at a gaming convention when you have to ask about the pineapple and not the prestidigitation. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
You know you're at a gaming convention when you have to ask about the pineapple and not the prestidigitation.
Teague Bohlen
5. Laser-Etched Flasks
If you like a little nip at the gaming table — or simply need to sneak a bit of whiskey into that Faygo Rock N'Rye — then SandDragon Design has just the thing for you. They make coasters, too, in case you prefer your alcohol on the rocks and in a glass and don't want rings on the tables. (That's water rings, Tolkein estate, so please don't sue us for copyright violation.)

click to enlarge Hey, I think I got that one in the middle at the Sith Conference in Kansas City last year. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Hey, I think I got that one in the middle at the Sith Conference in Kansas City last year.
Teague Bohlen
4. Nerdalicious Bags and Blankets
Whatever your nerd-niche, Whitney Stewart (aka Craftifox) has the bag for you. Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Darth Vader, Spider-Gwen, My Little Pony, Captain America — any of them can carry those books, groceries or gaming supplies for you and make a statement at the same time. And if you're a bit chilly, that blanket not only has the big-four Avengers ready to keep you warm, it's also great if you want to insult Black Widow and Hawkeye, who are clearly the Professor and MaryAnn of Marvel's signature team.

click to enlarge Sorry about the tubs, Hyatt housekeeping. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Sorry about the tubs, Hyatt housekeeping.
Teague Bohlen
3. Dragon's Blood Moisturizing Bath Bombs
If you've ever been to a nerd convention, you know that it's really important to support regular bathing habits. Honestly, they should just hand these out with the badges.

click to enlarge I think the "I cost $40" sign would bother me less if it wasn't in first person. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
I think the "I cost $40" sign would bother me less if it wasn't in first person.
Teague Bohlen
2. Custom Dolls
These dolls are commonly referred to as "BJDs," which stands for "Ball-Jointed Dolls." Because that's pretty much all they are when they arrive from Japan: They're completely featureless, and must be fully customized. The doll on the right is in-process, and Brass Rabbit Custom Dolls has more examples of the intricacy of the painting and costuming involved in taking these dolls from blank-faced nightmare fuel to something worthy of display.


click to enlarge Better than Russian nesting dolls because you can roll them, and they're not creepy. - TEAGUE BOHLEN
Better than Russian nesting dolls because you can roll them, and they're not creepy.
Teague Bohlen
1. Dice Dice Holders
Because the only thing better than dice is dice that hold more dice.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen