June sees two big geek-related conventions in Sydney, and I have an itch to attend at least one of them. The Toy and Game Expo is on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (June 9-11), while SuperNova is the following week (June 15-17). Of course, this raises a couple of questions: Which should we go to and should we take the kids?

Both events are appealing, though for very different reasons. The Toy and Game Expo is all about boardgames, toys, and getting every-day folk in to play “gamer” games. I spoke with the organiser, Charles Bishop, earlier this year and he said one of the goals was to help people realise that there is more to boardgames than just Monopoly and Scrabble. There are tournaments for popular games such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride, and even an event for game designers. There is opportunities to learn to play games, a “Play Doh Pit” and Nerf arena. I think the Toy and Game Expo will be a really good event to take the kids to because there are these kinds of events for them to get involved in.

SuperNova calls itself a “pop culture expo” and has a huge number of special guests from television, films, the comic book industry and authors. This year, guests include Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Paolini, Matthew Reilly, Marianne De Pierres and Garth Nix. Kirsty and I went last year and had a great time exploring the “artist alley” and photographing cosplayers. I picked up a couple of items from authors that were selling their wares. I even ran into one of the kids I teach –  we just kind of looked at each other in surprise, smiled awkwardly then melted into the crowds again (it could ruin both our reputations back at school!). While I saw a lot of people there with kids and babies, the place was crowded (really crowded), and I worry about taking the kids. We certainly couldn’t take a stroller, so carrying a two-year-old around all day would become rough.

I would love to go to SuperNova again, but I don’t think it would be with the kids. The Toy and Game Expo appears much more family friendly, though this is the first year it has run so we will have to see. Have you taken your kids to a convention or expo? What was the experience like? Do you have any advice?