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Council of Five Nations - Adventure Gaming Convention - General Information Overview - Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga, NY

Council of Five Nations XXXVI

October 11-13, 2013

General Information Overview

Last Update: Tuesday, October 5th, 2013

Council of Five Nations is the SWA's annual gaming convention, held every year on Columbus Day Weekend in October. It is one of the longest-running adventure gaming conventions in the world. We'll be sponsoring our 36th Council on October 11-13, 2013.

Please use the links below to get the most up-to-date info on the status of the convention.

If you have specific questions or requests, please email us at council /at/ swa-gaming.org
(please replace the "/at/" with the standard "@".  We apologize for this necessary anti-spam measure).

What's the latest news?

Council starts in only a few days!

Pre-registration is now closed (we need time to process the hundreds of pre-registrations we received).  But don't worry, you can still register on-site.  Walk-ins are always welcome.  Look for the Council Registration Desk on the ground floor at Proctors, right across from the Proctor's ticket counter.

Please click to download the Council Registration packet in PDF format.

Please click to go to the Chronological listing of all events.

Please click here to see all our Special Interest Event Tracks.

Please click for Directions to Council of Five Nations.

Please click for the Council Hotels page.

Please click for the Council Parking page.

Please click for Downtown Schenectady resources for Dining, Shopping, and a Visitor's Map.

As always, watch this page for the latest Council of Five Nations news.

Big News for this year: 50% expansion!

Council has averaged 10-15% growth in attendance each year for the past seven years. Because of this wonderful, consistent support from the Northeast Adventure Gaming community, we have committed to lease 50% more space than previous years.  We have big plans to fill up all that square footage.  Not only will we be able to give you a bit more room between tables, but we will also have many more games to offer.  See below for info on some of our signature events. 

The Council of Five Nations Philosophy

Council strives toward the goal of "quality over quantity". We're a medium-sized con, but we try to have top-notch events. We predict an attendance of about 400 this year. As with all the Councils over the years, our goal is a nice balance between role-play games, miniatures, board games and other stuff.

Signature Event: Pathfinder Society RPGPathfinder Society RPG at Council of Five Nations

Join the New York Capital Region Pathfinder Lodge as we kick off Season 5, Year of the Demon!  This is our 4th year at Council and we plan on making it the biggest, most exciting, one yet. We have a lot of special events highlighting this year’s con including: Siege of the Diamond City, Bonekeep parts 1 & 2, return of the Hottest Dice Contest, Pathfinder games specifically for Kids (ages 6-12), PFS Chronicle Quiz, plus a ton of other great events and prizes.

The Pathfinder Society (PFS) is an organization of explorers, vagabonds, sages, and treasure hunters determined to plumb the depths of the darkest tombs, and collect relics and lore from bygone ages. Pathfinder Society Organized Play is a constantly evolving mega-campaign played by thousands of players from around the world. PFS, uses the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system, which is an evolution of the 3.5 rules set of the world's oldest fantasy roleplaying game.

Find out more about this event and sign up for specific adventures here:

Signature Event: Star Fleet Battles Patrol TournamentStar Fleet Battles at Council of Five Nations

Council of Five Nations is proud to host the largest, best Face-to-Face Star Fleet Battles tournament in the whole world.  We've been one of the Top Five largest since 2002, and we became the largest about five years ago.  Players from all over the country, and even internationally, travel to Council every year to play against the best.

We're always willing to teach the game to new people. There will be a coupon in your registration packet good for a free game of Star Fleet Battles. Guaranteed to be redeemable any time before 1:00pm on Saturday, and we can probably find someone to train you later in the weekend too.

We have a special page dedicated to our Star Fleet Battles Tournament at Council of Five Nations.  Please click the link to check it out.  We will be updating this page often as more people commit to attending.

You can also keep up on forum discussion at the Star Fleet Battles Open Community site, and at the offical ADB BBS (click "Company-Conventions-Stores-Ideas").

Signature Event:  Conflict of Heroes TournamentConflict of Heroes at Council of Five Nations Adventure Gaming Convention

Conflict of Heroes is an Origins Award-winning game of squad level combat in World War II.  It is very popular among the SWA membership.  We like to say that it has "80% of the feel of Squad Leader, but only 10% of the rules". 

We will be sponsoring our first annual CoH tournament at this year's Council of Five Nations.  We are happy to be one of the first conventions in the US to host a dedicated tournament like this.  Academy Games, makers of Conflict of Heroes, will be provding sponsorship, prizes, and logistical support.

You can follow the discussion about this tournament online at Board Game Geek.

Signature Event:  RPGA Dungeons & Dragons 

This year we’re excited to offer two tracks of Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday and Sunday at Council of Five Nations. Whether you’re a fan of fourth edition Dungeons and Dragons or you’d like to try playtesting the upcoming edition, we have some exciting adventures ready for you! In addition, all games are kid friendly.

RPGA D&D at Council of Five Nations Adventure Gaming Tournament

Dungeons and Dragons Next (5th Edition) - Playtest

Work on the next iteration of Dungeons & Dragons is underway and you can be a part of it! Interested in playtesting D&D Next? Players are encouraged to sign up ahead of time. It’s easy to sign up and download the latest playtest materials at dndnext.com. You can also fill out the playtest materials at the convention, grab a pre-generated character, and you’re ready to go! If you’d like to make your own character, being a first-level character created using the August 2nd playtest packet and get ready for adventure!

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition – Living Forgotten Realms

Enter the Living Forgotten Realms, a massive shared-world campaign. Bring your pre-existing LFR character, create a first-level 4th edition D&D character, or grab a pre-generated hero and jump into the action! Earn experience points, gold, and magic items that remain with you from game to game! Living Forgotten Realms adventures will be offered all day Saturday and Sunday. We will organize groups based on character level and experience.

You can find out more about both the 4th and 5th edition events and sign up for specific adventures here:

Signature Event:  Battleground: Fantasy & Historical WarfareBattleground Fantasy Warfare at Council of Five Nations Adventure Gaming Tournament

Council hosts one of the largest gatherings of BFW players in the country each year.  We will continue that tradition in 2013 with a weekend campaign that will span all of Saturday and Sunday: "Conquest of the Badlands".  All players will represent either the Order Hegemony or the Chaos Convergence.  You will play in both smaller individual skirmishes and fight in the huge multi-player Giant Rumble.

You can get more details and follow/participate in the online discussion at the Your Move Games Forums.


We are expanding our vendor area from 300 square feet to 1500 square feet.  Here is the current roster of confirmed vendors:

The facility: Proctor's Theatre & Conference Center

Council will once again be held at at the Proctor's Theatre and Conference Center, in the heart of downtown Schenectady, New York. You can learn more about Proctor's, a classic Vaudeville theatre, at their web site (please click here).

Schenectady, New York is:
  • About 3 hours north of New York City
  • About 4 hours south of Montreal, Quebec
  • About 4 hours east of Buffalo, New York
  • About 3 hours west of Boston, Massachusetts.
We had a good experience at Proctor's for several years now.  We've also learned a lot since our first year there in 2007, so things get a little better every year.  The Registration Area is on the main floor, very easy to find.  We have games on three levels (all serviced by two elevators): first floor, second floor, and basement.

Group and Student Discounts

As we all know, the economy has been limping along for a few years now.  We're doing a few things to help make it easier for you to attend a Council of Five Nations weekend getaway:
  1. We are keeping our policy of a $5 discount to everyone who pre-registers in a group of three or more.  Details will be in the pre-registration packet.  So start talking to your friends now!  Carpool to save on gas, and pre-register together to save even more.
  2. We are keeping our discounted entry fee for full-time students.  Kids age 9 or younger still get in free.  All other full-time students get in at half-price.  All students still pay for individual event tickets (most are only $2 each).
  3. We are keeping our very generous GM policy - run an event and get your whole weekend registration fee waived.  GMs only pay for individual event tickets.  If you are interested in volunteering to be a Council Game Master, please click the link for more information.

The Yin and Yang of Costs

As you read above, we are expanding our available square footage by about 50% this year.  But very few things in commerce come free.  Our rent is going up by about 80% (the new space is more expensive on a per-square-foot basis), and we will incur extra expenses, like having to rent significantly more tables than last year.

Registration fees have stayed the same for all of the previous Councils at Proctors Theatre.  Since Council has not had a price increase in six years, and our facilities costs are going up by over 80%, we feel we're justified in raising costs a bit... but not by 80%.

The weekend pre-registration cost will go up from $27 to $30.  That's a little over 10% increase.
The weekend on-site registration cost will go up from $32 to $37.  That's a little over 15% increase.

Please note the gentle hint that we encourage you to pre-register.

Please also bring several friends with you this year, and you can all get the group discount.  We need to put a lot of butts into the seats to cover our increased rent!


If you want to get a jump-start on your planning, or if you just want to look around...

Hotels  * Special Circumstances for 2013 *

Hotels in downtown Schenectady will be going at a premium this year, due to our overlap with Union College's Homecoming weekend.  To compensate, we have listed six new hotels that we know to be of good quality and value.  Please check out the page we have dedicated to Council Hotels:

Council of Five Nations Hotels

The Council Discount Auction

The Discount Game Auction is one of our most popular events, and a long-time Council tradition.  It will be happening again this year during the long lunch break on Council Sunday, from 2:00-3:00 PM. We'll have over a hundred games and other gaming-related merchandise available.  This is an open, competitive bidding auction. If you've got some games you'd like to sell, this is your chance to do so.  If you've got a few bucks left in your pocket at the end of Council weekend, this is also an opportunity for you to pick up some bargains. If you'd like to sell merchandise at our auction (any Council attendee is welcome to do so), please click here to download the Council Auction Seller's materials in PDF format  (350 Kb). The Auction packet is now updated with newer and better PDF technology.  It's easier then ever to prepare your goods for sale.

Why do you call it Council of Five Nations?

Council of Five Nations Iroquois Warrior Logo
The Native American Iroquois tribes called the Upstate New York area their home. Each autumn, there would be a great gathering of the five (later six) tribes, or nations.  You can click here for the Wikipedia page that gives a lot more information, and related links. 

We call our annual convention The Council of Five Nations in homage to the Iroquois autumn gatherings from long before most of us had ancestors here. This is also the source of the official Council logo, the Iroquois warrior.

Planning way ahead

If you'd like to mark your calendar now, here are the dates for Councils beyond 2013:
  • October 10-12, 2014
  • October 9-11, 2015
  • October 7-9, 2016
  • October 6-8, 2017
  • October 5-7, 2018
  • October 11-13, 2019
  • October 9-11, 2020
  • October 8-10, 2021
  • October 7-9, 2022
  • October 6-8, 2023
Here's an easy way to remember: Council of Five Nations is always Columbus Day weekend.  When you see that national holiday on your calendar, block it off and make sure you're here with us, sharing in our gaming goodness.

Questions or Comments?

You can contact us directly at council /at/ swa-gaming.org
(please replace the "/at/" with the standard "@".  We apologize for this necessary anti-spam measure).

You can also call Dave at (518) 464-1977, any day until about 11pm Eastern time.

Council of Five Nations Iroquois Warrior Logo

Curious about the kind of events we've had in the past?

You can click on these links to see the full event listings for the past several years of Council of Five Nations.

When you're browsing, it might help to know the following... 

Councils 20-28 were all held at the Studio of Bridge and Games / Price Chopper Community Room.  Space there was limited, we had fewer time slots, and we averaged around 100 attendees over those years. 

In 2006 (Council 29), we made the jump to a hotel.  We doubled the number of events offered.  It was a great success, and our attendance jumped to over 200.  Councils 30-35 in 2007-2012 were at our current location, the Proctors Conference Center.  Our attendance has climbed to the 300 range in recent years, and we expect in the 400s in 2013, especially with our 50% expansion of space and tables.

For more information about the convention...

Please click to download the Council Pre-Registration packet in PDF format.

Please click to go to the Chronological listing of all events.

Please click here to see all our Special Interest Event Tracks.

Please click for Directions to Council of Five Nations.

Please click for the Council Hotels page.

Please click for the Council Parking page.

Please click for Downtown Schenectady resources for Dining, Shopping, and a Visitor's Map.

Web pages highlighting our game events and special event tracks

Please click to go to the Chronological listing of all events.

Please click for the list of Kids games.

Please click for the events in the Council Wargame Room (*New for 2013*)

Please click for the Star Fleet Battles tournament page.

Please click to get details on the Conflict of Heroes tournament.

Please click for the list of Board Game Geek Top 50 events.
Please click for the list of Board Game Geek 51-100 events.

Please click for the listing of all the Historical Miniatures events.

Please click to see the lineup of Shadowrun RPG events.

Please click for the Horror games event track page.

Please click for the Science Fiction games event track page.

Please click to see options to play qualifying games for the SWA's Northeast TITAN Championship tournament

Please click to see all the Free Demo game events during Council weekend.  You can even play games with the developers.

Please click for the Train games event track.