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February 2025

New England's Largest Game Convention

Best Western Royal Plaza
Marlborough, MA

Board Gaming at Totalcon

Whether you’re a serious board gamer or strictly a social player, TotalCon has the games for you. TotalCon board gaming welcomes card players, tile layers, engine builders, train gamers, casual gamers, classic wargamers, thematic gamers, social deductionists, deck builders, dexterity gamers (don’t lose the pieces!), tournament players, indie gamers, play-testers, young players, old players, newbies and sharks. And you, too, whatever you may be.


Check this section for all notices and updates on official TotalCon tournaments.

12/5/23 Notice: TotalCon 2024 Tournament List, New Tournaments, and Rules Update

TotalCon 2024 Tournament List

  • Splendor
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Azul
  • Wingspan
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • 7 Wonders
  • Concordia
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Power Grid
  • Kingdomino
  • Camel Up

The tournament schedule can be found in the “NER Tournament Games” Section below.

NEW: Qualifiers for NER Tournaments at DexLite

This year, there will also be tournaments that qualify for the NER finals at DexLite 2024. These tournaments will be separate from the games run by TC staff and they will not count for Chairman of the Board. A future update will clarify the details.

IMPORTANT: Tournament Scoring Rules Update

Finally, there will be changes this year to the rules for qualifying for semi-finals and finals. The goal of these changes is to make qualifying for semis and finals more intuitive while still maintaining our usual scoring system. Please scroll to the “NER Tournament Games” section for more details. The full tournament scoring rules can be found in the “TC2024 Rules” word document.

Scheduled Gaming

Every TotalCon features dozens of scheduled board game events across a wide variety of genres. The majority of games are run by volunteer Game Masters (GMs) but you’ll also find events sponsored by game publishers and TC staff.

These events are open to all registered TotalCon guests on a first-come-first-serve basis by “purchasing” a free ticket on TableTop Events. The GM for each event specifies how many seats are available at the table, whether any prior experience is required, and so forth.

Note that tickets purchased online will reserve you a seat at the table. Walk-ups are welcome at games that are not sold out or in the case of no-shows. If you are interested in an event that is already sold out, it doesn’t hurt to show up at the assigned table when the event begins just in case a new spot opens up. Sometimes GMs will even offer to run a second board if there is enough interest.

The board games event schedule can be found on the TableTop Events website.

Additional information and discussion about scheduled events can be found on the Board Game Geek.

Interested in hosting a game? Please see the Board Game GMs section below.

Tournament Gaming

The following games will be offered as tournaments at TotalCon 2024:

  • Splendor
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Azul
  • Wingspan
  • Terraforming Mars
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • 7 Wonders
  • Concordia
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Power Grid
  • Kingdomino
  • Camel Up

The schedule for the convention is shown here:

Tournament Schedule thursday and friday
Tournament Schedule saturday and sunday


We will be changing the way players qualify for tournament semi-finals/finals this year. ALL WINNERS FROM HEATS WILL QUALIFY FOR THE NEXT ROUND, where a “winner” is a player who finished in 1st place. All games except for Terraforming Mars and Power Grid have the option of a semi-final round if there are enough participants.

After all Heats for a given game are complete, this will be the procedure for the next round of games:

  1. If the number of winners is less than or equal to the max player count of the game, there will be no semi-final
    1. All winners will advance to the Final
    2. Any remaining empty slots will be filled based on tournament score, following our standard tournament scoring rules.
  2. The next round is the semi-final. The total number of qualifiers will be determined based on the total number of winners.
    1. All winners advance to the semi-finals.
    2. Any remaining empty slots will be filled based on tournament score, following our standard tournament scoring rules.
Clarifications for each tournament game:
  • Splendor, Azul, and 7 Wonders will each have 1 block for Heats and 1 block for Semi-finals and/or Finals.
  • Ticket to Ride and Wingspan are both expected to need a semi-final, therefore they have been pre-scheduled.
  • Concordia, Lords of Waterdeep, and Saint Petersburg have a single block scheduled for a semi-final (if needed) and a final. The final round is assumed to immediately follow the semi-final unless a different timeslot is agreed upon by all finalists.
  • The Kingdomino and Camel Up tournaments will be held entirely within a single block, including Heats, semi-finals (if needed), and Finals.
  • Terraforming Mars and Power Grid will NOT have a semi-final round. Additionally, there will be a hard limit of 10 players (2 full games) for each Heat. This is to limit the maximum possible number of winners to 4.

You can read the detailed rules for each tournament game in the following file here: BoardgameRulesScoring2024.docx

Open Gaming

Open Gaming refers to all the games you play at the con that aren’t formally scheduled and ticketed online. Whether you’re meeting up with friends or hoping to make new ones, we want to make sure you’ve got the space to play and the people to play with. Our ballroom space has over half its seats available for open gaming in every time slot, even Saturday afternoon!

The only restriction is that seats and tables be must cleared for use by others when you are not actively playing. Game bags or bins may be stored around the perimeter of the room, at your own risk.

Looking to arrange a game before the con? Visit the “What are you playing at TotalCon?” geek list on BoardGameGeek Forum for Total Confusion.

During the con, players looking for games can utilize the “Looking for players” and “Looking for teachers” table flags, or just talk to the board game staff who can often hook you up with games seeking people or point you towards scheduled events that have open seats.

Gateway Zone

TotalCon recognizes that not everyone is an experienced board gamer or con-goer. That’s why we invented The Gateway Zone!

The Gateway Zone is here to help new board gamers feel welcome and ease them into the gaming hobby and the TotalCon experience which, understandably, can be a bit overwhelming your first time. This is a special place within the board game room where dedicated volunteers are always on hand to teach and play a rotating selection of games that are proven winners for new players -- accessible, attractive and, of course, just plain fun!

Popular Gateway Zone games from the past have included Ticket to Ride: New York, Kingdomino, Potion Explosion, Splendor, Las Vegas, The Climbers and King of Tokyo. We often have a selection of card games, as well.

The Gateway Zone is open Friday and Saturday only, from 10 am to 9 pm and is located across from the board gaming front desk and library.

No sign-ups required!

If you’re interested in being a volunteer in The Gateway Zone, go to the Volunteer menu in TableTop Events and “purchase” a ticket for a 2-hour shift as a Board Game Volunteer during one or more of these periods. FRIDAY or SATURDAY, from 10 AM to 7 PM.

Special Gaming Events

TotalCon has a history of incredible special gaming events. Some past and current favorites include the Catan National Championship Qualifier, B-17 Mission event, Giant Circus Maximus and the annual Blood Bowl tournament.

Please go to the Board Game Events page to check out the events offered this year.

Puffing Billy

The original Puffing Billy was the first patented locomotive. At TotalCon, Puffing Billy represents the great collection of train game events.

Watch for updated information, soon!

Board Game Library

Visit the extensive TotalCon board game library and check out a new, or new-to-you, game to play.

Any registered attendee can check out a game by showing their badge at the library desk.

Library Hours

  • THU noon – 10 pm
  • FRI-SAT 7:30 am – 10 pm
  • SUN 7:30 am – 3 pm

You can view the board game library online here:

Play to Win

Did you know that new board games are being released all the time? Did you know that publishers will happily give away their games in exchange for free advertising and, hopefully, positive word of mouth and good karma?

It’s true, and it’s called Play to Win (PTW). Come check out the dozens of games that will absolutely be going home with TotalCon attendees.

How it Works

  1. View the PTW games on display at the board gaming front desk.
  2. Use your con badge to check out the game you want to try.
  3. Play the game.
  4. Return the game to the front desk. You and everyone in your group that shows their badge is automatically entered in a raffle to win that game. (One entry per person, per game.)
  5. Attend the raffle drawing to see if you’re a winner! Raffle drawings are held at about 8 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Winners have until 12 pm the next day to collect their games. Unclaimed games go back in the pool.

Check here for last year's roster of PTW games.

No-Ship Auction

For many of us, managing our board game collections is a game in itself, and knowing that hundreds of like-minded souls are all about to meet in one place at the same time, who can resist the chance to pick up a new game at a bargain price or to pass on a game that is no longer getting the love at our table?

The TotalCon No-Ship Auction gives all attendees the chance to buy, sell or trade board games and, even better, to deliver them without the hassle of shipping. The auction is held online on Board Game Geek (BGG). Auction is Live on Tuesday, 1/23/2024. Auction will Close Saturday, 2/17/2024 at noon.

Prize Tickets

Every time you play in a scheduled game at TotalCon you have the chance to earn prize tickets that can be redeemed for – you guessed it – valuable prizes! Prizes range from a new pair of dice to a new board game to cool TotalCon merch to a free registration badge for the following year.

GMs are given one or more prize tickets for each of their games, with the number of tickets based on the number of players and the length of the game. The prize ticket(s) will then be awarded by the GM at the end of the event. The usual practice in the board gaming area is for GMs to give the ticket to the winner of the game but this is not a hard and fast rule, especially for social or cooperative games. Some GMs may award tickets randomly or have the players vote on who gets the ticket. If you have any questions about how ticket(s) will be awarded at your table, just ask your GM.

Board Game GMs

Of course, the only reason TotalCon offers so many wonderful games is because so many of our attendees volunteer their time and effort as Game Masters. Won’t you join them? Make new friends! Be an influencer! Get nifty rewards!

Event submission is closed for TotalCon 38.

Here’s what you need to know when creating and running board game events at TotalCon:

  1. Valid event starting times are 8 and 10 AM, and 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11 PM. (These are the only acceptable times EVEN IF Tabletop Events allows you to enter other times. The software is not perfectly configurable.)
  2. All board game events are slotted into the convention’s standard 2-hour blocks. That is, your event will be scheduled for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours, etc.
  3. So, estimate how long your game will take, then add a few minutes. Then add a few more minutes if you’re teaching from scratch. Then round up to the nearest 2-hour increment. Easy!
  4. If you are running a game that plays quickly, please plan to play multiple times within the 2-hour minimum time slot.
  5. Please plan to have at least 4 seats for players other than yourself. It is acceptable – and encouraged – to run multiple boards simultaneously, if you can.
  6. GMs are expected to provide at least one copy of the game they are running. If you need help locating extra copies, please contact the board gaming staff for help.

Other questions? Ask Chris via email to

Board game GMs are reimbursed as listed in our Game Master Reimbursement Policy

Board Game Volunteers

At TotalCon, fun is work is fun. Would you like to join us and help make TotalCon even more awesome? We are always ready to welcome new people to the Board Game team.

Our volunteers perform a myriad set of duties including:

  • Setting up and breaking down the board game library.
  • Manning the board game desk during the con – checking out library and PTW games.
  • Monitoring tournament games.
  • Greeting guests and managing the gaming floor.
  • Recording player counts and distributing prize tickets to GMs.
  • GMing staff-run events.
  • Teaching beginner games in the Gateway Zone.

Part-time volunteers earn rewards for time worked, just like GMs do.

Full-time volunteers (8+ hours per day) earn a free convention badge, T-shirt, hotel room (shared), food and drink throughout the con.

Please contact Aaron Beeson or Chris: for more information on volunteering.

The Meeple League

Totalcon is also a sponsor of the Meeple League, which is dedicated to advancing competitive boardgame play. Six of the TotalCon tournaments are also Meeple League Sponsored events, where players earn points toward Meeple League annual ratings: Azul, Saint Petersburg, Splendor, Terraforming Mars, Ticket to Ride, and Wingspan.

TotalCon on BGG

BGG is an invaluable resource for board gaming and TotalCon maintains a regular presence there, especially during the two to three months directly preceding each convention. Learn more about board gaming events, tournament notices, and the no-ship auction. You can also talk with other players about what you want to play and schedule informal games on your own.

TotalCon Guild: will point you to all these.

Board Game Staff

TotalCon Staff are here to help answer your questions. Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate staff member based on their areas of responsibility, described below.

Chris Morse – Board Gaming Director. Contact:

  • Special Events (board gaming).
  • Publisher and sponsor business, including Play-to-Win.
  • Board game library.
  • No-Ship auction.
  • Board game event scheduling (excepting Tournaments and Special Events).
  • Board gaming GMs.
  • Board gaming staff & non-GM volunteers.
  • Open gaming floor.
  • Gateway Zone.
  • Play-to-Win (onsite)

Kara Morse – Tournament Board Gaming Coordinator. Contact:

  • Tournament games (excepting those listed separately under Special Events).
  • Tournament rules and rewards.

Dave Mitton – Puffing Billy Conductor. Contact:

  • Puffing Billy events – GMs and players.
  • Puffing Billy game requests.