Brian Lenz:  Wizard | Master of Ceremonies

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My name is Brian Lenz, I am the Master of Ceremonies, and Wizard for the GrandCon party.  My passion for gaming started at a very early age, and it wasn’t until later in life that I rediscovered I had an affinity for tabletop gaming and it for me. 

I rekindled my passion for tabletop gaming by founding West Michigan Tabletop Gamers (WMTG) bank in 2011.  WMTG has grown beyond my expectations, and continues to be a shining star for many tabletop “hobby” gamers in West Michigan including GrandCon.

WMTG was the catalyst that sprung forth the creation of GrandCon. GrandCon Gaming Convention is now being held annually around Labor Day at DeVos Place Convention Center downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It is touted as being Michigan's premiere tabletop gaming convention, and one of the best underground industry shows in the country. 

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Matt Kruse: Barbarian | Show Coordinator

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Greetings! My name is Matt Kruse and I am the boisterous and bearded Barbarian show coordinator (events and exhibitors) for the GrandCon party. Games have always been a big part of my life. Starting with HeroQuest back in 1993, gaming was one of the main things my family did together. In the early days, it was mostly the standard fare (Monopoly, Life, etc.) with a few standouts (The Omega Virus, Dark World, Battle Masters). In 2006, I was introduced to Heroscape, which led to a lot (like, A LOT) of gaming with friends. However, it wasn’t until December of 2010 when I first played Dominion. This was really the beginning of my foray into modern board games. Dominion led to Pandemic, which led to Small World, which led to Ticket to Ride, and so on. Role-playing games didn’t enter the picture until late 2014 when I was asked to play a session of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Since then, I have played in and GM’d dozens of RPG sessions using the various FFG Star Wars systems. In 2017, two friends and I created the Old World Podcast, a twice-monthly podcast featuring discussion and actual play in Warhammer Fantasy Role-play 4th Edition. Along with my incredible wife and two young daughters, we make up a family that loves games and that plays games as often as possible.

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Eric Wisniewski: Rogue | VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

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My name is Eric Wisniewski. I assist with the show, oversee the volunteers, and I am the Rouge for the GrandCon party. I’ve been in love with board gaming since the 90’s, when my parents gave me a copy of HeroQuest for Christmas. Everything about it was interesting: the killer miniatures, the exploration, the odd dice, the spell-casting, all of it.  It opened me up to a world outside of the Hasbro/MB tentpole classics.  In the intervening years, I’ve played a copy of Catan to pieces (literally), walked through GenCon with a garbage bag full of games, and survived a 46-hour gaming marathon.

I joined the GrandCon party as a mid-level rogue as we trek deep into the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.   I’ll be here with the rest of our crew helping you make discoveries in the ever-expanding GrandCon game library and raiding the treasure hordes of DeVos Hall.  I look forward to the fellowship with friends old and new that this gathering always brings.

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Mandy Jelsma: Warlock | SOCIAL Media-Marketing Director

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Hello! My name is Mandy Jelsma. I am assisting with social media directing for GrandCon, and I am the Warlock for the GrandCon party. Games have been a big part of my life for the past 10 years and I’m honoured that I get to work in an industry as rad as board games. I do social media for various board game companies and I love creating a community where everyone can share their love of the hobby. In my spare time when I’m not playing games, I enjoy plants, baking bread and world building in my homebrew D&D game.

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Tim Latshaw: Cleric | News Letter Editor | Social media Assistant

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Hi, I am Tim Latshaw. I assist with the newsletter and social media, I am the Cleric for the GrandCon party (because robes are comfy and freeing).

Having moved to Michigan from New York, I joined local board gaming as a way to meet new people. Like others, my experiences had been restricted to the "classics" at the time. I certainly didn't expect to find so many new and different worlds in games, and have been drawn into the worlds of ideas designers are constantly dreaming up! 

The hows and whys of gaming are as interesting to me as the games themselves, and that won't be stopping anytime soon. It's likely the journalism background in me. My favorite games include the Arkham Horror Card Game, Tokaido, and Pandemic Legacy. I have attended GrandCon from the very first year and am happy to be a part of the crew as we forge ahead. 

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Janet Kruse: DRUID | Social Media Assistant

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Hi there, my name is Janet and I wear many hats, except actual hats because they make my head look weird. I’m the Druid of social media for the GrandCon party. As a wife and mother of two brilliant and devious children I work to pay for the necessities of life, ya know, Legos and games. By day I save people from medical bills and by night I wood-burn nerdy things for our family Etsy shop. I love co-op games, especially when I can be on the same team as my AMAZING husband Matt. His love and passion for RPG’s has brought me yet another layer into this awesome world of gaming and I’m so delighted to be a part of this newest adventure.

Come Play with Us!