Brian Lenz: Wizard
My name is Brian Lenz, and I am the Wizard of the GrandCon party. My passion for gaming started at the early age. I remember sitting in on games of Euchre and Monopoly with my family as they did their best to teach me how to play. Albeit the concepts were unclear to me in my early years; the pretty colors, shapes, and the din of dice being rolled were attractive enough. It was later on in my adolescence that I knew I had an affinity for gaming and it for me.
I expanded my passion for gaming when I founded West Michigan Tabletop Gamers (WMTG) in 2011. WMTG has grown to be one of the premiere tabletop gaming groups in all of Michigan. The group continues to be a shining star for most gamers in the local area including GrandCon.
WMTG was the catalyst that sprung forth the creation of GrandCon. GrandCon Gaming Convention is now held annually on Labor Day at DeVos Place Convention Center downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It will forever be Michigan's premiere tabletop gaming convention for our surrounding local communities.
Come Play with US!
Clay Case: Monk
Hi, I’m Clay Case. I assist with the show, coordinate the exhibitors, and I am the Monk of the GrandCon party. I've been gaming in one form or another for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest gaming memories include playing Trivial Pursuit, Labyrinth, and Rummikub with my family. I was also introduced to card games like Euchre and Hearts early on, and in my teens my friends and I would meet at the local pizza place for Euchre tournaments. A few years ago I was shown just how amazing hobby games can be through games like Ticket to Ride, Citadels, and The Resistance. It wasn’t long before we were diving into bigger games such as Arkham Horror. Soon after I discovered Grand Con. I met so many nice people and played a lot of great games, and I was amazed to see how many people shared my love for gaming.
As a married father of three, I appreciate that tabletop gaming brings people closer together. Gaming has become one of our favorite family activities. It is a hobby that we can all enjoy together, which is a rare thing to find when our children’s ages range from 6 to 16. I’m excited to be a part of such a great hobby and an amazing event like Grand Con! Come Play with Us!
Eric Wisniewski: Rogue
My name is Eric Wisniewski. I assist with the show, oversee the volunteers, and I am the Rouge of 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. Come Play with Us!
Tim Latshaw: Cleric
Hi, I am Tim Latshaw. I assist with the newsletter and social media, I am the Cleric of 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. Come Play with Us!
Jessica Fountain: Sorceress
My name is Jessica Fountain, and I am the Sorceress of social media of the GrandCon party. I played board games when I was younger, but the true world of board gaming wasn’t revealed to me until after I started college. Disney Monopoly and Clue were my favorite games as a child and as I got older, I also came to love Risk and Chinese Checkers, but I didn’t realize that there were so many other games to play until I started college and fell in with the nerdier crowd. Catan and Ticket to Ride were my gateway games, but once I became friends with the man who is now my boyfriend, I learned there were many more games to be played. Pandemic is my favorite game and I tend to favor legacy games such as Gloomhaven and Pandemic Legacy, but I also love simple games like Escalation and Maximum Throwdown, and RPG’s like Pathfinder and Starfinder.
I have attended GrandCon for the last three years and it has been a blast. I’ve never seen so many games in one place before, all for me to play! I am very excited to become part of the GrandCon team and help even more people come together through gaming. Come Play with Us!
Matt Kruse: Barbarian
Greetings! My name is Matt Kruse and I am the boisterous and bearded Barbarian of event submission of 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.
Come Play with Us at GrandCon!