Feb 28–Mar 1. Rice University’s 40-year-old gaming convention, run by student-gaming club FastWarp, draws around 750 annual attendees, who play in its tournaments—in LARPing, board games, and more—peruse exhibits, and meet game makers. And no, you don’t have to be a student to attend.
Mar 6. Donate $5 toward HMG and enjoy a fun night at Houston Axe Throwing in Sharpstown. Bring in your own card or board games, meet new people, and—while you’re there—maybe try your hand at the axes ($25 includes a lesson).
May 21. For one night only at Jones Hall, the symphony performs music from World of Warcraft, BioShock, League of Legends, and other video games. Tickets start at $35.
Jun 12–14. If you dream of meeting—nay, taking a selfie with—Halloween’s Michael Myers (well, Tony Moran, anyway), look no further than this year’s gory hometown film fest, which features appearances by Moran and other horror stars, plus screenings of an array of macabre films current and classic. Look for the full schedule in early May.
June 13. Know your Gryffindor from your Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, do you? Then join in this trivia game against players in up to 45 cities and compete for the first-place prize of $3,000 and other goodies. Even if you don’t win, you can still enjoy drink specials at multiple Bayou City bars. Broomsticks optional.
July 9–12. This four-day bonanza at the GRB, now entering its 13th year, drew more than 40,000 attendees in 2019, making it one of the largest anime conventions in the country. Guests include anime voice actors, K-pop acts, and Japanese Kawaii metal groups (think bubblegum pop plus metal), and attendees are encouraged to cosplay.
July 17–19. The 2019 edition of this gathering for gamers and anime fans featured workshops on directing anime and world-building, formal balls—last year’s themes, Steampunk and Candied Land—an Overwatch cosplay meetup, and a maid café, with cosplay entertainers as servers. This mostly-female-run festival welcomes kids and maintains safe spaces for guests.
July 18. Think your knowledge of the Upside Down is unparalleled? Sign up for this self-guided crawl, which kicks off at downtown gastropub Henke & Pillot. Participants get drink discounts and shot specials, plus free swag, and trivia-contest admission, with the winner taking home $500. In mid-’80s Hawkins, Indiana, that kind of bread would’ve gone a long way.
July 23–26. Patrons of this annual event can take in displays of LEGO structures and artwork; purchase current, custom, and past brick sets; attend workshops to improve their building skills; and of course get to work in a designated play area. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
TBA; Aug or Sept. The sport invented by J.K. Rowling—combining elements of basketball, dodgeball, rugby, and flag football, but with broomsticks—has moved from the page to the field. Learn more about it from the Houston Cosmos, Bayou City’s official quidditch club, which hosts an annual battle. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Sept. 25–27. The touring fan convention returns to NRG for its third consecutive year, drawing sci-fi and fantasy lovers from across Texas to meet comic book creators and celebrities—Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead) and Buffy cast members have appeared at prior events.
TBA. In the Potterverse, “Expecto Patronum” is a difficult spell that, essentially, wards off bad guys. Another way to ward off terrible spirits? Drink good ones, which will be on tap at this annual bar crawl for wizards and witches.
Oct 3–Nov 29. Each year more than 600,000 rennies converge in Mission for this Texas tradition, now in its 46th year, featuring themed weekends such as Pirate’s Adventure and Barbarian Invasion, thousands of costumed lads and lasses, and all the turkey legs a festival-goer could desire.
Nov 8–10. An annual event at the Galveston Island Convention Center, this weekend escape features an anime music video contest, a tea party for guests wearing Japanese street fashions, and a Manga lounge, among other attractions.
TBD; Oct or Nov. The Houston Area Arcade Group’s 18th annual expo hosts workshops, live music, tournaments, plenty of Mario and Luigi cosplay, and the main attraction—over 300 pinball machines and console games set to free play.