At Anime Los Angeles, the Ribbon Game is a huge deal. Congoers bring badge ribbons they’ve created with intent to trade with others or give out for other attendees to earn. Some collect ribbons to see how long they can get their ribbon chain, others simply want ribbons featuring things they enjoy.
In the past, a dedicated group of people have run a ribbon booth in the exhibit hall to take in ribbon donations, host games for attendees, and even repair ribbon chains. This place can get very busy throughout the weekend, and the hard-working staffers who run it are very good at making sure things run as smoothly as possible.
This year they had a huge change; the ribbon booth was moved to its own room, known as the Ribbon Station. Set aside from the Exhibit Hall, they were able to set up nicely in room 105 all to themselves to feature their donations and games, as well as a designated area for people who were looking to trade with others. This year they even featured something known as a “Ribbonado”, and gave tickets to donators for a chance to play it.
The Gacha and Plinko games were set into their own little corner with a queue. Donators had a designated spot at the tables while those looking to “Wonder Trade” could go to another spot, and there was a third area specific to ribbon repair or ribbon sewing. The “Ribbonado” was in its own area near the back, and the trade tables were in their own corner.
The Ribbon Station saw a lot of traffic this con, and it looked like the room idea was very successful. More than likely it sounds like the Ribbon Station will need its own room again next year.
For those who have never visited the Ribbon Booth or the new Ribbon Station, anyone can play games; for Wonder Trade and donations, you will need ribbons you are willing to part with. The Gacha machines are 50 cents each and you’re guaranteed to win a ribbon, while Plinko is $1 and you can win anywhere from 1 to 3 ribbons. The Ribbonado features a glass box that the raffled winner stands in, where ribbons are blown about them for a chance for them to grab as many as they can.
Ribbon donations can earn you ribbons depending on how many you donate based on a list of tiers (1 ribbon, 5 ribbons, 10 ribbons, etc). If you visit the booth or station each day, you can get a stamp in your con book to earn a special ribbon on day 4. Ribbons donated usually supply the Gacha, Plinko, and Ribbonado games. At ribbon repair, they have many ways of helping your ribbons stay together (because after a while, that ribbon chain can get heavy, and this year a lot of adhesive wasn’t working effectively); they can give you duct tape, or you can even have your ribbons sewn together. They also have rubber bands to wrap your cumbersome ribbon chains together around your badge. The Wonder Trade is played by donating a ribbon, and upon returning a few hours later, you will receive a ribbon that someone else donated as an anonymous trade.
The features of the Ribbon Station may change from year to year, but regardless, they always host entertaining ribbon-related fun. And the hosts themselves are wonderful to dedicate themselves to running this year after year. If you visit them at future ALAs, remember to be courteous and understanding. And remember to have fun!
A huge thank you to the people who hosted the Anime Los Angeles 2020 Ribbon Station. Without you, this awesome feature of the con would not be possible.