Sunday, May 20, 2012

CanGames Days 1 and 2

Day one for me - the Friday was something of a non-event as all I did was go and pick up my package. I did take a shot of the outside of the venue. Being a bit too clever, to save batteries, I used the viewfinder on the camera instead of the display screen and didn't notice the camera strap across the image.

CanGames is held in a down town curling club, with the main playing space on what is normally the ice surface - about 20x50 meters. This gives a large unobstructed playing area but also means there is no sound absorption so it can get very noisy. There are about 37 tables in the main area for the most part each hosting one game. For larger tournaments, tables can be combined or multiple sets of tables used. There is a small dealers area in the back and board game and RPG  areas in the off-ice club section of the venue. A big plus is that the site is licensed - beer at the gaming table! (I only saw a very small number of people partaking though.)

Day 2, Saturday began with a walk around the dealers area. It was small with the majority of the space taken up by a local comic book/game store. There were some interesting things on offer but the prices could be wildly variable. For example a copy of Panzer Blitz was on sale for $15 at one booth and for $45 at the booth next door.  I nearly came away with some 20mm WWII Japanese but forced myself to be good and stuck to my plan to buy some more 15mm Ancient Brits. The convention price wasn't  any better than retail but I saved shipping. The bring and buy had some good deals and also some very "hopeful" prices. From one bring and buy, I picked up a 1/72 kit for VSF conversion and might grab a couple of 1/32 kits today for the same purpose.

My brief shopping trip over, I went to do my stint behind the awards desk.  I will not go into detail on the next five hours I spent filling out certificates, assembling trophies and filling in stats. The end of my shift does highlight one interesting event.  The food. The curling club provides on-site food services as well as the bar mentioned earlier. They also strictly enforced a no outside food policy. I can't really disagree with this as it allows them to pull in some extra money and provide a service to the convention goers as well. All well and good if the average war gamer had the same spending habits as a curling club member. A very basic hamburger with French fries was $11 and a hot dog with fries was $7.50. In the neighbourhood are a couple of pizza places and some of the best Vietnamese and Chinese food east of British Columbia. For contrast a bowl of Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) big enough to feed any war gamer for day or a small village for a week can be had for about $6. The uptake on the curling club offerings was minimal. Towards the end of the day, the prices had been dropped twice down to a much more reasonable $3.50 for a burger and $1.50 per hot dog with fries extra. Being especially cheap, I left the venue and supped on my home made lasagne in a serene curbside environment.

I chose to do the right thing and asked about the photo policy - no faces in frame without permission. As a result, I wound up shooting many tables with terrain but no players. This is a tiny small sample of the participation games that ran on Saturday.

Heavy Gear

28mm Sci-Fi Rules unknown
Another 28mm Sci-Fi - rules unknown

Fields of Glory

Computer moderated WWII
The gentleman in shot is Gordon one of my room mates from my early days. He is a very skilled gamer and used to run battalion+ level Squad Leader games on a ping-pong table set up in the middle of our apartment. Unfortunately in this game, the first of his tanks on the bridge was shot up leaving the rest of his armour trapped on the wrong side of the river.

Dr. Who 1812

Dr. Who 1812
This game was run by one of our club members Brian H. I would have participated but it was in the same time slot as my first game ever of Saga. I don't have all the details but The Dr. was on scene to thwart an invasion of my fair land by the forces of eeeevil and some Americans.

Saga - Normans vs Scots
This was the main event of the day for me. My first game of Saga! After hearing and reading all the hype from the other side of the pond, I was a bit concerned, but it did not disappoint. The historical scenario saw Norman and English forces descending on Scotland to lift the siege of a castle (Yes, I forgot the battle name - call me old). There were four war band per side with a young gentleman and lady  splitting one of the Norman commands.

My valiant troops - about turn 4.
I was on the Scots side. I had two units of hearth guard, a unit of levy and a warlord. My levy were mauled turn one but managed to stick around for the rest of the game. In return, I wiped out a unit of mounted warriors only to see more horse come around my flank. I moved my hearth guard out to inflict another mauling leaving my warlord unsupported. Unbeknownst to me they were mounted hearth guard who using some fancy Norman trickery galloped around my spear men and smacked into my warlord.  In the shot above, the banner is that of the Norman warlord and the greasy smear on the grass to the right of it is the remains of my mine.

I made more than a few errors including putting saga dice on abilities I couldn't use but on the whole I think I did fairly well taking out a good chunk of the Norman mounted on my wing and still having a strong force on the board at game end. A great experience I intend to repeat as often as possible.  In the end the two youngsters did the best decimating the Scots forces on their flank. A great performance that bodes well for the future of war gaming. The young man gallantly gave the trophy to his co-warlord.

That's it for Day 2. Today - Day 3 is 1812 and DBA!

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