There is something for everybody at CANGAMES, including children. The convention is for the whole family. Games are classified into the categories of Children’s Games, Role Playing Games, Miniature Games and Board Games. In addition there are further sub-divisions based upon skill level (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced) and if the game is a demonstration, a qualifying round, or if play is for a Trophy or Certificate or some other prize. In addition places are provided for open gaming and Warwick Gaming group provides numerous board games, that you can try out.
CANGAMES also includes a Marketplace with local, and well known regional dealers, as well as a 2nd hand market run by the Cangames committee, where for a percentage of the sale, you may flog your unwanted games or gaming supplies. This year I purchased a painted 15mm Babylonian DBA army for $50. I used $45 in rolled change that I brought with me. I didn’t have the time to get to a bank before leaving Montreal. Happily it was warmly received by the staff.
I arrived Friday afternoon and started to look around. I was not scheduled for anything until the 7:00PM gaming session. Things were off to a slow start so I used the time to take a walk to Fandom II, a well known Ottawa gaming store. I arrived back at the convention and rapidly meet up with a group of guys with whom I game occasionally with in Montreal.
I took the time to speak with Garth Elliott. Garth was running a 1/300th scale game of Ogre. The object was to destroy the Command Post and escape off the board, which I believe was the basic objective in the Steve Jackson Game Ogre. Garth is an Ottawa area school teacher who has introduced his students to miniature gaming. I really liked his cityscape terrain. He mounted colour photographs, taken from goggle earth images on foam board. Thus parts of his terrain included for example the US Capital building easily identified from its satellite image. Way to go!!
Friday evening I was signed up for Junta run by Noral Rebin. This is a fun game of lying, cheating and stealing, while trying to establish the family with a largest Swiss bank account in a corrupt banana republic. Noral runs the game with some simple rules that add to the game. For example the Minister of Security must always try to assassinate one of the other players. This year there were only enough players for one board. I think last year we had three games running simultaneously and I was part of the board that had every player assassinated in the same turn. Life can be fun in the Republic.
Saturday and Sunday were to be long days. The doors open at 8:00AM each morning with the last game closing at 11:00PM. I have to admit that I no longer can keep up with that sort of schedule and decided I’d arrive when I arrived on Saturday morning. I’m not sure when I got there but my first stop was the Marketplace. Steve accompanied me to the con in the morning. My thanks to Steve and Doreen for putting up with me on the long weekend.
I was signed up to take part in a 25mm Fire and Fury Game. Unfortunately, one of the two refs was not available. The other organizer of the game offered in its place a 25mm Duster, played with a rule set called Desperado. Checking the web I found that this rule set is now available in a 3rd edition. I am not sure what edition we played with but the game mechanics were fairly simple. Each player controlled two Gunfighters. Jim Wilson, the ref, controlled all the townsfolk. Jim is to be complemented for the fine game he put on, as well as to the level of the terrain and miniatures used. They were an inspiration to us all
The object was to be the Gunfighter who escapes off the board (a specific edge) with a rescued prisoner. You were not required to be the person who freed him. As I stated the mechanics were fairly simple. Each figure had two cards in the deck, The NPCs were represented by just two cards, If their card was picked the ref would act with the town person that was nearest a player character. Movement was based on dice, If your card was flipped you could crawl 1D6, walk 2 D6 or run 3D6 in inches.
All PCs were armed with six shooters. So you could shoot 1, 2 or 3 shoots. The more shoots used the harder it was to hit. The further you moved, the harder it was to hit. Cover made it more difficult to hit a target as well as the range. I think 6 inches was short range, to 20 inches medium range and anything over was long range. Thus you could move and shoot in the same turn. If you remained in a place you could also mount a search, for the prisoner, another weapon (shotguns were popular) or more ammo. You rolled percentile dice to hit and damage was also by percentile. You rolled to hit, your target rolled the damage. Sometimes you’d have immediately fatal results, other times it would be a long time before your opponent died. Each PC began with 100 points.
One of my characters was finished off by an innocent (my eye) townsfolk and the other was run over by another NPC (controlling a wagon) as I tried to prevent the escape of the prisoner by stage coach. I thoroughly enjoyed this game. At least I wounded the coach's horse and they were force to flee on foot, and finally by rowboat. After both my PCs died I was handed control of one NPC who could have saved the day. Instead I rolled 100% and had my gun blow up in my hand. Duncan escaped with the prisoner and won the game.
Saturday 6:00 PM
Doreen picked up Steve and I for dinner. I had to be back by 7:00PM for my next event.
Saturday 7:00 PM
I was registered to play in a Rail Baron tournament run by Donna Balkan. I was 15 minutes late but Donna was happy to see me. I was player number 18. She was running three boards each with 6 players. With my arrival, she could enjoy being the referee instead of playing the final slot. This is the first time I’ve played Rail Baron since leaving Halifax. I think we’d play normally with four players. I don’t remember ever playing with six. This becomes a very tight game. Players are shut out of regions and it becomes very expensive, very quickly to use another players rail line. Hats off to Donna for a well run tournament.
Sunday 9:00 AM
I habitually play in two tournaments each year at CANGAMES. Sunday morning at 9:00AM is the Diplomacy Tournament run by Ken Murry and I look forward to the DBA Open Book Tournament run on Saturday nights at 7:00PM. This year I was thrown for a loop. The DBA tournament was scheduled for Sunday at 7:00PM. It was going to be a long day. I really wanted to play in the DBA, so I did not pre-register for the Dippy Game. I spoke to Ken on Saturday evening and said as usual I been in by 9:15AM. The bus schedule from Steve’s on Sunday morning is not the most convenient and I was not going to be on a 7:30AM bus in order arrive almost an hour early for the Dippy game.
When I arrived the game had already started. Ken had just enough players this year for one seven player board and since I was not officially registered he started with the seven players he had. If I was there at 9:00AM he would have been forced to run two four player games. What was I to do? Within 2 minutes I was sitting down with a group of guys who were sitting up a pick up game of Civilization. This was to occupy me until 6:00PM. Civilization is such a fun game. We played on the western board with just 4 players, with all the cards from Civilization and Advanced Civilization. Great fun was had by all. One of the four players had to leave at 2:00PM as he was registered for another event. His position was played by three other gamers who rotated in and out based on their own availability. All three were involved in their own games, but were happy to help us out. This is one game I’d like to see on the schedule next year. I’d play again.
This is the event I looked forward to all weekend. The DBA 15mm Open Book Tournament run by Tod Creasey. This year we had 12 players available for the tournament. I arrived with an Early Burgundian Army (Book IV/76). It consisted of the following troops
1 3Kn or 4 Bd (Gen)
1 3Kn// 4 bd or 3 CV
2x 4 Pk or 4 LB (I use the Longbow)
1x 4 LB
The tournament is played in 4 rounds. Each round consists of 45minutes of play followed by 15 minutes administration time. You are matched with a different player each round and points are based upon the number of enemy elements killed.
Mike Abbot, my first opponent fielded a Post Mongol Japanese Army. It was the same type of army I brought to Cangames last year. I won the first round destroying 4 elements including the general, losing one element. It was a good start to the evening.
Round two was against Duncan Martelock (who won the Western Duster game on Sat afternoon) and his Neo Assyrian Army. It did contain chariots which allowed me to win by forcing them back through rough terrain. I lost two elements but again destroyed four including the enemy general.
Round three I was going up against Patrick Laffey and his Chanca Army. It was my bloodiest battle of the evening. Patrick destroyed five of my elements including my general, while I destroyed four of his. The lost of my general was a complete surprise but bad dice often are. Despite the lost, the four elements I killed were added to my over all total.
In the final round I got to play with the organizer of the tournament, Tod Creasy and his Serbian Empire Army. It was another quick game, where I bagged four elements to a lost of two. Tod’s general managed to evade me. In between rounds I was asked to play against a young man whose father was also taking part in the tournament. It was another close game but I lost four elements to his three. I believe he was undefeated all evening and received the award for top young blood.
The evening was over. I entered the final round with one of the top scores of the evening, but was it enough. I finished tied with Wlad Kinastowski who, according to the OMG Yahoo Group won the most closely contested DBA tourney yet. The final decision was based upon the number of elements destroyed by our opponents and the fact Wlad won all four of his rounds. I hope that next year I’ll have the opportunity to cross swords with Wlad. This is the 2nd time in three years that I placed second in the DBA tourney. Wlad received the DBA trophy and a 15mm Early Achamenid Army painted by Tod Creasey. As 2nd prize I received an unpainted 15mm Nikaian Byzantine (Book IV/31) army donated by The Ottawa Miniature Gamers. Thanks to all that make this event the apex of the Cangames weekend.
Any mistakes in this text regarding names, armies or events are mine alone. Please advise me and I will make changes. It has been two weeks since the event and I didn’t make notes for my blog. I am relying on my memory and the Cangames schedule for details. I look forward to Cangames XXXV in 2011.