Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cangames 2013 Day 1 Friday May 17th

Paul, Mike and I didn't leave Montreal until noon on Friday so it wasn't until almost 4:00 PM that we arrived on the site. I had hoped to sign up for a Samurai Battles game hosted by Mike Abbott, but with my late arrival time, it was not to be.


I like the format that Cangames offer. The doors open Friday at noon and close Sunday about midnight. The convention is organized into 4 hour time slots with an hour break between sessions. These sessions can be sub-divided into 2 for shorter games. Thus we have two sessions Friday and three on each Saturday and Sunday as the first games start each morning at 9:00 AM.


The first game I looked at was a recreation of the Battle of Put-in-Bay, Sept 10, 1813, hosted again this year by Patrick Laffey. Last year was the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of 1812, and the theme of the convention was Flames Across the Border. This game certainly fits the bill. The rules are Rocket’s Red Glare and the objective is for the British to sweep the Yankees (or our American cousins) from Lake Erie. Our friend Joseph who arrived earlier in the day was deeply involved in the fray when we showed up. 

It was a scenario that I played last year and enjoyed immensely. I believe the model ships used for the game from the Pirates of the Spanish Main by WizKids. I am not a fan of the collectable card game genre but this clearly illustrates how one arm of our hobby can utilize tools of another branch.

Martian Temple
Friday afternoon is not that busy. The crowd really begins to arrive after 5:00 PM. The evening session commences at 7:00 PM and I was looking forward to a leisurely dinner. However Joseph’s game went to almost 6:00 PM.

I wrote to Pat Gilliland earlier that I looking forward to taking part in his Space 1889 (Soldier’s Companion rules) scenario, "For the Honour of Mars". Pat wrote up the scenario on his blog, Irr Wb (F). He forgot to bring his camera along so I provided him with access to the photos I took. Unfortunately, they tended to be from my POV, or at least my side of the table.

Ben, Pat (Our GM) and Paul
I played the part of the commander of her Majesty’s Forces. Paul although he held (that is to say lost) the left flank was my right hand man. We were joined by a young gentleman by the name of Ben who took charge of the right flank held (that is to say lost) by a unit of colonials (Canadian).


My Unit occupying the Monorail Track with HQ in Reserve 
The objective of the scenario was to be the side in control of a Martian Temple, located near the centre of the table at the end of the game. Between it and my command was an embankment with a primitive monorail system. (see Pat’s Blog). The embankment provided us initially with cover, and later the advantage of high ground.

Paul's Command Waits for the Order to Advance
I have a copy of the rules and have read them. This was the first time I played a game with them.They remind me of The Sword and the Flame, especially in how units are structured. My only real complaint was with the initiative system. Even with a plus one to the British die roll for being regular, we rarely had the initiative. This results in our forces sitting there, unable to move and only ordering defensive fire.

The Left Flank Finally Advances
After repeated attempts by my sub commanders to take initiative I was finally forced to leave my tent and deal with the situation myself. Success, we were finally on the move.  At one point the Martian players had 5 turns in a roll. At a couple of other points in the game, they had 3 turns in a roll each time. It hurts.

Skillful use of the native terrain.





My unit, in line takes command of the embankment, overlooking the walled Temple. My HQ staff forms reserve. Paul’s command, with his Landship await to advance on my left flank, the Canadians under Ben's, in open order, do so on the right. 

Canadians in Open Formation Hold the Monorail Line
They immediately come under fire from the Martian guns. The Martians make good use of the brush to mask their advance. Enemy flyers on liftwood dominate the skies.

Martians High on Liftwood
Former Confederate Guns sold to the Natives.
Once Paul has occupied his high ground I order my unit to advance on the temple. Paul's command is assaulted by a Martian horde. As is mine.

Martians close to hand to hand Fighting with Imperial Forces


Paul guts the enemy in front of him, but fails his morale. His unit breaks and runs for cover leaving the Landship alone on the hill. My flank is hit by Martian cavalry which I beat off. The Canadians have finally taken enough from long distance fire and an assault from the air by Martian flyers.

Colonial Infantry Breaks
My right flank scurries for cover. Fortunately, on the far right a train enters with an artillery piece as our reinforcements. Ben will have something to command. In spite of these reversals I continue my advance to the temple courtyard walls. 

Despite an offer of Honourable Surrender Martian Cavalry Fights to the Last 


I announce that I have seen the movie Gunga Din and I expect hordes of natives to come steaming out of the temple and over the walls towards my troops. I was not disappointed. The Guardians of the Temple hurl themselves, for naught against my valiant line. They are quickly swept away. 

Hidden Guardians of the Temple about to Spring their Ambush
Martian Horde Fails at the Temple Walls



Our Gracious Opponents 
It is 10PM, and the game is called. I am disappointed with the results. The Martians still control the Temple. I am confident in the ability of my command to successfully assault the courtyard and to take control of the structure. I am also certain in my ability to hold off the remaining Martians. Alas it was not to be.

Thanks to Pat for putting on a great game. I enjoyed following his preparations for the scenario on his blog and it was great to see how it all came together. Everyone enjoyed themselves and there were exciting moments for all the players. I look forward to another attempt…


While our game was going on Joseph was taking part in Garth Elliott’s Ogre game. 


The other game that had my interest was Operation Chastise: The Dambusters 70th Anniversary, run by Bernhard Holmok. 

There were so many games to play and just the one of me.