Friday, June 24, 2011

Cangames 2011 May 20-22, 2011 Part 1

Each year in May I look forward to going to the Cangames Convention in Ottawa for the Victoria Day Weekend. This year I arrived Thursday night and departed Monday evening. I'd like to thank my friends Stephen and Doreen for putting up with me once again for this annual event. The doors at the con open Friday at noon and shut Sunday night after 11:00 PM. There is a full schedule of events, with games for children off all ages, easily 8 to 80. Cangames is very open and runs the full gambit of miniatures, boardgames and RPGs.

 Sign at Entrance (Photo from 2009)

The venue of the event is the Rideau Curling Club, which is located minutes from downtown Ottawa. Last year the club was in the middle of renovations and there were problems with the lighting and the air exchange. This year, everything was ready. A bar is available on the main floor, and a kitchen with a reasonable menu (towards fast food) and hours is located in the building. Ottawa's Chinatown is just one block around the corner, and has a great selection of restaurants to choose from.

 View of the upstairs Board Gaming Area

I noticed that this year the attendance at the convention was down. My own thoughts were it was the first really nice weekend in months. We had a long, cool wet spring in southern Quebec, and Ottawa is just about100 minutes away by car from Montreal. Weather systems often roll through Ottawa before hitting Montreal. The Victoria Day weekend was perfect. I even accepted an invitation to a Saturday afternoon BBQ, instead of gaming. It was great to just sit in the sun, drink some coolers and enjoy the greens and the blues of a warm, spring day. I didn't return to the con until Sunday morning, but here I digress. 

Main Ice Surface showing Miniatures Area 

I come to Cangames with two major games I want to take part in. First is Ken Murry's Diplomacy game and the second is the DBA round robin, open book tournament. Everything else is icing on cake. Diplomacy is scheduled every year for Sunday morning at 9:00AM, and the DBA for the last two years has been slotted into Sunday evening with a 7:00PM start time. My understanding is that many of the local Ottawa gamers who take part  in the tournament run games during the convention and it is felt that having the DBA late Sunday doesn't draw away the talent pool from other events.

Friday May 20, 2011

I left Stephan and Doreen's Friday morning about 10:30PM to head down to Fandom II, one of Ottawa's major gaming stores. The only item I purchased there was a set of Warlord Games Pike & Shotte Parliament Cavalry, for only $20. Oh so many periods and so little time. I slowly made my way to the convention arriving on site by about 1:00 PM. Doors were open, and I was quickly processed, having preregistered. I sat with the latest schedule and started to plan my campaign for the weekend.

2:00 PM: Agira: The Canadians in Sicily 1943
After the Action Report

Great Battles of WWII – Patrick Laffey – 3 players – 1/285 – Sicily: With the British pushing from the south and Patton advancing from the west, the crossroads at Agria are critical. Can you, as the Canadians take it; or as the Germans hold it?

It had been a while since I played in a microarmour and I decided that this was my cup of tea. After introductions Patrick gave me the German command. I was experienced and had fewer forces. I was being faced by two inexperience Canadian (one was actually Dutch) players.

I really liked the terrain for this game. It was homemade, and looked very much as if it was inspired by geohex. It had my vote for the best terrain of the convention. Trees and hedges were abstract, as were boundaries of the towns. You were in the town, or on the edge of the town, or outside the town. For purposes of the hilltops, you were either at the edge looking down (and thus can be seen) or were away from the edge. The two Canadian players, each in command of a brigade,  either on the west edge of the board. They have to clear the road. As the Germans I can sit up as far west as the first town, on the first hill.

Agira is not seen in this photo but is further east, along the road in the lower right hand edge of the above  photo.

The view from Agira, looking west down the road. The cemetery belong the town provides hard cover, but wasn't needed in this game. Bare spots on all the hills are cliff faces and are impassable terrain in the game.

The Canadians decide to assault the hill and the town of Nissoria from two sides. The Germans are dug in and prepared. The Canadians have an advantage of a lot more off board artillery. Each turn represents roughly an hour of real time and I only have three requests for the day. I have to use them wisely. A unit take casualties and suffers morale losses. A point will come were units will call a halt to operations for the day. This is what happened to the Canadian assault as they failed to dislodge the Germans from their position.

Night falls and the Canadians regroup. I have pulled pack all my forces except an Infantry Battalion that I left in Nissoria. In the lead up to nightfall the Canadian have pushed some forces westwards in the valley to the south of the hilly region. I have set up, prepared to meet them, but they still have to clear and take the road to achieve their victory conditions. In the morning they have assumed that I have pulled out of Nissoria and move forward in column. A close assault combat results and the Canadians are once again stopped in their tracks on the 2nd day.

After two days, the Canadians have failed to take the first of their objectives. we have played for about 3 and 1/2 hours and it is time to pack up. Needless to say I had an enjoyable game. Patrick has run this game at Cangames for a number of years. This was the first year I had to opportunity to play. Merci

On that note I'll end my tale here. I'll post the remaining details of my Cangames experience this weekend.

Bonne St-Jean à tout le monde!

1 comment: