The first major con of the gaming year in Australia is Cancon, held over the Australia Day long weekend (i.e the weekend closest to the 26th of January.)
Cancon is mostly miniatures, war-games and CCGs now – there is some roleplaying (there used to be a lot more) – and the euro board games have slowly made their presence felt, through a tournament, then an ill-fated teamup with AGE, and now a game library and demo area.
Another reason to go to Cancon is for the sales – though with travel and accommodation costs it’s not really worth it. The main reason, though, is to catch up with gaming buddies, and make new ones, from all over Australia.
All in all, over the two days and two nights I was down there for (Friday and Saturday night, leaving Sunday afternoon) I managed to get a whole seven games in. Four at Cancon itself, 3 with a group of gamers who’d rented a house nearby.
so – play report:
Played with Jaime’s mob on the Friday night we got down. Phil and I found our way in the dark (after checking in to the Formule 1 – like a Japanese capsule hotel only smaller) to their rental house in Watson.
I think we played with the full complement of seven. I took an early stab at the result and eliminated myself. Phil and Rhiannon both guessed a card in my hand that they hadn’t seen and I think it was left to Ben, Benj and Jaime.
The game dragged to a crawl as question after question was asked and the players still in the game realised they were asking questions they already knew the answer to. Finally Jaime cracked it and we could crawl (or rather drive) back to our sarcophagi.
Julian from Unhalfbricking was running demoes of the latest Essen releases (he also had a copy of Eclipse for me.) The most colourful one was Drum Roll a game about circus management from a Greek publisher.
(Pretty isn’t it?)
It had some interesting mechanics (similar in ways to Colosseum) but was ultimately ABE (another bloody Euro), turning cubes into stuff into points. Enjoyable whilst it lasted (and very pretty) but ultimately uninspiring.
Innovation: Echoes of the Past
Played this with Steve and Ben (from the Sydney mob) and Cyberkev in partnership.
Ben and I made a strong start but ultimately ground to a halt and was unable to stop Cyberkev from scoring the last achievement needed.
Hey, That’s My Fish
My wife had been after the deluxe copy of HTMF (one of her favourite games) so I snaffled one from Good Games and we broke it open to kill some time whilst we waited to find out what Jaime was doing.
After I got soundly beaten we went to a nearby vegetarian restaurant for dinner before going over to Jaime’s rental for the main event…
We split into two groups for Fiasco – Jaime and his table ran a Wu Xia styled playlet and we played Vegas Baby, in which I was a war vet security chief in charge of a (as we discovered) rather fragile casino. A family bible went missing (and was almost replaced with a forgery), the cash takings were almost stolen and I wound up running security for the whole chain of casinos – more fool them.
And finally – as a Cancon tradition, Phil and I decided to subject the others to the wonders of -
Unfortunately the others took it more as a get-these-obscene-cards-of-my-hand exercise rather than elaborating the joke, so I think a point was missed. Still, we got a play in with new victims and hopefully I can give it another run later on in the year.
Coney Island (aborted due to time constraints.)
The next morning I was able to fit in (most of) a play of the latest Michael Schact game, before rushing off to lunch with my mother. The graphics are delightful and it’s a rather brutal game of building fairground attractions at the expense of the other players. I learnt this too late and so my absence probably improved my score.
(image snarfed from and © Surya @ BGG)
It’s a tighter game than Drum Roll, and nastier. Maybe I should have picked it up.
I really, really can’t wait to get this to the table. The rules are very well done (FFG could learn a lot from the layout) and the game itself looks very clever, with some very ingenious mechanisms for maintaining clarity of player information – normally the first thing to be sacrificed in 4X style games.
Intrigue & Race For the Galaxy (with expansions)
I bought these from Cyberkev. Somehow he manages to collect and sell games I’d been after for a while, like Intrigue. I also bought his copy of RftG with expansions, though it’s a game I appreciate more than like.
Another grail game – finally reprinted by Queen. I couldn’t resist the theme of putting on a show (even though the last show I put on put me in hospital.) Can’t wait to play this.
The new hotness, still steaming from Essen. Cyberkev, Gregor and Ajay all highly recommended it so who was I to argue?
I’ve played it twice so far and I’m still not entirely sold on it, but it’s a deceptively light looking game.
I think I basically picked this up for the theme (kicking hippies out.)
More strange transparent pentagons for my collection
And my traditional indy game – though this one won the Games Magazine Game of the Year award last year.
A Bob Abbott game I’ve been after for years – fortunately reprinted by Stronghold Games.
And that was Cancon 2012! Not enough games played, too many games bought. Next year we’ve contemplating staying in Sydney and having our own mini-con – just to get some more games in.