From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
I spent the week-end in Canberra, partly as a short holiday and partly to visit CanCon 2013. I went by myself in 2012, and came back with the family in 2013. This has led to two different experiences.
First impressions on entering were positive all round. The two girls (four and ten) found things to interest them straight away, and were by and large good with the whole “look with your eyes and not with your hands” thing.
The vendors were interesting to them and me. One of the main advantages of conventions is my mind is the different vendors it brings together. It’s like having a dozen or more different websites laid out in front of you, but without the need to set up a new account every time you want to buy something.
The main aspect that was good for families was the board game free play area. Don’t let the name fool you, it was $10 to borrow as many games as you like in a day, and play them in the fenced off zone. For two girls and their mother, this was perfect. I went off and played in the Gatecrash pre-release, and they discovered new board games.
By the time I returned with my Dimir winnings, they were ensconced in a now crowded area. There were people waiting to get in who couldn’t because all 40 (ish) tables were occupied.
The two girls left happy, and with a brand new board game (Monster Factory) to play. This had been their favourite new game and we were able to pick up a copy from one of the vendors.
The family were impressed by the size and range of CanCon, and it as only when talking to them the next day that I realised they had never even entered the main hall! This was fixed on day three when we returned and went straight to said hall. There was a collective draw of breath at the site of 400+ gamers busy at their tables playing Flames of War, Warhammer, and Warhammer 40,000. The secondary hall with maybe 150 gamers had impressed them enough on the first day, this was truly huge.
This was also time for me to make a convention purchase. Last year I’d bought into Malifaux, and recently finished painting the Viktorias gang. This year’s purchase was Dropzone Commander, with a skirmish-size starter army and rulebook coming in at $109. Last year I’d paid $54 for a Malifaux rulebook, cards, and gang. More on Dropzone Commander later.
All up, this was a great convention, and one the organisers should be proud of. Though a major vendors of previous years had elected not to attend this year, you wouldn’t know it from looking around the halls. Plenty of variety to buy, and a good mix of events. The board game area was a good idea, but I felt $10 was a bit steep to play games for a day. However it provided an important anchor for families and younger gamers to play games and sit down even if they weren’t involved in one of the formal tournaments.