I was invited to attend Cancon this year, a convention focusing on miniature games, card games, and board games. Games are awesome, so a long weekend of playing games was locked in. I had so much fun it was ridiculous, anyone that likes games should go check it out (even if you’re not sure about liking games just yet) – make sure you can stay somewhere with a bunch of people. A lot of the fun for me came from playing new games with the people I was staying with over the four days. We’d visit the convention each day, then return to the building we stayed in which accommodated ~12 people and continue to play games. There were a lot of people that popped up during the evening and left before everyone went to sleep so there was always a group of people available to play. It was absolutely excellent.
If you weren’t playing or looking at games, you were either eating or sleeping.
Day One – Friday #
After arriving at the lodging and unpacking into my room, the evening was spent getting introduced to some of the people I’d be living with for the next few days (The rest would arrive on Saturday with others dropping in and out throughout). After chatting and drinking for a while, we busted out some Maximum Throwdown. It’s a simple game based on luck and some skill that is very easy to play, and can get some rivalries going. Pick your faction and then literally throw your cards onto the table – score points, steal cards, waste other player’s cards, and trash talk. After a couple of games, it was time to call it and head off to bed.
Day Two – Saturday #
Early on Saturday morning, Cancon opened. Before we could visit, we needed nourishment. A trip to Pancake Parlour for breakfast was organised. After a short drive down the very straight Canberra roads and parking in the weirdly shaped parking lot, we sat down to talk some more games and eat some delicious pancakes. After eating, the first order of business was to determine the fate of the galaxy in the Star Wars tournament. The Imperial fleet is tracking the Rebel Alliance’s hidden base with intentions to eviscerate it with one shot from the Death Star. The tournament was friendly and laid back, despite what was at stake.
Once the fate of the galaxy had been determined, it was time to see what was around and check out all the stores. I spent a while perusing the stalls looking for some games that caught my eye and ended up buying Codenames and Epic. Lunch was acquired and we headed back to the lodging for some drinks and games. We played a few rounds of Coup: Rebellion G54, a game about bluffing and psyching out your opponents. Then, we moved onto the swashbuckling MOBA styled Rum & Bones miniatures game where you try and take out your opponents heroes and ship while remaining vigilant of the looming threat of the Kraken. After, we all sat down (and then stood up) for The Last Banquet – a wonderful gesture from the King. Unfortunately, the nobles attending plan on relieving the King from his duties by knife or poison. Finally, our village was under threat by none other than the Werewolf. Would the villagers lynch the werewolves successfully, or would the werewolves feast? Spoiler alert, the villagers won and so they retired to their beds for the night.
Day Three – Sunday #
The start of another day filled with more games! A healthy selection of bacon, eggs, and toast was had for breakfast before marching off to conquer in A Game of Thrones (Second Edition). It’s a power struggle between two forces, with each side claiming power through military prowess, shady intrigue, and literally taking your opponents power. The tournament was fierce with some excellent plays and a few turns being played without deciding who won in the Domination Phase (Whoops…). Once the tournament wrapped up, I played a couple of games of Epic, a game sort of like Magic The Gathering. Epic pits two Elder Gods against each other in a literal battle of the gods, creating champions to do battle and casting devastating spells to determine who the real Elder God is. Then, we scoured the stalls for any remaining deals before heading off to get a late lunch. Upon returning to the lodging, a game of Star Wars Imperial Assault was being set up – the perfect time to jump into any game. Imperial Assault is a hybrid miniatures and RPG game set in the Star Wars universe that places the mastermind of the Galactic Empire against a squad of the Rebel elites. Once our campaign was completed, we settled around the table for a brain wrenching game of Codenames. Only the two spy masters know their agents codenames, and they need to dish out hints for their team so they can make contact with all of their agents before the opposing team. After we’d found our agents, I had to learn how to play Conquest for the tournament in the morning. Once my training was complete, I retired once again to bed.
Day Four – Monday #
On Monday afternoon, Cancon closed up shop – but not before the Warhammer 40K Conquest tournament. The remaining scraps of bacon and eggs were turned into fuel for the imminent war over planets. Your Warlord joins the fray as you and your armies travel to distant planets to enforce your claim of the Traxis Sector, a sector worth dying for. The tournament was packed with very close matches, most coming down to a final stand where one mistake could determine the winner. I was also very happy to pull off a Warp Storm that took out ~6 Ork units in one go. If you’re interested in a deck building card game or an LCG (Living Card Game), I highly recommend checking out Conquest – it’s got neat mechanics and is set in an awesome universe. Once the tournament wrapped up, all the stores were well into the process of packing up. With that, it was time to bid farewell to the few left and start the journey home.
Cancon was a huge pile of fun. New friends were made, new games were played, and new memories were established. Out of all the games that were listed, these were only the ones that I participated in – there was at least two or three games being played at any one time. Each game I played was great, but two games that you should really try out are Codenames and Star Wars Imperial Assault. The former is a very fun party game that is easy to get running (especially for people new to games), whereas the latter is a much more in depth and complicated game that is immensely fun.
That was my experience of Cancon 2016, and I’d definitely do it again.