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Cancon 2018

·8 mins

Cancon is coming - good time to start planning. Who’s in, who’s not, and where are we staying?

This year it turns out the Canberra Carotel Motel destroyed our beloved living quarters for some reason. This was super disappointing as where we usually went was absolutely perfect for Cancon. It was the right distance from the venue, it was isolated enough so we could be loud into the early morning without disrupting others, it had a massive fridge to hold everything, and it had two giant tables which could comfortably fit two or three large games. In every way, it was perfect.

Instead, we ended up staying at the Pinnacle. It definitely was the pinnacle of garbage. For starters, the fridge. Not only was it not cold enough, but every time you opened the door, all of a sudden a truck is backing up - it would just beep at you. You don’t realise how frequently people use a fridge until it screams every time it’s opened. The floor upstairs was unreasonably creaky, I’m talking other apartments would probably think their ceiling is collapsing. The beds were way too short, basically everyone had their feet hanging off the edge. The walls were apparently made out of paper so we also got a noise complaint the first night we were there (sorry whoever that was, but to be fair, it wasn’t even midnight yet). There were several other things that were just… subpar. But we could still visit the Con, and we could still play games.

Day One #

Once we arrived at our destination we went to check in. Within the tiny reception area there was a mother who was ruthlessly informing her child that they were to no longer receive pocket money, as they were being too loud. Game over for that kid, but we checked in fine. After witnessing the casualty that was that kid, we entered our apartment to claim our rooms and discuss the other casualty which appears to have taken place in our apartment before we got there. How the mysterious blood splatter ended up all over the ceiling and walls, we don’t know. We’re pretty sure people have been killed in that place before. However, if we were going to die there, we were going to die playing games.

First up was Word. Slam. Word Slam is the tale of two story tellers aggressively sifting through cards to get their team to guess a word. The story teller can’t talk and must place down cards as clues for their team. It turns out being blunt works out really well, one story teller put down the cards “Job”, “Do”, “Movie” with the team correctly guessing “Actor” within minutes of the round starting.

Up next we drafted for land and resources in a game of Bunny Kingdom. The key to victory was hoarding Treasure and Parchment cards, with a little bit of sabotage mixed in. Joining your opponents fiefs can be a great way to strip them of points. Who knew making your enemy more powerful would be their demise.

Last up was the game that led us into the night and caused us the noise complaint, which makes sense considering it was a bar brawl at The Dragon and Flagon! Bellowing atop tables, swinging from chandeliers, throwing chairs, and generally assaulting anyone who comes near you are all fair game - just don’t stand on the rug. Seriously, I was doing well up until someone pulled the rug out from underneath me. Then we got told to be quiet so we finished our brawl in relative silence and then went to bed.

Day Two #

As is tradition, we woke up and had to regain some AP by visiting our beloved Pancake Parlour. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, and caffeine - the breakfast of Cancon. Naturally, we hit up the con and browsed for many hours. I picked up a nice leather dice rolling tray from the Level Up Dice stall which doubles as a holder for my wallet and keys. We were rifling through the dollar bin and I wanted to ditch some of my shrapnel, so I bought The Hunger Games: JabberJay Card Game for $1. I bet it’s garbage. I also picked up eight Boyz for my Warhammer 40K Ork horde.

Back at the murder house, we did some arts and crafts by assembling and painting some Warhammer 40k minis. Once some more of us came back from the con, we started talking about what games we were going to play. First up for the day was Evolution: Climate, where the carnivores had a hard time finding some delicious prey. The climate didn’t get out of hand, although we flirted with the possibility of a wildfire which would have been unforgiving on a few players. At the end of the day, friendship between species prevailed as sharing food won the game for me.

Those friendships were short lived as we entered a few games of Secret Hitler. Apparently I’m inherently evil as out of the three games we played, I was Hitler twice in a row. I pushed through our third and final game as a liberal with blind faith that the two people next to me were also liberals. After a few elections, I recruited another member into the dream team. Being accused of being a fascist because I was pushing the game along was a fair call, but it all worked out in the end when everyone I believed in was a liberal, and we won the game in record time.

Being Hitler was hard, so we settled down to defend our corporate overlords and destroy the natives in a game of Xenoshyft Onslaught. We just need their natural resources, it’s nothing personal. The start was very touch and go as our base sustained a lot of damage early on, but as we pushed on and got organised, we started to easily destroy the onslaught. The bosses appeared and were swiftly dealt with, and their minions lay where they appeared. A successful operation called for a good nights sleep.

Day Three #

A nice if not too lengthy sleep in was had, and so there was no time for breakfast. Onwards, to the con! I picked up Photosynthesis and Mountains of Madness, and got Warmachine: High Command for free.

Back at our quarters, we did some more Warhammer 40k mini building before we started with the games again. The popular drink of the night was a variant of an Old Fashioned. We had no measuring utensils so roughly 60ml of Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye whiskey, 15-30ml of maple syrup, 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters, and an orange rind… or slice… getting a rind is hard with a blunt knife. Good drink.

Starting us off, we were stranded and waiting for a rescue ship when we noticed we were Not Alone. In our struggles to hold out, the rescue ship almost made it to us before the Creature was able to assimilate us to the planet. We will forever live our lives on this strange planet.

Turns out we got assimilated on Mars, so we got to Terraforming Mars. Mars transformed into a beautiful place, lush with forests and rivers, and bustling cities. In the battle for corporate supremacy, there was no clear leader, however one player did have an intimidating engine, pumping out all sorts of resources. At the end the Milestones and Awards were the key to being the most successful corporation. I was in last place once we scored everything - forgetting the milestones and awards. Then we noticed and scored them too. That’s the tale of how I won.

Then the worst case scenario happened. We played The Worst Case Scenario Survival Game. The only reason it’s good is because the questions and answers are so terrible, it was funny. Someone picked it up from the second hand store because it was so cheap. How would you determine if you were a high risk candidate for being kidnapped? Well, be American and work for a fortune 500 company, apparently. Let’s not forget this one… How to stun an attacker without permanent injury. Do you,

  • Swiftly hit the back of the attacker’s neck with the side of your hand.
  • Poke the attacker’s eyes as hard as possible while saying, “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah”.
  • Sharply jab the area just below the attacker’s ear lobe, above the bend of the jaw.

I’m not even making that up, that’s literally the card. Although my personal favourite is how to keep your computer secure. The best way is to install two layers of encryption software on your computer: one state-of-the-art and one that is outdated.

Day Four #

Our final day demanded breakfast at Pancake Parlour again. One of the waiters had this accidental attitude where everything was unamusing and not funny to her - she was the unamused waiter lady. Yeah, ok, sure, of course you can have a coffee. Yeah, alright, no problem, of course I can get you that. Don’t even worry about it.

At the con, I bought SUPERHOT the Card Game to raise the cost of a friends purchase to get Hordes: High Command for free, which was generously given to me. We loitered around the con for a while and watched the bidding take place, along with a disgruntled war gamer complaining about the heat to some volunteer workers. Then it was time to hit the road home.

Cancon 2018 was excellent, as anticipated. Despite losing the perfect place for us to stay, we could still attend the con and play games. We’ve noticed it’s becoming less about the con and more about the games and company, so we’re in discussions of having our own Pancon - over a long weekend we go somewhere for a few days and play games. Lots of games. Preferably getting pancakes for breakfast each day.

The games to checkout from this year are definitely Bunny Kingdom and Secret Hitler. Cancon is so great, we’re definitely going next year and hopefully starting something up to slip into the middle.