Monday, September 28, 2015

ToonCon 2015

This weekend The Boy and I attended ToonCon 2015 - I know, it sounds like it has something to do with cartoons... but it is actually our local annual gaming convention here is SaskaTOON! I missed last year, but at ToonCon 2013 I ran an Ambush Z (Zombie Skirmish) game, A Force of Force game (moderns skirmish set in Africa), and helped run a 19th Century Wargame, and the year before that at ToonCon 2012 I ran a Savage Worlds Weird War Two game. This year, because we've been playing a LOT of boardgames all year I thought I'd go along with The Boy and mostly just PLAY games...

Here's how our weekend went...

Before even heading out to the con, The Boy sat down and watched a couple of How-To-Play videos on YouTube for some of the games we were signed up for, but hadn't played before - Not having played boardgames there before I wasn't entirely sure what percentage of the folks going would have played the games we were signed up for and if they'd be annoyed by people who didn't know what was going on. My concerns were completely unnecessary - most people playing most of the games we were signed up for had also never played the games before and, for a few of them, we were "the experieinced ones". The play was very friendly and everyone was always willing to help out, answer questions and point things out things we might have missed.

Friday Night  

The con was definitely way more people than at the previous ones I've attended - and the facility is WAY better than the previous location (especially the lighting - the previous location was so dark!). anyway - I think there was 120-150..? Not bad for a smallish city on the bald-ass prairie!

Our first game of the evening was Seven Wonders - a game we've played a bit... It was really fun to play with new people though and see the different approaches they took. I can't remember what my plan was in this game... I usually go for science stuff, but I think here I was going for a little bit of everything I guess - I at least finished my wonder.

We switched up with some people from another table and played again with the Seven Wonders Leaders expansion. I was going for yellow stuff as I had a leader that gave me extra gold every time I played yellow stuff... I can't remember what my other leaders did - one game me guilds for free...?

After Seven Wonders we played a new (to us) game called Space Junk where we played stars/contestants on a reality TV show were we were launched into space and tasked with salvaging junk floating in orbit to make our own spaceships better and race around the planed ramming and shooting at each other. It was a hoot! definitely being added to the Games Wishlist...  While everyone else mostly stayed in low orbit and raced around collecting up a lot of points for laps around the earth - my character had a really high search value so I pretty much stayed in high orbit just collecting up tonnes of junk to improve my spaceship - or just store in the cargo bay. I think I only did one lap in the whole game, where The Boy - who was in low orbit - was screaming around the Earth 2-3 times per turn!

After that we played a quick pick up game of Incan Gold and then decided to call it a night. Though there were more games going on late into the night we had to head home (it's about 8km from our house... we were on bikes... It was going to be an early start for us the next day and The Boy needed sleep and I needed to finish preparations for the game I was running on Saturday.


As gaming started at 9:30 am and we had a long was to ride (and I was concerned about ho wlong i might take hauling by game terrain...) we started out pretty early...

The Boy rolling through the University area of town. I love these tree lined streets in the fall.

That's me hauling the terrain for the Song of Blades and Heroes game I was running in the evening.

Our first game of the day was Small World. The Boy won the first game we played... he ended up playing at a separate table from me for the second game (the "winners table"!). All I remember was I got some sort of trolls in one of the games and they were awesome... oh and Underworld Amazons...

Next we played two games of Kingdom Builder - which was new to us  - though we'd watched the Tabletop Episode of Kingdom Builder  a while back and so we had some blue of how to play (actually having watched that episode is what made us want to sign up for the game and try it out!). It was really fun. I like that the things you score victory points for changes with everygame - though it was a little challenging when after playing our first game (and finally getting our heads around what we needed to do to score points) we played a second with completely different victory conditions and it was hard to rewire the brain to think about the new goals! While simple and easy to pick up, I think it would be fairly replayable with the ever changing victory conditions.

We played a quick game of King Arthur: The Card Game over lunch which we'd brought along. (There was a "Kniziathon" going on all weekend - every play of a Reiner Knizia game got you an entry into a draw for a Reiner Knizia game donated by.. well.. Reiner Knizia! There was apparently a copy of Masters Gallery up for grabs that I really wanted to win... I didn't...)

After that we played Sentinels of the Multiverse - which is one of The Boy's favouritest games ev-ar! What was fun (for him) was that he got to play heroes from expansions we don't (yet!) have and against new (and much HARDER) villains (we've only played level one villains at home - at the con we played level three villains!) The first one looked like it was going to crush us very quickly, but somehow we pulled it off.

For each event at the Con there's some sort of prize for the - usually determined by who had the highest score among all the players of all the games or however. Sentinels, despite being a co-operative game, had a prize too - and the winner was determined by who was voted "most valuable player" and that turned out to be The Boy! So he won a $10 gift certificate for the Dragon's Den!

After Sentinels of the Multiverse there was the Game Auction. there was well over 100 games auctioned off! The Boy and I had spent considerable time Friday evening looking over teh games (and when we got home we looked them up on Board Game Geek and figured out what our high bid would be for each... There was a dozen or so that I bid on. Teh boy was really hoping to get a used copy of  Dungeons & Dragons: Legend of Drizzt - as he's been reading the Drizzt novels over the summer. I was really hoping I might be able to pick up a really cheap (brand new!) copy of Agents of Smersh (the starting bid was $2...) unfortunately others had the same idea and it went for much more than what I was willing to bid... In teh end the only thing I got was a used copy of Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan for $12... ah well... 

After a quick supper we set up for the Song of Blades and Heroes game I was running in the evening. This was the same scenario I'd run for the family a few weeks ago, and then ran again for some other friends the following week, and then ran again last week for yet another group - actually trying it out with the warbands I was planning to use at the convention (but I never got around to posting a report of the game!)

One of the players was Al Schnell (one of the co-owners of Dragon's Den Games - our flriendly local gaming store!). Al was playing the Elves - who were almost all Q 2+ - meaning they could only fail activation rolls on a "1".... So Al started the game and one his very first activation rolls what did he roll...?

Oh yeah... that's THREE ones! 

The game played VERY quickly. The Boy played the Ratmen and charged out fast and furious - on his second turn he had the Dragon's egg in his possession and was heading back towards his side of the table... Al and Amy were playing a bit more cautious (well... in Al's case it was the dice that was urging caution!) 

Then the Humans - played by Amy - kicked it into high gear - a group order was issued, three activations for everyone - the first archer moved forward onto the hillside and shot down the ratman carrying the dragon's egg... dead... the second archer moved up and took an aimed shot at another ratman - and scored a "Gruesome Kill" which caused a domino effect of morale tests which saw The Boy's entire warband flee the table! Ouch! (He took it rather well... all things considered... I told him he could play the Dragon if it showed up). 

And show up it did! though rather than being a huge challenge as it had in our previous games, Amy's humans just ran around it and in a turn they were off with the egg and the game was over!? 


It was a LONG (but fun!) day and I'd been operating on about 5 hours of sleep (not nearly enough for me) so we decided to pack it up and head home...


Once again Sunday morning we were up early (though not QUITE so early as Saturday) and off to the con! Despite that we arrived late - I had assumed teh start time was 9:30 - as it had been on Saturday. On Sunday the start time was 9 AM!? (whose idea was that!?).

The First game we played was Smash Up. As most of the other players were already well into their games The Boy and I played a quick game on our own - I had Trixter Fairies and Teh Boy had... Robot Aliens...? AFter that we got in a second game with some of the other players. This time I played Zombie Magical Ponies...? The Boy had Killer Plants and Kitties?! and teh other two were playing Steampunk Wizards and Alien... um... I can't remember... something with Aliens... Teh games were fast and furious and I totally forgot to take any pictures!? I ended up winning both games and thus scored us a SECOND gift certificate from the Dragon's Den. Wooo! Halfway to Smash Up Munchkin!

After that we played Five Tribes - another cool new (to us) game that we signed up for because we'd seen the Tabletop episode. Again I got so involved in this game I totally forget to take a picture of it - which is too bad, because it's a really neat looking game with a lot going on... ah well... The Boy totally beat down me and the other guy we were playing with - mostly by collecting up two almost complete sets of trade goods!

After some lunch we played a game of Knights of Charlemagne (for another entry into the Kniziathon!)

Lunch was extended a bit so the organizers could have a bit more time to set up for the afternoon games (and for participants to head over the Dragon's Den Games to take advantage of the weekend sale just for ToonCon participants!)

The Den was a bit far for us to nip over on our bikes, so The Boy and I tried out Dominion: Intrigue - we've played a lot of Dominion this past year, but have yet to try out any of the expansions, so this was fun! I think this is the first time we every played a two-player game as we most often play it with Amanda and The Girl...

Finally we played an epic 3.5 hour game of Caverna - which is a reimplementation of Agricola (which I do own... adn we have played... once... in January...). Luckily it was one of the games The Boy had watched a How-to-Play video about and I kind of remembered just enough of Agricola to keep my little swarves fed and working towards making their cave and farm better...

I couldn't tell you how me or The Boy did in most of the games all weekend - we won some, we might have been dead last in some, most of the time we were probably somewhere in the middle - but I can tell you we had a heck of a lot of fun all weekend - so thanks to John and all the organizers and volunteers and all the other players that made it a truly fantastic weekend!

Oh, and i just about forgot to mention - I had bought a few of the raffle tickets - and I ended up winning a six month membership at King Me Boardgamery a new Board Game Cafe that's opened up just a few blocks form my house! So that's pretty cool! (though I'll still have to pay for Amanda and/or the kids if I bring them along to try out some new games...)


  1. Looks like a fun day, and it's nice to see a selection of young folks at the con.


    1. it was an fun WEEKEND! The Boy was definitely the youngest registered participant... by nearly a decade... I didn't even notice many (or possibly any?) teens there. Seemed like mostly 20s and up...

      I have to admit I was a bit nervous about him sitting down and tables full of adult strangers and not really being... accepted...? But everyone was super good about playing with him and as soon as they saw that... well... he actually knew how to play games - and could play them well - and sometimes better than they did - he was treated just like any other fellow gamer. So it was kind of awesome.

      He is kind of "in his element" playing games and was positively glowing all weekend.

      Of course now The Girl wants to go next year...

  2. Very busy weekend for you! You and The Boy must be exhausted.

    1. It was. I was extremely exhausted by the end of it all. What was worse was Amanda and I had our subscription tickets for teh Persephone Theatre (local theatre company) for sunday evening - luckily it was a very good (and very funny) play and I didn't fall asleep....

      (and then somehow I managed to stay up until 3am writing this report...?)

    2. I feel like a very, very tired man today!

  3. Hi Tim, my names David. I'm the guy in the pic of us playing Kingdom Builder. I'm on the right. Would you mind if I used that pic on my tumblr?

    1. Yes, of course! Go right ahead!

    2. As long as you tell us the tumblr address Mr Keshane!