CanGames

Thondor

Explorer
Anyone else heading to CanGames in Ottawa this weekend (May 21-23)?

I've never been before, but I'm pretty excited about it. Been around since 1977. Anyone gone before? How was the experience?
 

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Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Anyone else heading to CanGames in Ottawa this weekend (May 21-23)?

I've never been before, but I'm pretty excited about it. Been around since 1977. Anyone gone before? How was the experience?

Not since 1983 I think :)

I can't imagine that anything that occured there then would have an bearing on anything they do or don't do today.

I do recall that it had a relatively large and ethusiastic gathering of wargmers at the con. My understanding is that aspect of Cangames has not changed over the years. I expect the relatively high percentage of military officers as staff at NDHQ may have had an effect on maintaining this relatively large concentration of grognards in the Ottawa area over the years.
 

EP

First Post
Damn these long weekend cons!! Was really hoping I'd be able to squeeze in a day there but plans were set long before CanGames popped up on my radar. Should be lots of fun, from what I've heard.

There's also Game Summit on June 12th and 13th - will be there for that.
 

Thondor

Explorer
It was a great con! Played a board game, lots of RPGs, picked up some good stuff in the marketplace (G1-2-3 Against the Giants, and a old dragon magazine). I noticed that the place was pretty empty by Sunday evening except for us crazy RPGers. Apparently we just can't get enough gaming.
Got to play two different indy games with designers, one was fantastic while the other was still a little rough. I'll leave the later at I doubt I'd play it again. Black Cadillacs was a cool military game, where the players had extensive narrative control and the conceit was the characters themeselves couldn't die. At least not until the final scene. So we ended up with a disturbing, bloody, brutal tale of betrayal coloured with sinister tones of the dawning of biotechnology.
Played some Pathfinder, Dragon Age, Feng Shui, oh, and I the board game was Britannia. It's always neat to learn from other GMs skills and weakenesses. Plus saturday night I went out with some folks after and talked games and game design.
To bad I missed Friday!
 

Thondor

Explorer
Not since 1983 I think :)

...

I do recall that it had a relatively large and ethusiastic gathering of wargmers at the con. . .

That does still seem to be the case. Allthough the boardgame crowd was certainly of a similar size (at least in numbers of players, eloborate wargames can take up a fair bit of space). That being said there was still a stong presences of RPGs and a good variety of games on offer. I don't believe there was any CCGs going on.
 

Thondor

Explorer
Damn these long weekend cons!! Was really hoping I'd be able to squeeze in a day there but plans were set long before CanGames popped up on my radar. Should be lots of fun, from what I've heard.

There's also Game Summit on June 12th and 13th - will be there for that.


Were you there for either of the previous years (it started in 2008 I believe)? I recall seeing an add for in on Fandom II website and checking it out about three weeks ago. They didn't have any RPGs listed at that time, has that changed?
If your in the Ottawa area I can't recommend Go-Play Ottawa enough. Its a free one day con. If you have a game you want to run, its especially awesome, just show up, pitch it and play. Usually somewhere around thirty people show up.
Cycle 5 is next saturday June 5th. Generally board games and RPGs so grab some friends and Go-Play already!
 

EP

First Post
Were you there for either of the previous years (it started in 2008 I believe)?

Nope, never even heard of it before this year. But it's been the same with most local cons - never heard of them. Same with most of the guys in my group but now we know and can fix that problem.

I know Game Summit is planning to move to Family Day weekend next year so there'll be a con in February rather than a slew of cons all in one month. Share the love, baby.
 

Thondor

Explorer
I'm the same way, first started hearing about some of these cons about a year and a half ago. I can't believe that the only con in the toronto area is FanExpo, I'm sure there's gotta be some others, even small ones but . . . can't seem to dig them up.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Yeah, the Toronto gaming scene has not been helped with the disappearance of Pandemonium.

It seemed to me that the on again off again problems with Pandemonium have not assisted. That said, there was an attempt to have another con in the Toronto area in the summer back in the late 90s and the organizers took a big hit on it.

There is Ad Astra in April. It is primarily a Sci-Fi lit con, but there has always been gaming at Ad Astra. It is, however, not its focus (by a long shot). It's still very much a hardcore 70s style SF con where people get drunk in various "Con suites"

It's complicated. The nature of Toronto is that the Con needs to be in an area accessible to the TTC. People as well want the Con to be held during the time of year that Ryerson, York and UofT are in session - which means early in the year at the time that Pandemonium was always held (and for the same reasons).

The requirements to be held at that time of year confine you to either something held on a University campus - but then there are difficulties in getting access to the space during that time of year (because it's in session).

Or you then opt for a hotel - and they want a fair chunk of money and guarantees of payment - which scares people (and with good reason).

Or you opt for something on the CNE grounds -- and that runs into the problem of walking from the TTC drop off to the building - which is unpleasant during the winter and a storm will end up costing you your deposit and leave you on the hook for the balance of the rental.

It's not a happy place to be. What you really need to be is a con with a longstanding tradition that can attract people back and then grow it. That's what Pandemonium did. But the control of Panda passed form the General Staff to others a decade or so ago and things went... unevenly.

There ARE quarterly board game mini-cons held in Toronto, the various Tabs Cons. They are well attended by two to three few hundred or so board gamers who organize on their own mailing list / Meet-up and use BoardGameGeek to get the word out. The problem with hitching a ride on their coat-tails to expand it is that they are essentially at "maximum size" for their current venue in a Church Hall just south of Bayview and the 401. They are as big as they can get at that venue.

I think it's back to square one and trying something out of Seneca or George Brown makes the most sense.

As for FanExpo...they've screwed up gaming in some manner at virtually every Con they've held. I've never considered it a gaming Con and don't know many people that do. But...maybe it's time that we all did more to try it make it one?

Given the size of their organization, maybe it really DOES make the most sense to try and make that the "big Con" and make it better. Three - four years back or so, FanExpo really tried to up the "geek cred" on the gaming aspect of it and brought Gary Gygax to FanExpo. The Trolls had a set up in the Exhibit Hall and a few other smaller "name" game mftrs did as well. But tbh, not very many. The Exhibit Hall is really set up for comics, manga and T-shirts and autograph lines. The default size of their booth spaces are not conducive to the same size booths game mftrs are used to -- and have display equipment designed for -- at Origins, Gencon, PAX and DragonCon.

Not sure what the answer is to that. Hard to build up that tradition of getting enough gamers there to support that aspect of Fanexpo. It's a chicken and egg situation.

Moreover, it's very hard to attract game mftrs to FanExpo, as normally, Gencon is held the weekend before and Dragon Con is normally held the weekend after. People are TIRED and need to move their inventory around. It's not easy. This year, ironically, because Gencon moved up earlier in August, it might be easier to pull it off. Hard time slot though to be sandwiched in between Gencon and DragonCon, either way.

While FanExpo has grown to the point where it threatens to rival the size of DragonCon -- it doesn't have the same traditions and the crowds at each are little different. Add in the issues of sales taxes and getting inventory across the border and it's a daunting issue.

I think one of the problems with FanExpo and gaming is that it is a "top-down" managed Con with very little tradition of organizing a broad base of volunteers within the gaming community to sign on, run games and be a part of it. And little surprise that the most enthusiastic gaming volunteers (the usual suspects at least) are exhausted: they just did that very thing the weekend before at Gencon.
 
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Thondor

Explorer
Ah Steel Wind your posts are always filled with appreciated insight.

While I feel like enhancing the FanExpo gaming ness is an excellent goal. I feel like Toronto needs another general caming con. Probably not something near the size of FanExpo itself, I doubt it could support that especially early on.
I wondering if persuing something like Go-play Ottawa would be a feasible way of getting things started. A small, free, one day, stealth mini-con.
Of course it seems that the Toronto Area Gamers (meetup) do some similar things, with monthly RPG gatherings of 20-30 folks and similar events. I wonder if they are a viable launching pad, I just don't know enough about the organization. They did seemed to be involved in running the RPG room at FanExpo 2009. Of course you also don't want to be exhausting the same pool of volunteers and GMs all the time.
I question the arguement that such a con would need to be during university year. The folks who volunteer heavily probably won't be those in university, particular those who are from a different City. Many out of town students stay during the summers anyway, and they won't have school work preventing them from attending. There is of course also the possibility of Torontonian students attending other universities (in other cities) being willing (or looking for an excuse) to return home. Though this later arguement really applies equally to almost all time periods, barring exams.
As a student in Toronto from Ottawa, I've made treks to both conventions in Ottawa and in Toronto (wether I was currently in the City or not). But then being someone who has gotten into the writing and design game I'm a little more avid then most.
My point however is that things are a lot more complexed then simply the idea of "we should make a Con during the school year cause there's more students in the city".

The only other thing that I can think to add to the discussion at this point is that FanExpo 2009 and Cangames 2010 both had about the same amount of RPGs running throughout the Con. That is somewhere around 8 tables being put to pretty constant use throughout.
 
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