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CanGames 2019 Day 1 Report

Since the convention is already two days over (as I write this blog entry), I figured that I should start posting up the reports on the weekend that was at CanGames 2019 today, while I have the chance. I don't really know how long and detailed these reports will be, given how I didn't get to see all that much of the convention this year, and I didn't take all that many notes about the convention events as I usually do. This stuff is pretty much from memory and the notes that I jotted down on my mobile phone. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of photos included with these blog entries, as I didn't take all that many pics at the convention, sadly enough. Other things on my mind. So this is a very small slice of perspective about the convention, if nothing else. This post, and the rest covering the events of each day at CanGames 2019, is behind the cut.

May 17th, 2019

For some reason, I usually don’t sleep all that well the night before CanGames, and this year was no exception. I got about four hours of sleep the night before the convention, primarily due to the soreness and pain in my feet and the left neck and shoulder region. I did wake up a bit later than my usual, around 8:35 am. My real concern for the day was how my bowels would do due to the antibiotic that I was in the last stages of having given me diarrhea. But I didn’t feel all that bad considering. My mom came over to see me off, and after I was up and about after breakfast, I started to take care of the packing of my personal belongings bag and stuff that I would need, and made some foodstuffs ready for when spross would arrive at my place around 12:30 pm or so. I forgot to check the weather, but didn't worry about that at the time.

SteveR and I left my house around 1:15 pm or so, and I was pleased at the fact that the bag that I was using to carry the Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming) material, with the 2nd edition Moderator’s Book and the 1st edition Moderator’s Screen was somewhat lighter than I had expected. Given my left shoulder problem, this was a good thing. :) We stopped at one of the Subway restaurants to pick up lunch, in my case the usual turkey sub, with a little extra small packet of ketchup. From there, we headed downtown for the Rideau Curling Club and the gaming venue.

We arrived at the Rideau Curling Club close to 2:00 pm, and it seemed that there were no parking spaces available in the area. The usual situation. This was typical for CanGames, as there's just not enough parking near the curling club for a convention of the size that it is. Something they seriously need to work on, methinks.

Arriving at the Rideau Curling Club

Welcome to CanGames!

SteveR dropped me off at the front of the Rideau Curling Club, and while I took my personal bag in, he went to find a parking space for the afternoon and evening. Since I had only brought two small boxes of stuff that I wanted to sell at the convention this year, he didn’t bring the dolly, so he made a couple of trips to the car (which, it turned out he was able to park across the street from the curling club). I had already taken my personal bag (which also had my diabetic supplies/insulin in it).

On entering the Rideau Curling Club, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a lot of people present, more than I expected, with folks getting their pre-registration packages and folks signing up for various games in the 2:00 pm slot. It was also relatively comfortable and cool on the main floor. Still, I was glad I’d brought my windbreaker and a light hoodie with me. I went and collected my registration package at the Service Desk, and then went to check out my four games and their attendance totals. I was surprised to find I had three players pre-registered for the evening’s Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming) game, and that there were a good number of players signed up for Saturday’s John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game and Capharnaüm - The Tales of the Dragon-Marked game, but had only two players signed up for Sunday’s Capharnaüm game. Ah, well. Was also surprised and pleased to see that Roddy Turner had signed up for Saturday night’s Capharnaüm game, as I really like the fella and he’s a great gamer. I asked the folks at the Tournament Desk to add an extra player space on each of the Saturday and Sunday games, since I could take 6 players, rather than 5, for each, except the Blue Planet Recontact game. Once SteveR came with the last batch of stuff, we went downstairs to find lockers to store stuff for a while. The basement level of the Curling Club was undergoing renovations and they weren’t complete yet, but it wasn’t fun having to step over a curling broom piece that was keeping the door to the locker area open. Once back upstairs, SteveR carried the gaming stuff I was selling to the CanGames booth at the back of the Marketplace area where various people were setting up booths. The Marketplace is now along the right-hand wall as one comes onto the curling sheet area. I still like this change, as it makes the booths more accessible and gives folks a bigger area to spread out across, but it also makes the area somewhat noisier. Jeff Black was in charge of the CanGames booth as usual, and he made the process relatively easy and efficient, despite the shambles the process had been this year with the FlashConsign folks gone the way of the dodo, but it only took about half an hour to get things done. SteveR and I headed back to the main area of the ground floor, but stopped for a few minutes to chat with Emily Griggs while she was setting up her Sweet Ingenuity booth area, one of the few dealers who was at that point. As usual, the Sweet Ingenuity booth looked like it was going to have some good stuff again this year, and I hope that Emily continues to attend the convention. We chatted for just a bit, and then SteveR and I headed back to the main area on the ground floor.

Once back on the main level of the site, we found ourselves a table to sit at and ate some lunch. SteveR took this photo of me while we were getting ready to eat lunch.

JohnK, Your Blogger

While I needed to re-read some of the material for the evening’s adventure (since I’d only received it the Friday before!), I wanted to check out some of the gaming stuff that was going on. I spoke with and talked to a few people while I waited for SteveR to drop the lunch garbage off, and then reposting the stuff that we had with us (me my personal bag, and SteveR the cooler), we started to wander around a bit. Checked out a few of the roleplaying games going on on the main floor near Registration, and I saw Daniel Poulin was running Cosmic Patrol. With permission (for all the pics this weekend, for the record), I took a snap of the ongoing game.

Daniel Poulin's Cosmic Patrol RPG Session

Wandered out onto the curling sheet proper, and looked at some of the miniature games going on and a couple of other things. Took a photo of the curling sheet area being set up for games by various folks. Then headed back onto the main area near Registration, and spoke with my friend, Eric Paquette. Eric’s a good guy and a good egg. Got a picture of him as well, and we chatted for a bit. He told me that they’d had a lot of pre-registrations this year, accounting for the busy time when we arrived near 2:00 pm, that was likely due to the new web presence of the convention (despite its growing pains) and some of the marketing.

Setting Up on the Curling Sheet

Eric Paquette, A Good Egg/Friend

Went and looked at the Open Gaming area on the curling sheet, as I was scheduled to run the John Carter game out there the next day. Seemed to be quiet enough, but it was going to be more crowded on Saturday so would have to wait to hear the acoustics then. Stopped to watch a bit of a board game there in Open Gaming called Pulsar 2849 and it looked neat. Took a couple of photos of that.

Pulsar 2849 Game 1

Pulsar 2849 Game 2

Went to the Story Games booth and chatted with Jason Pitre and his friend/cohort, and chatted a bit about the upcoming After the War roleplaying game and he showed me a preview copy of what it was going to have in it. Really looking forward to seeing the physical game when that comes out! From there, SteveR and I headed upstairs to the second floor to check out where the board gaming events take place and where the Curling Club cafeteria is. Once again the menu for the convention wasn’t all that healthy, but SteveR and I weren’t planning to eat any lunches or suppers at the convention. I looked around at the board games being played, and saw a game of Gloomhaven going on. Snapped a photo of that.

A Game of Gloomhaven

Chatted for a couple of hours with various folks that I knew, some of whom asked what I was running at the convention. I told them, and some were intrigued by several of the games that I had planned so hoped to see some of the folks at my gaming tables during the weekend. Around 4:45 pm, SteveR and I sat down and discussed what we’d do for supper. We decided on pizza, and he went out around 5:00 pm to get us a ground beef, green peppers, mushroom and pineapple pizza for supper while I sat down and quickly went over the gaming stuff for the Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming) game that I was going to run that evening. I left the gaming stuff alone for a bit after that, waiting for SteveR to get back with the food, and just sat back with my badly hurting left foot resting on another chair and my arm on a chair arm for a bit. SteveR returned with the pizza close to 6:00 pm or so, so after finding some table space near where I was due to run, we sat down and ate the pizza. It was all right, but too greasy for my taste, and I hoped I wouldn’t have to pay for it the next day. (Metformin really doesn’t like high amounts of fat in the body, and tends to expel it rather nastily.)

After eating supper, SteveR went off to wander for a bit, while I cleaned up the table in preparation for running Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming) that evening. Didn’t really have a lot of set-up to do, so I went over to one of the other tables and chatted with Daniel Poulin for a bit. We talked at length about the John Carter of Mars game, and he and I pretty agreed on a lot of stuff about the game. He also regretted not being able to play in the session of it I would run the next day. I promised him that I’d run it again next year (really tough choice, that— NOT!), and after saying goodbye, headed back to the table. Setting up for the game session of Blue Planet was easy. Not a lot of material on the table. :) Once the sign-up sheets were put out for potential players to find games to play in at 6:30 pm, I went over to the sign-up table and saw that three other folks had signed up, so I had a full gaming table. One of them was SteveR! Then it was back to join the players at the table, and completing the set-up process for the evening.

The adventure I ran on Friday night for Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming) is called “Blue Planet: Trouble in Paradise”, and revolves around a group of characters who work for Red Sky Charters who get involved with a hunt for some highly valuable prized material on Poseidon against their will and then try and stay alive and prevent a terrible situation in their home town on the water world. The adventure is actually the one that will be in the new game’s QuickStart booklet. The player characters are: Andy Latimer, a Transhuman, the son of the man who founded RSC and the de facto boss; Bobby Whalesong, a teenage Aquaform (Diver) trying to find the right path; Digger Jones, a gruff Aquaform (Diver) mechanic with a good heart hidden away; Fishboy, mysterious Transhuman amnesiac with a dangerous set of skills; and Margaret “Maggie” Merriweather, a former GEO soldier turned Poseidon Warden. All of the characters working for Red Sky Charters, of course. I'm not going into detail about the plot here (because others might run the adventure down the line, and I'd like to run the scenario again sometime!), but suffice to say that the adventure went very well, though I did alter a couple of the plot's aspects to make it fit within the time limits somewhat. All the pre-registered players and the ones who signed up at the convention turned out for the adventure, so I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t have any female gamers at the table, so one of the guys (Paul-Andre) played Maggie. Jake played Bobbie Whalesong, Jean-Yves played Andy, Paul-Andre played Maggie, Julien played Fishboy, and SteveR played Digger.

Overall, the players really enjoyed themselves, and I managed to keep my voice intact by the end of the night, and it was a fun game session of Blue Planet Recontact (v3, forthcoming). I explained the basics of the new version of the rules to the players, and while they had some questions about the Attributes and especially the Skill Sets, they grasped the d10 mechanics of the game quite easily and liked the simplicity of the whole while still keeping the hard science fiction elements as well. When we started play, they were very surprised (jaw droppingly in fact) at the set-up - prisoners on their own hydrofoil! - but quickly got into the swing of things so to speak and managed to get out of that situation only to fall into another mess pretty rapidly. There was some really good roleplaying throughout the four-hour session, some of the best of it coming when they learned through flashback about why they were on the hydrofoil in the first place that the personal stakes were even higher.

The clandestine struggle to free themselves on the hydrofoil (appropriately called the Last Chance) was well played by the players, especially by those playing Maggie and Fishboy, though the arrival of one of Poseidon’s most notorious predators had the players feeling desperate, not because of the hostage takers but because they didn’t want to lose the hydrofoil! When they realized where the item the kidnappers were looking for was, it gave this GM that moment of sheer joy that you get when a good plan comes together. Retrieving the item from the body of the oceanic predator was one of the grossest moments I’ve ever shared with players in a game (convention or no), and when it was all over, they agreed it was going to be an encounter that stayed in their memories for a long time. ::taps self on shoulder:: :) The final scene, over the last 45 minutes of the game session, when they had to deal with [redacted] and [redacted] at the Hydroshot championship playoff game was...brilliant. They made excellent use of a sonic charge to start things going in their favour once the action broke out. Jake was thrilled when his Bobby Whalesong’s knowledge of Hydroshot allowed him and his fellow RSC members to escape the stadium while [redacted] was going on, taking [redacted] with them and a cut of the loot.

Due to the time restrictions and a period of great roleplaying that I didn’t want to disturb, I had to cut a couple of scenes out of the scenario, but nothing that would have made a difference in the overall plot. After finishing up the scenario around 10:55 pm, two of the players stuck around for a bit to talk about the adventure and the game, but all the players told me that they loved the simple game mechanics (especially the Skill Sets). Two of the players told me that they were going to buy the new game when it comes out.

Once the players had departed, SteveR helped me pack up the game materials for the night. He took the gaming stuff to the car while I went and took care of convention business (handing in the attendance sheet, with my ranking of the players for certificates, at the Registration Desk and collecting my $5.00 token). I checked my blood glucose (around 6.8) and had a yogurt with some carrots. Once that was accomplished, SteveR was waiting for me, and we headed for the car, which he told me was parked just across the street, for the drive home.

On the way home, SteveR and I chatted a bit about the game and I got his impressions of the game mechanics and the scenario that I would be able to share with the game designer. We got back to my place around 11:35 pm or so and SteveR helped me unpack the car, and then headed home himself. After SteveR left, I had a bit of water to rehydrate, a cup of tea, and a piece of toast. Around 12:20 pm I went downstairs and unpacked the day’s gaming material from the bags and the personal tote bag stuff and then packed the basics for the two games I was going to run on Saturday. I had a bit more water, but was on my last legs for the night. It was close to 1:00 am when I went to bed, and I read a book for about 20 minutes and then lay back on the pillows and fell asleep.

And there you have the write-up for the Friday of CanGames 2019. I hope it wasn't too long for folks, and those who've read this day's write-up enjoyed it. The write-up for Saturday at CanGames will get posted as soon as I have a chance to do so.


John Kahane

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