Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cancon 2015 - A great success

Day 1 - Click for a closer look
We have completed our very successful Cancon 2015 Bolt Action Boot Camp.
At the end of every game as the last dice rolls came to a stop and the result was finally known there was a collective sigh from all players and our Demo Gamer Sergeants as we gazed across the board contemplating the adventure we had all just been through. A short quiet descended on us all, grins emerged and then conversation resumed with comments such as, "If that bazooka only..." and "That combat was so close!" and "How did that happen?"
We always claim that Bolt Action is very cinematic and the various dice rolls allow for a wide variety of results.  Our first instinct is often to think, "That wouldn't have happened," but then we remember the reports on those soldiers which have won a Victoria Cross or other medals for bravery. The tales of one man assaulting multiple machine gun nests, or charging tanks in desperation show that it isn't impossible - just unlikely.  And that is why our highlights are the exceptional occurrences.
You wouldn't plan for one man to defeat a unit of 9 men, or a Chi Ha light tank to survive multiple hits by a much more powerful Sherman tank.  But it can happen.  Or as players remind each other, "Bolt Action Happens".

Day 2 - Click for a closer look
Every game of the St Mere Elise board was full for 8 games over the three days and our extra Far East board was played on over 7 games.
We play tested for quite a while to get the St Mere Elise board balanced and the results proved it was time well spent: 8 games with 3 German wins, 3 American wins and 2 draws.
A total of 64 people played with us over the 3 days and although tired, we are very pleased with the results. Rough age groupings are 25 Young (17 and below), 19 Young Adult (18 to 29) and 20 Adults.
Our aim at The Demo Gamers is to bring the enjoyment of Historical Wargaming to as many people as possible, especially younger people. Much as I caught the wargaming bug when I was 12, we are seeing the same excited look in the eyes of new players that have joined us at our various demo games. We have included a few highlights of our weekend's games here, but the weekend was more than just these highlights.
Every game had the same last turn excitement and end of game "coulda-woulda-shoulda" review.

Day 3 - Click for a closer look
We had planned and prepared for months leading up to the convention. Running an event as large as Cancon takes a lot of planning and co-ordination. With many hundreds of players participating in tournaments, trade stalls, food, security, promotion and so on it is not too surprising that some sections get missed.
Unfortunately in the planning for the event, the Cancon organisers missed our Boot Camp from all official advertising for Cancon, promotional posters weren't printed and we ended up at the back corner next to the traders, away from the front doors.
But this did not affect the success of our Boot Camp.  Our board was very impressive and being so busy all passers-by were attracted by the excitement and noise of the players.  My son and I were always looking for anyone that expressed the remotest sign of interest and we drew them in. One player was a very experienced player of board games who had never played a miniature game and had been coming to Cancon for about three years. He had never realised these games were open to anyone wanting to play.  He had a great game one on one with one of my sons and even though he "lost" the battle, he loved the game. As we say, playing the game is a win in itself.
Our Far East Board - Japanese vs Australians and US Marines.

All of us were dressed in similar T-shirts and groovy vests with Demo Game name badges. Anyone watching knew we were a professional outfit.
Also, I suspect our enthusiasm is what attracted the local news network during their visit to the convention. We were interviewed and appeared on the local 6pm news as representatives of what can be done on Australia Day.  We were very happy to be representatives of the wargaming hobby.

Thank you to all of those that joined us for this year's Boot Camp.  We had great fun and look forward to meeting you again next time.
Another battle of St Mere Eglise over. 


  1. Thanks for a great weeekend guys.
    You might be interested in the following link, Hawkcon.


    1. Thanks Spyros. We'll be there running another exciting Bolt Action Boot Camp.



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