CanCon 2013 – the Convention


The Countrylink Explorer - transport to Canberra for me from Sydney
The Countrylink Explorer – transport to Canberra for me from Sydney

CanCon 2013 was on over the Australia Day long weekend in Canberra, Australia. Canberra is Australia’s capital and famous more for its circuitous roads ((you have never really been to Canberra until you have been lost at least five times coming off the same set of roundabouts)) than anything else. It is, however, a quite pretty country town.

CanCon itself it put on by the Canberra Games Society every year at this time and is the largest game convention in Australia. As such it deals with all manner of recreational board games and similar. These include wargames, card games such as Magic the Gathering and other board games. There are normally a number of demonstration or participation game for folks to try out as well.

The Zulus are massed to Attack - one of the demonstration games
The Zulus are massed to Attack – one of the demonstration games

I took three days holiday from the office and headed off to Canberra.

The trip to Canberra was an interesting experience for me. I’ve had the lady flying Scoot before (it is cheap after all) but this was my first experience on Scoot so I was curious to see how it went.

The flight left at 2:00 am Singapore time and arrived at 12:55 pm Sydney time. I then had to get from Sydney airport to Central Railway station, meet the lady and then catch the 6:11pm Explorer service (train) to Canberra. It arrives around 10:30pm (1:30 am the next day Singapore time). Yep, 23.5 hours travel, Singapore to Canberra ((Aussie and New South Wales politicians note – major Asian capital to Australia’s capital city – nearly 24 hours)).

Scoot was OK. As I had not booked any in flight meal (I had heard it was very ordinary), I sat at Cedele at Singapore airport Terminal two and enjoyed sandwich and a soup which got me through to Sydney quite well. The good thing was that as I wasn’t eating on the fight at all and as there is really no inflight entertainment unless you pay extra for it, I was able to pretty much sleep all the way to Australia. More on the Scoot flight later (and the seating size there).

The foreign legations in Peking 1900 are under threat from the Boxers (I keep seeing Robert Helpmann as the evil Mandarin)
The foreign legations in Peking 1900 are under threat from the Boxers (I keep seeing Robert Helpmann as the evil Mandarin)

We arrived in Canberra to the cool evening air after a hot baking kind of day.

CanCon 2013 started around 8:30am the next morning. Doug was organising the DBMM competition so we left early to give him organising time. My games did not come around until Sunday and Monday.

There were number of traders there although not nearly as many as in the UK shows but a reasonable number for Australia. Four or five figure suppliers along with a similar number of board game sellers were all plying their trade. Milsims was not there unfortunately and at least one second-hand figure seller was also missing.

There were a couple of great participation or demonstration games. Particularly impressive was the Zulu one. I was also impressed with the Boxer Rebellion game – Peking never looked so good. Another game that caught my eye was the 3mm modern warfare game played across GeoHex terrain ((I think the terrain was GeoHex -if not it was something very similar)). Even the 3mm armour was based on the same sized hexes and therefore represented a full company I think.

The 3mm Modern wwargame - look closely
The 3mm Modern wwargame – look closely

The Wings of War (now Wings of Glory) folks had a couple of participation games on covering World War One and World War Two aerial combat. The zeppelin model they had there was so impressive – almost a metre long.

There was also a “games library” where for a fee you could sign up and sit in a separate area and borrow games to try. This was very well attended and appeared full for most of the time. That area is also used to promote the local games society which is constantly buying new games for the library.

I avoided buying much – just a copy of Maurice (wargame rules) from Nic at Eureka Miniatures and some flowers for decorating bases. I also managed after much searching to find some 15mm gabions (the last packet) for Anthony.

The second and third day at CanCon were game days for me. The Worlds for DBA. I’ll do a separate AAR for that later. Let me note here that at the end of the first day I was 4 wins from 6 games and one win (8 points) behind the overall leader. I was sitting in 6th place out of 24 gamers. Team Singapore was doing well. You will need to wait for a later post covering the actually DBA competition and the final results of that.

The crowd in the main hall at CanCon 2013 on the first morning
The crowd in the main hall at CanCon 2013 on the first morning

One of the nice things with the DBA competition is that there is a kids competition there as well with a couple of volunteers working with the kids to help develop the hobby. Well done for that.

I must admit that apart from a broken coffee machine causing long queues at the only surviving machine in the place on the second day (soon remedied – by the third day as an additional coffee cart as wheeled in) the show went very well. If you are into games and can get to Canberra in late January, it is well worth attending, especially if playing.

Australian Medical Records

I went to the doctor early today. It was time for a check-up and I wanted to get a couple of things sorted out before surrendering myself to the Singapore medical system. The result of the trip was that I should see a specialist about something minor and as such, I had a referral from the doctor to the specialist.

Now, my life so far has been spent in a number of places and under a number of different health systems. As a child I lived in the western suburbs of Sydney, when the pound was still the currency king in Australia and where doctors would offer payment terms to their patients for large ticket items. This predates Medicare and Medibank by a goodly number of years. It was during this period that my eyes were operated on by Dr Tim Roland.

I then spent the later part of my childhood on the north shore of Sydney, again, with a different set of doctors and ailments, some as the result of sport and the rest from modern man’s evolution to require less of his internal organs.

Marriage followed and a number of house moves, stressful jobs and poor diet and yet another series of doctors, this time with the fledgling Medibank and Medicare in place. More surgical procedures as a result of lifestyle and diet were undertaken.

I moved overseas and bummed around quite a few countries then returned to Australia for a period of time.

Where is all this leading, I hear you ask? Well, I looked at the referral letter and except for the small surgical procedure I had performed on me in England, there at the bottom was my surgical and medical history summarised from 1960 onwards – and it was correct!

The only things missing from the Australian end were the years that I had the Appendectomy and Tonsillectomy – the operations were however listed. Everything else was there. I now even know the name of the procedures performed on my eyes by Dr Roland when I was so young – Bilateral Strabismus repair. I never knew that, just what the operation was designed to correct, what happened during the operation and the effect of the operation.

So, I am pleased to see that the main part of my medical history is now available to any doctor I see in Australia.

Well done Jeffro as I know this is the stuff you’re working on.

DBMM Cancon 2011

I decided the other day after playing a game of DBA that I would try and play at Cancon next year. Yes, I know that playing DBA should not automatically make one want to play DBMM but it did.

It was just after the DBA game that a discussion then occurred about whether it would be in DBA or another area. We then started talking about DBMM version 2 and whether they were truly better than DBMM version 1 as a rule set. Doug seemed to think that they were so I started thinking about getting a copy and playing them.

I have 5 painted 15mm DBM armies stored under the house at Mum’s so I thought perhaps I should use one of them. The first thought was to use the Visigoths or the Ostrogoths. Having two sizeable armies of them meant I could morph into many armies from around the 5th century C.E.

I then thought of my Sumerians, a large early army. We discussed them and thought they would be good for an inexperienced player to use. My thoughts then turned to the Early Byzantines, which I have had for many years now, painted but I never got around to finishing the basing on them. Then I thought of my Carolingians. These I purchased at the bring and buy stall at Colours in 2001 and have been meaning to sort, rebase and varnish ever since.

We are still discussing the army, especially as I am in the Philippines at the moment and it will be another two weeks at least before I can get to Mum’s and collected one or other of the armies (or maybe even both :lol ). In the meantime, I ordered a copy of the DBMM rules. Given the strength of the Aussie dollar at the moment, it seemed natural to buy these from the US … so I did.

Doug and I are still trading emails on the relative worth of the Sumerians versus the Carolingians. I guess at the end of it, I’ll end up selecting he army that I think I can have more fun with. There’ll be more on the progress of this later.

Joys of Life in Australia

P1000262 I’ve always said, if there is no risk then there is no fun. Risk provides us with the zest in life. We play sport, we surf, climb mountains, take long walks in the bush and jump out of aeroplanes. It’s all risk and it somehow makes us happier with life. In the past a long country drive was also full of risk although these days we try and reduce that risk as much as possible by providing rest centres and “driver reviver” stops to enable drivers to take a break on long trips, thus reducing the fatigue. The picture to the left is of one such stop on the Federal Highway next to Lake George (itself a wonder) near the border between New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

The driver reviver stop is good. Australian companies provide local charitable or social organisations such as Rotary, the Lions Club, the State Emergency Services and the local Bushfire Brigades with the makings for tea or coffee. Bushells currently provides tea bags and coffee whilst Arnott’s provides some biscuits as a snack. The social organisations then man the Driver Reviver stops and make tea and coffee for weary travellers. Those running the Driver Reviver will generally have a collection bucket out where travellers may make a donation.

The beauty is that you have to physically stop the vehicle, get up off your bottom (no drive throughs here) and walk over to the folks making the tea or coffee. The hot drink is free as are the biscuits. The cup the drink comes in also does not have a lid you can drink through so you really have to wait and drink the tea before heading back off on the road. All-in-all, a great way to ensure that a driver gets a break.

P1000263 Of course, this is Australia and as I mentioned above, we like risk. The photo to the right is on the way into the driver reviver stop photographed above.

Ah Australia … where in Australian nature, if it moves it will likely eat you or poison you – if it doesn’t move it will probably just give you a nasty sting!

Lake George

P2202813 I went to Canberra this weekend to see the kids and play a wargame. Driving from Sydney to Canberra you have to drive past Lake George. Lake George is one of those lakes that sometimes spends many years dry, then spends many years full of water. It has been dry for around 10 years or so now, but before the last drying the lake’s water lapped the edge of the Federal Highway running into Canberra.

Recent heavy rain over parts of NSW have see some water collect in the basin of the lake. This photo was taken about a week after the last heavy rainfall. I look forward to the day sometime in the next 5 years I guess when the lake finally fills up again. I wonder if someone will restock it with Murray Cod again?