For the Love of Games Challenge #3: Public Game Play

FallCon Gaming Society - Sunday, September 28, 2014
Tableau of Victory and Defeat [263/365]

We're heading into the final few days before FallCon Weekend! By this time every year, the anticipation is just gnawing at me (like the zombies in my last game of Dead of Winter). It's time to put that live wire energy to good use, don't you think? Time for Challenge #3!

Here's a quick recap of our Challenges:

Challenge #3 is another PDA, or public display of (gaming) affection. This week as a lead into to FallCon, we're challenging you to play games in public venues and areas. Since you partook in last week's challenge, you already have a few games at work. Time to wipe the dust off those games and put them to good use!

This week's forecast isn't quite as nice as last week's but there's still a couple great days for lunch time gaming outside at your nearby park or walkway (Memorial Park or Eau Clair). Monday, Wednesday and Friday would be perfect for a game of Hive, or Carcassonne outside on a lunch or coffee break! For Tuesday and Thursday, why not play inside at one of the numerous +15 eating areas or in the Devonian Gardens? Or find a free boardroom and get a few coworkers together to play a game of Sushi Go or 7 Wonders.

Like our other Challenges, which are still ongoing, we're asking you to take a picture of your PDA and then share it back with FallCon via twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #FallCon 27. We'll be drawing a random winner for each challenge and each winner will receive a free weekend pass to FallCon.

Can't think of anyone to play with at lunch hour this week? We suggest commenting below with a day, game, location and time and allow others to respond with availability and interest. So get out there, meet some fellow gamers, showcase your favourite games and show the world how fun this hobby and this gaming community can be! If we can get a bunch of comments and replies, we might even be able to coordinate a gaming flash mob. Wouldn't that be cool!?


Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Dave Blizzard

FallCon Gaming Society - Saturday, September 27, 2014

Next in Nathalie's interview series, a chilly blast from the past: Dave Blizzard.

Who are you? What's your story? 

Thanks Nathalie for doing these interviews. 

I just retired and living on Canada's west coast. I've been playing games pretty much all my life. As a kid, I played with my parents and 5 siblings. We played many card games, Monopoly, Careers, Crokinole, Risk, Clue, Sorry!, Chess, Backgammon and lots of other boardgames.  

I played my first wargame (Anzio) when I was 16 and got hooked on them. I played lots of them in the 1970s and continue to play them. In the mid 1980s I discovered Eurogames and added them to the games I played.  

Besides playing face to face, I play many games via the internet, mostly play by web and typically have 20+ games going at once, including Chess, Backgammon, Titan, Hannibal, Targi, Roll through the Ages, El Grande, Vinci.   

I enjoy the social aspects of multiplayer games and the tense head to head battle you get with 2 player games. I have three children, all of them play boardgames and two of them have attended FallCon. And one of them (Ian) is very involved in the FallCon organizing group.

What's your role with FallCon?

Since I moved from Calgary a few years ago my involvement in FallCon has lessened. I now help out during the convention in setup, registration, game moderator and whatever else I'm needed to do. Before I moved, I was part of the organizing committee for many years. One interesting thing I did for several years at FallCon was develop and run a convention wide game, one where everyone at the convention plays, usually organized into teams. It was a great way to get the attendees to meet other gamers.

How did you become involved with FallCon? 

I met the Canadian Wargamers Group members before the first FallCon and was a game moderator at the first convention. Shortly after that I got involved with the organization and have continued to this day.  

What do you enjoy the most about your favourite game? 

As you can imagine, it is hard to have just one favourite game.  If there is just one other person around, I would always love to play Rommel in the Desert. It's a very exciting, tense World War II wargame with lots of hard decisions and just enough fog of war. If there are four of us, then I would pull Tichu out.  It's a great partnership game with its share of laughs. At FallCon, my favourite would be Circus Maximus, especially with the large board and the miniatures. Lots of dice rolling, everyone cheering and laughing. 

What other hobbies keep you occupied when you're not gaming?

I love to play sports and have played baseball, squash and tennis for many years. 

Where (and with whom) do generally do most of your gaming? 

When I lived in Calgary, I played in a regular gaming group, which included several of the FallCon organizers.  Over the past few years, I haven't played much face to face, mostly with family during gatherings.  But I still play lots of games via the internet, as I mentioned earlier. 

How many different games do you think you've played? 

Wow, very hard to say, I would guess somewhere in the thousands, I have over 5000 games, although I haven't played them all.

Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Brent Lloyd

FallCon Gaming Society - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Our FallCon Core Interview series today continues with a big, huggable, loveable bear of a man. The one, the only: Brent "Thunder" Lloyd.

Who are you? What's your story? 

My name is Brent and I am a game-a-holic. I grew up in Calgary with three younger brothers and no sisters so playing games was a huge part of my childhood. I went to College and ended up working for Western Research, which became Bovar, and then Sulphur Experts. For the past 27 years I have been travelling around the world to various Oil and Gas facilities.

How did you get started with tabletop gaming? 

My father loved Chess when I was a small boy. I remember sitting on the floor across from him and he taught me how to play by handicapping himself. He would only use the King and the Pawns, as my game grew he would add in a Knight, then the other Knight, one Bishop, etc and finally the Queen. He would also set up problems on the chess board and ask me to solve them. I can still hold my own in a Chess game, but I never went on to higher playing levels because of other games.

My family always had a Games Closet: Stock Ticker, Land Grab, Monopoly, Risk, etc. Games were just a part of our family experience. Then in Junior and High School I met a life long friend named Jeff. He also loved to play games, but he loved the War Games from SPI, so we played those quite a bit together. Dungeons and Dragons was released in the boxed sets and we started playing that like crazy, especially in 1977 when AD&D was released. Then in 1982 the game that would really fire my passion Illuminati from Steve Jackson Games. I have probably played over 100 games of Illuminati. I played all through highschool and college and still enjoy getting it to the table.

What's your role with FallCon?

I have two main roles with FallCon: one is running the Canadian Game Design Award; the other is acting as one of Directors of the FallCon non-profit society. At the convention, you'll often see me greeting new people and teaching games. I love getting new people into the hobby.

How did you become involved with FallCon?

I was attending FallCon and decided I liked it. Steve Zanini was sitting at the Registration table and Dave Blizzard was standing beside him - I just walked up and asked how I could help. He had a very worried expression on his face. :)

What game would you play if you could play with anyone from history dead or alive?

I would have a very tough time choosing between playing Commands & Colors: Ancients with either Caesar, Hannibal, or Alexander. How could I not want to match up with some of the greatest generals who ever lived?!?!

What are your favourite gaming podcasts or video review channels? 

Wow, I travel for a living so I listen to a lot: On Board Games, Boardgames to Go, The Dice Tower, The D6 Generation, Ludology, Exploring Games with GamerChris, FATcast, The Spiel, The State of Games, I've Been Diced, Boardgame Babylon, Garrett's Games and Geekiness, Point 2 Point. Some of those are not regular podcasts and I do miss many episodes of the ones further down the list due to time constraints. The first five though I listen to all the episodes.

Tell me about your most memorable gaming moment.

There are so many! Most memorable is just spending social time with family and friends. It really is the social aspect that makes games memorable to me. 

What sort of gaming events do you generally attend?

I attend quite a few public conventions: FallCon (Calgary), OwlCon (Houston), BGG-Con (Dallas), GenCon (Indianapolis), MilleniumCon (new to me this year) and quite a few Not-So-Public conventions: The Gathering of Friends (Niagara Falls), Rocky Mountain Retreat (Seebe), LoneStar (Houston) and CanCon (Concan). 

When I am at home I game every Tuesday, first Sunday of the Month and second and fourth Saturdays on a regular basis through Meetups. I also game occasionally on Fridays with some good buddies, where we meet and evaluate prototypes for publication.

Do you have any other game related activities?

I have been trying to produce boardgames as a potential retirement business, but Kickstarter is kicking that to the curbside. Producing is mostly involved with the financial aspects of publishing the games. To date I have financed production of the following games: Rolling Freight, Octopus' Garden and Rialto. All three of those were with different publishers and I would love to work with other publishers, but many are turning to Kickstarter instead of private funding.

Thanks for the questions Nathalie and thanks for doing this!

Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Jasen Robillard

FallCon Gaming Society - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We return to Nathaliie "Babs" Babineau's series of FallCon Volunteer Interviews. Today, Babs pins down Jasen Robillard.

Who are you? What's your story? 

Man, I'm having a bit of an existential crisis answering the first and simplest of questions... Maybe I'm not cut out for this interview!

For a Coles Notes synopsis,  I'd describe myself foremost as a full-time dad to 2 great kids and husband to a wonderful wife. I do my best to be a good "family man" with varying results. Secondarily, I consider myself a part-time boardgamer, photographer, and generalist jack-of-all-trades.

I grew up in a cluster of small towns east of Ottawa (Clarence, Rockland, St-Pascal-de-Baylon). After high school I left the small towns and did a degree in Geological Engineering at the University of Waterloo. UW had a coop work program and 2 of my work terms were in Calgary, which is when I first came to love Calgary. After graduation, I couldn't get any job offers close to Ottawa so I moved back to Calgary full-time. I met my wife Heather a few months after we both moved from Ontario and we've both been in Calgary since.

How did you get started with tabletop gaming? 

Games were always an interest of mine. I remember fondly childhood games of Crokinole with my Dad, cribbage with family friends, and Pictionary with my sister. My tastes evolved drastically in university when I was introduced to Mao and Magic: The Gathering. I played Magic casually throughout university and decided to get more serious about it once I had a full-time job after graduation. After attending a few pre-release tournaments, I became disenfranchised with the Magic business model and also the people I was playing with. I was more interested in playing with my close friends and with my wife Heather. I wanted to find an alternative to Magic that was just as fun for me but more approachable for those less, er geeky, than me. 

The Sentry Box provided a good transition for me as I'd walked by their boardgames several times to look at their Magic singles binders. I think the first 2 games I picked up were Through the Desert and Carcassonne. I shortly thereafter found a local game group and I've been a boardgamer since!

How did you become involved with FallCon? What's your role with FallCon now? 

I attended my first FallCon in 2001 and loved the experience. I'm the type of person that dives deep into the things I'm passionate about and I knew after my first FallCon that I wanted to contribute in some way (beyond the Meetup Group that I was organizing at the time). That next year I volunteered as a game host (which we now call Game Ambassadors) and the following year I joined the Core Organizer Group. 

For the last few years, I've played the role of Convention Coordinator as part of the larger Core Organizing Group. In a sense it's a project management role and I wear many parts in that capacity: organizing our Core meetings, establishing a framework for strategic vision and discussions, coordinating the efforts of our amazing volunteer Core, answering emails, taking care of marketing (blog posts, newsletters, social media).  

Who makes up your a regular gaming group? 

 My most regular gaming group consists of my family. My daughter especially loves playing games so I try to accommodate her desire to play as often as I can, for as long as it lasts. Beyond the family circle, I don't get to game nearly as much as I'd like to and don't have a true gaming group to speak of. My connections through the Calgary TableTop Gaming Group and FallCon afford me a wide network of gamers I can play with. So when I'm free from work or family commitments, and the opportunity arises to play with my established gaming friends, I jump at the chance. 

A lot of my gaming is in fact experienced over the course of dedicated gaming holidays or weekends like FallCon. These are generally my favourite times of the year.

What other hobbies keep you occupied when you're not gaming? 

With gaming being a bit of a sedentary hobby,  I'm trying to stay active especially as I approach my forties. I'm getting into running and I curl twice a week from October through March. I used to be a big downhill skier and we got a family pass at Nakiska this year so I suspect that will rekindle my love for carving. 

Photography is another passion of mine. It's been somewhat subdued over the past few years but I expect I'll get back to it a little more seriously once the kids are bit older.

Why is Ticket to Ride your favourite game to use to introduce non-gamer friends/family?

Ticket to Ride is so ubiquitous these days that I rarely have to introduce it to anyone. That said, if someone hasn't played it yet, it's as close to a sure bet as it gets. When it comes to introducing non-gamers to modern boardgames, I find the key elements are:

  • aesthetically attractive and compelling components (board, cards, tokens, etc.);
  • teachable in 5 mins;
  • grokkable in 5 mins;
  • fun whether you win or lose (with small wins even if you don't get the "big win"); and 
  • relatively short (45 mins as a maximum).

Ticket to Ride hits it out of the park on all points. I think its roots as a Rummy game make it somehow familiar and more approachable. Of course, the person or crowd I'm playing with has a huge impact on the style of games I'll introduce. A few weeks ago, I introduced some old high school friends to this hobby of ours and I started with a dexterity game (Toc Toc Woodman) and then a party game (Cards Against Humanity). Dexterity games are another sure bet in my mind. King of Tokyo and Dixit are the other two games I've had the most success with when introducing new games to non-gamers.

What is FallCon?

FallCon is a boardgame and tabletop miniatures convention for the masses held every fall in Calgary. Consider FallCon a philosophical extension to those fun Friday game nights you spend with family and friends! Against a backdrop of fun and friendly competition, gamers young and old are invited to join us in playing some of the best games available today.

October 3-5, 2014

Commonwealth Centre

3961 52nd Avenue NE #1177
Calgary, AB

Pass Info

Weekend Pass - $50

Family Weekend Pass - $80

Friday Pass - $20      4:00pm-12:00am

Saturday Pass - $30   8:00am-12:00am

Sunday Pass - $20     9:00am-4:00pm

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