September 11th, 2014
4TH ANNUAL FIELD MARSHAL GAMING CONVENTION
2 DAYS OF CASUAL, FRIENDLY, OPEN GAMING
– A SHORT RECAP –
This convention is billed as a casual, family friendly, open tabletop gaming weekend. It’s a smallish convention typically seeing around 40-50 gamers spending 2 very full days of tabletop gaming of all kinds. There is typically a heavy Axis and Allies contingent that spends the first day doing nothing but, however this year was different. There was less A&A and much more of .. well, everything else! And a LOT more people! Within minutes of the doors being open tables were filling up with guests playing games. Quite a sight to see compared to prior years where the first couple of hours was more of a mingling session and a few people wandering around not knowing anyone. It was a rare sight this year to see anyone not involved in a game of some kind.
Now in its 4th year, this time commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI with its “World at War” theme, the convention provides its guests with a great opportunity to get away and enjoy their favorite, and many new games face to face with other gaming enthusiasts.
Having been to all 3 previous events and being on the committee, obviously I new what to expect. What I did not expect was the fantastic turnout and that higher level of professionalism that the con has gained as it matures. This years event was 10 steps closer to the “big con” experience with the “small event” casual, and more importantly, friendly feel.
The front desk was well run and organized and had all the information you needed. The Bring and Buy table was full of treasures. The Games Library has continued to grow exponentially each year, so much so that it’s difficult to choose the games you want to play in a “limited” 30 or so hours of game time! Things ran smoother than ever before. Even with the whirlwind of activity and the confusion that results, the staff were on the ball at all times.
With over 60 gamers attending throughout the course of the weekend the staff were kept busy manning the front desk/snack bar/bring and buy table, fielding questions, demoing and teaching games and, in their off time, playing as many games as possible. Heck, the staff were even playing games at the front desk in between attending to the guests needs.
Several organized game events were scheduled this year, which is the first time this was done. And I do say, these events were a success. From Warhammer Fantasy Battles, to Axis and Allies Miniatures through the day, Axis and Allies Global 1940 and Door Prizes AND all the open gaming, the action was non-stop. Bolt Action Miniatures turned out to be the big scheduled event of the day on Saturday with 8 people playing a game pitting the Germans against an entrenched Russian army in Stalingrad. Incredible, and a shout out to Ross Cossar for running that game. Ross won the Bolt Action Minis starter set from Warlord Games at FMGCon2013 and has taken to the game since, teaching it to players at any number of conventions in the past year. He did a fantastic job and all of the players left the table happy (and some looking to get into starting their own armies).
For the 2nd year in a row, Midnight Munchkin Madness (titled as a humble nod to Felicia Day and “The Guild”) ran at 11pm Saturday. This humourous card game saw 7 hardcore gamers (some of the few still left standing at that late hour) pitted against the monsters of an epic dungeon, and often against one another, to knock down the door, fight the monsters, loot the room and advance to glory. Prizes were handed out randomly based on special prize cards placed in the pile, so how well you were actually doing in the game made no difference. All in the name of fun! A few of the guests had never even heard of Munchkin prior to joining this game, but they did quite well after a little bit of learnin’.
THE DAY AFTER “THE BIG DAY”
Sunday, as usual, saw a lighter crowd but there were still quite a few people mingling. With the miniatures and “big” games (such as Axis and Allies) out of the way the day before, the Sunday crowd got down to playing everything else they could get their hands on. This was the great opportunity to try out new games you’ve never heard of before, or ones that you enjoy but don’t get to play very often. And there were a lot of them out!
The Play and Win Games table was well played, but no one played them more than the group of gamers who came from Meetup.com’s Whitby Card and Board Games group. My god they played the heck out of those games, and it paid off. They won the lions share! For the first time ever doing a Play and Win, it went quite well.
This year the event chose to donate a portion of proceeds to Charity!
The Wounded Warriors Canada project was chosen as the charity of choice, as it seemed appropriate with the theme of the event (WW1 100th Anniversary) and its roots in strategy war gaming. In addition to the proceeds from guest passes, “CHEAT (for charity)!” tokens were sold. For $2 you received a token that could be used in any game (2 per game max) to “cheat”. Did you roll the dice poorly? CHEAT and re-roll them! Did you draw a horrible card? CHEAT and draw another! Did someone play a card on you that you didn’t like? CHEAT and cancel it out! Did someone use a CHEAT token? Use your own to CHEAT and cancel it out! The Cheat tokens were a raging success and we got to hear a lot of stories from those who used them to great success and miserable failure. There was also a Silent Auction on a Rod Hockey table, donated by one of the regular attendees. $50 was raised on this silent auction and added to the Charitable Donation. In total a little over $200 was raised for Wounded Warriors Canada!
Did I mention the sponsors yet? No? This year the convention saw phenomenal support from the gaming industry.
Games for the Library and the Play And Win event were donated by Alderac Entertainment Group, Plaid Hat Games, Game Salute, Stonemaier Games, Arcane Wonders, Cool Mini or Not and Victory Point Games. In total 15 games were provided this year by these companies, some that had not even been released yet!
Advertising and promotion was provided by AxisAndAllies.org, Makerlight Studios (who do all of the fantastic posters and artwork for the convention), Strategy Games, Skyfox Games, 401Games.ca, Daily Hobbies and Worlds Collide Comics and Games.
And of course, Field Marshal Games and I Will Never Grow Up Gaming provided door prizes and promotional support in addition to fronting the money to get things off the ground.
These companies, and the individuals who work for them, cannot be thanked enough for their huge support of a small convention like this!
So what did I get to do all weekend?
Besides manning the front desk for several hours, talking to a lot of people and taking dozens of photos of games being played, I ran the Midnight Munchkin Madness event, I got to teach two groups how to play Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures and refereed a game of “To End All Wars” WW1 Miniatures on a purpose-built trench table.
I also got to try out Boss Monster, Serpent Stones, Rivet Wars, Zombicide, 1775 The Rebellion, Castellan, Zombie Dice, Takenoko, Love Letter .. I am sure I’m missing something there but to be honest, a weekend with that much activity and little to no sleep, can you blame me for forgetting a game or two? Yeah, you’re right .. shame on me!
THE END .. AND OF THINGS TO COME
When all was said and done, the games packed up and everything loaded into the trucks for the return home, the 4th Annual Field Marshal Gaming Convention was undoubtedly a success.
We look forward to seeing you all again next year, and, of course, your friends and family! The Field Marshal Gaming Convention shows promise to grow and get it just gets better with each passing year.
Written by James Campbell of I Will Never Grow Up Gaming