Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Post Cancon 2017 Write Up

Post Cancon 2017 Write Up


There were various shenanigans before we started. We had lists close a month early. At that point we had eight players, and no paid and registered Pacific lists, so I cancelled that
theatre, and gave myself a reprieve from spending my holidays making a few jungle tables. Later, it was opened again, and two Pacific players emerged, leaving the count 2 axis and 8
allies. Luckily 3 kind gentlemen swapped to defend the fatherland, so we avoided blue on blue games. We did end up the three allied Pacific lists, withe some geographically
embarrassed ANZACs, US Marine (G org), and a Soviet Manchurian list.  A bit of imperfection, but so be it.
Good Scenery makes good miniatures look better!


We we lucky enough to not have out tables in use on Friday, so I was able to set up a couple of tables early, and store my twenty boxes under our tables. Handy.
It could be an aerial photograph except for the dice cup.


After I finished my personal games of Malifaux on Friday, I met up with John who advised of his plans to re-set the tables. I acknowledge myself as a tradesman like creator and setter
of terrain, while John is Master. John very kindly detected my exceptional tiredness, and sent me home. I had seen John's tables before, and had all confidence.
The tables in full 'stand-on-a-chair-o-rama'


I came back in the morning to see the tables - they were magnificent. Easily the best tables at Cancon. Hand assembled and carved MDF to create picture perfect vistas. Splendid. I
tucked into creating the draws, presuming 100% attendance, and was finished by the time the players spilled in at 8.30. The buzz was fantastic, and eight out ten players were there
early, and the late ones happened to be one each of axis and allies, so were paired off to play each other. Everyone was underway by 9.10.
Our tables were so good that we had a lot of attention, and we also got some media. The local ABC television station always pops along to do an article about Cancon, and Scott was
chosen to do the television interview. I think they were attracted by the lovely tables, and I guess WW2 is culturally approachable enough that Joe Public can understand it.
Scott works the press

Chain of Command is a funny game to play with the time strictures of a tournament. Some games will be decided in 30 minutes, and some can take five thrilling hours even with two
really fast players. It is not possible to cater to this degree of variation, so I didn't try, and topped day one games at three hours. 2/5 of games finished in 90 minutes, 2/5 within
two hours 30, and one went the distance. This seemed to be about  regular throughout the weekend.
Allies had the firm upper hand in the first round, but since it was an attack with much greater support, I was not too concerned.
Allies defended in the second round, and were still deeply ahead in wins and points, and I started to detect an trend...In the third game I decided to take some action. I come from a
sports background, and firmly believe in handicapping. Give the guys who are not winning an extra boost. Golfers get extra shots per hole,  One of the axis players had taken two big
losses in a row, so  determined that his NCO's had revolted, and begun to do things their way. His 5d6 regular phase dice were replaced by 4 d6 and 2 d4 dice. This was to simulate the
NCO's running things more smoothly, but The complex officer calls being restricted. The results were as I had hoped - this players third games results were much better - he had a
tight loss rather than another whitewash. No-one wants to end the day with three floggings, and I hope the dice turned that, but didn't tip things the other way.
One trend I let go this year but will address next year is double phasing. Double phasing deeply affected about a third of the games. Once your opponent gets that luck rolling, there
is nothing to do but grab your ankles and pray. Bad things happen, but it can move things to dice murder rather than anything tactical. Once game had an imbalance of eight phases to
sixteen. That isn't a game, it's a cake walk of dice watching. I will have either a) five minute max phases or b) our house rule: Lady Luck Counter - "Once a double phase has been
played, you get the Lady Luck Counter. You keep the counter until your opponent gets it off you by achieving a double phase. While you hold the counter, any rolls of two sixes are
treated as rolls of two fives, advancing your chain of command dice. 
Pop smoke and use that cover!


At the end of the day, the Axis had a terrible time of it. So bad in fact that I decided to give each Axis player the option of an extra d4 per phase. Some Axis generals decided to
forgo the dice, but most took it up. This made for more interesting games, but did not tip it too far the other way either. People try to leave earlier on Sunday, as some people will
be trying to get to flights, and some people will be driving eight hours to get home to Melbourne, or driving twelve hours to get back home to Brisbane. Game time allowed was 90
minutes, but after day one everyone had gotten faster as usual.
The games seem to fly by, and most people were finishing with enough time to do a little shopping. One game was particularly brief. A game was lost in the patrol phase - the patrol
markers reached the back of the board, meaning the troops could deploy in a game ending position. Once this was declared, the opponent did offer another patrol phase to get a game in,
but my friend was more in a mood to shop than play after that.
Game three was "Big Chain of Command". I figured the best way forward was to leave two tables together and call it the Soviet Sector, and pull the other three tables together and get
the UK lads to work with the geographically embarrassed US and ANZAC forces against two and three Axis players respectively.
The soviet sector was rolled by a couple of flame tanks. Stupidly effective, practically invulnerable, completely banned next year. Conventional and more typical arms in the Allied
sector created a much better game, with the Axis barely holding when time was called.
My prize philosophy has remain constant - there were certificates for best generals, best painted, best sportsman, and outstanding terrain assistance. However the prizes went via
random draw, with tanks and figure blister packs going out over several random draws.
Pack down went smoothly with Dan and John staying to the bitter end. All in all, another great Cancon.
German armour on the prowl

Cancon 2018

I intend to run Cancon again next year. I polled the players, and there was much discussion, and no completely clear concensus, but a winner emerged: Next year we are staying with 28mm
scale, and we will be running D-Day invasion scenarios. I want to build a couple of beaches, such as Juno, and maybe Omaha. John is motivated to do some inland work, so will start on
bocage and a Brecourt Manor table. I will be looking at the lists, and bumping the list so they are all sitting at around +5. Lower lists will have compulsory engineering sections
added. The scenarios that I write will need clever usage of engineering assets to complete the objectives.
We have an accidental pattern, and I will keep it rolling. First year was tournament style rounds, year two was Stalingrad scenarios, this year three was tournament rounds, year four
will be D-Day scenarios. I invite all and sundry to join us there in 2018.  
We had a great time, and we will be back!

Scott's Analysis

***This was taken from a Facebook group, I have copied it in order to be able to find it and to remember the analysis for when I make the next player's pack***

I thought I'd take a moment to share my thoughts on the CoC tournament just played at Cancon. 
Firstly thank you to Bart Bart Beswick for organising it and thanks to John Bond for the truly magnificent terrain. I've never seen better terrain ANYWHERE! (John we need to talk about some commission work) ;)
Firstly it was a fantastic learning experience 
I thought I knew the rules quite well but discovering pinned troops remain pinned until the end of the TURN rather than simply when the shock is reduced at the end of a PHASE really surprised me. But there it was (eventually) in black and white. Seemed crazy to me but I must admit on reflection it does make some sense.
Flame tanks are just too powerful I think. I also think they should be restricted to particular scenarios.
I don't see a problem with man pack flamethrowers.
Russian preliminary bombardment is insane! Being incapable of deploying a team / section unless you can roll a 5 or 6 simply too powerful to be a freebie national characteristic. It's kinda hard to fight when you can't deploy.
I would restrict it to the first phase. That gives Ivan a full phase to get a jump on Fritz and mass for an assault 
Winning a game during the patrol phase is ridiculous!
Everyone comes to move some models and toss some dice 🎲 
A simply rule stating no game can be won by patrolling alone should prevent that garbage happening.
Permit ELITES to be used but with the 6th die being a different colour and any 6 or 5 being converted to a 1-4 with of the player's choice.
Permit SMGs to fire as Rifles (1 D6) to a max of 18 inches and as SMGs (4 D6) up to a max of 6 inches.
Just my thoughts


  1. I visited on the Saturday and was impressed by the very friendly group playing Chain of Command, who were more than happy to explain things.

  2. Nice Show report, great looking tables Thanks for sharing it!

  3. I , for one, would like to get the detail on how a game could possibly be won by patrol action alone? Did one side get too many free moves with his PMs?
    I had a thought for tournament CoC that I am going to try in one-on-one games as I have terrrible dice luck (so bad that I ask my opponent to roll my dice for me). That is to make up 50 or so slips each with a random 5 dice roll: i.e. 63341; 55234, etc. both sides have the same slips in a box, hat, bowl, what-have you and draw them out instead of a die roll. Thus both sides are subject to the same dice rolls over the course of the game and no particular dice advantage accrues.
    Dick Bryant

    1. Hi Dick, With enough games under your belt, most dice can be turned into good dice. I find the only exception is one player getting lots of phases - so we have house ruled that.

    2. One player took a nice defensive position in a church in a corner, and the other player was able to advance their patrol markers in the other edge of the board until the jump off points were on the edge. Instant over. My friend was rushed and had not played since last year, and did not get a chance to re-read the scenarios. Traps for young players...

  4. I had another thought! I have to get it down quick as I don't have too many of them.... I hope you plan to publish the actual scenarios and maps of these great looking games so that we can all try them - PLEASE!
    Dick Bryant

  5. The scenarios are as written in the short players packs. My experience is KEEP IT SIMPLE, The boards were designed by John Bond on the fly, from examining the available terrain bits we had, and also studying aerial photographs then and now, of how European semi-rural land is laid out. The only maps are the photographs we had. Principles - two intersecting roads, and fields inside hedges inside fences.