Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Nathalie Griffiths-Babineau

FallCon Gaming Society - Thursday, September 18, 2014
It's about to happen.
Since Nathalie has been gradually introducing our readers to the FallCon Volunteer Core, it's time to turn the tables on her!

Who are you? What's your story?

People know me as Babs – it’s a nickname derived from my maiden name (Babineau). I’m originally from Moncton, NB and moved to Calgary for work in the fall of 2006. I am married to Billy and we have a dog named Buster who is a gentle giant.

How did you get started with tabletop gaming?

After moving to Calgary, I needed to find a way to meet people and make new friends.  I found the Calgary Tabletop Games Meetup group in January 2007 and attended my first “board game” meetup – where I expect to be playing Scattergories, Taboo, or Scrabble. Was I ever in for a surprise! At my first event, I played Ys (with Jasen, I think?). I was hooked and the rest, as they say, is history!

How did you become involved with FallCon?

I signed up to volunteer at FallCon in 2008. I arrived and was put to ‘work’ in the library – checking games out of the library with the new “Marion” (our library check out system). I later took on the role of casual photographer. And later on took on a bit more responsibility with the social media side of things.

What's your role with FallCon now?

I’m the social media/marketing person - I’m one of the tweeters behind the @FallConYYC twitter account. I’m also one of the main contacts for sponsorship. I’m and event photographer and in addition to this, I am one of the game ambassadors that teaches games at FallCon as well as during the year at various meetup events (including my own monthly girls night Meetup).

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

I seem to be a collector of hobbies: I’m a runner, a geocacher, a photographer, a hiker, a road-tripper.  I’m happiest when I’m “on the go” as opposed to sitting at home in front of a computer screen (although I spend a lot of time there as well).

Which games your favourite to use to introduce non-gamer friends/family?

I really enjoy using Qwirkle and Ticket to Ride to introduce friends to “non-traditional” gaming.  Qwirkle uses a simple concept of matching symbols (like Dominoes) and expanding on existing “information” (like Scrabble). Ticket to Ride has concepts similar to many card games (set collection like in Gin Rummy)

In a way, both Qwirkle and Ticket to Ride provide familiarity in game play because they use similar concepts to their classic counterparts that most “non-gamers” are familiar with. This makes them both fun and easy to learn. They also have zero chance of overwhelming new players (compared to say Agricola).

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

I have been hosting a monthly girls game night at my house since the fall of 2012 with an average turnout of about 5-6 players – with as many as 12! I try to attend a few of the other Calgary Tabletop Gaming Meetup Group events. I also game with my husband and our good friend Jennifer.

Have you ever played Monopoly with the actual rules? Did you like it?

No, I have never played Monopoly with the actual auction rules – but I remember refusing to play the game with my cousins because they put money in the middle for Free Parking – and I was adamant that wasn’t part of the rules.

What's a game rule that you had wrong for the longest time?

In Agricola, we believed that every pair of the same animal produced a baby.  Our farms were very well populated and food supply rarely scarce.

Thanks Nathalie!

Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Tim O'Connor

FallCon Gaming Society - Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Nathalie "Babs" Babineau, our newest FallCon Core Organizer recruit, thought it would be a great idea to do a little expose on the team and allow you to get know us better. We'll be sharing one of Nathalie's interviews every few days from now until the faithful FallCon weekend. 

Today, we're focussing on our Ambassador Lead and Treasurer: Tim O'Connor.

Who are you? What's your story? 
I'm just a regular guy who puts a high priority on friends and family, and has a passion for games. I am a huge believer in FallCon's core purpose that People + Games = Better Families, Communities and Relationships.

How did you get started with tabletop gaming?
We always had games in the house when I was growing up (a very long time ago) - Sorry, Payday, Rebound.  It kinda evolved from there to some role playing in high school and then on to strategy, euro games and even some lighter wargames.

What's your role with FallCon? 
I am one of the directors of the society, act as the society treasurer and I spearhead our Ambassador program.

How did you become involved with FallCon? 
Through a business relationship with Steve Zanini. One day we got talking about hobbies, and the rest is history.

What kind of games do you tend to gravitate towards?
For me it's about elegance and a theme.  I love elegant games which are efficient and not too convoluted in the way to win or score points. I like simple (few choices) but hard decision making. In terms of theme, I like games that have some kind of theme that makes some sense and is not just pasted on. I'm drawn to many Martin Wallace games for this reason.

Is there a game rule that you had wrong for the longest time? 
Yes and I'm too embarrassed to talk about it.  Ok, ok, when I first learned Kingdom Builder I played that the special power tiles could only be executed once in the game instead of every turn.  I blame it on the person who taught me the game.

How many different games do you think you've played?
Well I have about 200 in my collection, and I've traded or sold probably that many too.  I'm thinking about 1000 in my lifetime.

What game would you play if you could play with anyone from history dead or alive?
Well the question doesn't say "undead", but I'd like to play Fury of Dracula with Dracula.  I'd play Dracula in the game and he'd be a hunter.  Take that you blood sucking immortal!

Sounds like Tim is willing to take on all vampires. Maybe he'll attract a whole new demographic!

Getting to Know the FallCon Core: Darren Bezzant

FallCon Gaming Society - Saturday, September 13, 2014
Nathalie "Babs" Babineau, our newest FallCon Core Organizer recruit, thought it would be a great idea to do a little expose on the team and allow you to get know us better. We'll be sharing one of Nathalie's interviews every few days from now until the faithful FallCon weekend. 

Today, we're focussing on Darren Bezzant.

Who are you? What's your story? 
I'm a displaced Maritimer, who moved out here over 10 years ago for work.  I am a software developer for an Nationwide Accounting firm.  I have a very patient wife, and three awesome kids.  And two dogs. When I am not gaming, I'm reading (about games), listening to podcasts (about games), and camping (and usually playing games).

How did you get started with tabletop gaming? 
I was an avid RPG player for 20 years or so, when one night, back in 2004, we were short too many players to continue in our game.  One of the players said: 'Hey, I've got this game in the truck. Do you want to give it a try?'  

It was Settlers of Catan.  Not too long after that, we played El Grande, Power Grid, Web of Power, and a couple others. After that, I was hooked!

What's your role with FallCon?
I am the head librarian. I collect, organize and maintain our open game library. I also coordinate our monthly Brentwood Coop Meetups. Other than that, I just try to help out where I am needed, whether that is handing out badges during registration, hosting a game session, or teaching something out of the library.

[Editors Note: I'd suggest that Darren's being humble here. He plays a huge role in the Calgary boardgame community. I'd hazard to say that among our volunteers, and not a paid staff person affiliated with any local store, he's the person who's introduced the most people to gaming in Calgary over the last 5 years. You can follow Darren's boardgaming exploits at his blog: BoardGameKnights. - Jasen]

How did you become involved with FallCon? 
I've been attending FallCon since 2007, started moderating games in 2008, then a core volunteer in 2011.

How many games are in your collection?
As of the time of writing this, I have 1068 unique items in the collection (717 Games and 351 expansions/promos).

What expansions do you feel makes the base game that much better? 
I like expansions that don't change the game too much, but add more depth.  Just adding a different map is great, but they rarely get played as I usually have at least one person that I have to teach the game to.

Do you track games played? How much detail do you keep? 
I log almost every play.  It helps me track which games are getting played, and which need to be rotated out of the collection.

How do you decide what game to buy next?
Tough Question!  I spend a lot of time on BoardGameGeek, I listen to a bunch of podcasts (Dice Tower, The Spiel, D6 Generation, etc), I host and attend a bunch of gaming events (weekly, monthly and annually) so I hear about a lot of games, but usually it is spur of the moment spending at the local FLGS's (The Sentry Box, Revolution Games) or online (Starlit Citadel, FunGamesCafe, BoardGameBliss). 

I'll be picking up games right up to the last minute before FallCon so I'll have some fresh games to open up. Looking forward to teaching and learning new games with everyone at FallCon.

18XX and Other Dropkicks in Open Gaming

FallCon Gaming Society - Thursday, September 11, 2014
Time for another guest blog post! Today it's from Tyler McLaughlin, a Medicine Hat gamer and regular FallCon Open Gaming attendee.

"My name is Tyler, and I like different games than you."
Quasi-recently on this blog, FallCon responded to a question about how Euro centric FallCon has become in recent years. The author of the question appeared to postulate that this was a symptom of the organizers' personal biases showing through. I don't know if this is true or not, nor do I care because for the most part, I don't let other people nor a convention schedule influence what I play.

One of the primary drivers of the selection you see at FallCon is accessibility. The games on offer have to be teachable in a reasonably short time frame, playable in a reasonably short time as well and should probably deal with subject matter that people can buy into (like games about dress making -  apparently, there's one of those). I think there are other factors at play. Perhaps FallCon is becoming more Euro-centric (or whatever you want to call it) because there are fewer people out there, fighting the good fight on behalf of the “other”, non-Euro games?

My name is Tyler, and I like different games than you. I like games that are sharp and obtuse and covered in chest hair. I like games that are unforgiving and terrible to the players. I like games that are difficult to learn, harder to master and are generally just a dropkick to the face. I like games of pure economics where players have real control over the economy and its development within the game space. I like games where crafty play is rewarded and luck is not a factor. I like my games to get the better of grown men and that help me to realize how bad I am at them just by playing with someone new. I want to play games where players have the freedom within the rules to learn, create and discover. I want to play these games with you.

Some of us look at the gaming landscape and we see a bunch of games we may not like and it feels a bit hopeless. I choose to look at that situation and see an opportunity. I use the open gaming area of FallCon as a vehicle to bolster my personal gaming agenda, which consists mostly of Train games, Splotter canon and some older Avalon Hill stuff. This year, I have offered to run a handful of teaching games for the 18xx series because I want to see more of my favorites played at the con, and at a different table than the one I'm sitting at. The illustrious Darren Bezzant (who runs the open gaming library at FallCon) challenged me to do so and I'm up to the task. Are you up to the challenge?

Are you of the mind the things have gotten a bit Euro-ey lately? Need a drop kick in the face? Look no further. I have the solution to both of those problems. Darren (wisely) created a FallCon Guild on BoardGameGeek to facilitate more and better organized open gaming this year. I seized the day and built a schedule of my 18xx weekend with an open invitation to most of what I am playing (with caveats). Drop a message in the comments below or ideally, on the Guild forums to let me know if you're keen to play. If there's enough interest, we might be able to run an 1830 tourney in the open gaming section! First time for everything, right?


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      6:00pm-12:00am

Saturday Pass - $30   8:00am-12:00am

Sunday Pass - $20     9:00am-4:00pm

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