(Published on September 23, 2014 in The Chronicle and on The Chronicle website: http://chronicle.durhamcollege.ca/?p=1547 )
What better way to celebrate World War I then playing war-gaming board games. The military memorabilia around the room and tables set up each with a different game. Different kinds of miniatures set up on either side of the tabletop battlefield with strategists at the helm with victory in mind.
The Field Marshal Gaming Convention on the weekend of September 6 also couldn’t have picked a more perfect venue. The convention celebrated war-gaming, board games and community.
Since this is the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I, it is only fitting the convention was held at the 420 building at the Oshawa Airport.
“And then we walked into this place,” said Ken Bertrand, the industry liaison and event coordinator for the Field Marshal Gaming Convention. “This building here actually used to be the officer’s mess of the 420 Royal Canadian Air Force.”
Along with celebrating war games such as “Warhammer” and “Axis and Allies” the convention was also giving back this year.
The convention raised $202.45 for the Wounded Warriors of Canada, an organization that gives any help a veteran needs to help them adjust. Whether it is with injuries that are physical or mental. Wounded Warriors tries to help.
“We thought it was time to give back, and also make our attendees aware of a good cause,” said Jeremy Blowers, the chairman of the Field Marshal Gaming Convention. “So we can have a good time while also supporting an [important] charity.”
There were games to suit everyone from brand new players to experienced ones.
“It goes simply from Monopoly and Uno right up to more advanced games, like miniatures games,” said Blowers.
This is the fourth year for the Field Marshal Games and the convention has gone from bringing in games that the organizers have brought themselves to having sponsors. The game selection keeps growing every year. Game companies are now giving them games to play as well as give away as prizes such as “Countdown Special Ops” and “Zombie Dice.”
Now that their game library is vast the organizers are trying to work on the variety of attendees.
In past years it was only males who would attend the convention. This year showed some growth with female gamers attending, as well as a family coming to play some games. But, the organizers don’t want to stop there.
“We are really trying to expand the demographic. Not make it so specific,” said Blowers.
Even though they want to expand the demographic they don’t want to expand the size to be a huge event. This year brought 64 attendees, which was double from last year.
“Cause when you get too big everyone just does their own thing and then go home. Whereas this they can mingle with everybody, kind of make friends,” said Bertrand.
Door prizes and play-to-win prizes were given this year. The convention has a more laid back atmosphere even with the prizes being given, said James Campbell, treasurer and public relations of the convention. “Keep it relaxed and casual.”
The people at the greeting you at the door were even playing a new game called “Castellan.” The atmosphere was light and contagious with laughter and people talking throughout the hall.
“It’s really to give us an excuse to have fun and have a weekend of board games,” said Blower.