The Cape Legion of Adventurers and Wargamers (CLAWs) had their annual Dragonfire convention this weekend and I was fortunate enough to find out about it last week and make plans to attend on Saturday afternoon. I was able to bring my older son, Gabriel. He’s 10 and has never been to a convention nor has he done much gaming other than the Wii and the DS. It was a new experience for him and I am glad to have shared it with him.
Concerning the convention, I’m going to actually stop calling it a “convention” and just call it Dragonfire or more generically an “event”. I’ve been to several conventions, both large and small, over the years; Gen Con, Origins, PointCon and some others. Dragonfire doesn’t have the same kind of feel.
At conventions there are organized events in specific slots. You sign up for a game, show up at the correct place and time and play the game. There’s generally a good bit of organization to it. Dragonfire was a large room with a lot of tables and a bunch of games going on. Most of the games seemed to be pick-up games. They weren’t scheduled or really planned. They just happened.
This is not a criticism of Dragonfire. This format worked out for Gabriel and me. We went to the Fantaticus table and picked out a couple of their demo games and Zack (I think his name was Zack.) helped us get started with the rules. The folks at Fanaticus were fantastically helpful. You should visit and purchase some games from them if you are in the Cape Town area. Gabriel and I were able to play King of Tokyo and Memoir 44. We had never seen either before.
We showed up at Dragonfire right after lunch and we weren’t sure what to do. As I said, there wasn’t a lot of organization. We took the easy way out and sat down and played a game that I had brought along, Kingdoms. During the set-up another gamer, Antoine, stopped at the table and expressed interest. We had him sit down and were soon playing a 3 player game. That was the nice thing about the gaming format. Nobody felt odd about joining into a game that was getting started. We met someone new and made a friend. Good times. I won. Better times.
Next, Gabriel wanted to play King of Tokyo, which is basically a giant monster stomps on Tokyo game. I’ll do a proper review of the game later. Right now all that’s important is that Gabriel had fun and he won. I got a bit too aggressive and he made me pay.
The final game we played was Memoir 44, a World War II tactics game. The game is simple enough for kids perhaps as young as 8 or 9 to play but the tactical aspect of the game really does favor someone a little older who can project moves into the future and sacrifice short term goals to achieve long term goals. I won primarily because I was willing to abandon one of the mission objectives in order to achieve overall victory conditions.
It was Gabriel’s first gaming convention and he enjoyed it. That’s a win in my books. I made some memories with my son. We met a new friend or two. We found some games we’d like to play in the future. It was a successful afternoon at Dragonfire. I’ll be back next year.