That it will never come again...

...is what makes life so sweet. A blog about my job working in a boardgame establishment... Living the dream?

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...the strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team...

Will Brasher
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Birmingham
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This is fun... I'm sitting at work on a Friday evening after my shift ends waiting for my flat mate Mark to finish... what better time to start writing my blog?

So with no further ado (apart from the occassional sip of my pint...) here we go, how was my Friday shift?

All in all very good, a new Chancer called Caitlin has started working with us in the last few days, she is very excited to learn new games and a new and happy face added to the team is always a bonus. The team has really come together, there have been a few losses along the way but I truly feel we now have a solid team, next step is to get a training programme in place to teach them a set of basic games so that when I'm busy or not in, they all have a solid base of games they can rely on to teach people if called upon.

At the start of my shift it's all a bit quiet... between a few teaches I had a good sort of various popular games, whilst doing so I found a blue Pandemic cube on the floor...

From gallery of Rillian

...uh oh... seems all the diseases are missing cubes... what a disaster! Oh well, don't tell the guests that it's on slightly hard mode... I shoud look to get a 2nd copy any way as it's taken a right battering from being played a lot. It is currently more sellotape than rulebook now too... there are a number of games like that like the Ticket to Ride games. They are on my list for replacement when I get a budget next (probably after Xmas now).

On with the good stuff... maybe drinking whilst writing this might actually make it a bit longer to do... we'll see *hic*

From gallery of Rillian

One of the early tables I had a big influence in their gaming day was a table of 4, two couples... they were looking for fast paced games they could play and enjoy with a drink, so... (in order) they played new boy, BONK then KLASK 4 followed by some Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza and finally Drunk Stoned or Stupid: A Party Game. They were laughing their heads off, so much so that the table next to them were later overheard to say they should hunt me down for a recommendation... when they did I got them on Tumblin-Dice which they all stood up for and played multiple rounds with plenty of 'ooo' and 'ahh' going on... before settling back down for some Anomia. Great vibes coming from both these tables. Total pleasure to be around them and so appreciative, it is a true gift to be in such an amazing job and be the bringer of fun to so many people's visits. I'm one lucky chap!

From gallery of Rillian

Only one thing to say here and that's DOGGOS! Yeah. Another bonus to my amazing job is the dog friendly status of the bar, so nice to get some love from man's best friend on a regular basis, I was always a part of a dog family when younger so this gives me much joy.

From gallery of Rillian

Lovely pair of ladies came in and asked after word games... I set them up on Upwords as an alternative but then I thought about it some more and realised that we have very few two player word games in the collection. I'm thinking we need Paperback, but what else would you suggest? Hmmm??? Do let me know any hidden gems of word forming games you may know, I'd appreciate the feedback, as always!

Right, Mark finishes in 10 and I'm now on my 2nd pint so just gonna chillax for a bit whilst I wait, next blog will be a double on Monday so until then, take care and stay tuned! In to the weekend I go!!!!! Wooo!
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Fri Dec 3, 2021 10:38 pm
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...we have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down...

Will Brasher
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Birmingham
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Oooo.... yet again this night owl lifestyle is getting in the way of my blogging...

Stayed up too late watching Netflix with my housemate Mark and I've got to potentially leave for work in just over an hours time!

Better get on with it whilst I sip coffee and munch breakfast.

Went on a boardgame outing Wednesday to a social outside of work that has changed venue to the upstairs of a non-profit bar called 'The Good Intent', decent turn out and I joined a group of casual gamers and played...

From gallery of Rillian


Nosferatu, a nice spin on social deduction... this went straight on the wishlist for the cafe as it's a quick game and quick teach, ideal. May have also had a few mugs of mulled wine, shame.

The classic Dixit which I know but hadn't played in so long... I tend to shy away from recommending this in the cafe for no good reason! After experiencing the pure joy of it again I'll be getting it in as a good party game going forward more often.

This one I had to teach, my lockdown favourite Cartographers. Now I want to play the expansion I have at hone, well... all of them... maybe next week on my special night for Michaela's birthday We'll see.

Finally we played BANG! The Dice Game which was ideal as I was looking to learn this as suggested by Tyinsar, how fortuitous!

Defo be teaching this one real soon, quality game.. might try and show the staff this if it's quiet today as a fun and quick alternative party game.

Bonus? Alex from Social Gaming showed up, nice to see her outside of work!

Thursday rolls around and it's the difficult 2nd album for Birmingham Gaymers... nerves all round with me and Chris (the organiser), had a few Covid scares from the guests and hence some late cancellations so we had a cosy set of three tables playing. I helped them and the rest of the floor as much as I could, nice to be back after a little bit of a break, Monday didn't really feel like a day back as I was mostly playing games with the Social crew.

From gallery of Rillian

Before the evening began in earnest I had a few hours to fill, the Chancers had done a great job keeping games in order so the wall tidy was not as prolonged as usual thus I could do a deeper dive than usual... hence the taped napkins to the base of the Blokus Trigon box. Any ideas why I may possibly have done this? Simple really, when it goes in to the collection it will be stored sideways and when you tip this one all of the shapes leave the tray and fall to the bottom of the box, by adding the napkins it raises the tray to the top of the box and the board snugly fits on top and holds everything in place... Did you like me talking nerdy to you? That's some boardgame organising pron for you... enjoy.

Meet Pickles... such a cutie! I taught this table Sub Terra, which was perfect. Sadly one of the table realised half way through the game that their phone had been stolen on the way to the cafe! Stressful times. Worry not, the game got finished but no sign of the phone, they pinged it and it was half way across town so clearly nabbed rather than lost.

Piccy of the current state of the 'New Games' shelf too... new addition is a Mexican Train tin addition which I got in a damaged sale for £8. Bent box is the only issue, nicely coloured 12 spot domiuno set for the collection. Sweet.

From gallery of Rillian

Biggest teach of the evening, getting Lost Ruins of Arnak to the table... great to teach again... a few questions on some of the actions but they played admirably and got the whole four player experience down. This shows there is room in the collection for some games on the longer side so I need not steer away from them too much going forward, just not add too many I guess.

Other games from the Gaymers group? Let me see... Wingspan, Sinister Six, Jenga, Just One, Betrayal, Concept, to name a few. Was nice to see John from Mondays there again too! Poster child for getting a membership and making the most of it! I should invite him to my session on Wednesday next week, I think he'd appreciate it. If you're reading this John then check out my linktree, I added a link to the newly created Discord server for Mondays (https://linktr.ee/game.guru.wizard).

Side note... just playing my Spotify year in review list and one of the background tracks from The 7th Continent just started playing! Hah!

Quick few games of OK Play after work with Chopper and Nathan. Still got it.

That's your lot for today though, got to dash!
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Fri Dec 3, 2021 11:45 am
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...what greater gift than the love of a cat...

Will Brasher
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Back once again... (for the renegade master?)

Good luck shifting that ear worm!

Quick blog on yesterday's Social Gaming Session, nice turn out of 6 this week, with the poor weather we thought it might be quiet, but not really! I'm getting names straight too... (I think?)

On with the details! I get in an hour earlier so spent the whole of it tidying the wall as I hadn't been in since Thursday, wasn't too bad... needs a good proper sort when I'm in next though.

From gallery of Rillian

Not wanting to start anything big until we were sure people had all got there we started on a 6 player Codenames: Pictures at David's suggestion. I sat out and tidied a bit, after a couple of rounds we decided to crack on with something for all of us.

Stanley wanted to try Tortuga 1667 again and as we were an odd number we thought it sensible to give it another go, lots of roleplay and general screwing about, as you do. This time a decisive British win with another lucky end blind draw, much enjoyed by all again.

Next on the menu? Yeah... decided to play Adrenaline again as David left as he wasn't feeling great, this left me to run the show and not play and Tom (mate of mine from RL who has decided to join us), Stanley, Matt, John(I think?) and Andrew to play.

So glad I played this Sunday, quite an easy teach and not too long to play once people know what's going on. Played a 5 kill game again without the Final Frenzy mode, John won this time probably due to his greaqt combo of a Tractor Beam and Sledgehammer! Smash them away, tractor them back or the other way around... shame! Scores? Stanley 31, John 39, Matt 29, Tom 34 and Andrew 28.

With John heading off and not long left to the evening we got out new game, BONK again. This is going to be popular!

I've now also (just thos morning) set up a Discord server for the group too so people can chat outside of the evening and potentially organise meet ups or chat about what to play on the next Monday... we'll see if it's used or not. They wanted to organise a RPG so I've put a channel for that on there too...
Had two new experiences related to my gaming friends this week... the first was meeting up with a Social Session player outside of a Monday session, the second? Read on...

So, Andrew I have mentioned previously, he's a regular who normally comes in with his partner Becca, they have just been to America as Becca comes from there, she's staying over with family until after Christmas so Andrew is at a loose end most evenings and will be joining us for Mondays for the foreseeable. I had a heart to heart with them previously and in doing so mentioned that I have a German version of Calico as I got it when my cat Teffie passed away as a memorial to her as the UK version was not available, not the nicest bag for the tiles though, so...

From gallery of Rillian

...Becca made me one! Bless, I was VERY touched as it was such a generous and thoughtful thing to do. First gift I have had from guests at the cafe too, I had been considering Becca and Andrew as friends, seems they think the same way. Got to say... boardgamers are awesome and I'm so happy to be part of the community!
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Tue Nov 30, 2021 1:25 pm
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...reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away...

Will Brasher
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Woah... is it Monday already? It's nearly been a week since I posted last... since then I had a shift on Thursday and then have been getting on with real life stuffs... had me a visitor of 25 years pop up for a cold and snowy weekend... not a gamer so little to report in the gaming front from then but had a corker on last Tuesday to report on and some from yesterday after Claire headed back to Swansea. So, kept well have we all? Getting plenty of gaming on the go I hope? Snap up some Black Friday Bargains? Hmmm... best not speak of the ridiculous amount I may have spent on games, having Black Friday off may have been a financial disaster or maybe just early Christmas present purchasing has been completed? Now if only the people I'm getting presents for want the games I wanted.... hmmm...

Right then.... let me wind back the clock a bit and give you an update on my week...

Tuesday I popped by the cafe and had a quick game toward the end of shift with a few friends/colleagues... namely a bit of Blokus Trigon with Charles, Hope, Nathan and myself... of which Nathan came up on top, straight after a speed round of OK Play with me, Charles and Nathan which I managed to sneak the win. Always nice to swing by the cafe for a game or two with my fellow Chancers.

Wednesday I organised a long overdue game with Zee and Tom round mine... Zee wasn't feeling great but once I mentioned what I had set up to play she was suddenly much better... or at least willing to go out and play. We used to play the last version of this whenever we could and with the recent retheming I had to get this and give it a whirl with some players of the classic, yep... I got my copy of Unfathomable to the table!

From gallery of Rillian

I was always going to enjoy this, mixing one of Michaela's favourite narrative worlds with the joys of BSG was going to be an instant winner, having old friends to visit and play with was perfect. That I happened to be a Hybrid from the very start was taxing and tense and very enjoyable, made a few 'mistakes' that they were very suspicious of but tried to cover it up as being distracted by social media, backed this up by getting off my phone and being very pro-human... didn't work but had fun trying to kill them all... got tracks down to 2 fuel, 1 food, 2 sanity and 1 soul but they made it in to harbour... great game! Looking forward to hopefully having the time to try this again at a greater player count.

Thursday rolls around and I have a shift to cover with an evening saying farewll to Zoe too so I started a bit earlier than usual so I would get a bit of an evening with her.

From gallery of Rillian

Best table of the shift? The one which made it to 6 players... started them with the classic Love Letter and as people turned up they joined in the game... as they reached 6 then Tumblin-Dice hit the table then they followed it up with a team vs team game of TEAM3 PINK vs TEAM3 GREEN too. Very entertaining.

Managed to finish off at 9 and join Zoe's leaving do... I had got spare copies of A game about WEE WHIMSICAL CREATURES and trying to identify them after someone makes noises. when I backed it on Kickstarter... Had a great idea and got all the staff in on that day and then Zoe's friends who turned up to colour in a monster each and comment on them too so she could take it with her as a gift and memento. Unsurprisingly she loved it.

Busy weekend showing Claire around Brum, she stayed from Friday to Sunday and we played ludicrous amounts of SingStar on the old PS3 far too late in to the night, hit the shops, went to the movies... just had a great time really catching up. Once she got her train I popped by a very busy TK Maxx and then headed off for some gaming at the cafe with a copy of BONK at a bargain price as it didn't have English rules in it.

From gallery of Rillian

I was a bit early and it turned out my apprentice, Ros was on her break so we had a quick teaching lesson of Carcassonne as Ros didn't know it and as we wrapped up my guests arrived and we got on with the main event.

Thought it about time I played Adrenaline as I wanted to gauge if it's in the right section... to be honest I think it could go in the light strategy section as it's not too long ofr a game once you know the iconography. Great game though, loved by all 5 players scores? 38 to me, 27 to Stanley, 24 to Felix, 17 to Laurence and 22 to Mark.

We then had a few rounds of Carcassonne which was hilarious and then a couple of rounds of OK Play to round off the evening.

What next for me? Social tonight, a new location and a visit to a different gaming group on Wednesday and then Birmingham Gaymers 2 on Thursday! Back to the crazy gaming life by the looks of it!

Ciao!
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Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:47 pm
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...the older you get the better you get, unless you are a banana...

Will Brasher
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Another Monday passes and so another Social Gaming Session is completed.

As it was 2 years ago that Chance & Counters opened I thought I'd make it a bit special and throw an impromptu Birthday Party, I had a budget to get some party food (& a giant balloon!) so I went for all the classics... including getting a grapefruit, cutting it in half, wrapping in foil and loading one half up with cocktail sausages on cocktail sticks and the other with cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks. Classic.

From gallery of Rillian

I also decided I would offer up some more games to the collection from mine as it's a special occassion. All of them got played last night too...

Firstly as Blokus is so popular I decided Blokus Trigon would also potentially have a place too. We had three regulars show up in the first 15 minutes, Stanley, John, Matt(Mark? Can't recall!) and me settled in to play a game and as we were setting up, Alex, the lady from a few weeks back who interviewed me for her paper showed up so I bowed out and let them play (John won, Stanley didn't, you can tell by the picture). As they were, Colin and a +1 and Felix showed up too so we started a game of my next offering, Bausack. Why would we not want a 6 player balancing game with crazy pieces and multiple play modes? It's perfect for the cafe.

At this point I was requested to assist a couple with a game so taught them... yup... Watergate. I tried a different route though, showed them the basics then advised them not to think too much and just get used to the cards in their first game then play again. They did and loved it, I had a word with them before leaving and, again, got a glowing review for the game.

For our main event after these had finished we set up a 9 player Tortuga 1667. I had got this as an add-on from one of the other Dark Cities games from Kickstarter as I'd played it at a social meet up before my job started at Afternoon Play who still meet up monthly but on a day I work so I don't normally get to go.

As an up to 9 player deception game, this works really well... the pirate theme and mechanisms are superb.. I can see this going down as a big hit in the cafe, maybe even reaching the heights of Secret Hitler in popularity. What's not to love... the design is top notch... I'm looking forward to teaching this too! I have a feeling the rest of the staff will get on board too.

People started leaving at this point but others stayed on, we went back to Bausack as Alex had to get a train in half an hour so we didn't want to keep her too long... I got a nice Xmas tree look off but then it got a bit messy... Alex won as mine fell, I laughed too hard and Matt's (Mark's?) fell due to me! Alex left and we finished off with a favourite of Felixs but with a twist... he's partial to a game of Coup and we have Coup: Reformation so we added that to the mix and enjoyed the extra level with the 4 of us.

All in all a great session, really felt like a little community is building... we agreed that we all use Discord so I'm looking to set up a Discord server for the group so we can discuss times getting in and potentially games we'd like to play and maybe organise a RPG group too... they are thinking something Cyberpunk in style... any suggestions for a good one??
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Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:14 pm
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...remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead...

Will Brasher
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Happy Monday Conclave!

Here we are again... bit later in the day than planned but I've been prepping for this evening, seems I'm over getting nerves for organising small events, well with over 4 hours to go I've not seen sight of them anyway... we'll see if the nerves stay away. Now, organising something more planned, just thinking about it gives me the shivers! I guess that's natural though, we all want things we organise to succeed.

I have a fun week ahead of me, PlaytestUK tomorrow and a potential meet up to discuss the next Birmingham Gaymers event too. A day with friends gaming on Wednesday (potentially), a friend back in the country for 3 weeks that I will hopefully see soon (she was the 1st person I told that I had this Guru job), an old friend visiting me this weekend too, will show her the sights of Brum! Due to this I've booked off from Friday until next Thursday, that should be nice! So after this evening I only have 1 shift this week, Thursday... weird! I wonder how mant days I will visit the cafe when I'm off, probably most if them!

On the horizon is also the meet up to celebrate Michaela's Birthday too. She may be gone but I feel I should celebrate the way she would like me too, embracing life and friends and remembering her in my own way rather then going to where her ashes are scattered, I know her mother will be doing this but I feel like I should be celebrating her day, I'm sure there will be tears but hopefully also joy too and getting friends who knew her to talk about her to my new friends too will be amazing, pass on some of her 'wisdom' and moments. Should be good and hopefully a yearly event too.heart

On with the shifts from the weekend... Saturday first (how unusual!)...

From gallery of Rillian

Before I started my shift I stole Alex away for 15 minutes and got him to Waylands Forge to choose his prize for winning the Halloween Dress up competition for the staff. We had a good look and for what he was looking for we settled for Prehistories, a great little family game mixing two mechanics rather well so I hear, ALex updated me the next day and he was very happy with the choice just after one play, looking forward to trying different player counts and exploring the game further.

(Side note: For some reason I dressed up all smart on Saturday, lots of complimentas on my style though, may do this more often)

Got my first teach in for The Downfall of Pompeii too... three ladies, one had played before but a long time ago, I asked if they would like me to teach and they were happy for me to do so. It went down very well... only had to check the rulebook for the deck set up, the rest was still fresh in my mind and they enjoyed it too. I'll look to add this to my rotation more often now.

From gallery of Rillian

A table of two looking to play Wingspan so I asked if they would like an assist and they happily took me on... I kept it simple and just discussed the winning conditions, leaving the turn description to the Wingspan: Swift-Start Promo Pack in the pack. So much easier doing it this way, could be a bit more of a streamlined teach I think but I enjoy the banter and keeping it fresh by not getting too formulaic... natural is probably better!

Table of 4 guys wanted something screwy and a bit strategic so I went for Citadels, they didn't want anything too deep so this seemed to hit the spot just right for them, I spied them laughing and oohing and ahhhing too so I reckon it did the trick. Very versatile game that!

From gallery of Rillian

Let's talk about the family of 4 who came in looking for a new game experience... they seemed to me to have smarts but wanted something lightweight first with a decent level of interactivity. I set them up on Battle Sheep first as it is always a good way to gauge how they take rules, thry tooj to it quickly with only a few clarifications so I set them up Ingenious next, took a bit to get the scoring down, it's not always obvious to everyone but once they had it I left them to it. They were very appreciative and even sought me out to thank me for the assist and tell me how much they enjoyed the games, whilst I was teaching another table, this made my face quite red but I tried to keep my compusre and kept on. I'm getting better at taking compliments now, it's difficult as I don't think highly of myself although my front of house persona is brimming with confidence, it's not truly me. We're all just little kids in out grown up bodies doing the best we can I guess.

My Blokus teach goes from strength to strength, drip feeding the rules every turn so it's an easy bite-sized learn and people are involved during it seems to work well. Normally I time it right to confirm just as they are placing pieces by others that they only have to go corner to corner with their own colour and can happily block the points on the board that other colours need, the classic Michaela quote on this is, "It's called Blokus, not Enablus.", I use this everytime. Maybe I should design Enablus? Intriguing idea, where would you even start?

From gallery of Rillian

Mowgli the doggo visited us again! He's a big boy, here he is literally just standing there and can put his chin on the table. So lovely, sits or lies in the middle of the floor and stops anyione on the way to the toilets and checks them over for illegal food contraband... when he realises there is none, he'll let you pass...

Bigger groups can be tricky, we had an 8 (on table 8 too) looking for my assistance, so they were started off on The Resistance as it's a less complex deception game, they were then advising they couldn't trust each other anymore so I followed it up with Ca$h 'n Guns (Second Edition) so they could enact revenge on those they wanted to... went down really well, lots of gun pointing and laughter all evening.

As a side note, another Watergate teach! Glad I got this in the last big purchase, it's really going down a treat. Couples, friends, dates... all seem to like the idea of this multi-layer tug of war. Looking forward to trying it myself at sometime.

That's the Saturday done... I hung around for a bit after though, sat on my computer and amused myself chatting with the staff still working, whenever I do this people I have taught will always stop and have a chat with me too, it's really nice that they give me a lowdown on how their evening went and I think it adds to the experience, I know I'm not technically working but it's a lovely feeling so I just keep on doing it.

From gallery of Rillian

Sunday here we go... first teach of the day was 5 player Catan with a family of gamers who had never played before, got them up and running quickly, they loved it and must have stayed for at least 6 hours of my 4 hour shift, again they sought me out to thank me and also hgave me a good list of games that were classics that we should look to hunt down, I've added these to our BGG wishlist for the cafe for when I next get a budget.

Taught Codenames: Duet to a lovely couple, Poppy and J-J. They adored it and got well in to it. Happened to be near them with two guesses left and three seemingly unrelated codenames left... the tension was palpable, just as in the adrenaline games we have and teach, this brings emotion to the fore and I believe is why it is so popular as when it's close, it's a total rollercoaster ride, they'll be back. We talked about other game types and they were very interested!

From gallery of Rillian

Another 8 on 8, this time I went for using two sets of Just One to start them off, followed with the polar opposite, Herd Mentality and after that the adult version of Scrawl and then with 15 minutes left, Jenga Pass Challenge to wrap it up, they loved each and every one. I warned them that the last time I saw a table enjoy Scrawl, they came in a few weeks later and advised me how saw their chests were the next day from laughing so much! Such a lovely group and glad to have made their evening more fun.

Last one... two chaps were puzzling over who or what the cartoons were in Harry Potter Dobble so I swapped it out for Uproar! (not in the BGG database), this swaps pictures for words but you have to make the noise that the named and matched thing would make. I looked at one guys pained face as he had seen the match but had not a clue what noise a 'sad owl' would make... I could not even begin to describe what came from his lips... it was so hilarious his friend laughed so much he slipped under the table on his chair... beautiful gaming moment! Might get this played on the social session later today as it's crazy daft.

Read an intersting tweet from Watch It Played today on peoples opinions being given out as facts, namely on the topic of Apps in games. seek it out, it's a good one. Very much an issue in modern life more than just gaming, opinion is opinion, scientific facts are backed up by tested evidence and may turn out to be false but are the current best fit for the evidence that has been collected. Ooops... I'll be talking about religion or politics next... better stop there!
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Mon Nov 22, 2021 3:30 pm
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Will Brasher
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Time for that Saturday morning speed blog... at least there is only one a week now! With the lack of tagging going on I may be able to get more content, don't hold your breath though Conclave!

From gallery of Rillian

Tried a cheeky new tactic... talk to a table and get a feel for them and then get them a big old pile of games if they are there 4 hours... kind of worked except... these three were different tastes and I only think one of them actually worked...

We had a table of 7 looking for something a bit meaty but not too heavy... Table of 4 looking for some lightweight fun... Table of three, mum, dad and son looking for a quick fix of modern fun!

The 7 tried to learn Red Rising whilst I was busy elsewhere... I think the non-standard gameplay scared them off as they instead got old favourite of theirs Betrayal at House on the Hill and two of them just teamed up instead... so.... fail.

The 4 got heavily into Battle Sheep and never got around to any of the others as they burned out on blocking and being evil, thus I got them on the cafe classic Librium instead... so.... fail.

The 3 started with Cockroach Poker and due to the simplicity of the other games stacked played some of the others without my assistance... so.... win!

Lessoned learnt... don't have faith in what people can learn by themselves on a busy Friday! Keep it simple...

My concern now is I finished at 9pm and when I did all these games were piled up on tables and probably will be randomly placed in the game wall so I may have a big ol' tidy ahead of me when I get in in a few hours! Hmm... we'll see!

From gallery of Rillian

I know, yet another Watergate teach... it's a surprisingly easy sell to the crowd in Digbeth... political savvy much? Hmmm... on a side note a couple picked up Trump: The Game today, set it up, read the first few pages of the rule book and after laughing at the pure cheese that it is and then... put it back on the shelf and got out Top of the Pops: The Game instead! There is clearly some kind of lesson here to be learned about modern politics, maybe?devil

Nuff said!

From gallery of Rillian

Lovely couple in the corner today getting through games like no tomorrow... left them to it mostly but they were gamers who were looking to try stuff they didnt know... games I helped them on were Kingdomino, KLASK and Project L, the former two were ones they chose and I assisted with, the latter was clearly my suggestion, well... it is awesome... I just downloaded the complete rulebook yesterday and now I want all the expansions and stuff, darn it. When's the next Kickstarter? Please make more! Boardcubator, willing to help me out here? whistle

That's your lot for now... I've been FB posting stuff on the run up to our 2nd Anniversary on Monday... if I get a chance I'll do a short post with the info I put up... if you behave yourselves!

To work! Well, it's not really work is it? Well... I guess I get paid for it so it is kind of work... just doesn't feel like it...

I'll stop going on about it now as y'all just comment on how unfair it is and lucky I am!
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Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:11 am
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....tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn...

Will Brasher
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Hey there Conclave...

Friday morning currently, just checked my poll from yesterday, seems my tagging is taking a bit of a back seat from now on, happily I'll go for that as it makes the boring task of navigating the tagging system moot. Every so often I'm looking to tag a game I don't tag often and half a dozen games show up with the same name so I have to go and figure out which one it is and then make sure I tag the right one, not a big issue but when you tag as often as me it can get a bit boring and time consuming. Less of that means more quality time waffling like I am now, win!

On with the good stuff then!

From gallery of Rillian

Thursday is usually a 2pm to 10pm shift, quiet day for me so good for Admin of Facebook and game upkeep. Got me a plan shortly to add a line to our game spreadsheet on the drive at work to state if the game requires sheets to score and the date I last checked there were enough sheets in the box. Considering QR codes to links of sheets online that would be able to be filled in for envirinmental purposes so as not to waste paper... Bit of a mission but I think it's a great idea to be environmentally concious of little things like this, some people will prefer analogue but others would appreciate the choice... perhaps a link on the game page on BGG of these would be a positive thing? I know I'll ask on the green games FB group I'm part of it people think this has legs or not... let's see..

Right... done... asked them for any other things we could do to positively impact the environment and if they think marking games as bought 2nd hand would be a positive thing too, just to show we are 'recycling'...

Teachtalk time! A lady I recognised as coming in previously came in with a chap and I started talking, turns out she used to manage another cafe in town until it changed hands then she was laid off. She clearly knows her stuff so I started them off with Columns and just taught the basics and let them explore the strategies, same with Mijnlieff, this is still getting a lot of plays, shame! Seeing they really needed something a bit meatier I suggested they try Watergate, I apologised for not knowing the game well but advised how popular it is and well respected it is and gave them a very brief overview. I left them to it but kept going back to them to learn what they had so I could get a better grip on the game from their learning process. As you'll see this put me in good stead for later that day! I learned a lot from them using this approach and they thanked me for the recommendation too so everything worked out well!

From gallery of Rillian

Well, another couple who I had shown Watergate to previously showed up so I passed it on to them to play and then a couple of gents asked to play it too! Blimey... what is going on with the world? It's like people want to learn from history so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past... or just play a good game! As the others were still playing I set up a pile of other games they may be interested in but as I started to do so the other couple wrapped up their game so my chaps got to go straight to the main course! My extra knowledge from the earlier reccomendation really helped as I knew a bit more about the game and could give a fuller teach. They played twice so something obviously worked out. With just a hort time left I got them in to Hive as they mentioned strategic games as something they adore, chess, go... the kinf with perfect information, could have gone the Onitama route, maybe next time...

Right, I have an issue I need to go sort... my washing machine is beeping weirdly and not draining or spinning... uh oh! I'll see what I can do myself first before getting the Landlord involved...

(Lack of tagging is very refreshing though... Go my blog, fly... be free!)
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Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:02 am
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...wisdom begins with constant questioning not assuming what we don't know. We only come to know what we know, when we ask...

Will Brasher
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Morning Conclave and those that may have been dragged here against their will due to the wonderful tagging system on BGG, talking of this... I have a poll for y'all...

Poll
After a BGG user requested in the comments that I don't tag every game in passing so as not to annoy them, I thought I'd get some feedback on what you think is appropriate?
How do you think the tagging system for games should be used in my blog?
 Choices Your Answer  Bars Vote Percent Vote Count
There are no rules on the site... do what you think best.
39.1 percent
39.1% 36
Tag only stuff in your pictures and things you have something 'worthwhile' to discuss.
30.4 percent
30.4% 28
Stop tagging your photos, just refer to what you mention in the text. (I'm leaning toward this as it'll speed up my blogging!)
17.4 percent
17.4% 16
I don't care.
10.9 percent
10.9% 10
I have a different opinion which I will state below in the comments.
1.1 percent
1.1% 1
What's a tag? What's BGG? What's a game?
1.1 percent
1.1% 1
Voters 92
This poll is now closed.   92 answers
Poll created by Rillian
Closes: Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:00 am

Seems only polite to ask people's thoughts on this rather than assume so, feel free to give me some feedback for the future of tags on the blog! Why do I care? I don't know... I guess I was taught to be polite and if I feel I'm annoying even a small group of people then I like to think I should at least consider their feelings... If tyou're reading this linked from my Facebook page and don't have an account on here then feel free to comment on my Facebook link to this blog!

On with Social Monday Session write up time! Before the session I got my blog going Monday and felt a bit of a headache coming on, potentially need new glasses? Who knows... I should at least look in to this I guess as it's been a while and I'm not getting any younger anyway popped a couple of aspirins and headed off to work...

From gallery of Rillian

Before I discuss the session itself there was an hour before it that I helped a few people, that would cover the pictures of P for Pizza and our new favourites Project L & Mijnlieff. Quick(ish) teaches all but the kind of game that keeps people going for a while and gets them hooked. I managed a reasonable boardgame wall tidy too and some upkeep on the boxes with a judicial bit of sellotape in a few places and some re-labelling of the category spotting on the boxes.

6 o'clock rolls around pretty quick and people trickle in...all in all we had three new faces join us so we managed to reach the heady heights of 11, then Hope and Adam also joined in after shift too so with myself that was 14 guests. This seems to be doing alright now! With the Birthday do next week I'm quietly optimistic that it might be even bigger... we'll see... I did have a message on WhatsApp that I missed as I was setting up to play a game as a regular was running late... I need to keep an eye on this as I need to be as inclusive as I can... So, what was played?

Well... I started with 3 and me... not knowing if others would show I set up my copy of Space Base. Whilst doing so a 5th player showed up (a chap who had been emailing my work email asking questions before attending, nice to see him turn up!) so we set up a full compliment, 1st time I'd played with that many, nice! As I was doing this the three teachers from last week wandered over from another table, they had not realised we were set up and gone to their own table to play The Quacks of Quedlinburg. One of them mentioned we didn't used to have this and thanked me for getting it as I said I would to them some time ago... it had always been on my list to get for the cafe so glad to see someone noticed it was a recent addition. I need to try and stop this happening, people coming in and going to the wrong tables... I guess signage for the Social tables would be sensible? I can rustle something up for after our special next week me thinks... anyway... result of our 5 player Space Base? John(new chap) got himself 24 points, I was on 26, Adil(email guy) 33, Felix(Hope's chap) 35 and David(regular) won the day getting to 40! Certainly not one we could have in the cafe collection, takes up far too much room and the chance it would be wrecked due to it's space is very high, shame as it's a great game!

As Stanley joined us, two new faces did too and he started showing them how Santorini plays... nice start! As they wrapped up the promised PARKS showed up with Ned from a few weeks ago on his own, without his partner. They started their play and I kept an eye on them, very nice looking game and as Colin showed up too they played with 5 players, just what Ned was looking for to see how it works with a full compliment. After the game ended I made sure to discuss with everyone if we should add it to our collection, it was a resounding yes but I was paid a superb compliment by a couple of them who basically said that the set up was quick but the rules teach was a tad long and not up to my standard... no offence to Ned meant at all though! I mean, I'm paid to be a good teacher of games so I guess I should provide quality!

The table of three who were playing Quacks came over and joined us and started learning Kodama 3D. As they were a decent amount through Hope sat with them to socialise which was amazing and this is the table that Adam sat on too and he taught them Tokaido after. Great to see other staff just join in after their shift, fingers crossed they do this more often.

As tables started wandering off we had a four player Battle Sheep followed by a three player OK Play on our table and then got joined by who was left from the other tables for a good sized Hues and Cuesas well. At this point my headache came back so I left them to it and had a wall tidy for the end of my shift and cleaned a few tables too as well as doing some spot sweeping of the floor. All in all a great session, looking forward to a bigger group next time, we already have 4 people marking it on the Facebook group as going and another 9 interested. Nice.

Tuesday comes around and I started with a chilled day at home and shopping... highlight? Got me a new bin for the kitchen... raided Mark's room and dressed it up as a wizard by using his Halloween costume... I am amused... in the afternoon went to see Dune for the second time at the cinema, that's rare for me.

From gallery of Rillian

After the film, popped by the cafe to learn a new game that we had donated by Wayland's Forge (our local neighbourhood games store) when I went to chat with them the other week, it was an old demo copy, win...The Downfall of Pompeii, and very nice it is too. I enjoyed it and it wasn't too hard to learn so I reckon I can teach this quite quickly. We'll see. After that the shift was ending so I taught/played Love Letter with Hope, Aarron, Mark and Charles. Great social game, just what we need to wind down after work.

So there we are... loving it, living it... things are growing nicely and I can't wait to see how the Birthday Bash goes.
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Wed Nov 17, 2021 1:36 pm
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....you take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes...

Will Brasher
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Ahhh.... so nice not to blog on a Sunday... I think I'll keep doing it this way going forward.

I don't think I've mentioned this before but I'm now the main content creator for the Facebook page for the cafe. Getting used to planning content ahead of time and seeing what gets hits or doesn't and acting accordingly. I made the decision to stop using the cartoon version of me on the 'Wizard Recommends' weekly posts and am now doing a new feature with a slightly wordier title called 'Wizard Presents: Chancers recommend:'. So far I've had Ros recommend Battle Sheep and Nathan with Blood Rage. Slightly better numbers than a cartoon of me, I assume that having a different smiling face on the weekly image makes it more noticable rather than the same cartoon every week. I'll mix it up some more and see what else works I guess.

On top of that I'm figuring out events too, can you believe that the 22nd of November is our 2nd anniversary? I guess I can't say we've been open 2 years, what with the period we were closed... it's more like we opened 2 years ago to be accurate. As it's a Monday I've set up a special Social Monday next week to mark our birthday in a small way and hopefully push our Social Sessions a bit organically.

This week I also spied a Facebook post in the 'Board Games in Birmingham' group from a customer stating that he would bring in PARKS to this evenings social to play and would anyone care join him? With his permission I made a thing out of it and posted on our page we'd have a copy kindly bought in and we'd like feedback if we should add it to our collection and I'd also bring in some similar titles, namely Tranquility, Cottage Garden, Indian Summer & Trekking the World... 2 of which I haven't even opened yet! I may add Karesansui to this too, these are all good looking games at the easier end of the spectrum and reasonably short too. We'll see how they go down and I'll report tomorrow!

Saturday Shift time!

From gallery of Rillian

Ros couldn't make it in this week so Alex stepped up as trainee apprentice and was teaching games when I was busy and generally helping out, he's no Ros but he did his best and with a few pointers and a bit more knowledge, he may make it to being adequate Ros is a tough act to follow though! Get well Ros and see you soon!

Best way to start your day? Well... teaching two of your regulars the excellent Lost Ruins of Arnak, clearly! Andrew and Rebecca are moving house and then heading off to America for Thanksgiving, Andrew comes back just after and Rebecca will be back in the New Year... Andrew says he'll be getting his gaming fix by popping along to Social Mondays, Hurrah! To relax before all the stress they decided to spend time with us and adored the Arnak. It'll be odd not seeing them about for a bit but I look forward to seeing more of Andrew on Mondays real soon!

As you know, we are a dog-friendly location, turns out we are cat-friendly too (as long as they are on a leash!) This little beauty is only 6 months old, I think he is called Miko but I'm not sure of the spelling but he was well behaved and so we gave him a cup of soya milk which he loved.

From gallery of Rillian

Next on the heavier side of the teach? Wingspan! Table of five so couldn't use the Wingspan: Swift-Start Promo Pack as it only has a set of 4 player guides. Still, went down well and they played through quite quickly and everytime I popped by seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I've really took a shine to One Key recently as an alternative to Codenames for a group or just for a couple playing too, seems to go down well in most situations as it's a great conversation piece and cerebral/artistic in it's nature. Great game, shame there were no expansions (apart from solo cards) or reimaginings... I guess I could pass on Dixit cards for variability? Might try it some time, probably would work well with any odd pictures so there are a few other games in the collection that would work... Mysterium, Codenames: Pictures, etc.

From gallery of Rillian

Saw some fancy Hamsterrolle play this week, getting the right pieces to lodge in the wheel when it goes all the way round, very groovy!

I'm very glad to have Mijnlieff in the collection, it's not failed to hit the spot yet for a light tactical game that's quick to play and fun to do so too. I have a feeling we'll see a lot more of this in my blogs, good job Andy Hopwood!

From gallery of Rillian

A pair of regulars brought a friend along so I taught them TEAM3 GREEN, the builder decided to wear their hooded coat backwards so as not to look when playing and as she did I placed all the blocks standing up when they had been lying down, just to confuse her! They loved it a played for the rest of their time at the cafe. Job done well.

Librium is becoming as much of a celebrity as I am. Once taught it seems it's a draw to come back and play again... I need to find something equally as awesome to show people after as the next step. Maybe just more copies in different styles? We'll see.

~#~


Right... that was Saturday, now for my Sunday shift!

From gallery of Rillian

Two young lads came in with their guardian and asked politely for a game to play, I had a chat with them, they love Chess and other strategy games... I had the scent of potential boardgamers of the future and so I introduced them to a starter worker placement game, Little Town. I was patient as they kept giving examples of play and I taught them various lessons along the way and kept going back to them to make sure they had the rules right, put them back on track a good few times as they pushed against the rules looking for ways to break the game or manipulate it in to working for them. At one point one of them placed a worker blocking the only spot the other would need to feed their workers and the other one (who was blocked) asked me how best to get back at them. I thought about it and told him...'What's more important? Getting back at him in the short term or doing better than him at the game? Surely the best way forward is not to sink to his level and just do better than him?', games... teaching life lessons...

A couple who came in a while ago (few weeks maybe?) just for a drink and then played Catch the Moon said then that they would be back... they were... in a group of 5, lovely people set them up with a pile of games, Librium first, then Snakesss, Nyctophobia, The Resistance: Avalon... all went down really well... got an offer from 2 of then to DM going forward too.. good to have contacts!

From gallery of Rillian


Two young ladies playing games asked for recommendations... Jaipur went down well after I taugfht them Tiny Towns, after that some Monopoly Deal too. Sought me out on leaving and thanked me, so nice when that happens!

Two casual gamers asked for something more challenging... pushed them a bit and went for Project L. Glad I did they fell for it totally! Two games later they were setting up for a third so we talked expansions and Kickstarter, I could see that glint in their eye as they took a photo of the box to remind themselves what it was so they could try and source a copy... someone just took the red pill...

FIN
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Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:49 pm
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