Thoughts by Bez

I am a full-time designer/artist/self-publisher and I am available for freelance work. I go to cons as a trader and help run the all-day Friday playtest sessions in London. I left my last 'real' job in 2014. I was getting benefits for a few years. I'm currently writing sporadically, but getting back into the habit of daily posts. If you have any questions/topics you'd like me to address, send me a geekmail and I'll probably address the topic within a week.

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Random thoughts before launching a KS

Bez Shahriari
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At the time of writing, I'm planning to launch a KS for CATEGORICKELL tomorrow. I'm aware that the graphic design could be a lot better.

I'll spend the morning drawing some more pictures to put up, but that'll be it.

I'm aware that doing all the art ahead of time and treating the KS page with the same respect I give the actual game would help me find more backers. But that feels pointless.

Look, I'm basically one person. I spent about £5 on marketing this game. I don't really have the time or finances to make the best KS page - I want folk to trust me that I'm going to make this game super-awesome.

And yet, expecting others to just 'trust' me is a really bit thing to ask. And I'm aware that marketing is - ultimately - more important than the quality of the actual game.

That just sits really awkwardly with me.

I am in a privilege position where - as long as I live somewhat frugally - my royalties for Yogi will pay for my living expenses in 2020. And I'll have a tiny bit to spare. So I can afford to set the KS goal a bit lower. Hopefully this will allow it to fund.

But maybe not.

We'll see what happens.
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Mon Mar 2, 2020 11:21 pm
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7 reasons why running a KS is exactly like an umbrella.

Bez Shahriari
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You need to think about other people.


Whether it's making sure to have something worth sharing, or simply not poking folk with your brolly.

It's an investment.

Whether time (for the KS) or money.

But you choose how much to invest.

You could buy a cheap brolly from the £1 store. Or run a KS without much forethought. If you invest a bit more, you might get better results.

You'd always love it to be bigger.

I mean, even if you have a big brolly, you might want to be able to have many folk under it.

It involves more than one person.

Not just because you can hold an umbrella above multiple people, but because there's so much technology and stuff in the creation of it.

There's a lot of preparation.

Whether it's the R&D of the umbrella or the playtesting.

Sometimes, they come in different colours.
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Sun Mar 1, 2020 10:53 pm
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Competition: find a mistake in my game(s) to get a refund, comic, and a new game.

Bez Shahriari
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I was frankly shocked to read (on a FB group) someone claiming that EVERY boardgame has a typo.

Inspired by the Knuth Reward Cheques, I'll adopt a reward system starting with Wibbell++ 2nd edition and Kitty Cataclysm.

If anyone finds any typos in Yogi (English edition) or any game I release in 2019 onwards, I will:
- pay you the UK RRP via Paypal or another method
- send you a unique comic congratulating you
- send a free copy of the next printing.

(Just for the first person to spot each mistake.)

That seems like a good motivation for folk to let me know about my mistakes and help me make my games as perfect as possible.

I know that perfection is unattainable but it appalls me to hear people saying that 2 typos on a box cover isn't a big deal.

Imperfections and mistakes aren't a reason to start making any creator feel bad. Swearing and personal attacks are often unnecessary. But folk should strive for a level of quality.

In the meantime, I am going to claim that Yogi (the English edition at least) has no typos.

Edit: In the instance that a new edition of a given ruleset has been mass produced, the previous version might no longer be eligible. So if you're reading this in 2037, all the games in Wibbell++ 2nd edition will almost certainly have been reprinted.

I will be upload some rules onto BGG at some point. However, this will be after release. You can either buy the game(s) or wait a few months for me to upload stuff.
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Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:16 pm
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Things I am backing on KS and why.

Bez Shahriari
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All these things are recommended. In the name of openness I'll try to explain my biases and how much I'm actually backing the games for. I'd love to be getting all these games but finances are of course a limitation. ;-)

A Rather Difficult Choice

I'm biased because the creator is the events manager for Draughts, a boardgame cafe in London, and has facilitated plenty of public playtests. I've tried this game a few times and it's seriously fun.

A gamification of 'Would you rather...', the strange situations described are designed to elicit conversation. The game itself works fine but the appeal of something like this is in the content. When you're exploring the hypothetical ramifications of only being able to ever travel at 1mph with your group, you will be pondering things that you've probably never pondered before.

Russ has a great imagination and the scenarios are all super-weird and evocative, as they should be.

I backed for a buck to show support. I doubt it'll fund this time around but I hope that Russ comes back with some reviews and finds the audience for this game.

Wreck And Ruin

I'm biased because I met Mark when he was first starting to design this game and asked me for advice at a talk I was doing with Richard Denning (Medusa Games, UKGE director), Jenny Harman (Yay Games) and probably some other folk. I saw the game evolve over the following year and playtested it a few times in Glasgow, when we met up for some all-day 2p playtesting. I have seen Mark at a few events and enjoy spending time together. Mark is insanely determined and I am happy that - after 2 unsuccessful attempts - Mark is managing to fund the game.

The main difference (other than a bit of graphic design work for the page) is that Mark has continued to show the game at conventions. For this to translate into backers of a big-box game shows the quality of the experience.

It's all about driving your vehicles around a map, ramming each other, and controlling certain locations long enough to grab the tech. You also get special events and super abilities that add a fair amount of spice and variability.

I don't like this sort of thing usually, but I found it far more enjoyable than it had any right to be.

I backed for £1, to show support. I don't think I'll ever have time to pain the minis and am not sure how often I'd really get to play. But if you enjoy games of high interaction, confrontation and a bit of high-octane dice-chucking, I recommend it heartily.

Art Deck

I'm biased because I read about this thing in Tabletop Gaming Magazine and developed familiarity which breeds love (despite the old adage). Also, Holly was on the podcast where Matt Jarvis and Alex Sonechkina said nice things about my stuff at UKGE, so I have nice associations.

You get cards that tell you to draw things in a particular way. One instruction and 2 modifiers. E.g. "Draw circles" "over and over" "without taking your marker off the page". Everyone gets involved in creating some art. Eventually someone claims the page as 'theirs'. At the end, you have all had good times. There is a vague nod towards a winner, but that's not the point.

I thought that this would be a fun game to play with all sorts of folk that I have over at the house. It seems to be doing something completely different and I respect that.

I backed for the game+expansions.

The Board Game Book

I'm biased because Owen Duffy invited me to talk at a convention in September. Also, we met at UKGE, Owen said nice things, and I invited Owen onto an episode of my show earlier this week. (The episode was aired Tuesday/Thursday and will be available to download within a week.)

This KS is for an annual for boardgames. A book that interviews folk and celebrates everything that has emerged over the past year in the world of boardgaming.

The photography looks lovely and the writers all have plenty of experience and proven skills.

I backed for £1 because I want this to succeed. I think that this will be a great thing. At the moment, I need to be careful with spending but I expect to pick up a copy after release.

Edible Games Cookbook

I am biased because... I specially like food. And games.

Jenn makes 'edible games'. Often, they require a bit of baking and construction. One is a gamified tasting experience. I know little about these games. By their nature, the ones requiring preparation aren't able to be mass produced. And maybe that would remove most of the charm anyway.

But to have a project that combines baking and games - both things that can bring folk together - is wonderful. I want to support it and also to experience it. I want to live in a world where more things like this are made. Where folk are being playful in all aspects of their life and finding joy everywhere.

Extravagant as it is, I backed for a physical copy of this book.
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Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:45 pm
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Should I 'open my books' for my next game?

Bez Shahriari
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For Kitty Cataclysm, I am strongly considering telling everyone how much money I'm spending on the game, and also maybe trying to do some vague count of how many hours I spent.

A lot of people don't appreciate the realities of publishing so I was thinking that this may be useful.

The downside is that people might get somehow angry about how I'm spending money or my time. Or they might want something extra when/if I actually start making money from the project.

I'm not sure that's so harmful to me, provided I'm not emotionally affected by such things.

So... do you think I should do this?

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Should I do this?
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Poll created by stuffbybez


If you're willing to share your reasons below, I'd love to hear them.
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Tue Mar 6, 2018 8:30 pm
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