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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AQs: What do I think of digital cons?

Bez Shahriari
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For me (in maybe chronological order (I'm not double-checking dates) and from a perspective of someone demoing unless stated otherwise):

CONPULSION (a small con to replace an Edinburgh con the week of lockdown)
+ assembled really quickly
+ a nice seminar chat
+ playing a game with a stranger over zoom felt vaguely like demoing a game irl.
+ Made a sale.
- lots of sitting around/downtime

PROTOSPIEL ONLINE
Included though it's not really a typical con.

+ some 'breakout rooms' allowed me to feel connected to a couple of folk. It wasn't JUST playtesting.
+ I appreciated the focus on using video so we would see each other. Many playtesting places don't do this.
- generic tech issues. Reminded me that online stuff can glitch due to connections and can be just as tiring as IRL stuff (or actually MORE tiring for me).

CONDEMIC (by Donald Dennis of OBG and others)
+ played with Scott Nicholson and other folk I'd never have seen irl
- organising games was tricky. Scott has to abandon their game and joined mine. And then I abandoned one of the later things I'd planned.

VIRTUAL GRIDCON
+ playing with a few lovely folk I know
- most of the events were focused on TT/TTS and that doesn't really interest me much


UKGE:
I streamed for about 8hrs/day, with a featured topic (or UKGE chat) in morning, then constant demos after a 30 min break.

+ chatting on a seminar in Twitch, there was great chat
+ Having 3 'main screens' contributed to the above.
+ integration with Twitch/discord allowing publishers to make a pretty page
+ the discord did a decent job of bringing folk together. the 'queue' bit allowed folk to have fun in a very easy way.
- I got fewer folk on my own Twitch than I did during 'Bez Day' streaming. I found it difficult to get folk for stuff. I decided at this point that a single weekend for everyone makes little sense.


TRICON (attendee only):
I tried for a couple of hours to make the tech work but I couldn't. It was literally unusable for me.

SHELFAPALOOZA
+ a fun idea with a bunch of streams raiding each other, so there was a continuous 24-hour/day focus
+ the scavenger hunt by nona
+ a nice discord focus
- I felt like there were again too many things going on for the number of attendees. My event ran, but I know a couple that had to be cancelled.

SHUX (viewer only)
+ great content
+ busy chat in the main stream
- didn't really feel super-special.
- the 'secondary' streams seemed overly quiet.

ESSEN (attendee only):
+ some great streams
- no central hub
- way too expensive (imo) for publishers to be worth it to smaller publishers.

BEZ & FRIENDS GAME DAY (obviously I'm biased...)
+ I feel like focusing on exactly one game and one stream at any one time kinda worked.
+ Having 15 folk all playing one partygame (in Discord), most of whom were on video, actually kinda felt like an 'event'.
- could have been better promoted
- some games would have been better to at least teach/demo online, so that folk who can't use TT could at least see Alan's game played.


MY OVERALL THOUGHTS:
+ being able to have folk typing when others are speaking actually means that Q&A works really smoothly in general
+ if folk are on video, it can really help make it feel like folk are together
+ obviously, it's great to be part of US-based stuff
- I actually want fewer things going on. It actually helps there be 'convening' and meeting of folk over an extended time. I want to 'accidentally' run into the same folk over the course of the event.
- With a con, the popular bit has a max occupancy. You will go try other things and smaller things will be 'stumbled upon'. There is nothing like that sort of 'browsing' here. That's bad from both a pub and an attendee perspective. Any publisher who has an ad at the start of their Twitch, I'm probably not gonna wait 20-30s just to glimpse something I might not want. I think there needs to be a really good 'menu' to show what's going on.
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Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:35 pm
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About Cannes FiJ (not the games)

Bez Shahriari
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There were some great games at Cannes. Of course there were. Festival International de Jeux was happening.

But before I go on about the games, I'd like to talk about some of my personal highlights/notes.
===============
Quick personal overview:
===============


Thursday - wandering around the hall. Only 'professionals' are allowed in. It's a chance to see games before it all gets busy on Fri/Sat/Sunday. I also did a little bit of business meetings. And a snack-swapping meeting with Rodney Smith.

I watched the prize-giving ceremony and it was a lot of fun this year! Partially because I could now understand 20% of what was said (as opposed to 4% last year) and also because it was a LOT shorter. There was still time for some brilliant videos, a bit of celebration, and a few jokes. But it was kept relatively short and we were done after an hour.

Friday - I had 2 business meetings to pitch games and both companies expressed interest in my [untitled speed-matching game]. Company B was also interested in Seize the Power and Flip & Spell. We will see what comes of that.

Friday (and Saturday and Sunday) I also ran a tournament for Yogi. Using Nate's idea of having one identical deck per player. It really speeds up the game, and also eliminates the luck. On Sat/Sun, I made this only happen for the last 2 rounds rather than the entire tournament. It was too much work to re-organise 10 decks into order.

There is a prototype-playing event each night (from 10pm until 3am-ish) but I chose to not go at all this year, because I'm still not physically 100%. And I'd rather have my energy for mornings and meetings.

I ended up hanging out with some Gigamic folk and playing games, since the company put me (and all the waged demonstrators/employees) in the same hotel.

Saturday - Swordfighting. Playing games. Running a Yogi tournament. Bought one game. Chatting with Gigamic folk before bed.

Sunday - Swordfighting. Playing games. Running a Yogi tournament. Bought a 4 more games (2 because they were ridiculously cheap - €2.75 for both!). Was given 2 presents.

===============
People:
===============


It was lovely to be remembered by Tom Vua, author of Jungle Speed, which facilitated so many memories and was the centre-point of my 29th birthday party celebrations, some years ago. We had a few chats about games, snacks, and conventions.

I also saw Christine of Toutilix and there were a couple of other folk who remembered me from last year (probably because I wear a lot of red).

The Gigamic people were all pleasant to me, but so were the demonstrators at nearly every other stand. I was very interested to learn that demonstrators at Iello and Gigamic were working together to make a BG Cafe. A lovely Josephine from Act in Games gave me a free copy of '10 dice' to play at home talk about later. I guess the point is that people here, like in the UK BG industry, do seem to have a lovely habit of working together in harmony.

Of course, any friendships here are muddied by the desire for business relationships. But it is certainly an amicable environment.

Like most places, happily.

===============
Local differences:
===============


It's worth noting that FiJ, like nearly all French gaming events, is a 'festival' rather than a convention. The public is allowed to enter for free. If you were local, you could even pop in later in the day (after 12:30pm) and not have to queue. If you wanted to get in near the opening time of 10am, you either had to wait in a very long queue (with airport-style security) or pay a fee for an early access ticket.

There was a room for folk to leave big bags and pushchairs, which weren't really allowed inside. As with last year, there was an equal number of both. I met a mum struggling to learn Dragonimo, having never really played boardgames before. Not wanting to come in for very long, but bringing their child for a couple of hrs.

Free entry. Pushchair storage. This is accessibility in action.

The food was, by contrast, a bit limited. And most folk weren't allowed to bring in food (only a bottle of water). UKGE and Airecon are certainly the leaders when I compare Spiel, FiJ, and all the UK cons.

However, since it's in the centre of a city, you are able to visit a nearly Monoprix if you want cheap snacks for lunch. Literally 5 minutes' walk from the venue you will find cheap supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, and of course bakeries where you can buy almond croissants that are far better than anything I ever found outside France.

It's worth talking about the location. It's very sunny here. That is a reasonable reason to visit if yu live in a sad, gloomy place like, say, London.

The Festival Hall itself is an interesting shape/setup. It was confusing for me last year, as it's not square. One half of the lower hall has odd numbers on one side and even on the other - reminiscent of many streets. I still don't understand the upstairs system, but that part is a lot easier to walk around anyway.

Upstairs, you will find games that are suitable for children. Some of them are also interesting for adults - you'll find abstract strategy along with the partygames and super-simple things. There are also educational toys and puzzles. One area was dedicated to showing off the As D'Or (the top 12 games of the year as decided by a committee).

Downstairs is everything else. Apart from the As D'Or, there is virtually no crossover. LARP-style sword battles to participate in! RPGs! Adult party games (both as in rude ones, and as in stuff that an 8y.o. would struggle with). Strategic games. RPGs.

It was notable how few eurogames and strategic games I saw compared to UKGE or Spiel. It's a bit of a different flavour here. What BGG-users would call 'mid-weight' was basically the upper limit.

Talking about the As D'Or (but not the games yet), I'd like to talk about how FiJ really works hard to make the awards feel important. 3 awards (children, general, expert) and 4 nominees for each. A big ceremony with specially-recorded video footage. A lot of posters - not just for the area upstairs, but also 2 areas downstairs.

Overall, it was really great to see so many new games. Many will not ever come out in English. The market is definitely not yet globally homogenised.

If I can give an overall impression to the convention, it would simply be this: it was great. I had fun. You definitely need to know French - it's more of a 'local' convention, unlike Spiel. But if you're interested in making an effort to try boardgames with a slightly different flavour, head over.

I'd love to come back for FiJ 2021.
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Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:52 am
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Spielwarrenmesse (Nuremberg Toy Fair): What I did well/will change.

Bez Shahriari
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For over a week after the event, I wasn't doing much work. Just the bare minimum. Horrible sickness with headaches, coughing, and occasional dizziness. It's now been over 2 weeks. My health isn't 100% yet. But I'm about to go to FIJ tomorrow. So it's time to reflect.


===============


What did I do well?

I saw everything.


Yes, nearly all the games, as we would define them, are in Hall 10. There were a few other gaming stands I found outside there - Djeco, HABA, and a bunch of lesser-known folk. Even outside of these gaming stands, there was so much to see.

Reasons this is worth doing:
FUN
I got to ride a mechanical horse, have a balloon filled with my own things, lie on a lovely soft couch made of stuffed toys, and play with a musical marble-run.

INSPIRATION
As the toy and game markets become more and more intertwined, there is an increasing potential to draw inspiration, whether direct or indirect. There are so many new technologies all around us, as well as all the wonderful colours and patterns. This is a great way to feel energised. I guess maybe having fun really leads to inspiration, if we do it in a mindful way? That's probably too big a separate discussion.

CONTACTS
Whilst wandering the other halls, I saw other companies I'd like to work with someday, and also just met some super-cool people.

I approached places that I had a game for and asked if I could have an appointment.

I didn't always get one. But asking took some courage, and one of those meetings may well pay off.

I took games with me.

I took a prototype, which I marginally improved before my first meeting. I also took W++ deluxe and Kitty Cataclysm, to sort out potential international deals.

I bought a machine.

If you come to my stand at UKGE, you will see this machine in action. It's not a reasonable financial investment. But I was reminded that it's important to have a bit of a 'whimsy budget'. If I'm self-publishing and running a business I hope to sometimes have fun with it!

I plan to do all of that stuff again in 2021, except for buying the machine. Unless I find something even more amazing of course.

What would I like to do differently?

Contact folk faster.


I only started getting in touch with folk 2 weeks after the show. Part of this was an extreme sickness. I do feel like this is an issue though.

Contact folk ahead of the show.

There are some companies I'd love to work with one day, and I haven't had a chance to pitch. I feel like it's mainly a case of being proactive and making those meetings.

Have more prototypes.

This year (2020), I'd like to spend more time working on stuff with a view to ultimately getting other folk to publish them. It's just a question of attitude. I want to continue making new ELL decks, supporting Kitty Cataclysm (unless it gets licensed), and occasionally self-publishing another small thing. But it's become clear to me that the part I enjoy (and want to keep doing) does not involve logistics or marketing.

Yes, I'd like to keep showing off stuff and selling stuff at conventions, but I can do that regardless of who publishes my stuff.

===============
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Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:44 pm
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Spielwarrenmesse (Nuremberg Toy Fair): Day 3.

Bez Shahriari
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Today was all about meetings and a bit more exploration!

On Friday, I'd managed to schedule 3 meetings for today. And today, emboldened by my brilliant 9am meeting, I went to arrange yet another! I ended up pitching games to 5 companies. 2 turned into fully-fledged games with everyone at the stand, 2 were slightly more sedate, and 1 was an impromptu meeting.

I have a lot of emails to send out next week!

Not only do I want to follow up with my meetings, but I also gathered a few emails outside of hall 10.

Thinking I was just exploring for fun, I started with Hall 1. Dolls, bags, and a mechanical pony that I got to ride around on!

HALL 2 had babies stuff with spoons, blankets, shampoo and - concerningly - one display of nail polish for toddlers.

Hall 3 was brilliant - wooden toys, HABA, Djeco, marble runs, musical instruments, marble runs that were actually musical instruments, and big adult toys that were comparable in size (and cost) to a pool table. I had a play with a lot of this stuff.

Hall 3A had a charming German selling tiny things in matchboxes, which I enjoyed fingering. A kids' Sudoku puzzle, which I enjoyed playing with. Then, I was riding some big exercise equipment, checking out the competition winners, recoiling from a boardgame with a horrible theme, and then enjoying an impromptu encounter with company D.

I still have 2.5 halls left to explore - 4, 4A, and 5! I do think that there's a lesson to explore the other halls and have fun if possible.

I feel like this has been a brilliant day - arguably a turning point for my career, as long as I follow up with those emails!
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Sat Feb 1, 2020 9:16 pm
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Spielwarrenmesse (Nuremberg Toy Fair): Day 2

Bez Shahriari
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Went to Hall 10. Had a meeting. My game was enjoyed but wasn't a good fit for the company. Got some tips afterwards for my next time, so that was a success!

Afterwards, I was approached by someone else who liked my games and asked me to see them later in the day. Though I thought I wrote down the correct stand location and company name, something went wrong and a few hours later, I was just trying to find them for nearly half an hour before I gave up.

Lesson learned: if I write down some details and I'm not 100% sure about them, double & even triple-check.

I did get a chance to wander around hall 10 again in the meantime.

Having had my 2nd-ever pitch meeting today, I now have 3 more lined up for tomorrow! It seems that this is now a thing I do.

Apparently, another thing I do now is play with balloons. A few cards inside a helium-filled balloon and it was still able to float around with me over the evening.

Today, I thoroughly walked across:

Hall 12.0 (Hasbro, Ravensburger, and other folk around the blurry division between toys and games, with more toys than games)

Hall 12.2 (Mattell, Lego, and a few places for pre-schoolers)

It's worth noting that a few stands in 12.0 and everyone in 12.2 was basically closed, with security guards in front and folk only allowed in if they have appointmenets.

Hall 8 - party/tramplines

This was the saddest hall - it just felt empty and sad.

Hall 7 - more trampolines, slides, cars that someone else was driving around but I didn't feel up for

Hall 7A - model vehicles, and a lot of model trains running around.

Hall 6 - a lot more locked doors, with stuff for babies and education

I was half-way around hall 5 when the closure announcement came. Like Spiel (Essen), when the show 'closes', folk close their stands but people are free to wander for a while.

Chatting with friends at the Saz stand (pretty much the union for game designers), a trip to Nuremberg city centre for a Saz celebration, seeing good friend Brett Gilbert win another award (along with co-designer Trevor) and a surprise dinner.

Some chats with friendly folk. Playing a couple of games from their library. Back home.

Hopefully, I'll be asleep soon.

Goodnight.
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Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:48 pm
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Spielwarrenmesse (Nuremberg Toy Fair): First Impressions

Bez Shahriari
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It's big.


I think there are way more exhibitors to see than at Spiel. A similar amount of floorspace. Though it's hard to tell. Bear in mind that folk don't need so much space given the nature of the show, so you never get a super-giant stand stretching across an entire hall.

There are 12 large halls (as well as connecting corridors with more folk crammed in), and 3 of those halls have 2 floors!

There's a fair amount of fanciness


Walking up to the the entrance, there was a long line of flags, with 2 lines of banners leading to the entrance. Just to the right of the entrance was a throne made of swords, and inside the halls are a few fancy displays.

Thankfully, there's no big TV screens inside, but people have clearly spent money and put effort into making their stands look good.

It feels less playful than London.

I didn't see anyone playing with building blocks or zooming around on a little toy car. But having said that, I think it was basically just me doing those things in London. So let's say they are both fairly serious and that actually playing a game for fun is incredibly unusual.

==============

I wandered around halls 11.0, 11.1, 10.1, 10.0, the intersection between 10/11, and then hall 9.

In hall 11, it was all about plushy toys, fireworks, and a lovely stand that had some incredible stretchy sand! Sort of like goo or putty that you can pull apart, but with a sandy texture and feel. They gave me a free sample but only of their 2nd-best sand.

Hall 10 is all about boardgames (manufacturers, publishers, distributors...) and a few jigsaws. One manufacurer was foisting free samples onto me in lieu of any English-speaking ability.

I managed to get an appointment for tomorrow with one publisher and need to do some slight preparation.

I met up with Ellie Dix, saw John Yianni (who is as lovely as always) and then started a methodical walkabout.

I think that all the boardgames are in hall 10.0/10.1, but it seems worth exploring elsewhere.

Hall 9 features ballons, fireworks, and fancy costumes.

We got a few incredible balloons, learning a lot along the way, and I literally inserted an entire game into a balloon! We also saw a firework-thing that you could literally put your hand over! I was terrified to do this, but it was actually quite fun and cathartic. Turns out there is such a thing as indoor fireworks now.

Around this time, the building was closing up. In the last few minutes, I met Andrew(Yay Games), Lawrence (Wotan) and Russ. We played with the ELL-deck-filled balloon, played a couple of spur-of-the-moment games, and then burst another balloon for science.

It seems like I've checked out 25-35% of the show, so there's plenty more walking to do tomorrow!

Early night, ahoy!
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Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:54 pm
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Reasons why Bastion 2020 was brilliant.

Bez Shahriari
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Dewi and Colin organising several games of 2 Rooms and A Boom. An intense experience with 25 people.

Yvonne T organising the Klask tournament, and running an edible game. Lisa baking extra-special profiteroles.

Phillip B organising an MtG tournament (with a rare-draft in lieu of prizes).

Susan & Aaron being super-lovely and driving me to Crewe after a game of I'm the Boss. I could stay an extra 30 minutes and we had a lovely chat in the car.

People saying hello. People forgiving me if I forgot them, or their name, or their face.

People generally being kind and thoughtful.

People like Scott and Sarah being happy to cook for others.

Ed organising the cheese night, which loads of folk brought stuff along to.

Fuchsia giving lovely smiles, nose-twitches, and hugs.

Dewi moving a group to a bigger table and slightly-cajoling me to join when I expressed some interest in Glory to Rome.

Tony having a go of the 'Flip & Spell' prototype. Some ideas for modularity were very welcome.

Everyone who was teaching a game, just sharing the joy of a game they love and facilitating a new shared experience.

Everyone who played one of the games I suggested, allowing me to share that time with them.

Denise, Tom, Dewi, and Aaron for organising.

I mean, if it was just a bunch of people in an empty field, with no heating, shelter, or boardgames, that would be fairly horrible. So clearly, those things also helped. I also can't understate the fact that having running water and toilets contributes to my happiness levels not only at a convention but also generally day-to-day.

So it's not 'just about the people' if I"m being pedantic. And clearly I am.

But, once again, this will probably be in my top few conventions for the year. It was a wonderful chance to just enjoy the company of wonderful folk whilst playing games. When I arrived, I was tired and fatigued from the travel. I turned down a game, as I had to eat, but Andy kindly asked me a 2nd time if I wanted to join in, reiterating that it wouldn't be an issue. It's a tiny thing, but that pretty much set the tone for the full weekend.
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Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:24 am
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Food and play.

Bez Shahriari
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Day 3 of Bastion.

Every game I've played has been enjoyable for one reason or more.

Most notable were the 2 food events.

Firstly, Y planned one of Jenn Sandercock's edible games. 'High Tea Assassins' is basically Win, Lose, Banana, where the cards are replaced with food. Whilst I'm never happy as such to see such similarity in rules, the food absolutely adds another level. Not only do you have to judge people's emotional reaction to learning the information (via hidden card, or hidden ingredients), but the reactions to the taste gives another thing to discuss. We played 4 rounds and everyone got into roleplaying the 'royal high tea' setting.

Food is just filled with emotional resonance and I think it's this that made this (and Y's edible game playtest last year) so wonderful to experience.

Later in the evening, we had the 'cheese+ party'. It became a tradition in 2018 and the idea was for everyone to bring something (chocolate, port, crackers, cheese, mead...) and enjoy tasting a whole bunch of delicious things.

After 3 games of 2 Rooms and a Boom, it was nice to be able to relax and just chat for half an hour.

UKGE, Airecon, and even my own BGDevCon all appreciate that good food is an important part of a con, so ensure that there are plenty of delicious, and relatively-healthy, options.

As we sit and navigate a framework of rules, trying to read each other's bluffs, knocking balls into holes, working out matchs, or whatever the game may encourage... Why not tantalise all our senses?

This is probably a big part of the reason why videogames are more popular - visual and aural spectacle - as well as the reason I adore every aroma/food-based boardgame I've played.
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Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:39 am
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Bastion.

Bez Shahriari
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I'm at Bastion this weekend, enjoying games with many folk. Today, I've played a couple of prototypes, a game I'd been yearning to play for ages (Glory to Rome), and a whole bunch of other games that almost start to blur together. Race for the Galaxy, a short MtG tournament, Skull King, Grabbell...

There is a unique atmosphere. People book the Youth Hostel. We share bedrooms; everyone in the building a gamer who came for this weekend.

The organisers are basically just a bunch of friends, who wanted to run a long weekend of gaming. This is what it's all about. Human connections.

We all get lanyards with our names on them. More than that, there is a small puzzle of finding 5 other people in the same 'group' as you. (This year, names of games are on the lanyards, and each 'group' has games by a single designer.) To tick off the circles on your lanyard, you're meant to play a game with these people. It's a way to encourage folk to play with strangers. To make new friends.

I'm happy to see Yvonne again, who is so kind and caring. Yvonne is running a Klask tournament and also baking for a special edible game to be run tomorrow.

Fuchsia laughs uncontrollably as we play Skull King. 5 of us around the table, shaking the dice in ever-increasingly-ridiculous ways.

Zach was another wonderful new face, helping tidy stuff away after nearly everyone else has gone to bed.

Philip was running a MtG tournament again. We drove 12 minutes to a local shop to buy some boosters, and also discussed some politics whilst Richard was in the car.

Tony is as boisterous, calm, opinionated, and pleasant as always.

A few faces I see sometimes at other cons. A few I only know from Bastion. Everyone is lovely. Accepting. Kind.

It's all about the people.

And these people are wonderful.
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Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:44 am
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Glasgow games festival - post 2. Borings stats/analysis.

Bez Shahriari
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Microbadge: I play with red!Microbadge: I play with purple!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level III - Are we geeks because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are geeks?Microbadge: I'm genderqueer/nonbinary!Microbadge: I'm a gut player!
GGF sales:
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2 Yogi (at £12.50 each)
4 W++ deluxe (at £17.50 each)
10 KC (at £12.50 each)
9 Purrsonality cards (at £2.50 each)


A bit surprised by the low sales of Yogi/W++ but I think that's probably explained by the fact that GGF has a lot of repeat visitors who have already got my previous stuff.

Also a bit surprised by the (higher than expected) sales of the Purrsonality cards. I was actively telling folk that it's available for free from BGG. Some sales to existing KC owners. Some to new purchasers. I guess the lesson is to print some more budget stuff and expansions?

All sales were to the general public.


Stuff I did well/am proud of:


+ Teaching Yogi in 15s.

I was busy teaching a game. Some folk wanted to play Yogi. I managed to help out both groups, mainly by virtue of the fact that I can basically teach Yogi ridiculously quickly, despite what the verbose nature of my blog writing might lead you to believe.

+ Decent sales display, on a table that was also used for demos.

This actually worked well - as I was not actively selling the original Wibbell++ (it's pretty much sold out), I'm able to do a display of my things across the width of a table. Using the 'boxes for height' trick that Matt taught me in August. Having a copy of each game open, with a few cards strategically visible.

Since I started having 'display tables' at UKGE, I've become quite good at arranging them. I will note that at Airecon, I probably won't be able to fit it onto the width and will have to use the length again, since I'll also have Yogi Guru.

+ Giving prizes to more people.

This is something I've been experimenting with since Essen. This was the first time I 'split' the prize and the difference in the atmosphere it created was massive.


Stuff I'd try to do differently:

- Try to have extra helpers. Cover sickness. Let myself talk more to folk.

One helper had to pull out in the morning due to sickness. I did have cover for 90 minutes in the middle (allowing me to run a good 2pm event and then take a 20min break) but there were definitely times when folk came over to see me (sometimes to chat, sometimes just to try games) and couldn't because I was in the middle of demoing to other folk.

- Print out instructions for prototypes/works in progress.
- Print out feedback forms.

2 folk were interested to test out a thing. I taught it. I think that if I'd done a proper 'blind' test, that would have been even more helpful. To be fair, GGF is quiet enough that folk might be willing to read a page of rules. I wouldn't necessarily expect it at UKGE.

Printing out feedback forms just allows me to get more feedback and to then look over it properly afterwards. Specially if I'm short on folk, and/or if I'm trying to do too many things (which I generally am at a con).

- Remember my coins.

I was saved by Iain McAllister, who got me some £1/50p coins. But I shouldn't have forgotten them the previous day.



2pm event.

By 2:10, we had 10 folk all playing Kitty Cataclysm and competing for some prize. That was the maximum capacity (the game goes up to 5 and I had 2 tables).

If I really had to, I probably could have had 3 games going, but that would have been a lot harder to track and adjudicate.

I did the usual thing of folk moving tables every 2 games, so that everyone ended up playing with everyone else. Afterwards, the top 5 folk competed in a final series of games. Rather than have it be simply 'first to win 2 games wins overall', I had people being knocked out in the first couple of games (to ensure it wouldn't end up taking 6 games).

I let folk pick a prize when they were knocked out. And whilst I'm happy I gave the little girl something, I think that I'd rather having the 1st place person pick first. Having someone knocked out and then having to wait until the end to pick a prize doesn't seem brilliant, but maybe that's the best option.

I'm going to continue to ponder this.


Would I go again?

I made a profit of about £20. It also required me to sit in a bus for 2 days pretty much. That was the worst part of it. I do enjoy being in Glasgow for a bit and can stay in my family home. This time, I didn't get to meet with any old friends outside of the con, but I did get to go to a theatre production and hang out with Denholm, which was cool.

The convention itself was lovely. Not super-stressful. A good number of folk popping over.

Based on my sales, I didn't reach that many new people. The way to really make use of the show next year would probably be to have folk playtest things that are in a reasonable state.

And maybe reach out to local places to do some events on the Fri/Sun around it.

I am emotionally biased as this con is run by some old friends of mine and I'd like to see Glasgow's gaming convention continue to grow.

I will certainly consider it. It's just a question of what else might clash...
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Thu Dec 5, 2019 1:02 am
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