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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A brief hiatus

Bez Shahriari
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I could say that the lack of blog post yesterday was due to lack of internet.

That was part of it.

In any case, I'm going to abandon this blog for a few weeks. The alternative is that I just turn it into some very brief diary posts and I'm not sure anyone wants that.

I've really enjoyed the conversations and comments and appreciate all of them.

For now, though, I really need to get some other stuff sorted and this has turned from mildly therapeutic to an annoyance.

Maybe see some of you at Tabletop Scotland/Tabletop Gaming Live/Essen.

With a bit of hard work, I can get Kitty Cataclysm/Wibbell++ v2 ready in the next 2 weeks, so they can be in my hands to at least show BGG at Essen.
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Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:31 am
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10 things I'm proud of last week

Bez Shahriari
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Taking Sunday off
Maybe a weird thing to be proud of, but running my own business is something that occupies a lot of my thoughts. It's super-tempting to check my email and social media several times a day, even though I might not reply right away.

It's tempting to push myself to always do more.

I'm proud that I took time off - from Saturday evening until Sunday night - and I want to try to do this every 3 weeks minimum, regardless of what else I feel I have to do. Ideally one day a week once I feel I can afford it. No guilt.

Recorded another #BGWB show
I asked Andy if we could record, then I did so.

It took me a lot longer than usual to sort out the volumes, as I was speaking more loudly and we were on the same channel. In future, I'll avoid that for back-and-forth stuff.

I'm proud that I am making time to do this every week.

This blog
Talking about things I do regularly, I'm coming close to 200 posts. I've not yet missed a day. And I was organised enough to write multiple blog posts on Saturday. Inspired by Adam Porter, I'm starting some lists, which I may continue for a while.

swimming
I do enjoy this sometimes. I like stretching out my body. I like being submerged in water, knowing I can get up and breathe.

I went swimming on Monday/Friday. I want to increase my exercise but this is a start

getting up early on Tuesday/Friday

I used to have so much trouble waking up for work. I would sleep in regularly when working for Tesco. As time went on, I improved. I think over the course of a year at my most recent mundane job, I slept in once.

Even though I love being at work, getting up is still something I hate. And often I don't get as much sleep as I'd like. So I'll applaud myself for getting up early enough to do a quick bit of rules-reading, pondering & then swimming before I got to the Royal Festival Hall for playtesting.

typing up the Yogi 2 cards & sending them to Gigamic
(And also a couple of playtesters on my end.)

emailing a US distributor
Emails sometimes make me feel nervous. But I did it.

Sorting out Essen transport
I am going again, thanks to the kindness of Alan/Charlie Paull. Well done to me for writing another email that just had to be written.

working on the W++ games
Even though all I promised was to ponder the games, a few of them required a bit of fairly substantial (but quick) development to go from being good to great. This wasn't something I could do for most of them, but I could do for many. I'm proud I could do that.

I'm proud of the system itself. I'm proud to have a friend and colleague like David Brain who is so knowledgable and willing to offer their opinion and guidance.

GGG
This is an old game of mine that should be coming in 2019/2020 from another publisher. I'm proud that I wrote the email about it, checking in with the publisher, and then did a little bit of tweaking of the files based on the year or so since I last edited them.
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Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:00 pm
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Sometimes, I need a break.

Bez Shahriari
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Sometimes I need to take some time off.

Not worry about writing a good blog post.

Even if I've had the thoughts, it is effort/energy to articulate it.

Part of me likes the fact that this blog is 'every day' and I want to keep going until 200 (since I said I will).

But I also said I'd get Wibbell++ v2 and Kitty Cataclysm and a + Pnp done by now and those are the more important things.

In the balance, I would rather spend a little less time writing and a little more time actually finishing games (and working for ACG).

I'm not sure exactly what my schedule should be, but 5 days a week (or maybe replacing some days with an image or some quick filler content) seems better.

Originally, the podcast reviews were meant to be the filler content, but they actually take as much effort as everything else.

Ideas/thoughts welcome.

Poll: What days should I post on? (pick 5)
What days should I post on? (Please pick 5)
 Choices Your Answer  Bars Vote Percent Vote Count
Monday
88.9 percent
88.9% 8
Tuesday
77.8 percent
77.8% 7
Wednesday
100.0 percent
100.0% 9
Thursday
77.8 percent
77.8% 7
Friday
88.9 percent
88.9% 8
Saturday
33.3 percent
33.3% 3
Sunday
33.3 percent
33.3% 3
Voters 9
This poll is now closed.   9 answers
Poll created by stuffbybez
Closes: Wed Dec 5, 2018 6:00 am
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Sat Aug 4, 2018 3:25 pm
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100 blog posts, reflection. Part 2. Plans for the 2nd 100 blog posts.

Bez Shahriari
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Wednesdays will be related to Wibbell++.

In the spirit of #FollowFridays, I'll talk about either a podcast I've listened to 100% of, someone else's creation I admire, or a person (or anything else) that I think you should check out.

If I'm at a convention, I'll do a quick report and schedule it for the next day.
So the stuff for UKGE would have gone live on Sat/Sun/Monday.

All my blog posts will hopefully be scheduled to go live at 1am BGG time, starting tomorrow. Some of them might be written just a few hours beforehand, but I want to move away from posting stuff 'just in time' and towards posting stuff at a time that everyone can generally rely upon.

I don't particularly enjoy the act of writing, but I think that my mood has been generally low recently so I'm not sure how much of that is just because of my general mood.

I actually quite like the small sense of achievement I get by having a thing lined up for each day.

I was notified by someone recently who couldn't access my BGG posts (specifically the Wibbell++ competition post) because she's under 16 and the BGG ToS don't allow folk of her age. I'd like to maybe start duplicating some of this content somewhere else at some point. Maybe on my own website, without the swears. Maybe a weekly repost (possible edit) of something from a month-ish ago. But that sounds like a lot of extra work. Not sure what to do about that.

For now, I think I just want to carry on until I get to 200 blog posts, then decide what I'll do then.
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Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:31 pm
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100 blog posts, reflection. Part 1.

Bez Shahriari
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Why say anything? Why am I writing these blog posts?

Once in a while, it can be useful to ask: why am I doing this?

Why am I making this game? Why am I eating this unhealthy food? Why am I carrying this object through my life? Why am I writing these words?

By examining the answers, maybe we can work out how to live our lives a bit better. What should we stop doing? What are we doing out of habit rather than because of any positive benefit?

Conversely, maybe we should simply tweak something we're doing, shift our focus, or even try to maintain or even double down on.

As I approach 100 blog posts, I think it's important to think about why I'm writing these daily blog posts. How have I done? Could I be doing better? Is it worth continuing?

- sharing my knowledge.

Having focused mainly on making games for several years, I'd like to think that I've amassed some knowledge. I know a bit about how to pack for a con, how to critique games, how to make a good game and have experience with exhibiting - at cons, shops or pubs.

There are a few things that I'd like to have read 5 years ago.

A few of the things I've written have clearly resonated with folk given the responses here and on Twitter. I'd like to do more of this, so if you have a question you'd like answered, I'll try to answer as best I can. Some things like the diary about building a game for 2020 and the convention lessons will hopefully continue to improve as time goes on.

- promoting myself

Part of the reason I'm on social media or posting anything at all is for self-promotion.

Though I don't want it to become the focus of this blog, I do like being able to sometimes write about a thing I'm making, or ask for input. You helped me decide the name of my game for 1st August 2019. It will simply be called +. I announced my competition for Wibbell++. I'll tell you a little about other things I've made/am making. Hopefully, if you're reading this, you're interested.

I think that at least I've had a little engagement. I had a few votes on the poll for the name and even when I write about my own games, there are consistently a few folk reading.

And I'm thankful for that.

- provoking myself to ponder things

Sometimes, teaching is a great way to learn. Distilling my thoughts and typing them onto a screen helps them coalesce into something intelligible.

Occasionally, my opinion might change half-way through typing a blog. This has been useful on occasion.

- practising writing (but not editing)

Writing isn't as big a passion as game design or dancing. But I guess that by practising this, I might develop this skill.

Like game design, writing something that resonates with an audience might require a little empathy. My skill at selecting words and assembling those words into sentences continues to grow.

Whilst this isn't my primary focus, it is a side benefit.

- engaging with folk and having a discussion.


Inspired by Allen O'Connor, I decided early on that I would 'bribe' people to comment by paying them 0.1 GG per comment (unless I particularly love/dislike the comment in question).

Geekgold is such a silly thing. No-one will actually be tempted to comment by virtue of the fact that they would probably get some from me.

However, it does hopefully show appreciation. Sometimes I don't have much to say in response but I truly appreciate the comment. I love the fact that sometimes folk have pointed me towards relevant games or articles. Sometimes people have chimed in with their own related viewpoints and helped me understand things in a new way.

Recently, some folk were just recommending games and that's a nice thing to facilitate. :-)

In conclusion


Those are some quick thoughts on why I'm maybe doing this. I seem to be meeting all my objectives, at least somewhat. Am I getting enough benefit to continue? Should I make any big changes?

Your input, as always, is very welcome.
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Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:00 am
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Variation in engagement with this blog.

Bez Shahriari
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I noticed last week how a couple of my blog posts resonated differently on Twiter and BGG.

My post on Chessex got 10 thumbs on BGG but no response on Twitter.

Conversely, my post on unhealthy comparisons continues to get likes/retweets on Twitter, but only one thumb on BGG.

I'm just curious about the relative numbers. Is that a result of the content? The extra sentence I wrote on Twitter? Or is it just a meaningless, coincidental synchronicity based on timing and the way that a tweet with more interaction will be then shown to more people? Is there a lesson to learn?

Thoughts are welcome.

Not that I only want to write the things with the biggest engagement. There are other reasons to be writing of course.
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Mon May 21, 2018 6:15 am
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My aims for this blog, now.

Bez Shahriari
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So, I wrote a bunch* of daily posts then stopped. I actually had a post scheduled for Friday night as I knew I wouldn't be able to get online, but it didn't post. I think my home internet messed up when I was scheduling it.

Whilst it's slightly discouraging to lose my 'streak', I'm going to use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate. If you're on a diet but then binge, or eat a bit more than you meant to, you should take stock and move forwards. Never wallow in the past.

Daily posts work for me


I think it's almost easier for me to do something every day than 5x or 3x a week. Truth is that if I just said, 'I'll do it whenever', I'd never do it. I'm the sort of person that needs to make time for things.

My posts can be scheduled more often


3-4 of my posts were scheduled. I don't think this makes them worse. I can write a bunch of things if feeling inspired (or write a podcast review whenever I finish listening to an entire series) and it'll still be just as relevant to everyone else.

I'm generally happy with what I've written

Some people resonated with a few things I wrote. I was super-excited to learn of MtG's change and am glad that others generally feel the same way. It was super-cool to be mentioned by Cardboard Edison a few times, and lovely to know that others are finding some of my writings useful.

I'll keep on writing about things that resonate with me, lessons I've learned (relating to boardgames) and reviews of podcasts.

I'll write whatever I want

As said above, I'll write about things that resonate with me. Maybe I'll write about games I love (like Tiefe Taschen, the Sock Game, Go...) but didn't play a part in the creation of.

I don't tend to swear but will allow myself profanity if I feel the situation merits it. This is not me speaking as a 'company' (although I know it kinda is) but as a person. I might talk about sex or violence, or swear. My games are family friendly but I make no guarantees regarding this blog.

I won't edit much

Honestly, I don't have the time. I'll try to quickly read after writing and sort out obvious issues but that's it. I'm not going to rewrite or make major edits. If something needs to be rewritten, maybe I'll approach the same topic later down the line.

This does not reflect the approach I'd take if I were writing something for someone else's blog, a magazine, or a programme. Rulesheets are another matter entirely.

Ask questions if you wish

If you want, feel free to PM me any questions. No guarantees about timeliness, but I'll probably answer.

Thanks for the comments/thumbs/shares

yep. It's good to know that what I'm writing matters to someone else. And interesting to read thoughts/responses.


*26 to be exact. I just counted. This wasn't intentional, but this is a very meaningful number to take a break on. Letters in the alphabet, days that my first W++ KS ran for...
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Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:38 pm
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