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.

Archive for about me (moreso than usual)

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Dear diary. I'm live-streaming a lot.

Bez Shahriari
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So, recently, I've found any writing a bit more difficult than usual.

Whether it's a blog post, a KS update, or rules for a new ELL game that I really want to share.

I've been doing a lot more live-streaming to compensate. Since Airecon, I've live-streamed games on Tuesday/Thursday evenings (8:10pm UK-time) that folk can either just watch, or join in with.

Stuff like Say Anything, Giftabell, Q for U, or How Much Money. Social party games.

Tuesdays are now about trying/testing new games, whilst Thursdays are about the games we already love.

Since the start of the month, I've bee doing a 'Bezzy Breakfast Boardgame Blether' at 10am UK-time each day. Before, this was around the time I would get up. Now, I am getting up earlier. It's a tiny bit of joy, connecting to folk and having a couple of folk who pop along regularly.

I'm starting to have guests - tomorrow, I'll be chatting to Alan Paull of Surprised Stare Games. Probably about designing, Essen, and other things.

Over the weekend, I'll be chatting to Richard Denning of UKGE/Medusa Games. Probably mainly about the 'Virtually Expo' event.

Anyway, I guess I'm writing this post mainly to let you know I'm still alive. Not great. Not terrible.

To let you know I'm still making stuff and inviting you to watch my livestreams.

And if you want to pose any questions for Alan Paull/Richard Denning then please do so.
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Mon May 18, 2020 1:13 pm
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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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Things I'd like to do at Bastion

Bez Shahriari
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I think this is the 3rd time I've been to Bastion - a lovely weekend con wherein an entire YHA is booked out for gamers. You can come downstairs in your pyjamas and just play games in this crazily-casual setting all day.

I hope to:
- have a quick walk on the nearby castle walls again.
- play a few new-to-me games
- say hello to familiar faces and also folk I either don't know or forgot.
- play an edible game, hosted by Yvonne.
- Play I'm The Boss, which I bought a while back and still haven't played my own copy of.
- draft the new MtG set
- eat some noodles out of teapots. It's a tradition now.
- play some big social games
- play some ELL games, maybe including the one that Seb helped design.

A lot of excellent people, but also just a lot of games to be played.

My suitcase isn't working, so I'll have to see how much I can actually take this year. I'll pack early tomorrow (technically today now), nip to London Toy Fair, then get the train over to Wales. Looking forward to it!

It's always lovely having the weekend as it's the one weekend where I'm not there to volunteer, demo, or meet business partners. It's just a lovely chance to play games.

I do actually enjoy that.
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Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:02 am
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2019 retrospective: Achievements.

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With the new year, now seems a reasonably time to make a long list of stuff I'm vaguely proud of.

Major game-making achievements in 2019:


Printed/sent out KC/W++ Deluxe

Went to 11 cons for work. (Maybe more) I demoed, tested, engaged, and facilitated good times.

Developed Categorickell. (It's worth noting that I was helped by Angele, Rory, Lillith, and of courseTom who did the original design. Of course, none of these things are entirely my doing.)

Sold games to 9 shops (5 of which I'd not been in last year). One isn't even in UK.

Ran a workshop in Somerset House for Now Play This.

Co-designed a LARP for KCL (now it needs development). It's about legal gender/sex representation.

Invented several new W++ games.

Developed Gambell.

Ran a good booth at UKGE. Listened to feedback and changed things up for Sunday.

Pitched a game at Cannes.

Entered a design contest.

Ran a design contest. I will announce the winner very soon.

Designed 'Seize the Power' with Tiz. Now that also just needs development. A game I'm very proud of and think will be well worth mass production.

Set up a couple of interviews for +/Categorickell KSs next year. (If anyone is willing to have me on, I love talking about games...)

Recorded/'edited' 37 episodes of my radio show - Boardgames with Bez.

Took note of how my 2pm event failed on Sunday at Essen, and improved it for GGF/Dragonmeet.

Ran a monthly side-event at Tim (Big Red Barrel)'s Tabletop Tuesday event.

Ran a 'speed designing' day that facilitated a lot of new games to be born.

Worked at Draughts for a month. Learned some things.

Taught Wibbell in German.

Made a giant, crazier version of Yogi for a specific event at Airecon. It went down well.

Ran many Friday daytime playtests, though David Brain seems to be taking charge more often recently.

Made a RnW game good enough for someone else to publish.

#BGDevCon 4. (Co-organised the convention for folk to chat about game-making and not play games.)

Invented, designed, developed the Purrsonality cards.



Personal achievements in 2019:


exercised semi-regularly at the end of the year

cycled most places, even when it was raining

sorted out travel/air BnB and went to Montpelier for a break.

found a housemate

paid some bills

organised some game gatherings

bought a hula-hoop, which I now use fairly often

Went to a lot of swing dancing classes. Went to a social dance.

Went to a few club nights.

Arguably saved a friend's life.

Got out of an abusive kind-of-relationship.

Had a couple one-night-stands.

I think I was reasonably thoughtful towards close friends/housemates, but also assertive towards my own needs.
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Fri Jan 3, 2020 1:04 am
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Birthday ramble/self-promotion.

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It's my birthday!

I'm going to be a bit rambly/self-promotional. Bear with me. :-p

PRESENTS!

Firstly, if you have played any of my games and would like to give me a present, please consider rating (and maybe commenting) on some of my games. :-p

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/75703/behrooz-sh...

I think that the style of game I make doesn't result in much BGG interaction. Wibbell/Grabbell/etc. don't have many votes because they're part of a game system. And though there are nearly 3,000 copies of IAB Jr floating around, it's still unranked (under 30 ratings).

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/227790/wibbell

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/183404/bind-jr

BUY MY GAMES TO DONATE!

For every copy of Kitty Cataclysm/W++ sold via my shop in August, £3 will be donated to aid literacy. £1.50 will go to Coram Beanstalk, who work with disadvantaged children on a 1:1 basis. £1.50 will go to Quickreads, who make easy-to-read (but not childish) books and get them to adults via prisons, hospitals, libraries.

http://stuffbybez.bigcartel.com

I invited other shops to partner up and if you buy from:
Fan Boy Three
Leisure Games
Cakes and Ladders
£3 of your purchase will go to aid literacy.

If you buy from me at a con/pub, the same applies. I still make a few pennies however you buy it - I wanted to make it something sustainable that I could do every August.

BGDEVCON

It seems that some people don't know about this.

It's a yearly thing aimed at BG creators, or folk interested in creating boardgames. The next one is this Saturday.

More info and links:
https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/morenews.php?id=514

SOCIAL GAMING/FRENCH GAMING

Sometimes I have folk over to play games. Sometimes we try to speak French whilst playing. My french is not great. It's often on a Thursday evening. Seriously, if you're based near N15 3QP and would like to play some games, let me know.

I have a big pile of potential. :-/

And even though I haven't played all the games I own, people (including me) keep making new ones! What's that all about‽

PROCEED CLOCKWISE on 20th AUGUST


If you're near here, come and say hello.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2346973855339015/

It's a nice BG cafe in Shoreditch. Good food. I'm biased because the owner gave me a free meal, but it was a very tasty pizza/dessert.

I'll be around all day. Teaching stuff, running events, accepting challenges. If you beat me at Wibbell/Grabbell you'll get a game for free.

I'm that confident.

Hint: I've been beaten only once this year at Wibbell I think, whereas I've been beaten at least 3 times at Grabbell.

TABLETOP SCOTLAND

So, I'm going to this. If you're going, come along to my 2pm events. Honestly, I go to cons because I get to watch folk having fun with my things.

Yes, there is a marketing benefit. Yes, I get to meet cool people and maybe even test future things. But for me it's mainly about the validation and the fun of it. So that's why I run 2pm events - trying to have a focused thing that will maybe draw people in. I try to make them a fun, memorable, spectacular event.

I will repeat the Wibbell++ triathlon on Saturday, but there will be some twists to take it to the next level.

Sunday is Kitty Cataclysm. Each day, the ultimate winner gets my entire back-catalogue as a prize.

SETTLERS HAMILTON

I'll be going there from 1pm ish onwards on 28th. If you are nearby, please come along.

A CLOSING RAMBLE

Thanks for the birthday wishes. I did get a few presents. A bottle of Sake, some fancy prosecco and some fancy chocolates, none of which I've started consuming. Some flowers, a copy of When I Dream, and a couple of lovely cards.

More and more, I'm realising the value of experiences. Of communication. The folk who came over on Saturday to our BBQ. The folk who cam over on Sunday. A housemate agreeing to a game and a chat last night. Nick sharing a photo today. A couple of new reviews of KC in the past 24 hrs, which I"m going to link, because - hey - this post is all about me being spammy and self-promotional.

https://whatsericplaying.com/2019/08/12/kitty-cataclysm/

https://thefriendlyboardgamer.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/kitty...

As I realise the value of experiences, I learn to appreciate not only those who allow me to share wonderful moments with them, but also those who let me know about the moments I have facilitated.

I read through reviews and see these pictures and they make me feel like I've actually done something of value with my past year of life.

I've managed to mass-produce a couple new things. I also added visitor cards to WtDinoWorld, and tinkered with some other ACG stuff.

Honestly, I'd like to do a bit more non-bg stuff next year. I'd like to enjoy some more travel, dancing, and get myself fitter. Last year, I did do some burlesque and I learned Swing and managed to get my head around a changing count. But the boardgames are a thing that I keep coming back to.

A safe environment for folk to interact. Failure is fine. Messing up is fine. We're all learning together.

I love Bastion. It epitomises the joy of folk sharing a table. I'm sorry to everyone whose names I forget.

Anyway, if I have to make a point, it's that I'd appreciate you letting me know if my things are providing a nice experience for you. And BGG comments are things I can sometimes read when I'm feeling a bit low, and remind myself that a whole bunch of people have actually played my things and that's almost incredible.

Not all of you will enjoy my things. So I don't want you ALL to come and play my things at the next event. There may not be enough space. And if you're not enjoying it, I'd rather you go do something you DO enjoy.

But if you do enjoy my things, or anyone else's I suppose, maybe go over at one of these quieter cons and ask to play a game.

Because it's all about that moment.

Sitting down to play a game.
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Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:29 pm
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Bucket list - attempt 1.

Bez Shahriari
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Inspired by this blog, and Kaitlyn's prompt of what OUR bucketlist items may be, I thought I'd do some quick soulsearching.

This is just spur-of-the-moment thoughts.

- sell a million games. Although this may be a terrible thing since it basically depends on outside factors, like the fickleness of humans and Gigamic's continued marketing for Yogi etc.

- make AGWYB[...]. In theory, I could put a whole bunch of projects here that I definitely want to make. But this is the one that will take the most organisation and effort. 550 illustrations. A bigger box. A higher RRP. I'd like to be able to do it without losing too much money.

- Co-design a game. I've started co-designs that haven't really taken off. One (with Marta Borowiecka/Konrad Borowiecki) I still hope I can get signed up. But that was basically a concept from Marta and the bulk of the design was done solo. I'd love to really work as a team with someone, sharing our passion and talent and meeting up regularly to iterate.

- make a 'bigger box' game. This is a bit arbitrary and maybe it shouldn't be here. But I'd like to make something that has some thematic resonance, with some more involved strategic decisions.

- make a game that does good. Something that drives people to change the world for the better, or be a bit less jerky. It should be entertaining, but something that has the outcome of changing behaviour/thought as its design goal rather than 'just' facilitating a cool experience.

- make Mini Missions to Minimise Misery. This is an app idea I've had for a while. a bit outside of the realms of BGs, but this is something I genuinely feel would help some people. (It would help me.) If any coders are reading and want to work on something that will probably be really hard to profit from, but will definitely help folk connect with the world around them and minimise depression, let me know. We could skype or something. Honestly, I just want this thing to be made.

- Learn enough French/German/Korean to teach a game. And, ideally, to understand what folk are saying about it.

- run MEGA Many a Mickell makes a Muckell.
The game requires one deck per player, but could easily go up to 50 or even higher. How many is 'MEGA'? I guess maybe 30+. The biggest game I've run was (I think) 12 players, which happened at a pub.

- Run a successful 'official' tournament at UKGE.
The usual official manner is to have people pay a small fee, give away some freebies/prizes, and the money covers UKGE's space. To my mind, a successful one would be one that doesn't lose much money and allows me to do a similar thing each year. It would show that folk are loving the game so much that they want to compete, are excited to play at a higher level, and is a sort of experience that I'd love to create.

- speak on Ludology. The podcast.

- make a podcast. I've got an 'internet radio show', but I'd like to do something that folk can download and listen to via podcast apps. I have an idea also. Now I need the time. And either better editing skills, or someone else to edit.

- Attend the SdJ ceremony. I don't expect to win. Or even be nominated. I just want to attend. I hear there is some free food and folk dress up. Maybe I can be someone's +1 or something. I've not really looked into the logistics.
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Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:30 pm
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BezDay/August shenanigans - contests! Art requests! Shop visits! Charity donations!

Bez Shahriari
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So sometimes I want to tell folk stuff. But then I worry about spamming. And then I have more stuff to tell folk.

Right now, I want to tell you so much stuff. Sorry I've not been blogging regularly and sorry for the info dump. I hope at least some of this is of interest.

================================
W++ renaming:
================================
I am asking folk to help me rename this deck. The contest ends in 50 hours-ish, so if you have any ideas, send them over via this google form!

https://forms.gle/3ypjJaNVvNwtGaAZ8

The winner gets every game I design, ever - past AND future.

================================
W++ annual design contest

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

There is an annual design contest for the deck currently-known-as-Wibbell++ also ending in 50-ish hours.

Your game doesn't have to be fully developed. If the numbers need changing, or even some of the structural details, that is totally fine. It's basically down to how good the game is after an hour or so of work from me.

Winner gets £100, consultation, many games, and everyone gets plenty of feedback.

If you have the energy to work out an idea, then I suggest you submit it here, even if you don't have the time to playtest it properly.

https://forms.gle/zubqX6RVMzEsK96H8

================================
Art requests on 1st August:

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

Go onto Twitter. Write, "#BezDay #ArtRequest @stuffbybez " and anything you write thereafter will probably be drawn. Depends how much stuff I can get to.

================================
Donations:
================================

Buy a game from any of these places:
my website (ships worldwide)
cakes and ladders (London)
leisure games (London)
fanboy 3 (Manchester)

For each copy of W++/Kitty Cataclysm sold, £1.50 will go to Coram Beanstalk (who send volunteers to work with disadvantaged children 1:1) and £1.50 will go to Quickreads (who produce easy texts that can still stimulate adults in prisons, hospitals, and the wider world).

================================
In-person-shenanigans
================================
These are my public plans for this week:

31st July (today!) -
Demoing at Cakes & Ladders (London)

1st August:
Demoing at Leisure Games (London)

3rd/4th August -
Demoing at Fanboy 3 (Manchester)

6th August -
Demoing at Tabletop Tuesday (Loading Bar, North London)

Everywhere I go, folk can challenge me to win a free W++ deck! If you beat me at Wibbell or Grabbell, I will literally give you a free deck! (Note: challenge must be issued before game begins) Maybe I'll even make some sort of certificate.

I'll be taking along games from the future, like Yogi Guru and +. I'll happily teach you all new games for the deck currently known as Wibbell++.

I'll also be running other events in each location - like a 2pm event each day in Manchester - and someone will be getting a big prize of all my things.
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Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:36 pm
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My favourite conventions of 2018, from a biased viewpoint.

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Ordered approximately in order of how much I personally enjoyed being there.

Incredibly biased as my enjoyment is mainly a factor of my own personal experiences, how well I managed my own time, and how far I had to travel (from North London). This might not indicate how much fun you will/won't have at any of these cons.

Bear in mind that ALL the cons mentioned below are fantastic (although I'm biased).

BGDevCon 3, Enfield, London

This is the convention that I set up with Andy Yiangou. We also had the help of Matthew Dunstan and a bunch of speakers. I did a small KS, decided that there were enough folk to justify it, and then arranged a day full of short talks, discussions and a 'speed designing' event.

There's a great community of designers in the UK and whilst there are now enough playtests going on in London, there aren't many opportunities for folk to come and NOT playtest. For most of the day, games aren't even allowed, except for the ones that folk ended up co-designing on the day. And even those weren't playtested. The 'speed design' sessions were more about meeting with folk and deciding whether you'd like to continue/start a codesign with them or not.

My favourite parts were the group circle discussions, with a few heartfelt rants.

The short talks taught us about different approaches to design, accessibility for dyslexia, how to stay positive, how to pitch, etc.

I hope we can have another BGDevCon in 2019 on 17th August (the day before the monthly Sunday playtest).

UKGE, Birmingham

UK Games Expo was my first convention, back in 2011. Since then, it's grown exponentially and I think 2019 will perhaps be the first year with no growth in space (given the uncertainty that Brexit provides).

I volunteered every year, until 2016 when I bought a stand to sell In A Bind. In 2017, having licensed IAB to Gigamic, I had one last hurrah as a volunteer. It was fun. I got to be an ambassador. I recommend everyone volunteer if able.

Walking around, I realised that my relationship had changed with the con, with the games, with the attendees and with the traders. The UKGE will continue to change, as will I, as will our relationship.

In 2018, I had a 10m^2 space, 3 demo tables, 1 stock table that occasionally got used for a demo, and 1 table specifically for folk to draw cats. More importantly, I had 7 amazing volunteers. Thanks to my volunteers, I was able to focus on the high-level operations. Everyone working for me learned the games well and learned how to demo them exactly as I'd hoped. Despite the stand being constantly busy, the wealth of people made it incredibly relaxed. As well as having a volunteer at each table, there was someone wandering around explaining the rules of the cat wall, or teaching the principles of a game that had already started.

Thanks to my volunteers, I was almost as busy as I could be, and never felt any stress. The entire convention was a rush of energy and adrenaline.

In 2019, I'm planning to have a larger space. It might be the last ever appearance of the full Cat Gallery. If you're interested in demoing my stuff half of each day (in return for accommodation, games, snacks and good times) please get in touch.

Bastion, Conwy, North Wales

In 2018, Yvonne very kindly invited me to attend this small Welsh con. A Youth Hostel - normally closed in January - is opened specially for this convention. You can either stay in one of the dorm rooms or - if you live locally - just come over to play games.

For me, this was the first time I'd ever attended a con 'just' as an attendee. Not as a trader. Not as a volunteer. Not as a speaker/organiser. Just going and having no responsibilities.

I will also say that this con has a lovely atmosphere. There is a communal kitchen for everyone to cook in. After getting yourself out of your room in the morning, you can go downstairs and immediately be in the company of other friendly folk who want to play games. It's fantastic. If you don't want to take off your pyjamas yet, no-one will judge you. It's totally feasible to make yourself breakfast (in a teapot) and then eat it whilst playing a new game with new friends.

The small attendance (50-100) helps foster this atmosphere. By the end of the 3 days, you might know everyone's face. People bring their own games to share. There is a sense of respect and companionship.

I am looking forward to attending again in just a few weeks!

Uncon, Kent

I only went to the spring one, as I couldn't financially justify the 2nd one in the year (not to mention my delayed projects needed finishing).

This con was the birth of the 2pm event and for that alone, it gets a high spot on the list. From Uncon onwards, I have had (and plan to have) a 2pm event every day at every ticketed con I attend as a trader.

On Sunday, Giant In A Bind was played for - probably - the last ever time at a con. There was a big crowd enjoying the game and prizes (a copy of everything I've ever had mass-produced) were given away.

The con itself was very bright, using a school as a location and with a roof that let in plenty of natural light.

As a trader, it was a bit quieter than I'd have liked, but I did get to teach someone Handbuildell (a unique thing for a con) and even had time to play a game just for the fun of it.

Also, it's quite close to the seaside, which meant that I could go on a lovely seaside walk the day before.

Airecon, Harrogate

I have strong memories of Airecon - I attended in 2016 after my first Essen and though they were wildly different in scale, I enjoyed both. Probably Airecon a little bit more, but I'm biased given the Giant In A Bind.

In 2018, the convention moved location again. An abundance of open-gaming space, a trade area, demo area, and LOTS of events.

I personally helped out with the giant Wits & Wagers tournament and gave a talk, as well as continuing my 2pm tournaments.

Not only did I have the chance to demo and sell, I also got to play a few games after trading finished - something I don't always get to do.

I'll be returning in 2019 and am helping Mark to arrange an hour of the most ridiculous games we can conceive. Mark is lovely.

Diceni, Norwich

A boardgames festival. Not a convention - where folk buy tickets to attend - but simply a collection of traders and demo folk in a freely accessible area.

Not quite a 'market', folk had more expectations of being able to actually play games. And I do enjoy showing off my stuff.

There was so much more representation of older folk & women. It's the only place I've been where the attendees mirrored the demographics outside. Almost entirely white, but that's just how most of the UK is outside of London.

I think that this is one of the few events where I actually turned a profit. A profit small enough that I spent it on a nice meal before leaving the city, but still an achievement worth celebrating.

My 2pm event was difficult to get folk for. In future, I won't run 2pm events at non-ticketed cons, as most folk pass through rather than staying the day, so getting folk to come over at a particular time is hard.

Generally, my games worked well for the casual audience. Specially Quintupell and Yogi. I also got to meet Becky/Kelly from Boardgames in Bed.

I'd love to go again if the organisers have space for me but I know that their space is limited.

Dragonmeet, London

This was a lovely 'last con of the year' for me. I had a big team of 7 volunteers, which meant that we were able to facilitate a LOT of fun.
For most of the day, I had 2 tables occupied by folk playing my stuff. For short while, I could see 3 tables full of about 20 folk playing my things. I got to do a talk (about intended emotional reactions to games) and some folk said it was good. Stelio helped me develop a brand new Wibbell++ game, which I would be happy to make a future core game. At the end of the day, I had an extended converation with a fellow designer that felt incredibly meaningful to me.

Since the con was only 1 day, I had 2 back-to-back events. First, an event for + and +‽. Then a Wibbell++ 'triathlon' (that actually features a 'surprise' 4th game at the end for the finalists). In theory, this made sense. But the finalists in the 2nd event had just learned 6 games within the space of an hour. And 5 of them were frantic realtime things that didn't allow for any time to relax and decompress. Either event would have gone really well. Both together were just 'good' - it was just slightly too tricky for the 2 players to internalise the rules for the 6th game.

I think that - in future - I'm going to avoid teaching so many games to folk, specially under the pressure of a prize event. I might do 2 events next year, but not if one of them features 4 wildly divergent games. Kitty Cataclysm and + as 2 separate events would be OK.

Other than that, I feel like everything went amazingly well. I plan to come back in 2019.

Spieltage, Essen, Germany

Very busy.

I made an unfortunately large loss in 2018, despite selling slightly more copies of Wibbell++ than I did in 2017. I blame the price of the hotel (as opposed to the Air BNB) and the furniture (which is handled badly by the con compared to literally every UK convention I've been at).

In 2019, of course I'll go again. But being on my own was far too exhausting.

Next year I'll hopefully have a few full-time volunteers and just consider it a big marketing expense. I will spend more - to accommodate volunteers and get more stuff over somehow - but hopefully earn more as well - since I'll have 2-4 new things to sell.

Highlights in 2018 involved learning to teach (and play) Wibbell in German and getting on the BGG livestream.

And finally eating a twirly potato.

Tabletop Gaming Live, London

A new convention run by the magazine folk.

I got to sit on a couple of panels (one about diversity and one about comedy in games). I had some great volunteers. That was fun to do.

Denholm volunteered for me and I subsequently hired them a day a week to help me finish my projects. Great result. I'm not totally counting that as part of the experience though. Yes, I'm aware of my own inconsistencies...

Very big corridors. Properly accessible for wheelchair users.

The prettiest halls I've ever played a game in.

From a business perspective, I'd have liked more attendees. Despite not paying for accommodation and cycling/walking over when able, I still made a small loss. But it was worth it for the number sold in terms of marketing.

I need to sort my finances but planning to go again in 2019.

NOTABLE RUNNERS UP

London Anime & Gaming Convention (Summer), London

More cosplay than any other con I attend. A very different demographic. You could see the difference in the cats that people drew.

I only put up a small fraction of the Cat Gallery but it almost ran itself and seemed like a real attraction.

I've been going to LAGC for several years - originally I went as a volunteer and ran LOTS of demo games for the Indie Game Alliance. This year, I went 'just' to promote myself. It wasn't super-busy. I had help only to cover me when I was doing a talk, and I didn't feel like I needed much more. Folk had fun. I had meaningful conversations.

There's a disco each night.

I've confirmed my attendance for the LAGC Summer con.

City of Games

Originally, I bought a ticket for myself but I was then invited along as a trader.

One notable thing is that the room seemed to be the PERFECT size. There were times when the room only had one table free. It was never quiet. Great atmosphere.

Still need to work out whether I'm going to this or the LAGC winter con as unfortunately they clash. I need to decide soon.

Tabletop Scotland, Perth

Did my 'BGDesign 101' talk for the last time. Had Nicola as a lovely volunteer. Spent literally 6 hrs affixing cat pictures to the wall, despite the help I was given.

Great to see a big convention starting in Scotland.

Slightly out-of-the-way via public transport, but a lovely place. Got to explore the city a bit the day before.

I plan to go again, but have been told there is no space for the Cat Gallery. Frankly, I'm relieved.

Glasgow Games Festival, Glasgow

Organised by my friend Nick Pitman. 2 rooms full of folk playing games and a few traders/demo tables.

Since I have a place to stay in Glasgow, which obviously helps keep costs down, I think it'd just about make financial sense for me to go again in 2019.

There was a lovely level of attendees - busy enough that I was teaching/running games almost all the time I was there. Quiet enough that with just 1 fantastic volunteer I could happily take 40 minutes to wander around, get interviewed, go to the local Poundland, and buy some snacks.

It's not somewhere I expect to sell loads of games. But it's a place I was able to test out some games. Next year, I'll mainly hope that I get to test 'The Conversation' and any Wibbell++ games that are ready enough. (Specially the winner of the 2019 Wibbell++ design competition.)
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Wed Jan 2, 2019 4:13 pm
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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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Boardgames with Bez (my internet radio show)

Bez Shahriari
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I do an internet radio show that I don't think I've mentioned here before.

15 episodes have been uploaded, which isn't a massive number, but enough that I feel I've been doing this regularly and it's starting to become a habit. With a few exceptions, I've had a new show once a week, airing on Tuesday/Thursday at 10pm UK-time.

If you want to listen 'live', then go here.

To listen to my old episodes, go here.

Going by my usual 'podcast review' metrics, I think it'd rate fairly low on everything. I don't interview guests. I don't talk a lot about games (although they are mentioned) and I never do reviews. I have a 'lesson of the week', which might often be game-design related, but I wouldn't listen to the show in order to learn how to design.

Each episode is 58-61 minutes long, with half the episode dedicated to exploring one question. The first episode was, "What is a game?" and the 2nd, "What makes a good game?"

The rest of the episode involves introductions, catching up, celebrating cool things, and talking about news. Honestly, the news is more to put the episodes in a somewhat historical context.

Later episodes might have talked about news in the sense that a topic might be, "What is [convention name]?" But the "What is GenCon?" episode barely talked about anything specific to the show, and instead took a broader view.

I think, if my show is contributing anything, it is that broader view. I like to think that maybe someone interested in learning more about a given thing might be able to learn a bit by listening, whatever year they happen to listen.

I have enjoyed speaking to folk that I don't normally get to talk to. Even with friends like John Brieger, Mark McKinnon of Wreck and Ruin fame and Andy Yiangou, setting aside an hour to record the show means that we actually get to chat in a way we don't usually. With folk like Emma Larkins, Ambierona, the D&D Live musicians, and Owen Duffy, it's really interesting to get to talk for some time about their topic of expertise and learn about them as a person.

I'm looking forward to chatting to Jamey Stegmaier and our question will be something to do with time management. Jamey's talked about KS a lot and design a bit. But organisation/ burning out is something very much on my mind and Jamey seems to have a unique perspective on this. (If you have any Qs, I'll try to sprinkle them in.)

I wrote recently about the motivations to do a KS. Many of those apply to me. Apart from the 'practising editing' bit. My episodes aren't well edited and I have little time for it, and no real interest in learning that skill. If someone wanted to take on those duties, I'd be thankful and big you up each episode.

I enjoy having the space to ramble and talk about things. Sometimes, talking aloud can solidify some thoughts.

I learn from my guests each episode.

My dirty secret is that most episodes aren't edited anymore. I get the 2 channels, put them together, sort the volumes and then maybe cut out anything if I absolutely need to. If I actually edited all the episodes, it just wouldn't be worth my time. But as it is, it usually takes little enough time (usually 30-40min outside of the recording time).

I'd wanted to do a podcast for many years. I even talked to a Ben at UKGE 2011 about doing one, and recorded a few episodes with Ben Neuman 2-3 years ago. The technical stuff of getting it all online wasn't something I had time/energy to sort out, so the current system (Iain Boulton has the internet radio show and I just email them a high-quality mp3 once a week) is very nice and easy for me.

It was definitely because of Iain lowering the barrier (I mean, originally I even just emailed the giant wav) that I was able to do this and if you're interested in contributing your own show, maybe speak to Iain.

This week, I spoke to Andy Yiangou about #BGDevCon, and one of our voices was a bit louder. I'll have to actually spend a few hours editing it, so tonight will be a repeat show. The episode should be aired on Thursday, 10pm UK-time and the schedule will probably shift to new episodes on Thursdays, repeats on Tuesdays.

That's a lesson - recording each person on their own channel is so much easier.

I don't know how "The Party Gamecast, featuring the partygame cast" makes it all sound so good.

I sometimes try to have a conclusion. I don't think there is one.

I do an internet radio show. If you've read all this, then you may as well go and give it a listen, I suppose. But if you don't, that's OK. It's not really 'the thing I do', just 'a thing I do' and I guess all the 'things we do' have value in different ways.
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Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:27 pm
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