The Tyranny of Small Decisions

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Aire Supply

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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From gallery of MrShep


If the world was as it should be, then this would be AireCon weekend. Of course, the world is very much not as it should be … and even the replacement play-at-home virtual event, AireCan’t, has been bumped back to April. However… exactly one year ago this very weekend was — as I’m now fond of saying — “the last time that I managed to play a face-to-face boardgame with anybody who I’m not married to”.

From gallery of MrShep
Some people that I'm not married to.

(Even more surprisingly — this weekend also marks exactly one year since the last time I visited a pub. This may not be entirely co-incidental)

I miss conventions. Not only because I miss the opportunity to get away from home for a long weekend, eat big hotel breakfasts, and spend most of my waking hours TOTALLY immersed in board-game culture. But also because… well… I can easily stretch a decent convention trip into a good week-or-so of daily blog posts, if I put my mind to it … so it’s a bit like giving my content-bereft brain a blog-inspiration holiday! And in the last year… I have totally missed having those periodic visits to deep-wells-of-stuff-to-write-about.

(as you might have noticed)

Anyway, looking back upon my successful milking of last year’s AireCon for sweet, sweet blog content, I happened upon the obligatory (small) haul shot:

From gallery of MrShep


…which set me reflecting upon just how well these particular purchases worked out (or didn't work out) in the year that followed.

So that, my friends, is what you’re getting today. One last wring of AireCon 2020 through the content-creation mangle. Just for old times sake!

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In no particular order...

Fafnir. I’m pretty sure I did play this with Mrs Shep at some point over the last year, but I don’t seem to have logged said play. Maybe because it’s really not a 2-player game. Well… it says it’s for 2-4 players on the box — but as soon as you dig in and discover the underpinning mechanisms (it’s a share dealing and market manipulation game, dressed up in a fluffy story about a group of brothers who own a magic gem-laying chicken), it becomes pretty obvious that it’s very much a 3+ player affair. I’m still really keen to play this one with the full count (almost keen enough to script it on Tabletop simulator — somebody has put a basic version on the TTS workshop, but I think it’ll need a little bit of scripting to make it work fairly); it seems like the kind of ultra-fast filler that’ll interest the Newcastle regulars... placing it firmly on the Shelf of Opportunity.

Age of Steam: Cuba. This turned out to be the focus of my first (of many … ongoing …) locked-down solo game plays. I did a write-up of that experience here. Good fun this; I should play it again. But not before I’ve played…

Age of Steam: Hawaiian Islands. I bought both of these maps from the Firestorm Cards stall, and while chatting to Jimmy (the owner), he mentioned that he’d never played either of these, because they’re solo maps. I pointed out that this was exactly why I was buying them -- because I had a feeling that it might be useful to have a few solo games on hand in the weeks* to come. (Yeah, yeah, prophet of doom, right?) Though, surprisingly, I haven’t actually got around to trying this one out over the course of the last 12 months. I dug it out of storage last night (inspired by this blog article) and flipped through the instructions, and it actually looks like a really interesting variant. It’s still spread out on the game table as I write; perhaps this weekend its moment has come?

Noch Mal!: One of the roll & write classics this one, and a big hit with Mrs Shep ...I think it maybe even got a couple of remote webcam plays with the wider family. In fact, Noch Mal! was going great guns right up until the fateful moment in July when we bought Noch Mal So Gut!, and realised that we’d probably never want to play the original version ever again. Oops

And finally: Welcome to… the Doomsday thematic neighbourhood. An out-and-out gallows-humour purchase this one; I mean… during that weekend in Harrogate, it started to seem a tiny bit like maybe it could be the beginning of the end of the world.

We haven’t played it yet. Maybe when this is all over.

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*weeks? ha!
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Sat Mar 13, 2021 7:10 am
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Pedigree Chums

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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It’s a dark day.

From gallery of MrShep


Not just a literally dark day (seriously… I snapped that photo of my games room window just 5 minutes ago; the skies are black, and the rain is torrential) … but a bit of a mentally-dark day too. This weekend — falling as it does in close proximity to Uncle Tony’s birthdaywould have been the annual Gathering of Chums; possibly my favourite day of gaming related antics in the entire year. A whole weekend spent in the back room of a Gloucestershire pub, playing a mixture of the new Essen hotness alongside some old favourites. Plus, beer and curry. And, of course, home of the UK Botswana Grand Masters Invitational Finals … a true highlight of the weekend, and a contest which I’ve been lucky enough to partake in not once, but TWICE, over recent years. (1) (2)

From gallery of tonyboydell
Observing the critical 40° magnetic bearing, pre-game.

It’s also an excellent weekend for discovering new old games. Many’s the time when one of the assembled chums has brought something obscure to the table with an explanation of “You should really all try this… I don’t know how it didn’t create a bigger buzz when it first came out”, only to have half the assembled players (including myself) reaching for their phone halfway through the game, searching for an online store that still has copies. I mean, you often goes to a games club, or a convention, and somebody comes up with that line, and you play whatever it is … and it’s a bit “meh”. But the chums… the chums know their games.

So of all the covid-cancelled things in 2020… of all the potentially-excellent-things that I’ve missed… this is the board-gaming one that’s maybe hitting the hardest.

Fortunately, there seems to be light at the end of the pandemic tunnel now… and I have managed to get a little bit of board gaming in this weekend … a Wingspan session yesterday (Mrs Shep’s choice), and a Faiyum game lined up for this afternoon (mine!).

So when I go to the games table this afternoon, I shall pour myself a glass of Plum Porter (favoured tipple of the gathering), and raise a toast mid-game to the other scattered chums.

See you all, I hope, in Autumn 2021…

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Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:03 pm
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All I know is that to me / you look like you're having fun

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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Back in the pre-covid days, I used to really dislike video conferencing. Yapping away at my laptop screen used to make me feel terribly self-conscious and awkward. But nowadays?… I spend a huge number of my working hours blathering away into Teams, or Zoom (or whatever other video-conferencing-platform-of-choice a particular client foists upon me) without even thinking twice.

It’s funny how soon you adapt to new ways, isn’t it? And it’s also interesting how the lockdown massively accelerated the adoption of internet broadcasting (/narrowcasting) by people and organisations who might not, otherwise, have attempted it. A bunch of comedians who I follow now perform regular shows on twitch, due to the closure of live venues. Mrs Shep’s choir leader streams a tuition session over youtube once a week, as the choir can't meet in real life. Board-game-related streaming seems to have boomed… and virtual cons — like the currently-in-progress spiel.digital — can now rely on a whole bunch of small games publishers and content creators to fill their schedule with streamed goodies.

In terms of sitting down in front of the idiot box and finding video entertainment tailored to our VERY specific likes and interests … we’ve never had it so good!

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Over the last few days, I’ve been tuning in to the spiel.digital/Surprised Stare “History of Surprises” streams. Initially having them tootling away in the background while I was at work …and, now that it’s the weekend (and I'm not working) playing each days episode on the lounge TV in much grander style:

From gallery of MrShep

Discovering the twitch app on my smart TV near the start of lockdown has been a bit of a boon. Though a TV remote and on-screen keyboard aren’t exactly the best of tools for participating in on-screen chat! laugh

It’s been an interesting series. Today’s (ok: “yesterday’s” by the time you read this) topics included Scandaroon, and the Confucius/JKLM games saga … which, if you’ve never heard the tale before, is probably worth digging into the twitch archive for to hear it direct from-the-horses-mouths. And Friday’s session included a chat with Daniel Danzer which included some interesting insight into the way that people from different nations will take a rule book at VERY different levels of literal interpretation.

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Later that day, Mrs Shep and I played Wingspan. Which I now saw in a whole new light:

From gallery of MrShep

Wait a minute... what does step number 5 say…?


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Hmmm. I wonder when I’m allowed to stop?

Anyway, it’ll be the final episode of “The History of Surprises” this afternoon. And I expect that I shall be tuning in. So if I do manage to rustle up a proper keyboard this time (which, to be honest, isn't a given) I’ll see you in the chat box

Twitch link: https://www.twitch.tv/surprisedstaregames

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Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:49 am
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Spiel.dodgytal

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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Thursday morning… I’m back at work* and the previous week’s holiday already seems like a distant memory. The project that I was expecting to be in its final week on my return has now stretched out for an extra month or so, thanks to umpteen 11th-hour emergencies and politics. Much work-related woe abounds. So, of course, my natural reaction is to pull up my calendar and figure out just how long it is until my next holiday: the long Christmas break.

At which point, I realise that Thursday is the first day of Spiel.digital — the online replacement for Essen 2020!

Perhaps I can shiftily fire that up, to help dull the pain?

Well… urm… yes. In theory I could. Of course, in practice, the spiel folks have made exactly the same arse of presenting a high-availability “virtual con” web site to an eager gaming public as pretty much every other online convention has this year, so all I get is this:

From gallery of MrShep


(…and, by pure instinct, I find myself knee deep in a javascript console, diagnosing their architectural mistakes and oversights, before reminding myself: “Mr Shep… this is not your site. Just leave it!”. )

Instead, I head over to the Lookout games web shop (i.e. the shop on their own web site — nothing to do with the main spiele.digital site) to see if they have english copies of Uwe’s new game in stock. It’s a big-box, complicated Rosenberg game with sheep farming in it. OBVIOUSLY I’m going to buy that! …and indeed, copies have appeared — just as Lookout promised on their facebook page a few days ago. I quickly snap one up, just in case this is a small, spiel-specific print-run.

And then… literally 10 minutes after I make my purchase… Lookout post a 10% discount code ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. Arggggh!!!!

So, the start of my digital essen has mostly comprised: struggling to get in… racing to my favourite pubisher’s stall to snatch the obligatory biggest-game-that’s-been-blipping-on-my-radar… and subsequently discovering that I paid way over the odds for the very first thing that I bought.

Hmmm, actually … now that I think about it… that’s a pretty good simulation of a real-life convention experience, isn’t it?

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*by which I mean: at home, sitting in front of my laptop, at non-geographical new-normal “work”. But spiritually and mentally, I’m at work. Honest.
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Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:14 am
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Virtually Expo / Pirate Broadcast

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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It’s the Virtual UK Games Expo this weekend. And — sceptical of such things though I am — I thought I’d maybe have a bit of a poke around at opening time last night.

The first hour basically went like this...

From gallery of MrShep


With occasional bursts of this...

From gallery of MrShep


So… yeah. Pretty exciting stuff.

However, returning later in the evening, it seemed like the server had settled down a bit, and the site was actually usable.

Browsing around, I noticed that This Game is Broken had a live broadcast in progress, so I thought maybe I’d put it on the big telly in the living room (which, conveniently, has the Twitch player installed)… figuring that Mrs Shep might be at least tangentially interested, since she’d recognise some of the voices from the Death By Monsters podcast (of which she is a big fan!)

From gallery of MrShep


Interestingly, you could play along with the quiz at home, using a synchronised web app.

From gallery of MrShep


And despite missing the first 25 minutes of the show, I fared rather better than expected…

From gallery of MrShep


OK, I confess… this screenshot might be a touch misleading. At the end of the show, they picked a couple of random participants out of the (virtual) hat, boosted their score by 2000 points, and gave each of them a spot prize. And by some stroke of luck, I was one of the two people randomly selected! …so apparently I have a copy of Reiner Knizia’s My City heading to me in the near future, courtesy of the show sponsors. Which was a pleasant surprise!

I really enjoyed this … not only because I won a prize (though, obviously, that has probably helped a bit on some subconscious level), but the play-along-at-home element worked really well … striking a nice balance between uber-geeky board game questions, and fairly random “bet on how well the show regulars will do at this next silly task…” type rounds …meaning nobody could take things too seriously. So … yeah … a fun bit board-game-related entertainment to kick off my virtual expo experience.

And then… Jolly Boat.

For some reason, Jolly Boat seem to be a regular fixture at UK board game events -- though I’ve never managed to see them perform. It tends to be a separately-ticketed show when they perform at UKGE … and, although their AireCon show was free, I was half-way through a game when they took to the stage… so missed that chance too. So I guess I’ve kind of been aware of them for a few years, but never actually seen them do their thing. And the virtual expo seemed like an ideal opportunity to remedy that…

From gallery of MrShep
("Got no eye, got no eye...". To the tune of Poker Face. Obviously)


Although they pitch themselves as performing comedy pirate pop… that’s only the first 10 minutes or so of the show… the remainder being songs about a diverse range of nerd-friendly topics … from cataloguing the crappiest monsters in the D&D monster manual, through the disneyfication of Star Wars, to a love song based entirely on common keyboard shortcuts. And this show — literally streamed from a bedroom — was very, very funny indeed. Mrs Shep and I LOLLed a lot. I’m definitely going to make an effort to see them live, the next time they (and I) happen to rock up at the same board game convention. Good stuff.

Apparently they’re doing a repeat performance at 8pm (BST) tonight. Worth a look, if you don’t have other plans…

https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/events/LIV5955-jollyboat-bards...

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Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:01 am
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ShepCON 2020: The Gold Fleece Awards

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the board game industry, and a few weeks ago we took the very difficult decision to cancel ShepCON 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Today we continue to share our plans for the MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON that we will be running in its place.

As you’re all aware, our Gold Fleece Awards are an extremely* popular feature of our convention … and this year — as we shift the board-gaming festivities to a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON — we want to keep this great tradition alive and continue to fleece just as many of our game-publishing attendees as we fleece every other year!

With the date of the convention fast-approaching, publishers are requested to send us lots of free games make their submissions to the members of the judging panel as soon possible. Please remember to include ALL available expansions, stretch goals, kickstarter exclusives, optional extras, promos etc with your submission. Entries MUST be submitted in original, shrink-wrapped, un-damaged packaging. Note that any items marked as “review copy only” or “strictly not for resale” may hinder the judging process and necessitate the sending of a second copy.

Unfortunately we will be unable to return any submissions.

Because of the coronavirus.

Or something.

A separate entry form should be completed for each submission, and emailed to ShepCON HQ with the subject line: “I want to be fleeced by your massive online con”.

* * * * * * *


ENTRY FORM


Game Name: ________________________

Approximate eBay resale value (New-in-shrink): £ _____

Award Category (Tick one):

[ ] Best game made by a friend of the judges
[ ] Best game made by the highest-paying show sponsor
[ ] The peoples choice: Best Board Game**
[ ] The people’s choice: Best Card Game**
[ ] The people’s choice: Best Expansion**
[ ] Best game called WingSpan**

**Note: only game titles including the words “Wing” and “Span” should be submitted in those last four categories. Unless your entry has been accompanied by a significant cash bribe, in which case: I’m sure we can make it work. Even for the last one. I mean, let’s be honest — nobody ever intentionally turns up to watch the awards ceremony anyway. It’s mostly just a mixture of people queuing up to get into the bring and buy sale, and the folks who got really confused about which stage the SU&SD live show was taking place on this year. They’ll be too busy mumbling things like: “I can’t believe this queue is moving even slower than it did last year” and “Quinns has really let himself go in the last 12 months, hasn’t he?” to worry about who or what we’re actually giving the prizes too.

Due to the measures being taken to protect our staff during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, our judges will be unable to take cash bribes this year. Contactless, Paypal and BACS details are available upon request.

* * * * * * *


The winners will be announced in a prestigious award ceremony streamed live from ShepCON HQ and presented by a cast of board-gaming internet celebrities (by which we mean: some moderators from an obscure facebook group that you’ve probably never heard of) and the lucky winners will be asked to submit a stamped, self-addressed envelope to ShepCON HQ in order to receive their high-quality* frame-able prize certificate. Winners will also earn the right to display the “I WAS FLEECED BY A MASSIVE ONLINE CON” logo on game packaging and advertising materials for the next 12 months, at a very reasonable licensing cost.

* * * * * * *


Thanks again for attending ShepCON 2020 — and don’t forget to check out our previous guides to Open Gaming at ShepCON, our Virtual Bring-and-Buy Sale, and our Attendee FAQ.

Virtual ShepCON
"The biggest gaming con of all!"


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*Actual levels of popularity and/or quality may vary. The judges decision is final. Strictly no refunds.
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Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:10 am
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ShepCON 2020 - Where to find help

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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As you are all aware, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the board game industry, and a few weeks ago we took the very difficult decision to cancel ShepCON 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Today we continue to share our plans for the MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON that we will be running in its place.

* * * * * * *


Regular visitors to ShepCON will be already be familiar with our volunteer help crew; they’re the folks with the complimentary entry laminates, the distinctively-bulging swag bags full of loot from early access to the bring-and-buy sale / general vendor halls, and an unerring ability to avoid direct eye contact and look incredibly busy if any member of the public gets within a range of 10 metres. During Virtual ShepCON 2020, you’ll be able to recognise the team by the distinctive slightly-yellow-tint-of-grey applied to their chat channel text, and the fact that their status is permanently set to “do not disturb”.

* * * * * * *


Despite our ongoing avoidance attempts, a number of enquiries have still managed to find their way to our corporate inbox. We therefore present our first FAQ for ShepCON 2020, addressing some of the most popular questions asked so far:


Attendee FAQ

tonyboydell wrote:
can I pay extra for a window seat?
ShepCON is a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON, and as such we are always happy to accommodate requests from those high-rolling delegates who would like to pay a little bit more for a little bit less!

The exact fee required for a window seat will depend on whether the room from which you wish to virtually attend ShepCON 2020 already contains a window or not, and where, exactly, that window is located relative to your existing seating facilities. Rest assured that our crack team of ShepCON building and glazing contractors will be in touch shortly to arrange a bespoke no-non-commitment estimate for the necessary construction work and alterations to the material fabric of your property -- with absolutely no obligation to buy! (Except for a legal and binding one).

dom5 wrote:
Is there an option for me to pay extra so that I can take part (virtually of course) in Cons that happened in the past? As a newcomer, I really don't want to limit the experience to this year
We hear you! …As we’re sure you’re aware, virtually attending conventions from years gone by has become an increasingly popular activity in the board gaming convention-attending community.

Take the UK’s hugely-popular AireCON convention as an example. In 2017, AireCON only managed to physically accommodate approximately 600 visitors on the actual day of the event — but has subsequently managed to gain hundreds of additional attendees for that very popular year! In fact, over a thousand people will now proudly tell you that their very first visit to AireCON was in 2017.

"My first AireCON? …2017-ish. I think. Yeah. That’ll be right. Definitely 2017; I’ve been going to AireCON for years, I have.”

So for those of you who would like to consider being virtually present at a ShepCON event of yester-year, we’ve now got a limited offer to help you to make your desire a reality! For a special low price of only $75, a high-profile member of our organising committee will pop on to the social media channel of your choice and casually mention that they “definitely remember seeing you at the very first ever ShepCON, back in the day. Whenever that was.”

AlexFS wrote:
Can I bring a "Free hugs" banner?

Unfortunately we have to insist that if you bring your own hugs with you they must be consumed outside the venue. All on-site hugs must be purchased from our officially-sanctioned hug providers.

We’ve worked with a number of different providers over recent months to ensure that a diverse range of hugs — suitable for a wide range of tastes and preferences — will be available on site, and we respectfully ask that you support our ongoing ability to charge our hug vendors extortionately-high concession booth fees by only hugging approved suppliers.

If any of our staff spot the use of home-made or non-licensed hugs, you may be asked to leave the venue for the duration of the convention. Due to the fact that ShepCON 2020 is a virtual convention which is principally located in your own home, this could cause considerable inconvenience and distress to both you and your family.

fuzzyfox wrote:
So, basically, what you're saying is, i'm not getting a fidget spinner?
Delegates who pre-paid for a ShepCON 2020 fidget spinner add-on ticket can now redeem their original vouchers for a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON fidget spinner instead. MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON fidget spinners are, clearly, just as good as their physical equivalents in every possible way. Do not question this. Do not ask for a refund. Do not click on the spoiler tag unless you've paid the necessary supplemental fee, and please continue to enjoy our MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
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Thanks again for attending ShepCON 2020 — and don’t forget to check out our previous guides to open gaming at ShepCON and our virtual bring-and-buy sale!

Virtual ShepCON
"The biggest gaming con of all!"


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Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:10 am
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ShepCON 2020: Open Gaming Announced!

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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As you are all aware, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the board game industry, and a few weeks ago we took the very difficult decision to cancel ShepCON 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last month we announced our plans for our virtual bring and buy, and today we’re pleased to reveal our plans for OPEN GAMING in our MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON!

* * * * * *

The open gaming zone is always a big draw at ShepCON, and we’re determined to not let ongoing social distancing restrictions and limits on gatherings affect our 2020 event. You’ve probably already read about the many exciting and innovative methods that people are using to play board games under lockdown conditions: systems like Tabletopia and TableTop Simulator, and teleconferencing systems like Zoom and Skype. But — lets face it — technology is really complicated. You’ve already spent perfectly good money on buying those games in their real-world physical format, and playing games with strangers is all a bit scary anyway. Plus… it’s almost as if SOME online gaming conventions are cynically charging you an admission fee JUST to play your own games, with your own friends, via a bunch of normally-free-to-use 3rd-party tools.

At SHEPCON 2020 (the biggest virtual CON of all) — we would NEVER dream of pulling a trick like that! That’s because we’d much sooner charge you for playing your own games, in your own home, by yourself, with no 3rd party tools involved at all! So for a one-time exclusive early-access virtual-game-zone ticket price of $10, we’re going to allow you to PLAY THE SOLO GAME OF YOUR CHOICE, at your own table, in your own home, and still enjoy ALL of the ambience and atmosphere of taking part in the world’s PREMIERE ONLINE SOLO GAMING CON! Somehow.

Don’t own any solo games? Not a problem! …simply choose the multi-player game of your choice, set it up in the normal multi-player way, and then hop from seat to seat between turns trying very hard not to remember anything that you were thinking about while you were sitting in any of the other seats. Choose a 4-player game, and not only will you have 4 times as much fun, and get to log 4 times as many plays in your BGStats app… but we are ALSO able to offer you tickets for ALL FOUR of those virtual seats at a specially-reduced price… paying only $39 for our ULTRA-PLATINUM-QUAD-GAMER TICKET instead of our regular four-virtual-seats price of $40 …Bargain!

I know EXACTLY what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking: “Hey Mr Shep… is there any possible way that I could maybe pay more money than other people and have my text appear in a slightly different colour on the official ShepCON 2020 Discord server?” … and you know what? …there ABSOLUTELY IS! For only $50, you can buy our MEGA-TITANIUM-ULTRA-PERKY-SUPERPASS TICKET, and turn your Discord text a slightly green-ish shade of grey... because there’s no better way to show that you’re involved in a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON than paying $50 for a slightly greenish shade of grey on your chat channel text. In fact, why not go the full hog and grab our $250 MONDO-PLUTONIUM-VIP-CONSPICIOUS-CONSUMER-MEGA-PASS … complete with a free* T-Shirt, proudly displaying the slogan: “I Paid $250 for a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON”.

You’ll be the hot topic of conversation every time you wear it!

* * * * * * *

We hope that you enjoy your virtual gaming experience. Don’t forget to check out the HOT BARGAINS in our Virtual Bring And Buy sale, and keep your eyes open for further announcements and additional exciting payment opportunities over coming weeks!

Virtual ShepCON
"The biggest gaming con of all!"


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*One size only. Don’t worry... it’s probably not your size anyway. Postage charged separately. Sold “as is”. No refunds. No returns.
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Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:10 am
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Virtual Con : Bring and Buy!

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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As you are all aware, 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the board game industry, and a few weeks ago we took the very difficult decision to cancel ShepCON 2020, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

However, today we are exited to announce that we are jumping onto the latest cancelled-convention-bandwagon... and are now intending to present our would-be attendees with a MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON instead!

Over the coming weeks we’ll be announcing the many and varied ways that you can get involved with this MASSIVE VIRTUAL CON... beginning today with our plans for the ShepCON 2020 Bring and Buy Sale!

* * * * * * *

The bring and buy sale has always been a very popular feature of ShepCON... and today we’d like to give you the tools to recreate the very same experience in the comfort and virus-free safety of your own home! Want to get involved? Then read on!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BUYERS:

For the very best experience it is vitally important to get to the bring and buy early! Our virtual bring and buy will open at 9am sharp, and to make your virtual experience as fun, accurate and realistic as possible, we suggest that you join the queue early. By which we mean: at least half an hour early... or maybe even a whole hour early if you really want to maximise your bring-and-buy enjoyment!

Decide which part of your house you would like to queue in — preferably, somewhere where you can see other members of your household having a far better time that you are having. And then stand there. Waiting.

WHEN 9AM arrives…

Throw a D100. This is the number of additional minutes that you need to stand in the virtual queue before you can proceed into the virtual buying area.

ARE YOU READY TO SHOP?

Find the smallest place in your house. The cupboard underneath the stairs is a good option, or maybe a particularly cramped wardrobe.

Climb into this very small place, and then stare intently at the following picture for 20 minutes or so. You may, if you want, say some thoughtful game-purchasing-related things to nobody in particular while looking at the picture.

From gallery of MrShep


Things that you can say while you look at this picture:

“I’m sure I saw a copy of that in the works for £7.50”

“I had those same rubbish promos left over from my advent calendar too, but I just threw them in the bin”

“You could get a brand new shrink-wrapped copy of that for the same price, out in the trader hall”

“I kind of feel like I should buy something, since we stood in that queue for so long”.

Then, after 20 minutes of looking at the picture, leave the small and cramped place without buying anything.

Congratulations! …Your authentic bring & buy “buying” experience is now complete!

* * * * * * *

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SELLERS:

Select the games from your collection that you would most like to sell, and then put them on your kitchen table.

Choose the price that you would like to sell each game for, and note the asking price on each box using small white stickers. “perma-stick” labels, or anything marked with the words “warning: unremovable once attached” are the very best type of sticker to use for this job.

Carefully check to see if any of your games have any pieces missing, and if they do, you should signal this fact to potential buyers by grabbing a fresh box of cling-film and then carefully mummifying/cocooning the game box using the entire roll. If the end result looks like somebody might still be able to open it with anything less than 10 minutes of sustained tearing and biting, add a second roll.

Then, for each game that you’ve decided to enter into our Virtual Bring & Buy, roll a D6, and apply the following result modifiers:

Modifiers:

If you bought the game from a popular high-street remaindered book store: +1

If the price that you set is within £5 of the current UK RRP: +2

If the game was released in the last 6 months: +5

Results table:

1: Congratulations - you made a sale! Package the game in a strong box with suitable padding, and post it to ShepCON HQ, being careful to pay the proper postage costs and to observe social distancing measures while at the post office. Obviously, if you had made this sale at the non-virtual ShepCON, all of your profits would’ve been immediately offset by the exhorbitant prices charged at our exclusive on-site international street-vendor food court. And what exactly, do you take home after a meal at our exclusive on-site international street-vendor food court? That’s right my friend… pretty much nothing but memories! Therefore, on receipt of your game, we will email you a vivid description of the delicious street food meal that you would probably have eaten had this been a non-virtual convention. Don’t forget to pop a note in the box with your chosen imaginary street food cuisine choice (“Asian”, “Mexican”, “Sourdough Craft-Pizza” or “Non-Specific Fusion”) and to mention any special* dietary requirements which you would like us to ignore.

2-3: Unfortunately your game did not sell this time. You will, however, be charged a listing fee based on 15% of the price that you set earlier (rounded upwards, to the nearest pound). Please submit this fee to the ShepCON paypal account, and then return the games back to your shelf of shame.

4-5: The game was unsold, and when you recovered it from the bring and buy area the box was bashed up and some of the contents had mysteriously disappeared. Observe the rules for results 2-3, then ask another member of your household (preferably somebody with no interest in board games at all) to randomly remove a few components from this game and then put them in the bin while you’re not looking. Then kick the box around the kitchen floor for a bit, before returning it to your shelf of shame.

6 (or higher): The game disappeared mysteriously, and the bring and buy organisers deny all knowledge of ever seeing it. Package the game in a good, strong box with suitable padding, and post it to ShepCON HQ, being careful to pay the proper postage and to observe proper social distancing measures while at the post office. Note that in this instance you will not be sent a vivid description of delicious streetfood in exchange for your game.

* * * * * * *

We hope that you enjoyed visiting our Virtual Bring and Buy sale, and look forward to your participation over the rest of the event.

Virtual ShepCON
"The biggest gaming con of all!"


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*Please note that our ability to vividly describe imaginary vegan food may cease after an arbitrary cut-off point, probably about 90 minutes into the first day of the convention.
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Mon May 18, 2020 7:10 am
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Cancelled.

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
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The (rescheduled) UK Games Expo was officially called off yesterday, and of course, the internet went…

…well, actually… the internet went into a frenzy of being spectacularly reasonable and sensible about it. Unless the UKGE staff are fantastically efficient at moderating comments on their facebook page, it seems like a few hundred people basically posted messages to the effect of: “yeah, good call, that’s a really sensible decision, see you next year instead”. And nobody kicked off about it. At all.

Take a note of this date.

We may not see its like again.

We truly live in strange times.
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Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:10 am
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