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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UKGE 2018: Sunday diary/Overall thoughts pt 1

Bez Shahriari
United Kingdom
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brief Sunday diary:

awoke, packed, bus to NEC, went to playtest zone for 90 min, bought Blank, went back to stand, found out I'd run out of blank cards for the cat gallery, spent the rest of the day mainly trading stuff, talking for a few folk, giving stuff away, and packing. Came home via a kind driver (I always feel I am relying too much on others and need to learn to drive soon), talked to a housemate for a few hours about UKGE, checked FB messages, and now am writing this.

My brain is frazzled but I'll do my best. I'll probably do some follow-up posts later.



(spoiler tags because some folk don't like talking about money)

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Friday: 29 things sold
Saturday: 49 things sold
Sunday: 30 things sold
Total: 108 things sold.
gross income: £1082
(One person insisted on paying full price for the Wibbell++ deck, and I didn't decline more than once.)

I don't have the energy to check my full costs, but I might update this post later when I do. I probably lost £200ish, but I think it was probably worth it. Read on.


I came with several hundred cat pictures (from Essen 2017, Glasgow Games Festival, Airecon 2018, Uncon and Diceni) and 600 blank cards. I thought that would be enough.

Either someone was stealing my cards or we had around 600 new cat pictures by the end of Sunday morning. I reckon we had around 400-500ish cats at the start, which means that now we seemingly have over a thousand cards featuring cats!

I ran around the hall, trying to find new cards. I ran around several stands and got a spare deck from ACG to keep us going a little bit longer. I got a 2nd donation from someone I can't remember (sorry!).

On the whole, the whole things was amazing. I mean, yeah it meant that I had to pay for a wall to be built, and 'sacrifice' 20% of my space for a cat-drawing table and chairs, but it was totally worth it.

Emotionally, seeing people engage with it was super-fantastic. Tiny children who can barely hold a pen. Adults who have been coaxed to draw something for the first time in years. Folk who shyly ask if it's OK to draw despite the 2 signs encouraging just that. Some people who make things that amaze me.

Then, seeing the sheer quantity and diversity of concepts and executions - all from a single prompt - is amazing.

I remember gazing at the wall for several minutes during the quiet times of Airecon. I didn't have that luxury at UKGE. (Obviously a good problem to have.)

The cat pictures are all packed up. I don't know how it'll proceed but I think I'll have the wallspace to display them all in Perth for Tabletop Scotland. Mark seems keen to provide wallspace at Airecon2019. Realistically, we might be able to have enough cat pics by the end of UKGE2019 to cover all 8m of panels. After that, I don't know what I'll do. Probably just show a subset of the old pics, like I'll now be doing for everywhere I have a smaller surface (like I did at Diceni).

Maybe I'll generally fill the 'bad spots' with the old cats - the bits that are behind tables, or very high and hard to reach - and then fill up the rest with new pictures. We'll have to see what happens.



On Friday evening, I decided to dedicate each table to a specific Wibbell++ game. Having multiple games of Wibbell going on, when folk can easily jump into an existing game, seems terribly inefficient.

Also, the different games are not equally good for cons. Wibbell and Phrasell allow folk to jump in. Both are fast to understand. Grabbell is also fast to teach/understand and - whilst you can't jump into a game - anyone can jump in quickly, given that a game is 2 minutes long.

If anyone really wanted to learn a longer game, I could do that. But I wanted to avoid teaching long solitaire games and make sure that there were always games at the front that folk could jump into.

We always have one or 2 roaming people. These folk could say hello to anyone looking on curiously; explain the game that folk were looking at, maybe demoing it whilst using their arm as a table; then invite them to jump in.

Generally, the system worked really well and we kept it for Sunday. This will definitely inform my UKGE 2019 planning.


At this point, I'm tired and the post is running long, but here are some things that could probably fill an entire blogpost, but which I'll briefly mention:

- I had a fucking amazing team and I appreciate them
- SSG are cool.
- Everyone is helping everyone. Trading and donating cards.
- Ignacy's comments: number of playtests is a 'bullshit' figure.
- the designer meetup on Friday
- talking to Ian about how In A Bind is better than Yogi for certain markets
- meeting with amazing media folk like Semi Co-op, SU&SD, Owen Duffy, Robin from Geekdad
- playtesting 2018.D (people hated it - great playtest!) (opportunity cost)
- buying too much food
- fancy meals and appreciation
- the importance of what to omit and what not (checking in Grabbell)
- sneak-testing at cons (I might officially change Alphabetickell)
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