Monday, 26 June 2017

Expo Alidocious!

This is my first post since the UK Games Expo and so there's lots to talk about.

If you've never been it's something that I can heartily recommend to any gamer. There is something for everyone and it is run so smoothly that you can be confident that whatever you choose will be well organised.

Not only is there a large retail hall (where you will find Hopwood Games of course) but also cosplayers, role playing games, tournaments, special shows, interesting talks and amazing live events to get involved with. Like I said - something for everyone!

On my stand I was ably assisted by Nate Brett, Amy, Hugh, Gavin, Carly, Sharon, Tom and William. Other people brought me coffee and snacks throughout the weekend and countless friends, old and new, dropped by to say hello. Which is lucky as I hardly got away to see anything. It's the big downside to having a stand, you never get to enjoy the show during the day. I was especially proud when my two boys got involved - Tom doing a great job of wearing the ridiculous bunny hat and honking the horn to get attention (apologies to anyone who was driven mad by the horn) - William running a couple of demo's and receiving high praise from the players.

We demoed Daring Dustbunnies almost non-stop, which was the plan of course, and I was bowled over by the reactions we got. A 96% approval rating means that I am very confident that the game is in a really good place. I get a real bee in my bonnet about making sure a game is as good as it can be before I start any kind of manufacturing. I invest a lot of time ironing out every tiny wrinkle that I can find, it's just not good enough to say a game works "most" of the time. I'm not talking about getting everyone to like it, that's pretty much impossible, I just want to make sure that the rules and gameplay work well in every situation, I've seen games that fall down if certain patterns emerge and I just don't accept the argument that a rare situation is allowable, it could happen on the first game and put someone off that game forever. So I usually playtest with at least 100 people after I am happy with the rules. Maybe that's from a sense of unhealthy paranoia because I can't be there to explain the game to everyone, but it does mean that I am confident the game can stand on it's own two feet without me.

In the evenings at the expo I get a chance to socialise with people I genuinely admire, which is a real treat. There are game designers and other luminaries of the industry just wandering around in the Metropole, it's like a who's who of games design. Then you actually get to meet them and sit down for a chat. It turns out these people are human beings like the rest of us and I feel privileged to call some of them my friends now. If you get a chance to go the expo, make sure you take the opportunity to soak up some of this atmosphere too, you never know who you'll be playing games with!

The day after the show I sat down with Sharon, Hugh and Barry and ... invented a new game. Filling my head with a whole new project (well three actually) was just what I didn't need when I should be getting on with finalising Daring Dustbunnies. But when you get the ideas, you have to get them sketched out, some weeks you get no ideas at all, so I didn't look that gift horse of inspiration in the mouth. Now I have a steam-punk rondel game, a dungeon dice adventure and a simple deduction card game to work on.

Daring Dustbunnies demands me though so I am also securing various quotes for manufacturers from Poland, Germany, Spain and the UK. I plan to use a fulfilment company when the kickstarter is successful so I am factoring in the costs for that too. The initial aim is to offer backers the best price possible rather than oodles of stretch goals. I know I prefer to have the full game for a good price that extra bits for more money, so that's my initial plan for DD. I'm also trying to get out and about to various locations around Birmingham to show the game off as much as possible. I'm spoilt for choice here with games nights almost every day of the week.

I'll stop this blog here as I think I'm breaking all sorts of good advice about length of posts etc..

Last thing to mention (as readers of my newsletter will already know) is that we raised over £50.00 for Conductive Education at the Expo and I'll be dropping a cheque off to them very soon. Thanks for all the support, especially to the lovely chap who dropped £4 into the box of voting tokens as an extra donation.

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