UKGE 2018

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arenson9
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UKGE 2018

So, who's thinking of going to UKGE 2018?

 

There's a greater than 50% chance I'll be there.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

MigrantP
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I am very likely to be going.


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

Silverleaf
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I will absolutely definitely be there unless something hideous happens.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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I will ensure that my hair-washing day is rebooked to avoid a diary clash. I believe that you owe us one promised game of Spirit Island Andy so this is one of those things that must be thinged!

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I really wish that was possible. crying


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I'm going! :)


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi

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I have to play at least one game of Spirit Island next year - I only got to play for about 15 minutes last time! 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

arenson9
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Given all these cool attendees, I think my probability has gone up to at least 70%


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

Silverleaf
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arenson9 wrote:

Given all these cool attendees, I think my probability has gone up to at least 70%

ALL THE YES


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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I am going to be there, does that knock it back to 65%? wink


Semper ludens.

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YUSSSSSSSS

(I will be there)


“You gotta have blue hair."
-Reckless

arenson9
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I am very excitied to see all of you. Nothing planned yet, but I'll be in Ireland the week before and expect I'll be able to extend the trip.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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If anyone wants to work in our booth, send me and craig emails (paul@ & craig@ greaterthangames.com) and we'll add you to our list and get you a badge!

If you don't want to work with us, no problem! Come by and see us! We'll be really excited about it!

If you want to cosplay as any of our characters, let us know here! If enough people are planning on doing so, we might have a costume contest :)


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi

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You're recruiting for UKGE 2018 already? Man, you guys are organised...


“You gotta have blue hair."
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I think we should all cosplay as Andy and completely freak him out.

arenson9
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Mezike wrote:

I think we should all cosplay as Andy and completely freak him out.

 

This would, in fact, completely freak me out.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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I'm growing a beard already.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

arenson9
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Hey, y'all! Did I ever mention that my likelihood of going to UKGE is approaching 100%? I've got plane tickets and everything!

 

 

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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This is cool news. I have tickets and everything now so I will turn up and hope they let me in. 

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"June 1st is a grand celebration of the day that Adam and I are the same age." -- Christopher


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day -18

Yesterday, I got out my GTG staff shirt and put it into my pile of things to pack. This morning I bought a train ticket for England while lying in bed, 3,000 miles away. The future is awesome.

As I understand it, GTG will not have a booth at UKGE. Their games will be sold by partners. GtG will be running games elsewhere. Presumably a side room or a set area of some type. Or maybe there's a booth, but they just can't sell the games themselves? I'm sure all will be revealed in time.

I think Craig has mentioned which games are going to be demoed. I should probably go look those up and brush up on some rules ...

We're driving to Chicago tomorrow and taking an overnight flight to Dublin. After two weeks in Ireland I head to London. Mezike is graciously hosting me for a couple nights, then I'll spend two nights in the city, hopefully getting to hang out with some of the GtG folks. We head up to Birmingham on Thu the 31st.

My plan is to pack super light, but I have to bring a laptop so I can work remotely, and I've got various electronics and chargers necessary for international and long-term travel. We'll see if it all fits in my backpack. I think it will.

Thing I'm wondering: When we land in Dublin, I'm sure we can get euros from an ATM at the airport, but can I also get pounds from an ATM at the Dublin airport? Would be useful since we're driving to Belfast right away.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Very glad you get to do this, Andy! laugh And very sorry I can't join you. frown

(For everything after the second week, anyway... wink)


"See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety. Breaks the heart." - Mal

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I'll be in Birmingham for UKGE, looking forward to seeing everyone!

Andy, what I usually do is go to a regular bank ATM to withdraw cash. You'll get the bank to bank exchange rate which is usually better than whatever the airport or a currency shop will get you. Though if you're going to Belfast straight away, why get any Euros at all?


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

arenson9
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MigrantP wrote:

Andy, what I usually do is go to a regular bank ATM to withdraw cash. You'll get the bank to bank exchange rate which is usually better than whatever the airport or a currency shop will get you.

Good idea! Too bad I didn't read it in time!

Quote:

Though if you're going to Belfast straight away, why get any Euros at all?

Because two days later we're going back to Dublin and parts south. Speaking of which ...

 

Day -16: We've arrived safe and sound and very tired in Belfast. There were various errors and comedies ... some of them at the same time. Honestly, so far the vast majority of my trip has been about logistics and (probably unnecessarily) anxiety about logistics. Did get to see some pretty scenery on the drive between Dublin and Belfast, though. I have very little GtG/SotM related to share, but will note that with my packing super light, GtG garb accounts for a third of my shirts.

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

MigrantP
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Welcome to these islands, then! =)


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

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Welcome to the Isles. I look forward to maybe meeting you on the 2nd.

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Just to clarify for Andy and anyone else on this thread, from the perspective of anyone who is attending, Greater Than Games will have a booth at UKGE, where we'll be selling our games (including Spirit Island!) and running demos (including Sentinel Comics RPG!)!

There will be a banner with our logo hanging over our booth, and it will have GTG branding and everything!

Behind the scenes, the selling part of our booth is managed by Eclectic Games, but we're a show sponsor this year so it should hopefully be pretty clear that it is our booth on the map? We shall see! :)


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Thanks, Paul. Sorry for the confusion.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day -17: Nothing GtG-related today, but we did note that the six of us, who also play RPGs together, were having an experience not wholly unlike adventuring -- having to find our way, solve puzzles, and overcome obstacles. Part of today's adventure: Figuring out why the low tire pressure alarm was going off and what to do about it, including deciphering the heiroglyphs used to show what pressure was expected. Also, we totally crossed a rope bridge above churning seas!

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/northern-ireland/ballintoy/attractions/carrick-a-rede-rope-bridge/a/poi-sig/1219429/1322184

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Paul wrote:

Just to clarify for Andy and anyone else on this thread, from the perspective of anyone who is attending, Greater Than Games will have a booth at UKGE, where we'll be selling our games (including Spirit Island!) and running demos (including Sentinel Comics RPG!)!There will be a banner with our logo hanging over our booth, and it will have GTG branding and everything!Behind the scenes, the selling part of our booth is managed by Eclectic Games, but we're a show sponsor this year so it should hopefully be pretty clear that it is our booth on the map? We shall see! :)

And now I'm disappointed that Spirit Island doesn't seem to have gotten any nomination for the UKGE awards. Is that because there won't be any stock to sell?

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Day -11

 

Today the guy who helped sell us ice cream in Galway turned out to be impressed that we lived where GenCon was held and enthusiastically told us about a local store, Dungeons and Donuts. Sadly, we got there after it was closed for the night. Still, my thanks to Rabit for talking us into going to check it out.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day -8

 

After climbing stone stairs on the side of a mountain with no railings and ducking through cramped passages in underground tombs and castles, I have much more of a visceral appreciation for what my characters have gone through in past RPGs.

 

Also, our traveling group, which is also our roleplaying group, decided to pass the time tonight roleplaying, which we can do because Russ is awesome. He even brought dice for me.

 

Also, I saw a puffin pee today. My life is complete.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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UKGE hype!!!

I signed up for the Carcassonne tournament on Friday, in case anyone would like to challenge me ;)


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

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Currently trying to persuade my friends to go pretend to be starship captains... it's not going well.

Have got tickets to Pandemic Live thou so that should be fun. Also totally should have a Fate of the Elder Gods tournament. Who doesn't think we should summon Hastur or Nyarlathotep :P 

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Day -2

London meetup was tonight and was really quite lovely. I'm sorry I didn't interact more with Paul Watson and the other locals. I was invited into a game of Spirit Island by Christopher and  Paul Bender and couldn't resist the opportunity. There was a fair bit of socializing going on at the beginning, but the GtG guys REALLY like Spirit Island and were eager to get a game going, and then that game took a while. I think the last time I played Spirit Island with Christopher may have been GenCon like 2016 or something. We played against England (ha!) on a relatively low difficulty (well, low for C&P, not me) of 2, and won in invader level III by eliminating all the towns and cities. Once again, in retrospect, I realized I'd broken the rules at least once. Paul W had he Sentinels of Earth Prime playest decks out. I had time just for a brief glance at what they were doing and it looked like they were having fun. If I understood correctly, Christopher looked in on them and gave them a change in real time for them to continue with based on what was going on in their game. I remember him doing that back in the Rook City playtesting days when he was visiting Indianapolis. It's really quite thrilling to see the design process occuring in real time.

 

I ALSO got to play a lovely game of Spirit Island yesterday with Mezike and his son, playing my very first game of Spirit Island against an invader (Brandenburg level 3, I think). I'm more of a social gamer than anything else, but really had a great time.

 

The whole GtG crew that are attending UKGE have arrived, including Dave Chalker, who's come to the UK in order to lead the Sentinels RPG gaming at UKGE. There was much drinking of cask beer. I am not entirely sober. I think Maggie, Christopher, and Jenn may have combined to make some sales of Spirit Island to some random dudes in a bar, who were attracted to this odd group of Americans singing drinking songs. I'm not entirely sure what was going on. When Christopher AND Maggie both get going there's rather a lot of entertainment to go around.

 

I need to put in a fair amount of work over here, as I don't have enough vacation time to cover this entire trip, so I missed the trips to the British Museum that many of the GtG crew took today, and I'm not expecting to sightsee tomorrow. Not a big deal for me, as I've seen many sites here before. It's quite nice, actually, to let go of the pressure to try to see as much as possible. All that's to say that I have no idea what I might be doing tomorrow, aside from the work I'll need to get done. 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day -1

I woke up with a hangover. Not a real bad one, mind you, because  I had a LOT of water last night. I take full responsibility. It is not Paul Bender's fault.

I did nothing GtG-related today! Too busy doing work remotely and meeting a non-GtG friend for dinner. And wandering around London aimlessly discovering really excellent vegetarian Lebanese breakfast food. Look, I _know_ I should have spent that  time getting more work done, but ... London!

Tomorrow we head up to Birmingham. Christopher, Paul, and Maggie are taking an early train, but Craig, Jenn, Dave, and me are going to laze on out in mid-morning.

GtG will be running games of: Sentinels of the Multiverse, Spirit Island, Fate  of the Elder Gods, Lazer Ryders, and SCRPG. I'm feeling pretty good about my ability to teach the first three, just need a refresher on Lazer Ryders, and would stand no chance on SCRPG.

 

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day 0

Setup seemed pretty easy. GtG is using a portion of Eclectic Games' booth (who'll be doing all of the selling of product), so all that really needed doing was setting up seven smallish, round tables with four folding chairs each. We'll be running Spirit Island at two, Sentinel Comics RPG at two, SotM, Compounded, and  Lazer Ryders.

We had a good training meetup tonight -- lots of faces I'd seen before on my trip in 2013 to London and Essen or other places: Antya (spelling?!) and Daniel, Anna, Paul, Curtis and Stephen -- plus a couple of new-to-me people: Mark and Liam. This is Liam's first convention ever! And I feel like I'm leaving someone out, so my apologies to whomever that is. I took the opportunity to get a refresh on the SCRPG rules directly from Dave, who first reviewed the rules then took Stephen, Paul, and me through a fun, single-scenario adventure -- something that can be run in just 20 minutes or so for groups who want just a taste, or if the booth gets slammed. Otherwise we'll likely run the first scene of the first book from the Starter Kit. The rest of the group were running through the other games bringing people up to speed. The plan is to generally play full games unless it seems like a group's interest is flagging, or there's lots of people waiting to play.

Afterwards, I was very pleased to be able to join Maggie and Jenn for a livestream of Belle of the Ball. I'd played it once more, but needed to be reminded of the rules. I took the game pretty lightly, focusing more on having fun than getting the very best score. Or at least that's my excuse for coming in third.

UKGE is in the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), which is quite big. Or at least it seems that way so far. I've not learned much about it yet. GtG is in Hall 1 and there appear to be many more halls, though most are smaller, I think. It's significantly smaller than GenCon or Essen, but still quite big and a bit confusing to find your way around, at least at first glance. My biggest concern is locating places where I might be able to get a quick lunch. I'm a bit concerned about what sort of lines I might be facing.

I'm staying in the Hilton. There's a lake next to the NEC. The Hilton is around it to one side. A sort of combined shopping center hotel is around the other side, with a third hotel beyond it. I tried to use Google Maps to walk to a small grocery store and was lead to a locked fence, getting a couple miles of walking to go a half mile, in the end. It took me a while to get oriented, but I kind of know my way around at least the hotels and to the NEC now. There are some seemingly annoying deficiencies in direct walking paths, but they're not so bad once you know what you're doing. Still, I did a fair bit of walking today.

I've heard there are lots of interesting shows to go to at UKGE. I doubt I'll actually go to any of them, as I'll be focused during the day on working in the booth and at night in meeting up with people, but some of the descriptions relayed to me sounded quite fun.

The train ride up was mostly uneventful. It was fun traveling with some of the GtG crew and playing a couple games w/ Dave. Both the ones we played involved  limited communication and working as a team. Interesting stuff and we did really well in one of them, being able to play 97 out of 98 cards in The Game.

GtG were able to get about 70 Spirit Island games, plus some Branch and Claw, as well as a box of the promo Spirits to the con. My guess is they'll sell out. 

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day 1

Very good show today!

We weren't mobbed like I thought we might be, with Spirit Island being hard to find, but we had a steady stream of players with most of our seven tables full most of the time. Spirit Island had three of the tables and was the game people were most consistently waiting for. Lazer Ryders continued to do a great job of attracting people to check it out. The two RPG tables and the SotM table took a bit of work to keep full, but just a little bit of reaching out to people walking by kept most of the chairs filled most of the time. Looks like about 40 of the 70ish Spirit Island games got sold on what's likely the slowest day of the con. They'll probably be gone before the end of Saturday.

After failing to take the opportunity to go and really see what PAX Unplugged was like, I was determined to get out and see things for this show. I tried a bit, but found myself in the NEC unsure of where to go to see more. We're  in the large Hall 1 and neighboring and also large Hall 2 is also being used, but I wasn't quite sure what all is going on where. I later learned that some RPGs and maybe some shows were happening at the Hilton. There's a sort of faire like atmosphere out in front of the NEC, with some tents and people in medieval dress -- apparently a 'family' area, aimed  at kids and parents, but I'm not sure as I didn't see it close up.

The front of Hall 1 got very busy, but our booth was in the back and there wasn't a ton of traffic back there. There was always a few people walking by, but not often many more than that. 

Many thanks to our Citizens! You are all great and super attractive! It's really been very easygoing -- all the tables covered all of the time by people who seemed very confident and relaxed in helping attendees enjoy the games. In the morning I was needed part of the time to cover a table, but not at all in the afternoon, so I was able to get out there and encourage attendees to fill up seats.

We had both Christopher and Paul in the booth most of the afternoon, with Christopher running SCRPG and Paul taking impromptu meetings. Maggie ran games at various times and she and Jenn were in and out of the booth throughout the day. Dave ran SCRPG games all day, and of course Craig and I were at the booth all day. The Eclectic Games folks were doing the sales. When no seats needed filling, I'd often just wander around engaging attendees -- often just chatting about nothing GtGs related, but usually steering the conversation to the games in the booth. I met at least one person whose name I recognized from Boardgamegeek (something like Luke Hector, I think?) which was great fun. John from Handelabra dropped by and it was quite nice to be able to say hello.

We'll see if Saturday is more of a crush than today was. Aside from some sore feet from a lot of standing, today was smooth sailing.

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day 2

Definitely more people today. Still had a lot fewer people near our booth, towards the back of Hall 1, then in the crush at the front. No matter. Our tables were full almost all the time. Branch and Claw sold out in the morning, I think. The promos went in the early afternoon, and Spirit Island was gone by late afternoon. There was also a steady stream of purchases of other product, particularly the starter kit. Lazer Ryders continues to sell well at conventions -- it's very flashy and draws people in. 

John from Handelabra (Hi, John!) dropped by with a version of the SotM app with Stuntman and Benchmark. That was a hit with the Sentinels fans, for sure. There was a FANTASTIC prop brought by -- a cosplaying stuffed alpaca, dressed as Newest Legacy. So cool! I'll try to remember to link a photo in the future. There were a steady stream of people coming by for business meetings -- freelance illustrators, game designers, printers, etc. Sure, the conventions are important for building brand recognition with customers, but maybe as important for doing so with retailers and making these business contacts.

I'm not sure I mentioned how fun it's been to run into people I worked with all the way back at Essen 2013! That was a particularly fun time and it's really great to connect with those folks again.

At one point I heard a rundown of the  list of languages that Spirit Island is going to be translated into. I don't know any specific dates and am not sure what's public knowledge or not, so I'll just say that it was cool to hear that it's selling well enough that a bunch of different languages are at least being considered.

Don't know if I'm forgetting something, but the day seemed really uneventful. We've got a full crew, and even more people than we need at times, so it's been quite easy. I've had a lot of fun chatting with people in the booth and encouraging passerbys to join games.

I didn't have  time to roam the free play areas tonight to see who was playing what, but I did yesterday and counted three games of Spirit Island and one of SotM. Tonight I was gaming with friends and at the next table a couple pulled out an unpunched copy of Spirit Island and proceeded to try to teach themselves the game. Couldn't resist heading over and teaching them. My throat is sore.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Andy! I did not see you today. But you are a true gem. Even without the beard. Still 100%. I cherish my subscription to your newsletter. =)


Lead Bit Flipper, Handelabra Games
Developer of Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and Spirit Island

arenson9
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Day 3

Quite a bit slower on the last day than on Saturday, maybe even slower than Friday? Not sure. RPG starter kits sold out. More Lazer Ryders copies left than I think the retailers were hoping for. Lazer Ryders is flashy -- it attracts attention -- but for whatever reason it didn't get quite the numbers I think some were expecting.

We had most of the tables filled most of the day, but it was a bit of a struggle at times. Spirit Island continued to be the thing most people were asking for. In addition, plenty of people stopped by who were already fans of Sentinels of Multiverse. Many people bemoaned that they were still waiting for OblivAeon and asked me if I could tell them when they would get it (which I can't! I don't even recall precisely what's been announced in terms of ship dates, much less feel confident saying whether those are correct or not).

It was sad to say goodbye to everyone today! It was particularly hard to say goodbye to the folks from the UK and Germany that I have less chance of seeing any time soon. Thanks again to Curtis, Stephen, Antje, Daniel, Paul, Simon, Liam, Mark, Pete, Adrienne, and Anna for helping out! It was a pleasure working with you. I'm so sorry if I've left someone out! 

One thing UKGE did far better than GenCon -- providing open gaming areas. Lots and lots of space for this. Crowded nontheless, but still very welcome.

Not much more to say, perhaps. I did find that I'd developed some patterns in how I taught Spirit Island, which felt like it was sort of all over the place, but sort of settled down almost into a patter. One thing I quite liked was, when introducing the Special Rules for each Spirit, I'd lean conspiratorially towards each person in turn and let them know how _their_ Special Rule was the very best one. Usually got laughs.

A propos of little, John Kovalic was doing free signings in our booth a couple times each day. I didn't even realize it until the third day. I was quite oblivious to most of what was going on in the show -- even to the other half of the booth we shared. I did happen past the Asmodee crowd as they got a big group picture. Wow, that was a lot of people to all be representing one company. Must have been about 60-75 of them.

Tear down was very quick -- pack games, fold tablecloths, break down and pack the banners, fold chairs and tables. With around a dozen people working on it, it was done in twenty minutes.

Not sure when the next time I might volunteer with GtG might be. I'm protective of my GenCon time and usually am only interested in going to the other conventions once just to check them out, so it may be a while before I do something like this again -- but then I hadn't really expected to do either PAX Unplugged or UKGE, so who knows.

I may continue to post occassionally, since I'm still on this five week trip and there might just be some more gaming ...

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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It was great seeing you again Andy, for some reason you do not appear to have aged over the last five years – it’s probably just the beard but I’d like to think that you stepped into your own personal Tardis or something back in 2013. Thank you for being so gracious in giving in to the constant pestering to play games from two little kids (and one big one). For the record the games we played other than Spirit Island, which is the best game ever, were Hogwarts Battle, Fake Artist goes to New York, an antique copy of Plus Minus, and Catch the Moon.

UK Expo! Non-GTG stuff will be mentioned, but as I have everything GTG related there isn’t much to otherwise report.

We usually go up as a family for the Friday only as Saturday is a bit hectic and our focus is on watching a few shows and catching up with various people that we know will be there. Unfortunately our plans were nearly scuppered when the tread peeled off my nearside front tire halfway up the motorway, we were lucky not to have a blow out as it went right down to the weave. Cue a very slow drive on a spare and by the time we made it to the nether regions of the packed car park we were running tight on our schedule. We sadly had to drop kid's roleplay from our list which is a shame as they are usually really great sessions, but you do need to sign up early to get a workable time slot.

While my wife and daughter sought out the face painting (cheaper but not as good as last year) I went up the stairs to the Formal Ferret booth to grab a copy of the UKGE special Telly Time expansion for The Networks which was the only thing I actively wanted to pick up. We had a look for our friend Rob who runs the Playtest area but he was off somewhere schmoozing so we took a turn about the second floor booths during the twenty minutes or so we had remaining before our first show started.

What immediately caught my eye was Four Elements, a fun crash-and-bash ‘dexterity’ game that we first saw at last year's Dragonmeet (a London based con that focuses mainly on RPGs but has expanded to include board and miniatures gaming). Back then I had a long chat with the designer about the price barrier on the game which was fairly expensive for something that they should be marketing to family gamers, so I was really pleased to see that they had ditched the ludicrously over-produced box in favour of a much smarter canvas bag and had split the game down into a cheaper starter set with modular upgrades. So yeah, I bought the full set of pieces for this and we've had it out almost permanently since getting back.

Tried out a game at one of the smaller booths which sadly was not good in any redeeming way. I do hope that the guy behind it didn’t lose any money on his project but I was reminded again how solid and impartial development, playtesting and marketing are crucial in this industry.

Onto the shows!

We started out with ‘Knightmare Live’ which was sold out last year so I think they put on some additional performances this time. The kids were perplexed at why I was so excited about seeing this so I told them that it was basically a fantasy version of Last Commanders and that got them bouncing up and down in their seats alright. Anyone not familiar with UK kids shows of the 1980s will no doubt be similarly perplexed. The show was pretty good, there was much cheering at crappy anagrams and knapsacks and how everybody's name was greeted with "Aha! A warriors name!" The show was good but I think that the live MMORPG show from the same host was more entertaining (we saw that one last year but couldn’t make it this time). I have a nagging feeling that I know one of the cast members from somewhere, I looked them up on their website and I’m still none the wiser so worried that I may have been terribly rude in not saying hello to someone that I’ve met before.

A quick break for a sandwich and then we were back in for ‘You can't polish a nerd’. There were far fewer people in for this one which was a big mistake everybody. This was the highlight of the Expo for us, a really funny and mesmerising blend of comedy, magic and extreme rubics-cubery. Tom Crosbie played up on the awkward nerd bit but you could tell there was a ton of confidence and well-practised ability behind it. I do hope that he did not lose heart at the half-full room and will come back again next year.

One more quick break, then onto ‘The Dark Room for kids’. John Robertson runs a really funny show with lots of audience participation that kids just love, but he can be a bit sweary so it’s nice that he decided to run a special PG-rated event this year. It is a well known fact that children make anything at least ten times funnier so this was an absolute riot. I don’t know how far he tours with this show but if you see it on near you and have a chance to go, then you should.

So the shows were as always a fun time, and we were left with about ninety minutes to roam the trade hall. I finally caught up with Rob at the third time of asking, said hello to some familiar faces in the playtest area, and randomly bumped into someone that I had met at a previous con. We swung by the Greater than Games booth again to say hello to a couple of people (apologies if I missed you but you were all so busy both times that I wandered past).

We played a funny guessing game where you do animal impressions, but not funny enough to spend sixteen quid on a bunch of cards with words on them, tried out another game that I had hesitated backing on KickStarter and which turned out to be very dull and mechanical (so phew, I guess). We admired the incredible effort being put in at the cosplay area, checked out some of the artwork on display, and were amazed by how many people were at the Expo just to market themselves - I counted four different manufacturers, three artists and two writers but there were probably more. I missed Ian Livingstone at the Fighting Fantasy booth which we had to hurry past in the morning, which is a shame as I wanted to be the hundredth person of the day to tell him how awesomely incredible he is.

in terms of "Expo Haul" we came away with a cheap expansion, something that we liked and got for half what it was previously being sold for, and some dubious necklaces that will probably turn my daughter's skin green but at least she thinks that dragons are cool so that's something right? Given the handcarts that we saw a couple of people towing around I’m not sure if that means we did it right or wrong. In any case we had a lot of fun!

 

arenson9
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Enjoyed the rundown, Daniel. Turns out Catch the Moon was being demoed at the booth next to us and I ended up playing Fake NY artist in the evening.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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Day 8: Played Sentinels in Leeds! Retaught friends how to play with their own copy.

Day 10: Played Lazer Ryders in London! Taught a friend how to play with her own copy.

Day 11: Tomorrow I fly to Hong Kong! It's a really fricking long flight and I have to somehow get over 8 hours of jet lag in time to be social the next day! Aaaahhhhh!

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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arenson9 wrote:

There was a FANTASTIC prop brought by -- a cosplaying stuffed alpaca, dressed as Newest Legacy. So cool! I'll try to remember to link a photo in the future. 

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel