Nov 19, 2014

BGGCon 2014 - Day 0

Arrived relatively late today (Tuesday). After some dinner, met up with Gil Hova. Gil wanted to play Captains of Industry, and I'll never say no to that! We found two people looking for games and started it up.

I was very nervous in setting up the game. The two people who joined us knew nothing at all about the game when they agreed to play. While I love Captains of Industry without reservation, I also recognize that 2.5 hour, dry, heavy, economic eurogames are not everyone's cup of tea. I definitely expect to find an audience here at BGGCon, but I was worried that a non-self-selected group of players would not be likely to enjoy this type of game.

To my surprise, both players reported finding the game very enjoyable! One said some of the deeper strategic implications of certain things are not clear to a new player, but he felt that just meant he would have to play it again. I was very happy starting off the week on such a positive note.

Afterwards, we playtested the latest version of Gil's Prime Time prototype. I was happy that Gil took my advice of stacking the deck of shows to have an increasing curve. The game was vastly improved for it. I stuck with my go-to strategy of doing nothing but collect resources during rounds 1 and 3 to set up for big point gains in rounds 2, 4, and 5. It worked again, but this time it was close and I only won by 1 point.

Unlike last time I came to BGGCon, I am not an exhibitor this time. Which means I am right now dreading the morning badge line. Why, oh, why, won't they mail out badges? :-(

Nov 17, 2014

BGGCon 2014 Schedule

Below is my personal schedule for BGGCon. Still subject to change as I feel like it, though I will definitely make any Captains sessions which people sign up for.

Oct 21, 2014

October Update

Here's my gaming schedule for the rest of the year:

  • October 25 - Rivals Boardgame Cafe
    for the opening of this new boardgame cafe, I will be demoing City Hall at 2pm.
  • November 8 - Metatopia
    Will be there only for a single day to play other people's games, as I have no prototypes at this time which are ready for others to test.
  • November 18-23 - BGG.Con
    Really hoping Captains of Industry will be there, but it seems unlikely at this point. Will have my proof copy if anyone is up for a game! Want to personally play this at least 10 times at the convention if possible.

Apart from the above, I've decided to take a step back from gaming and game design. The reason I won't have a prototype at Metatopia (and have sadly cancelled my Unpub 5 trip altogether) is that I've been putting most of my free time into a new project which will likely consume the next 6 months of life. Unless it fails in a spectacular fashion. (dun-dun-DUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNN)

It saddens me to not be able to continue my work on FX. It's got some very interesting stuff going on. I feel about it the same way I did Conglomerate (ie. Captains of Industry) back in the day. But that is balanced out by being a part of doing something to help people.

We'll be publicly announcing it this Friday, and I'll post a link on this blog. However, it is very much non-game related in any way, so after the initial announcement I won't be discussing it here further.

Aug 22, 2014

Post-GenCon Thoughts


  • GenCon is, as ever, exhausting.
  • I did not get a chance to step into the exhibit hall, even for five seconds. I knew that once I was in there, I would lose four hours of my day to it.
  • Spent most of my time in the Tasty Minstrel Games demo room. Having it was a great idea. Teaching and playing a game like City Hall in the exhibit hall would have been difficult, given the crowd and the noise. Playing in a separate room gave me and demoees a chance to take our time and have fun.
  • Unfortunately, there were no copies of the game for sale at GenCon. It hurt to have to tell people that when they asked where they could buy it in the middle of playing the game.
  • Biggest surprise of the convention was when I turned around and a representative from Panda was standing there with the manufactured proof copy of Captains of Industry. My heart skipped a beat. With City Hall, I knew the advance copies were coming. This was a total surprise and all the more amazing for it.
  • Captains of Industry turned out far better than I had ever hoped. I knew the gameplay is excellent </totally unbiased opinion>, but the box, cards, and board are a sight to behold. TMG and their graphic design team did an amazing job with my baby.
  • The people who attend seminars at GenCon are much less interactive than those who attend the seminars at Metatopia, despite being more numerous. I need to have different versions of my presentation ready for each audience.
  • The First Exposure Playtest Hall is unbelievable. It has 10 times as much activity as when I used it two years ago. Unfortunately I had no games to test, but I did test someone else's prototype there. Must-do for designers at GenCon.
  • Giving a seminar is a great way to market yourself. Several people came up to me afterwards to say they found it informative, and those people were the ones most likely to come by the TMG room to play City Hall (I made sure my last slide had a map on it pointing out where to find me).
  • Speaking of marketing, Battle Merchants (by Gil Hova) is a great game that has not received any. If you like economic games, check it out.
  • It was heartwarming to have people come over to congratulate me on my first design. It's nice to be part of a community of people who create things for others to enjoy. I won't name names, because I will forget people if I tried to construct a list, but it meant a lot to me.
  • Quixotic Games celebrated it's 10-year anniversary with a dinner at GenCon. Andrew Parks is the person who both introduced me to modern board games and sparked my own desire to design with his prototype of Ideology all those years ago. He also provided feeback and industry contacts over the years and I cannot thank him enough for his help.
  • Every time I've ever flown anywhere, the moment I see NYC outside the plane window on my return I've felt a deep sense of relief and comfort. Even if I enjoy a trip, I love coming home. This time I actually felt disappointment in realizing that GenCon was over and I wouldn't get to wake up in the morning and do another 8 hours of demos. I didn't want it to end.

Aug 11, 2014

GenCon is here!

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

It's finally here! City Hall will be available at GenCon. Not only that, it will be part of Tasty Minstrel's Play to Win program. Just playing it gets you a chance at taking it home for free. Just come by the TMG demo room 137 (circled in the picture).

While I'll be spending most of my time there, at 10am on Friday, I will be giving a seminar on Cognitive Biases in Players and How to Leverage Them (SEM1454346) in the Westin's Chambers room.

If you'd like to get together for a game at the convention, send me a messge on Twitter (@vhgames) or email me (mkeller@visiblehandgames.com). In addition to City Hall, I'll also have my Captains of Industry proto with me if anyone would like to try that out.

I'll use Twitter to update on my whereabouts during the convention.