Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kickstarter Update

It's been a while since I did an overview post, so it's probably time.

Here's where I am on Kickstarter:

Received
Riders: A Game About Cheating Doomsday - I received the PDF in July. The original delivery target was May. I call that "on time," honestly.  And I've barely started reading it, but I'm really enjoying it. This, by the way, is the second project from Caias that I've backed. Both of them are going to be done before Far West.

Feng Shui (2nd Edition): Received print while at GenCon. Dead on time.

Esteren: Occultism: PDF received.  Sounds like there are going to be some delays in printing, however.  I've been happy with the products received so far (their previous projects), and I'm willing to wait.

Grimtooth's Traps: PDF received.

World Wide Wrestling: Print and PDF both received. I'm very happy with it.

Mouse Guard: Swords & Strongholds: This board game arrived a week or so before GenCon. I like it. It's not crazy amazing, but it's solid. And fun.

Fantaji: PDF received 6/11/15. Some day, I'll read it. The print is about a year late, now, however.

Atlantis Theragraphica - Received in full.

Ryuutama: PDF received. This is the second project of Andy's that I've backed - again: Two projects done before Far West. And yes - the print version of this is late. But I have faith that it's going to be here.

Two Rooms and a Boom - Received. Played. Like.  Will have to write more about this one in the not-too-distant future.

Dragon Kings: Received. I haven't read it, yet, though.

Circle of Hands: Received. I spent a few minutes looking at it. I ... I tentatively like it.

A Bit Late
These are things I'm not too worried about, but are six months (or more) past due:

Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit: We just had an update on this the other day. It looks like print proofs are in the hands of the project creators.

TimeWatch - I like the GUMSHOE system, and I have faith in Pelgrane's ability to complete it.

Starting to Stress
Fae Nightmares: I have the PDF, but one of the project creators is apparently fighting some health issues right now. PDF received: 9/2/14.

Tales From The Floating Vagabond: I used to love this game, which is why I backed. Lee had an extended health scare and spent some time in a coma(!), so the delays are understandable. But I'm still worried (both on Lee's behalf and ... well ... because I want my stuff).

Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: I'm waiting for my print copy. I received the PDF more than a year ago.

Alas, Vegas: I still have a draft PDF. James Wallis has a reputation for taking his sweet time to put product out, but I'm still getting anxious for this one.

Tunnels & Trolls: Print copies have begun shipping. I just haven't seen mine, yet. Nor have I received any sort of notification.

Stopped Caring / Written Off / Getting Angry
Synnibarr: This project has been a box of crazy.  I have my first (of three) PDFs. Nothing in print, yet. This is a project I backed for the LOLs anyhow, so I'm not too concerned because I honestly don't expect to ever receive my product. (Written Off)

The +5 Food of Eating Cookbook: She told us a long time ago that the print version was never happening.  And it probably won't. (Written Off)

Far West: This project passed its four year funding anniversary yesterday, and I requested a refund. When my request was rebuffed, I filed a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General's office.

Powerchords: This is almost a year older than Far West, but I'm ... I'm not angry. Probably because Satyros Phil Brucato has never failed to be polite to his backers. He's never failed to treat us with respect. And he's not given us a long string of broken release dates.  I do need to ping him to see if we can get a progress report, though.

...

And that's where my current Kickstarter status is.

I am backing zero open projects right now. Which is weird for me.

... and that's it for Kickstarter posts.  Next week: I ... don't know.  I have a couple of half-written posts about ready to go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

By the Time You Read This Post

... I'll be gone.

To WorldCon, that is.

Between the post-GenCon cooldown and the WorldCon spin-up, I've had precious little time to sit in front of a keyboard to write about games.

I plan to do some writing this weekend (while skipping parts of the Con), so normal service to resume ... shortly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Race, Gender, and GenCon

This post is flawed.  Even before I start typing from my notes, I can tell you already: This post is flawed.  And I can't see the flaw, either.  But I can tell you why it's flawed.

It's flawed because it's being written from a position of privilege.  I'm a white male.

But I'm going to try to get it as correct as possible.

It's been a rough year for race relations in the US. It's also not been a good year for gender politics.  Police shootings and associated protests. GamerGate. And more. There are a thousand incidents every day that don't make the news because we dismiss them as being too minor or unimportant.

I've been demoing games at GenCon for eleven years, now, and I've seen a ton of change in that time. A ton. When my wife started attending (and demoing games), I started paying attention. And I kept paying attention.

Have I mentioned that my wife is a non-White woman? Or that she's amazing and awesome?

I've heard apocryphal stories of GenCon in the eighties and early nineties. I wasn't there. I didn't see it.  I'm told that the release of the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade heralded a huge change in the gender balance of the convention (to wit: Women started appearing in numbers instead of being very rare at the show). But - even in 2007 when Steph started demoing - there were still gamers who didn't listen to her. They wanted to talk to "the rules guy."

She went to KublaCon one year and spent most of the show demoing Dungeon Twister: Forces of Darkness, and had similar responses from the people learning the game. She called me every night to make sure some of the rules calls she'd made had been accurate - and they were. To this day, I think she's probably better at that set than I am, even if she dislikes it.

Over the years, fewer and fewer people have refused to listen to her. More and more folks have come to the realization that women can (and do) know rules every bit as well as their male counterparts.

Things are changing.

Not fast enough, mind you, but they are changing.

This year, I noticed more non-white attendees that I'd seen before, both as attendees and as exhibitors. It's not perfect, but - again - the numbers are shifting. I know the convention itself has policies about hate speech and discrimination, but that won't necessarily change individual behaviors. But those behaviors are (slowly) changing for the better.  Even in Indiana.

It was interesting to me to notice the staff elsewhere. Not in the booths - I'm talking here about the convention center staff and the waitstaff and kitchen staff and the like outside the convention hall. Nearly all of the fast food employees near the convention center were non-white - unless you needed a manager or a supervisor. The nicer the restaurant you went to, the more likely you are to have a white server.

Interestingly, between the time I wrote this and the time the post went live, Anna Kreider had some similar observations (and her post is almost certainly less-flawed than mine).  You should definitely give her post (and her blog) a read when you have the time.

But the point remains:

We have a long ways to go. Progress is being made, but that is not an excuse to stop pushing.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Familiar Faces

There were so many highlights this year.

Every year, I get to see people that I only get to see here.

And I rarely mention all of them here - and I should.

Outside of the folks I consider the core Asmodee crew (Carol, Ruby, Choukri, Jules, Christophe, and Stefan), I also get to see folks from Ludonaute and Matagot and a couple of other partner publishers.

Most years, I actually get to spend time with them. Not a ton, mind you, but some.

Hicham (who is from Matagot), for example, taught me to play Cyclades the year before it released, and I look forward to seeing him every year. Not just because I enjoy Matagot's games, either (and believe me: I do). Hicham is an incredibly nice person, and he's filled Matagot with awesome folks who I enjoy working with. But I barely exchanged two sentences with him this year.

Likewise much of the rest of the team. CROC greeted me warmly and shook my hand, but that was about the extent of our interaction.

I almost wish GenCon ran longer so I had more time to actually interact with some of these folks. Or maybe a post-show social event ...

And that's not including some of the regular attendees who I look forward to seeing every year. Like "the kids." They're three people who have been coming to us for demos since _Senji_ was the big new release. They were terrible brats back then, but they've grown into some of my favorite people to deal with.  Or Bill, who got me hooked on The Duke. Or Todd and Chris, who are local and stop by every year to say hi. Or any of the dozens and dozens of folks whose faces I recognized but whose names escaped me ...

Or the press folks like David Miller of PurplePawn.com, with whom I close out the show every year. Or Giancarlo (who is all too easy to overlook).

It was a very good year, but tonight I'm very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and seeing my kitties.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm taking this week off from the blog. I'll be back next week with my usual dose of content.

I'll see you then.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

What? No Post Yesterday?

Got back to the room crazy-late.

Shot some video (with my phone) of the exhibit hall doors opening to the public.  Much crazy ensued.

I'll upload that video when we get home.  Too tired/incoherent right now.

Asmodee's Demo Team continues to be the best in the business. I'm hearing scattered reports that other (single game) booths have team members who don't know the games they are selling.

Seriously?  Who does that?

Either way: We are awesome.

One more day.  Then teardown tonight and a team dinner. And then we all go our separate ways. Until next year.

I hope most (if not all) of this year's team is back next year.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Day Two

Still here.  Still alive.  Still loving it.

I was right about Metal Adventures, I think.  It's not a bad game, but it has a narrow target audience and it's a difficult game to demo because there are a ton of things you need to explain before game start.

Starfighter continues to be (IMHO) the best game in the booth.

Met a handful more people in person for the first time.

Acquired Chill (the new one), some dice, and a bunch of t-shirts.

And one can of real Canadian Maple Syrup. And one jar of Bacon Marmalade. Now, if only I had some decent pierogies to put the marmalade on ...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day One: Survived

I demoed Starfighter all day.  The game is better than I had expected, and I had been really looking forward to it.  It's a game that received little or no fanfare or buzz - but which needs some. It's phenomenal. No-one that I demoed it to seemed to dislike it.

The team is better than I'd expected, too. More organized, just to start with.  The choices they made as team leads were good ones. Pete and Liz and Alex are all really awesome people.

There was some PR event this afternoon, so all of the teams were running a tiny bit short-handed, but you really couldn't tell. No PR tomorrow, so we should be at or near full strength all day.

As expected, Mysterium sold out.  Well, today's batch of it did.  They are doing one batch per day on Friday and Saturday, as well. It will almost certainly sell out.

Discoveries sold out, too, which I think caught everyone off-guard.  It's a dice game themed around the Lewis and Clark expedition. I've read the rulebook, but not had a chance to take it for a spin, yet.

I saw David Miller of Purple Pawn today. Chatted for a few minutes (which was all either of us had). I also met Tim Norris of Grey Elephant Gaming. He seemed to enjoy Starfighter.

This is the first GenCon since Asmodee bought Days of Wonder last year. The DoW games have been smoothly integrated into the booth. I realized that there aren't many Asmodee games in the booth.  It's nearly all Asmodee partners - Ludonaute, Matagot, Repos, Queen, Ystari, and so on.

The booth is huge. And it didn't click with me just how huge until after the show had started and the stampede began.

Barony was in the booth right behind me.  Demos for it seemed to go well.

And now, I need to go track down some food.