TableTop Day (Weekend) 2014

(Reblogged from my BoardGameGeek blog)

Last year, I helped a new local game store organize TableTop Day events for the store. To be honest, it was something of a bust – games didn’t go off as planned, the store ended up being a less than friendly place to play, and the store handled some game orders I made badly, to put it mildly. After that experience, I decided not to participate on the organizing side of things (the five-week-old baby may have guided this decision as well), instead going to a different local store as a player. That didn’t pan out either, so I ended up spending the weekend playing games with friends at home and working on some prototypes to get them ready for convention season in July.

Friday evening, we had friends over for our normal bi-weekly game session (it was Saturday in New Zealand, so that counts). We managed to get three games to the table:

  • We started off the night with Takenoko, a favorite since I won a copy at GenCon last year. This was probably the most lopsided game we’d played in a while, with one player scoring 44 points and the rest of us in the mid-20s. Even with this one-time flaw, this remains one of my favorite games, and one that hits the table almost every game day.
  • After the first game, my wife took a break to feed the baby. This gave me a chance to get my new prototype, Anansesem, to the table. The game went well in terms of overall mechanical balance, time of play (15 minutes for the first game, 5 minutes for the second), and overall impression. I’m hoping that I can get the cards balanced and art found in time to get it in for the 2014 BoardGameGeek 2-play PnP contest.
  • The final game of the night came at the request of our friends’ 9-year-old daughter, and was Flash Point: Fire Rescue. We are trying to slowly build up to all the Kickstarter expansions I’ve ordered, which is tough when the game comes to the table only every couple months. Today was our first play with the full game (roles, hot spots, the works). I’m not sure we did it correctly – we managed to get all seven required victims out without any loss of victims, and I don’t recall the game being that easy in the past. I guess that means we’ll just have to get it to the table soon to make sure 
Flash Point Fire Rescue

Flash Point Fire Rescue – no expansions

Saturday, we didn’t play games, but I spent most of the day getting design work done:

  • -I had gotten some professional editing work reserved as a perk from a Kickstarter campaign, and I decided it was finally time to cash in. I spent the first part of the day preparing Anansesem, Odd Socks, and Bread and Circuses to send out. Huge relief to get that big check mark off my list.
  • -My contribution to the new fantasy-themed Storyteller Cards project was due to go up next week, so I finished it up. The game, Scapegoat, can be seen at… (and the campaign is still open for pledges for 11 more days).
Odd Socks, with awesome new copyright-free art and graphic design!

Odd Socks, with awesome new copyright-free art and graphic design!

I also saw a big sale on games on Amazon, and we picked up a couple that we’d heard good things about, but couldn’t justify buying at full price. We haven’t played Tokaido yet, but we got Rampage to the table today. It was immensely fun and filled a hole in my collection, although it’s clear that entertainment value was a higher priority than game balance (unless we really misunderstood a couple powers.



Overall, while we may not have participated in the “visit a local game store or big game group” spirit of TableTop Day, we definitely filled the day and weekend with games and game development. If only I could make every Saturday TableTop Day, I’d probably be a lot more relaxed (and productive at game design) on a long-term basis…

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