Un-convention-al Blog Post

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GRG Geoff posted this 15 October 2016

(^The title's a lie, it's completely normal - I'm just grasping for puns)

Happy with our morning routine, little changed but the addition of a delicious sausage roll. On to Essen for Friday, Day Two.

A similar journey in, so I kept my head in my journal and pestered Steve for some inspiration on design ideas for a tabletop implementation of the 'Fog of War' that hasn't been done yet (everything that currently exists is bad), in order to make a map-exploration segment of an RPG viable and fun. Nailed it before we reached Essen, but if you want to know what it is, you'll have to join my weekly roleplaying-group-that-doesn't-exist-yet to find out.

First order of the day (though apparently it was already half eleven) was securing a pair of tickets to the Dice Tower Panel at 5pm - free, but limited seats. The Dice Tower team were at their booth, but I always imagine walking up to people I don't know (and appreciate the work of) and feeling incredibly awkward after saying 'Great thing that it is that you do, thanks!'. Last person that was lucky enough to get that treatment was DJ Lethal (bring it on!) and I had no urge for a repeat. "Hey Tom, you're tall!", "Hey Zee, so what game did you like today?", "Hey Sam, great beard! Have you played any beard games?". We also spotted Jason a little later tearing round the halls with a bag of games on his back nearly as big as him - I'd say like some kind of a Santa Claus, but they were clearly all for him.

Onward we headed, back to the folks at The Dicey Company to offer some feedback and hear about features they intend to implement. They'd turned the day into a crowd-sourced brainstorm, as usage of the app at the Spiel had been lower than they had anticipated on the first day - turns out people are more interested in looking around, demoing and buying than organised gaming. Had a great chat about the hobby and how friendly the industry is, and went on our way. Good luck to them - if you're interested, you can keep an eye on the project via their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thediceycompany/)

We swung by WinGo again for a chat, but they were extremely busy at that point, so we left them to it. Will catch up with them Sunday.

The high-point of the day was stopping at the Syrinscape booth. This is environmental audio for tabletop gaming (or game stores, or reading, or going to sleep). It's much more advanced than other similar software, with dynamically generated audio that's fully customizable (with sliders!) so repeating loops aren't a thing. Go and download and have a play with their free demo on their website (https://syrinscape.com/) now! Back? Good. Awesome isn't it. Get the person with the most disposable income in your gaming group to subscribe to it so your gaming nights can be finally free OF THAT BLOODY CONAN THE BARBARIAN SOUNDTRACK. Hoping to be able to offer a customised soundscape as a stretch rewards for our upcoming Kickstarters, for those who are also impressed!

continued in the comments...

GRG Geoff posted this 15 October 2016

Brief confession intermission. We went past a stall that had a huge overstock on the D&D 3e Forgotten Realms module Shadowdale (2007) which had been released after I had stopped buying every D&D thing that came out in around '05. It brought back memories of 90s adventures in and around the area, and for €10 I just couldn't pass it up. Besides, it's not like I was going to be spending hundreds of Euros on the FF TCG after all... Anyway that really drove home that I ought to pick up presents for my family, which I had completely forgotten about up until that point (kidding! KIDDING!!)

Time for a beer break, so we pulled up a pew outside with a couple of half-pints of Stauder and hammered out some of the finer details of our fourth game (that's the one coming after Elementa, Baggage Train and our third game). No better working environment.

We then dropped by the LudoFact booth, which was a roped-off affair with a number of tables and chairs for meetings, though none were going on. One rep came over and greeted us at the gate, but seemed uninterested in us and passed us one of his colleague's business cards, asking us to come back later. That lack of enthusiasm, compounded by failure to respond to our request for a quotation via e-mail last month, ensured that there wasn't a point in the rest of the day where we didn't feel our time would be better spent elsewhere.

Claws back in. It's a board-gaming fayre, but one or two RPGs had slipped in and, secreted away in the back corner of one of the halls (as was appropriate to their theme), we happened upon the Shadows of Esteren booth. Our good friend Tamal Frost had previously extolled the virtues of this game after catching up with them at the UK Games Expo, so we couldn't rightly walk on by. Besides, all of the books and accessories were calling out to be pored over. It's a rules-lite system in a low-fantasy cross of Cthulhu's sanity and an Ars Magica feel. We were treated to a full tour of the game and system by an avid rep who was able to answer all of our wise and thoughtful questions with ease. Do check them out over at https://shadowsofesteren.blogspot.co.uk and see for yourself.

Back in the halls, we swung by the Trefl booth - manufacturers from Poland - who greeted us warmly and arranged with us to drop by on Sunday once their international rep was available. Looking forward to speaking with them further this weekend.

To one of the huge sprawls of gaming tables, this at Morning, who are publishing the much-lauded Scythe for the European market. Steve especially has been excited for this, so we hovered around the predictably full gaming tables, trying to work out how the game was played, by eavesdropping on half-heard explanations and queries, all in German. It looked good anyway - indeed good enough to add to the GRG library - so Steve picked up a copy at the end of the day (far too heavy to be carrying around).

Time was fast approaching for The Dice Tower live podcast, but we had time enough for another half pint, or whatever tiny measures these beers are served in. Then, in for the show! It was good fun and hence time ran away without us. I'll be sure to link to the recording as soon as it's posted up for your listening pleasure.

Before heading back to the accursed Ibis Hotel, we dropped by to pick up Scythe. If you're interested in giving it a shot, please do come play it with us!

The journey home landed us with a concept for some YOUTUBE CONTENT, which we'll aim to bring to you as soon as we get back and work out how Microsoft Movie Maker works. Two local young ladies sat by us on the tram and, clearly overwhelmed by being in the presence of such boardgaming industry legends-in-the-making, couldn't stop slinging us sidelong glances whilst giggling and uttering generous praise in German. Probably.

The evening took us to our regular pleasant restaurant bar with WiFi wherein I caught up on the events unfolding at the Las Vegas FFXIV FanFest via Twitter. Excited for next year's content, but I won't bore you with the details here (@Mojo_FFXIV for all that gubbins).

Back at the hotel, and the bar was filled with groups of people playing board games. This after we'd spent a good amount of time at dinner trying to find a late-night gaming cafe in walking distance to no avail. Had a brief chat with a couple playing Age of Thieves, which looked very nice and then we retired to our room to work. Time was spent adapting MMO games-systems for the RPG-in-progress, a couple of episodes of the hilarious 'Wasted' and then late into the night/morning SLEDGEhammering out some rock solid systems that'll provide the core entertainment in our yet-to-be-titled third proprietary effort.

 

And then sleep. On the floor.

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