The Fiesta from Filosofia
Saturday was spent at the Fiesta. The Fiesta is an annual, public, gaming event run by Filosofia. The goal is to introduce the games they publish or distribute to as many people as possible. All proceeds from the Fiesta actually go to a charity – so it’s not even a profit generating event for Filosofia. The timing of my trip to Montreal was perfect as it aligned with the Fiesta! I was invited to attend and show the public Akrotiri and Junkyard. That’s cool! The biggest challenge all day was the fact that my French is still stuck in high school, so communicating the rules to everyone throughout the day was a bit of a hindrance. Regardless, it was a fun day!
I spent the morning in the family room, showing Junkyard to anyone who stopped by. I even got to play one full game with Martin Tremblay – the other owner of Filosofia and husband of Sophie! He had never played it before so it was great to be able to show him how it worked. He won even though I tried to win! 🙂 The highlight was when I was playing with a 9 year old boy. The mother eventually came by and was ecstatic that he was so engaged by the game since he was autistic and had yet to be interested in any game. He
had the most ridiculously precarious tower that had 8 more blocks on it than it logically should have been able to hold. It was hilarious. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of that one. We did play with a new scoring rule that we had brainstormed the day before and it did make a difference. I had the tallest tower (which did collapse – but I still maintain the tallest – neat!) – but I lost to the player with the 2nd tallest tower since I had so many negative points.
I had lunch with Sophie and then spent the afternoon in the gamer room showing Akrotiri. We found a couple of English speaking gamers who were interested in trying the game. It was a fantastic game! One player played only Easy Temples but had a lot of points with their secret goal cards, while the other player played Medium and Hard Temples and did ok with his secret goal cards. We scored up their points and they actually tied – with the tie-breaker being money and one player had $1 more than the other so he won a very tight game! They both seemed very sincere in expressing how much they enjoyed the game.
I found Sophie and she spent some time asking the two of them some questions. I didn’t want them to feel like they had to say nice things since the designer was standing right there – so I let them chat about it with Sophie and left to peruse the rest of the Fiesta. Sophie later told me that they only had great things to say about the game – which was very comforting to hear! She did express concern that the game would have to fit inside the same box as the 2-player Agricola box. I didn’t think it would be an issue since all the tiles were going to be cards instead of cardboard. JF pointed out that with the tiles being cards, it meant that they’d need full bleed. The german manufacturer that they deal with charges too much to do it so that means they’d have to use the Chinese manufacturer that they deal with instead, which didn’t seem to be a big deal.
I also got to spend some time showing the game to Chris Quilliams. Chris is a newly hired artist at Filosofia who will be doing a lot of the in-house art for their games (check out some of his work!). I was told that he’d be doing the art for Akrotiri, so it seemed like a good idea to review the game with him. I was able to tell him about some of the graphic issues the game has had during its development. For example, since the game is all about scanning the board and picking out certain symbols – those symbols need to be easily identifiable, and there can’t be too many other icons on the board that will confuse the eye. Also, a lot of players place a resource cube on top of the terrain icons when they play, which obscures what everyone needs to see. So we brainstormed some ideas on how to graphically fix this without overwhelming the eye with more symbols or icons on the board. It was time well spent – and probably saved a lot of time – or even prevented some potential challenges if we wasn’t aware of them beforehand.
All in all, a good day spent at the Fiesta! The rooms got more and more packed as the day progressed and soon all the tables were constantly filled with gamers and families playing all their games. If you’re in the Montreal area when it’s on next year, stop by for some free gaming of new and upcoming games!!