Train of Thought Experiment on Twitter

Jay and I still love Train of Thought after all these years and we’ve been using Twitter a lot lately, so it just seemed like a natural fit!  We’re going to do a little experiment and try to run a Train of Thought game (kinda) on Twitter next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. EST.  If things go well, we’ll make it “a thing”.

The goal will be slightly modified in that the Conductor (me for the first one), will be trying to get the team (all y’all out there in the Twitterverse) to get to 10 josh-train of thoughtDestinations in 10 minutes.  Can we do it?  YES WE CAN!

The Tweet format will be important for game flow:

<round number> <Guess> <hashtag>

e.g. 1 starfish #ToT

Got it?  Good!

Now review the rules, follow me on Twitter @SenFoongLim and hop on board this crazy train!

ALL ABOARD!

~Sen-Foong

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Fan Expo Toronto 2014

Wow, what a busy day that was!  I went to Fan Expo on the busiest day of the convention with Jessey Wright (who worked at the Flux Capacity booth) and our friend Vince Londini.  We drove up, parked the car and entered utter geek chaos!

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Once I made my way to the relative calm of Room 718 (the gaming area), I was greeted by many familiar faces and the rest of the Z-Man crew.  We promptly punched out 4 copies of Akrotiri and got to work teaching people how to play!  Here’s a picture of the punchboard and the nice thick coins.

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I think I taught about 12 people how to play, including my old friend Julian Sammy, while Daryl Andrews and Daniel Rocchi taught to even more people (including our good friend, Elly Boersema).  It was wonderful to see people play the game and to hear the overwhelmingly positive feedback.  Now that I’ve played it with people other than Jay, I can see the merit in the decision to pare it down from a 4-player to a 2-player game.  That won’t stop me from getting a second set of components and colouring them differently to make a 4-player homebrew for myself, though!

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All in all, I’m very pleased with the game overall.  Chris Quilliams did a great job on the artwork and the whole team at Z-man made sure that the rules are solid and the game plays really well.  It’s a deep and meaty 2-player game that we hope you will enjoy playing just as much as we enjoyed designing it!

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After that, we added to the chaos of the room by helping to judge a round of Pandemic Survival, which is a super cool way of making a good game even better!  Imagine 10-20 tables playing Pandemic in teams of 2…and everyone gets the same set of cards and deals with the same outbreaks in the same order.  The only thing that separates each time is what they decide to do with those cards and their actions.  It was pretty intense and down to the wire as several teams had 3 cures in the race for the 4th, but several were eliminated from play as outbreaks started to run rampant!  Oh yeah, and the prize?  The winning team gets to playoff against other winners for a chance to be airlifted to anywhere on the Pandemic map – you know, like…Montreal!

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The last thing we did was cap the night off (after eating at Burrito Boys) by playing one of Eric Lang’s prototypes that he co-designed with Antoine Bauza (he of 7 Wonders fame).  Needless to say, it was pretty good.  I’d tell you more, but you know the deal…I’d have to kill you.

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I’m looking forward to next year’s con but there’s many more between now and then!  For my next guest appearances, I’ll be at CastleCon in Pickering on October 18th and London’s own Forest City ComiCon on October 19th.  So if you’re local, come on out and play some games!

~Sen-Foong Lim

Fantastic Audio Review of But Wait There’s More!

butwaitboxThis is great! After winning the Geekie award for Belfort we then get this audio review of our Kickstarter game, But Wait There’s More! They really loved it and demoed a round! They said they would take it to any party and they all seemed to really enjoy playing it!

Great quote: “This could be the big SALES game” – just like Pictionary is the big DRAWING game. Wow – that would be great!!

Click on the pod symbol after clicking this link!

Thanks to The Party Gamecast for the great review!!!

-Jay

And the winner is…

Wow!  Can’t even lie – it’s a shock to both Jay and I.  We were watching the Geekies online, chatting with each other and BAM!  There it was, our game up on screen with the name right next to the word:   “Winner”

It was sad that neither Jay nor I could be there to accept.  No one from TMG was able to be in attendance either due to GenCon2014 responsibilities (Jay and I were both at #GenCant2014 instead…).  So the hosts, Greg Grunberg and Brea Grant for accepting on our behalf.  Greg’s telepathy just didn’t have the range to reach us up here in Canada.  Brea might have been able to run really fast and get some words from us, I suppose….

So what does this mean?  I dunno!  Only that this blue baby is ours for at least one year!

Thanks to everyone who’s ever played the game, reviewed it, told a friend about it, and loved it.  We make games so that other people can have fun playing them.  If not for the gaming community, we couldn’t have achieved so much!

And thanks to Daryl Andrews for the screen caps (Look out for his game “The Walled City” with co-designer Stephen Sauer to hit shelves in the near future – it’s awesome!)

 

~Sen-Foong Lim

Club Fantasci interviewing Jay and Sen Thursday! Get your questions in now.

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Club Fantasci will be interviewing Sen and I live tomorrow night (Thursday, August 14) at 9pm EST (6pm PST). We’re pretty excited about it and this is your chance to ask us some questions as well! If you have questions you want answered then you can tweet them to @ClubFantasci before tomorrow night. Here’s the link for the actual interview:

Club Fantasci Interviews Jay and Sen

That reminds me…did you know you can follow Jay on Twitter: @bamboozlebros and you can follow Sen: @SenFoongLim.

Cool. See you then!
-Jay Cormier

Bamboozle Brother games at GenCon 2014!

Are you going to GenCon? Want to get your hands on some upcoming Bamboozle Brother games? Well you can!! Here’s a list of our games that will be at GenCon this year and a map below showing where you can find them:

Queen

Tortuga-BoxTortuga – available for purchase

 

 

 

Tasty Minstrel Games

ThisTown-logoThis Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us – available for purchase (after that it will only be available on TMG’s website – so grab a copy now – only $5!)

  • Belfort and Belfort: The Expansion Expansion – available for purchase

 

Toy Vault

butwaitboxBut Wait There’s More – available for demo, Type in these codes into the Event finder on the Gen Con webpage to sign up:

  • Thursday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462531
  • Thursday 3pm: Game ID: BGM1462534
  • Friday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462535
  • Friday 3pm: Game ID: BGM1462532
  • Saturday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462533
  • Saturday  9pm: Game ID: BGM1462536
  • Saturday 11pm: Game ID: BGM1462537
  • Sunday  2pm: Game ID: BGM1462538

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Take some pics of our games at GenCon and send them our way! We’d can’t make it this year but would love to see our games out there being played – or even stacked up on a shelf!!

-Jay Cormier

But Wait There’s More is Available on KickStarter – Operators are Standing By!

Our latest (and possibly greatest) party game has hit the KickStarter campaign trail.  No, it’s not like the Oregon Trail – you will not die of starvation.  What you will do (if you choose to pledge) is have a grand old time playing this game with family and friends!  But don’t take my word for it…just watch this quick video!

Just head over to the But Wait, There’s More! KickStarter page and help us bring this great game table tops the world over!  If we reach our overfunding goals, we’ll release even more cards into the wild!  There’s also options to get multiple copies for gifts and our expansion “That’s The Best Part!” that you can purchase while pledging for a nominal $5 add-on fee per copy.

If you want to try this game out with a limited card set, you can download the print-and-play files.  For those of you lucky enough to be heading to GenCon 2014 next week, hook up with our publisher, ToyVault, at the convention and play in full colour!

See if you can fit in a quick game at any of these times:

  • Thursday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462531
  • Thursday 3pm: Game ID: BGM1462534
  • Friday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462535
  • Friday 3pm: Game ID: BGM1462532
  • Saturday 1pm: Game ID: BGM1462533
  • Saturday  9pm: Game ID: BGM1462536
  • Saturday 11pm: Game ID: BGM1462537
  • Sunday  2pm: Game ID: BGM1462538

Well that’s it, I guess….

But wait, there’s more!  For those of you wanting to support, but unfamiliar with the setup, here’s a vid to walk you through the process.

So don’t be shy!  Just click on “Pledge” and you’ll be mere months away from having your very own copy of But Wait, There’s More!*

*batteries not included

 

What Makes A Game Worthy of the SdJ Award?

Camel Up?  Really?  OK, I kind of called it.  I had the fortune of being able to play all of the nominated games prior to the release of the information while at the Gathering of Friends earlier this year.  Most people there really liked Splendor and were giving it the nod, but there was something about it that just fell flat with me.  Camel Up, on the other hand, is mechanically a less stringent game but it creates stories and fun and has people engaged with each other during the game itself; definitely more so that Splendor.

The SdJ award is not to find the best game in the world, contrary to popular belief.  The mandate of the Jury is to promote boardgames in culture much like books and movies are.  They hope to award the coveted prize to games that can help accomplish that goal.

So…what makes a good SdJ candidate?

I  had the pleasure of meeting up with Tom Felber of the Speil de Jahres jury at Snakes and Lattes this week. 

He gave an excellent talk and held a Q&A session afterwards, discussing what makes a game worthy of the prestigious award.  For those of you who weren’t there, here’s the highlights:

The SdJ jury is comprised of just 10 journalists with absolutely no direct fiscal ties to the gaming industry.  They are people who write about games as their job. They play and vote and play and vote and play and vote etc. until the lists for the Kid’s, Strategy, and Overall nominees are compiled.   Each jury member plays in the area of 400 unique games a year, some multiple times.

Tom noted that even though Germans play tons of games as a country, the average German is not educated on what makes a good game, and so the SdJ has become a “seal of approval”.  This has lead to huge sales for the winners.  The lowest print run of a SdJ game that used the award seal was estimated at 200,000 units.  Hanabi, for example, had a print run of 700,000. just for Germany. This is why the SdJ is announced in the summer; to allow lead time for the companies of winning games to manufacture and ship out the necessary volume in time for Christmas, as games are a traditional Yuletide gift.

However, the misconception of the SdJ is that the award is for the best game of the year.  It is really for the most accessible game; the game that will be a great ambassador to the world at large for the hobby of boardgaming. Tom stated that it is unfortunate that the game buying public spends 99% a large percent of their money on the winners of the SdJ, leaving other good games to languish sales-wise.  So that’s why the Jury publishes the runner up and recommended list.  They also want to limit the awards to only the 3 current categories to keep it simple and understandable to the general public.

The winners of each category have the right to use the SdJ seal to advertise their accomplishment for a small licensing fee based on unit sales (2-3%).  This money goes towards financing the awards themselves, participation in fairs like Essen, publications like brochures/websites/etc., and other expenses. The SdJ program also funds a ton of great gaming-related activities like bringing games to soldiers on peace-keeping missions, etc. to further their mandate.

Tom went on to answer some questions on the topic of what makes a game a solid candidate for a SdJ:

  • it can be played again and again
  • it is well balanced
  • it elicits positive emotions
  • it has a solid rulebook that is available in German
  • the game has high production standards for the graphics and components
  • there is no to low violence in the game, so there are no wargames and the rules should be carefully worded around touchy subjects – anything overtly violent or war-like is not going to receive Jury approval, no matter how good a game it is otherwise.

The biggest take home point for me was something that I regularly espouse – rules are an essential part of any game system.  Without them, you just have bits on a board.  The Germans as a people have a technically precise culture and thus hold rulebooks to a very high standards.  Tom stated that the number one reason for a game being excluded is poor rules.  He pointed to Queen Games and Hans im Gluek as being companies that traditionally have well-written rules.  For the SdJ, the Jury will not consider any supplemental aids (videos, web-based FAQs, etc.).   If they can’t play the game solely with what comes in the box, it is immediately excluded.

Tom noted the collegial nature of the German publishing houses – the editors meet yearly to discuss how to write better rulebook.  Tom stated that good rules are clear and simple, use plenty of pictures and give good examples.  He added that good rules need to be readable and a bit of humour can help with that.

Hope some of our readers find this article helpful – maybe you’ll design the next SdJ!  We’re certainly trying our best!

~ Sen-Foong