Monday, April 6

Isolation: Things to be Thankful For

We're now into week three of our isolation, and mine is likely to last around 13 weeks because of my Multiple Sclerosis which makes me high risk.

Lockdown is a pain, I miss the office and my friends there, I miss walking to work, I miss our weekly Games Night at my house and I miss the freedom of weekend trips and being able to pop out whenever I want.

But it's not all bad, and dwelling on the negatives isn't going to help my mental health during what is a stressful time unprecedented during my lifetime.

There's several good things that have eased the discomfort:

  • I'm getting to see a lot more of The Wife and my girls. I get an hour at lunchtime with them every day, plus what used to be my commute time. It's great to spend more time together as a family.
  • At this point we're all still well.
  • I've got into running again, which is great for my health (though I pulled a calf muscle last week, so I'm having some time off to recover).
  • The weather has been pretty good, so my morning runs haven't been awful and I've been able to take the girls into the garden in my lunch breaks.
  • We're getting a lot of jobs done around the house that have been put off for months since our move last summer.
  • We're cooking and baking more, so we're probably eating better.

I realise I'm pretty lucky on a bunch of those, but what about the lockdown has been an (unexpected) benefit for you?

Monday, March 30

Isolation

We’re now at the end of our two weeks of quarantine and can do our own shopping (the UK lockdown prevents us from leaving the house except for that and one exercise session by ourselves once a day).

Despite the fact that I’m saving 60-80 minutes a day on commuting I’ve actually got less time for Eurydice stuff as I’m taking longer lunch breaks to give The Wife a break from looking after the girls all day and the kids are going to bed later so we have less evening available.

I have managed to playtest Coalescence a few times with Daughter the First though and am looking forward to iterating the scoring cards when I get a chance.

I’ve also held my first online Games Night last week too, we used Google Hangouts for video chat and played a couple of games of 7 Wonders and one of Tsuro using the iPad/Android apps. 7 Wonders went pretty smoothly once we got used to the AI and the round timer, Tsuro was a massive pain to set up online games (can’t cancel accidental ones, the friend codes didn’t always work, difficult to work out what you need to do and in what order). Carcassonne has worked pretty well during the test the week before, but there are apparently three different versions (old iOS, old Android and new Asmodee) and we’re not sure if there’s any cross-connectivity between them. So it might only work when everyone has the same version.

We want to try Race for the Galaxy too as that’s a favourite, so hopefully we’ll have a few options for the next several weeks of distant gaming.

This week I'm mostly sending messages, it's time for our monthly Kickstarter update and also our first quarterly email newsletter of 2020!

Monday, March 23

Holding Pattern

A lot can change in a week. At the end of the day that my last post went live I found out that due to The Toddler’s (almost certainly not COVID but better safe than sorry) cough we were all housebound for two weeks and as someone with Multiple Sclerosis I count as a ‘vulnerable person’ who will probably be told to stay self-isolating for twelve weeks from this weekend. So possibly 13 weeks of largely staying indoors.

To combat this I’ve taken up early morning runs (allowed under the rules) instead of walking to work and started figuring out an online version of my weekly Games Night (three of us did a test on Friday of Google Hangouts for video chat and the Carcassonne iPad app, which worked pretty well once we’d got over the teething troubles).

But I can’t get to the Post Office at the moment and so I’ve taken down the Facebook ads we were running to drive FlickFleet sales, and Paul is still waiting for a new garage door, so Kickstarter rewards cutting is stalled too.

We’re the lucky ones though. Our day jobs are pretty secure and because we run Eurydice Games as a side hustle we have essentially zero overheads. Spare a thought (and a few pounds/dollars if you can afford it) for those Indy publishers that are relying on that for their income, their food and their rent/mortgage in these troubled times.

On the plus side, I've managed to fix my prototyping printer (it needed a new printhead) so I can start printing prototypes again and Daughter the First and I got a few games of Coalescence in on Saturday morning.


The new planets look amazing!

I've also got the first (of hopefully two) #CraftWednesday designs up on Redbubble.

You can get it on t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases, notebooks and mugs!

Stay safe everyone and we wish you well.

Monday, March 16

And So It Begins

We’re now approaching significant restrictions in the UK and obviously there are many places far worse than us that are already under lockdown or similar.

We’ve been trying to expedite some of the shipping to beat the lockdown, with some success, but I’m expecting many of the remaining rewards to fall foul of it.

Take it easy everyone, stay safe and look after each other.

Monday, March 9

Yay! Boo! Yay! Boo!

It’s been a mixed week.

Yay: Paul has sent all but 12 of the rewards due in April now, four of those are to friends that we will deliver by hand, one is still waiting on a shipping address and the other seven will go early next week.

He’s got everything he needs to start sending the first twenty-odd October rewards too.

Boo: Paul’s garage door is broken. He needs to open the door to run the extraction hose from the laser cutter outside while cutting, so until it’s fixed we can’t make any more games. It shouldn’t get in the way of the October deadline, but will delay the last few rewards at least a few weeks.

Yay: I went to my third consecutive Newcastle Playtest last week with Coalescence again. It’s getting better again - making solid progress. We also had some good ideas to improve it further. I’m really glad the Newcastle Playtest is running again. I didn’t make it along at all last year (work travel or hand-crafting FlickFleet always got in the way) and it eventually petered out. I restarted it in January and we’ve now had three good back-to-back sessions :-)

Coalescence taking shape (pun intended!)

Boo: I also took along the other game I’m working on which had had its first test with Paul a couple of weeks ago. I’ve totally broken it! Time to roll back a load of changes and try to approach it in a different direction.

Monday, March 2

Shipping Machine!

Just over a week ago I went down to Paul’s house to sign all the deluxe rewards so that Paul could start shipping them.

Last week Paul shipped the first 120(!) rewards, these are all ones due to arrive by the end of April and they should all arrive within a couple of weeks. We’ve only got another 100 rewards to send now, and several of those are just hand-deliveries to friends. The April rewards are all ready to go, they just need parcelling up and taking to the Post Office.

The rest still require laser cutting, but there’s fewer of them, they are faster to cut due to the lack of etching and they’re not due until October. Things are looking good for another early completion :-)

While Paul’s been doing that I’ve been trying to frantically keep up with the books (we don’t record a sale until it ships) and working on a couple of prototypes ahead of tomorrow’s #NewcastlePlaytest session.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks!

Monday, February 24

Ready to Ship!

I spent Friday evening and Saturday daytime with Paul in York. Now the boxes for the games and expansions in the second Kickstarter have arrived, I needed to get down to York to sign almost 300 of them that are the deluxe rewards (the deluxe ones are signed, numbered, inscribed and optionally personalised on the inside of the box lid).


These are the games we signed, we did nearly twice as many expansions!

We did that in batches of 25 to give my arm and hand a rest between batches and in between batches talked games, marketing, game design, what’s next for FlickFleet and tried out the two new prototypes I'd brought with me (Coalescence and an idea we had together last time I visited with my family that I finished on the train down!).

It was a great and very productive 24 hours and we’re now in a position where we can start shipping the bulk of the rewards - everything due by the end of April is ready to parcel up and post and the rest of the rewards just need the laser-cutting and bits bagging done. We’re still on track for finishing fulfilment early again :-)