Wednesday, May 16

Beer and Pretzels 2007: Day One Report

Sorry it's been so quite here recently, I've been exceptionally busy. I've been trying to get the last few copies of Border Reivers constructed for the Beer and Pretzels convention, while preparing prototypes of It's Alive! for the playtesting and trying to get the artwork ready for the printers.

I spent the last weekend in Burton-on-Trent at the Beer and Pretzels convention organised by Spirit Games. Due to the presence of an all day bar the beer was both plentiful and high quality (Burton has five breweries), and I noticed several people had brought Pretzels, so the convention was aptly named. I had managed to get seven finished copies to take with me (mostly by stealing sets of tiles from ordered copies that weren't needed any time soon). I was hoping for three sales, more than three would be great.

It was the largest convention I had been to, and it wasn't just limited to board games - there were wargamers, CCGs and roleplayers there too. Phil set me up with a table just outside the bar (and between the entrance and the bar), which was a great location. Plenty of traffic wandering past. I was set up opposite a table where someone (presumably the designer) was showing a professionally produced game called Fondue about cheese chasing. It looked like a mainstream (toy shops not game stores) game, but the guy left before I had a chance to speak to him.

One of the things I was worried about was that I might have saturated the market - that everyone who was interested in buying a copy of Border Reivers would already have one. I knew that a few of my customers would be there - was there going to be anyone else interested?

Fortunately, yes! Saturday got off to a great start as I set up a 4-player game with Acer, Charles and Dave. The guys quickly got stuck in and we had a great game which was won by Dave. At the end of the game both Charles and Dave were interested in buying a copy, but it was out of Dave's budget, so Charles bought one instead. Good start ot the weekend. My next game was with Tim who had played in Stoke a few times with the various members of Shire Gamers who own a copy. As is often the case in a 2-player, my experience told and I won the game, but Tim enjoyed it and is up for playing it again in Stoke. At some point a guy called Peter wandered past, and after a brief chat bought a copy on spec. This day was going better and better. I had two more 2-player games on Saturday, one with Matthew and one with Neil. I won both. Matthew had some dreadful luck on the reinforcement rolls and clearly didn't enjoy the game, but Neil and I had a great game, and he ordered a copy too - that will be my three sales when his cheque arrives. A great day from a sales point of view.

As is my want at conventions I work during the day selling games, and then in the evenings I have fun. I play other games and finally get to drink :-)

While looking for a game to play I bumped into Ben, who had bought a copy at The Cast Are Dice last year, and his good lady. They suggested a game of Evo, and Matthew and Ian joined us for a 5-player. Something about this game didn't agree with me. I don't know whether it was the numerous dice rolls or what, because the theme and cartoony graphics are right up my street, but I didn't get on with it. I also got royally creamed. After an hour or so I drew a card that gave me an opportunity to potentially do a lot of damage to the other players, at the risk of being eliminated myself. That didn't strike me as a problem, so I went for it. I died. Poor old Ben was the only other player to suffer really. I wandered off at that point. I've no idea who won.

Then I sought out Steve, another of my TCAD customers from last year. He had a copy of 'my mate Phil's' game: Archaeology which I was keen to try out. I had thought to buy a copy, but before I had a chance, Phil had sold out! Anyway, Steve had played it a bunch of times and was quite keen on it, so I definitely wanted a game. That evening Steve and I played a couple of games of It's Alive! and one of Archaeology. Steve enjoyed It's Alive! and ordered a copy, and I enjoyed Archaeology. It's nice, simple, quick and clean. And the production quality is fantastic. Well done, Phil!

I'll post again with Day Two in a few days.


ben said...

Matthew won quite convincingly - the egg laying machine strategy paid off in the end.

I know what you mean about the game not feeling "right". I got the same impression. It was almost as if the board was entirely unnecessary since we didn't really move about much and most moves are just attempts to save dinos from being burnt/frozen in dangerous climes.

It's a shame because the theme and production really made me want to love it. I suppose weeding out games you thought you would like but don't is one of the great advantages of these cons.

Jack said...

Hiya Ben,

Yeah, Matthew was in a good position when I left, so it's not that much of a surprise. I think you're right about the Eggs strategy - it's a bit of a winner.

It was nice to see you and Juliet again, looking forward to meeting up again at the Expo.