It's been a great month for me in some ways, not so good in others. As usual, I'll cover play first.
I played a lot of games during May, and a lot of new ones too. Not bothering to demo It's Alive! at Beer and Pretzels (I still sold out!) meant I had a lot of time for games there, and being a judge at the UK Games Expo meant I ended up playing a lot of games there too. Plus I managed to make it along to Beyond Monopoly once, which is a fairly rare occurrence for me :-( Here's the breakdown:
- Carpe Astra - 14 plays
- It's Alive! - 7 plays
- Race for the Galaxy - 2 plays
- Ice Flow - 2 plays
- Tinners' Trail - 2 plays
- Check - 2 plays
It's the first month since I bought it that Race hasn't been my most played game, but in fairness, Carpe Astra has been undergoing rigorous playtesting, and I was demoing It's Alive! at a convention. In addition, to the games above the following were all played once: Agricola, Bohnanza, Fruit Fair, Guillotine, Gipsy King, Hansa, Masons, Metropolys, Monastery, Niagara, Null und Nichtig, Pickomino, Ra, Santiago, Scripts and Scribes and Stone Age. The following were new to me: Agricola, Bohnanza, Fruit Fair, Hansa, Ice Flow, Metropolys, Monastery, Null und Nichtig, Ra, Santiago, Scripts and Scribes, Stone Age and Tinners' Trail! Quite a haul. I also got two games this month, Dunk gave me Carcassonne: The City for being his best man, and I got a copy of Monastery as the second half of my swap with the Ragnar Brothers (Border Reivers and It's Alive! for Canal Mania and Monastery). My favourite new game is a tough call this month, maybe Ra, but with Ice Flow, Tinners' Trail, Agricola and Stone Age all in the running. Agricola was a bit disappointing, with all the hype surrounding it I was hoping for more, it's a very good game, but best thing ever? I'm not convinced.
It's been a strange month for creation, my first full month of self-employment. I ran out of It's Alive! at Beer and Pretzels, and since then things went a bit weird. Having nothing to sell is nerve-wracking, I'm basically burning money now until I get some more stock of something. I've a little money coming in from my consulting at the Library, but not enough... Carpe Astra is proving troublesome, I'm still not entirely happy with it, and I waited months for a quote from Carta Mundi, only to find it much more expensive than LudoFact. So I'm going to have to go with LudoFact, which means it's going to be September at the earliest before I get any. That's three or four months without any income. Not an option. I'm investigating some other options to make sure I get some income sooner.It's Alive!
It was great to sell out of It's Alive! within a year of the release at last year's Expo. There's still some interest in it (especially in the States, where the shipping costs and exchange rate put it out of many people's budgets). Re-printing it is a possibility if I think there's enough interest to warrant it. In the meantime, chatting to Paul from Games Lore I found out they still have two copies left in stock, so if you're after one best hurry!Carpe Astra
I've played Carpe Astra a lot this month, with various people. It's the first time I've playtested a game outside my gaming group before it was ready to go to print. It's lead to some mediocre ratings on the Geek which refer to an old version - hopefully they'll like the newer version more and update their ratings when then get a chance to play it. I'm still not 100% happy with the scoring mechanism - it keeps changing from week to week. Sooner or later I'm going to have to draw a line under it though - so I need to come up with something pretty quick. I had some interesting ideas from the playtesters at the Expo which I need to try out too.Submissions
I've started to get a steady stream of other prototypes now too. I've not had a chance to play many of them yet, but there's definitely some potential in there. Probably the most promising so far is an abstract. I'm not sure whether that's a good idea though, as it would be something that is very easy to make yourself - is there enough value added in getting a nice edition in a box to warrant paying for it? I'm not sure. At least with a themed game you're paying for the artwork as well as the box and components, which makes it harder to knock-up a decent quality homemade version.