I spent this morning playtesting with Paul and this afternoon publicising It's Alive! I'm still putting off doing my books, which The Wife is keen for me to put away, so that's a task for tomorrow (hot procrasination action!).
The Wife and I went for an early swim, and less than two hours later I was back at the gym to meet Paul for some playtesting. We were taking advantage of him having to spend a couple of hours there while his daughter attended an event. First up was Codename: Pilgrim, another new game. I read the rules in the break at home and then taught it to Paul when I got there. Considering it was a first play it was very quick - we got it done (including explaining the game and learning what to do) in about an hour - good sign. I'd imagine it would take longer with more players though. It's promising - needs more plays to make a real decision - plus I've a couple of rules queries to ask the designer. Next up was a quick game of Sumeria, using the new board and tiles I made just over a week ago. Functionally they are much the same, with a bit of extra information for clarity, but they feel much nicer to the touch, making the game more enjoyable to play. This came in at about 30 mins, and I creamed Paul, sweet revenge for beating me at Pilgrim. Finally, there was a quick Carpe Astra too, again around 30 minutes, so we managed to get all three games done in the two hour window. Carpe Astra was good, I tried a different strategy (stockpiling cash for the endgame) and although it looked like Paul would cream me it was pretty close in the end. Two hours well spent!
This afternoon I've been writing a preview of the second edition of It's Alive! for BoardGameGeek. I'm trying to bring it to more people's attention while the pre-order is still open, as that's a winner for everyone - the customer gets 30% off, and I get a larger margin than I would selling through a shop or distributor. It's Alive! is proving surprisingly expensive to manufacture, so to keep the price down to £15 I've got very slim margins. Including airmail shipping to the US though, it's no cheaper to get the pre-order and so most of the Americans who have enquired about it are waiting for it to be available in shops over there. With the American distributors wanting to see a finished copy it's likely to be two or three months until it reaches widespread US distribution.
Another option I'm considering is BGG or BoardGameNews advertising. It's guaranteed to reach the target audience (you've got to be quite keen on games to go to either URL) but I'm not sure if it's worth the cost, and money is tight at the moment. I'll have to think on it.