I've been quite busy with work again this week, including another long day's trip to our corporate UK head office in Manchester. But regardless I bravely soldiered on and got loads of gaming in. It's a hard job but someone's got to do it and, selfless man that I am, I took one for the team. You guys owe me.
Wednesday's Games Night suffered extreme attrition and ended up just being Ian and me. We played Lost Cities, Firefly (one towards my ten plays goal!) with the Pirates and Bounty Hunters expansion (for the first time) and Carcassonne: The Castle (one towards play every game I own once this year). Firefly was done and dusted in only 65 minutes! That's about half the length of my shortest game to date. Ian and I have both played it a few times so we knew what we were doing and that made a big difference. I liked the new story card from the expansion, but we didn't really play and of the expansion PvP rules, just by being good space citizens rather than any determined effort not to.
Thursday's trip to Manchester was with DJ and Mal, two Games Night regulars who had cried off on Wednesday. As usual, we ended up playing a bunch of board games on the iPad during the journeys, mostly Carcassonne and Hey! That's My Fish! We also played a few games of my Martian Dice app on my phone :-)
Then Saturday I finally made it to Newcastle Gamers for the first time in what feels like centuries. It was a great evening, I only played a couple of games, but it was great to catch up with everyone there and the games were good ones that helped towards my ten plays goal (Homesteaders and Aqua Romana - which is now ticked off the list).
Finally, as I was leaving I spoke briefly to a few Newcastle Playtest regulars. Last time I went to Newcastle Playtest (also some time around 1530, I'm pretty sure Henry VIII was still on the throne), I'd left a copy of Zombology with Dan for him to take to the UK Games Expo playtest event. I've not seen Dan since, so I don't know if he got a chance to try it out, or what the feedback was, but I hope to see him next week. Olly said it felt like he hadn't seen me in ages, and I said that I'd missed the last couple of sessions due to travelling for work. I jokingly said it must have been weird having a session that didn't start with a couple of games of Zombology (it's our staple opening game while we wait for people to arrive). But it did! Dan took it along and they all played it without me! A good sign.
That and another event during the week are starting to restore my confidence. On Tuesday I was out of the office at a networking event where I bumped into a friend of a friend who recognised my name and company name from my badge. She asked if I was the game designer and we chatted about that for a bit. I told her about Zombology (She started it! I didn't pounce on her like a lion that hadn't been fed in months! Well actually I did, but in the sort of genteel way that's acceptable at a work conference). I happened to have the prototype on me (it was in my bag for Wednesday's train trip where it didn't see any action), so I showed it to her and explained the premise. The combination of zombies, wacky science and a £9 price point combined into enough excitement for her to pre-order a copy there and then. Maybe selling 150 won't be so hard after all...