2017's strong start is continuing :-)
During the week I spent time on Codename: Vacuum, working out a new card mix and designing a new version in my head which will hopefully improve on some of the problems with the last version (from early 2015!). At the same time I was continuing to work on my German language Windows Phone app and got a five-star review for my BGG Last Plays app (now the new version is in the store). I think I'm close to the point where I can put out a beta version out for the German language app for feedback - I'm going to run a private beta first to see if I can work out some of the kinks. That's probably only a week or two away. I've been meaning to finish this one for a couple of years, so that's quite a big deal!
But that's not the best bit, on top of all that I made it to Newcastle Gamers for the first time in six months! Newcastle Gamers is on at least twice a month and yet last year for a variety of reasons I only made it along once, in July. When I turned up on Saturday it was the busiest I'd ever seen it and I had to wait a short while for a game. When a table finished they invited me to join them and then asked what I wanted to play. I was happy to play anything in the cupboard (except Fluxx!) or I could teach any of the games I'd brought along: Ave Caesar, Gipsy King, Hansa Teutonica and Zombology.
The group wanted to try Zombology, so we played a game and after that they felt like they understood it, and wanted to play again. After John sank our desperate attempt to save humanity from the ravening hordes we opted for a third game to try and win and then Deji from the adjacent table wanted to try it, so we played a fourth time (and finally won). It wasn't until they'd had enough and wanted to move on to something else that I told them I had designed the game. The last couple of times I've played with strangers I've tried this approach, it's not blind playtesting (since I'm teaching the rules) but it does give you more honest feedback during the games, since the players aren't afraid of hurting your feelings as the designer.
They were all surprised and impressed and were asking where to get it, at which point I had to say: 'It's only available print on demand in the US and shipping is pretty expensive', which kind of killed the enthusiasm a bit.
I did ask if any of them wanted to give me their email addresses in case I made another version and they were all very keen - so I now have a mailing list of potential Zombology pre-orders. Their enjoyment and excitement was also very encouraging. I'm considering another run again!