So it turns out I missed a couple of update posts in April and May… eep! Yes, I’m still alive and well, just forgot about it is all… Been busy traveling since UKGE, what with the dragon almost eating me and all:

Where is Chris now?

I’m currently in Tallinn, Estonia — we arrived here after wrapping up a few months in Tbilisi, Georgia and a week in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tbilisi has one worthy game cafe — a place called Tsibakha Game Club (წიბახა გეიმ კლუბი) inside of the Fabrika complex (8 Egnate Ninoshvili St, T’bilisi 0102, Georgia, GPS: 41.709466, 44.802539) — but the language barrier was higher than expected. I did a bit of playtesting with some of the staff, who are cool, but board gaming is still a nascent thing in Georgia.

Baku, Azerbaijan? I found a place called Tik Talk anticafe, in which you pay for your time and can bring in your own (non-alcoholic) beverages. Nizami 48 Baku AZ 1005, Nizami St, Baku, Azerbaijan (GPS: 40.372450, 49.838609).

As for Tallinn? As of publication, we’ve only been in town for less than a week over a holiday weekend, so I’m still discovering the best places to game here.

What games are you playtesting?

  • Royal Wedding gets pulled out pretty often — it helps that it’s a tiny card game (60 cards is the whole game). Bit surprised that very few folks have played Love Letter, and have almost never seen it available for sale this side of the Atlantic.
  • Defuse is an easy go-to game. The first 10-minute game is usually to get players up to speed, while the second, third, and fourth games really get into the strategy I love about it.
  • The Next Great American Novel has gotten a bit of playtesting — as a more approachable game that doesn’t feel like a party game, it gets some respect from gamers that generally enjoy the idea marketplace in the game.

I’d love to get Bug Bounty to the table more — it’s a negotiation game about hackers trying to hack corporations and the corporations trying to pay them off (or hack them back!). It’s a newer game, to be sure, and I need to refine how I explain / set up the game.

What’s happening behind the scenes?

I’m getting really tired of overpaying on flights because my bag’s too heavy. My carry-on fits all my clothes (and miraculously somehow comes in under most airline’s weight guidelines), while my checked bag usually holds all my gaming stuff. A paper slicer, tripod, other filming equipment, a toolbox of cubes and meeples and dice, a box of sleeves, and a box of playing cards (for backs) go a long way to filling the bag. These are all things that can be challenging or impossible to find as I travel, so carrying them with me is important.

Two games are farther along in development and talks with publishers, and I was happy to meet both of them at UKGE to discuss them. There’s no contracts signed as yet, but both feel like they’re progressing.

What’s the next big thing?

Essen may still be four months away, but I’m already thinking about it. In the coming months I’ll be doing some new videos of games to update the videos already out there.

There are a couple of game ideas still sllllooooowwwwllllyyy working their way to a ‘first prototype’ stage. For the most part, however, I’m spending most of my game development time focused on the games that already exist and tweaking them after playtesting events.