I know, I know… where the hell have you been, Chris?

This used to be a monthly thing, and it’s fallen by the wayside… Let’s pick it up again.

The first few months of 2020 started off OK, got better, then coronavirus happened and shut everything down. So let’s start the catching up…

Where is Chris now?

Warsaw, Poland — my wife and I have been here since mid-January. After arriving, I connected with a board game cafe that had English meetups on Mondays and a playtesting group called the Monsoon Group that met on Wednesday. The Polish gamers and designers I’ve met have generally had excellent English, which makes communicating a lot easier than expected…

Then the coronavirus came and mucked all that up. Poland closed its borders, shut down pretty much everything non-essential in mid-March, changing our travel plans and royally affecting the world. We’re self-isolating, and in general have been pretty impressed with how Poland has been handling everything.

What games are you playtesting?

ALL OF THEM! =) I’ll have to update the In Development page since there’s been a lot of changes over the last few months… Several are new, 2020 concepts while others have been reworked to include new mechanics:

  • Royal Intrigue — a small card game about assembling a royal court, arresting or betraying the members in other courts.
  • Layover — a map-based game about exploring and traveling around a city. This one’s being co-designed with a friend, and you pick the print-and-play up over at layovergame.com.
  • Private Eye — another small card game where you’re all detectives trying to collect Evidence and interview Suspects. This was Royal Wedding from before.
  • A narrative-branching game that aims to be Gloomhaven, but 1/10 the complexity to setup and actually play.
  • Secret Recipe — a logic and deduction game that’s recently re-gained a worker-placement aspect.
  • Pirate Grannies — still aiming to be a simple worker placement game for the 8 and up crowd. Something for kinds to play with grandparents.
  • Squirrels vs. Grandpa — a one-vs-all sort of game inspired by my nephew’s drawing. Squirrels want to collect their acorn before the winter arrives, while Grandpa is trying to collect them to keep the squirrels away…
  • A rebooted version of the very first game I made, Meandering Minions…

What’s happening behind the scenes?

After a couple of solid months of playtesting and connecting with fellow gamers, I haven’t been to any Mid-March. Thanks coronavirus! It gets better — the print shop I’ve been using while here in Warsaw closed because it’s not exactly an essential service… I’ve still been solo playtesting and tweaking things, of course, so whenever the board game cafes re-open, I’ll have plenty to show off…

What’s the next big thing?

…yeah… This question is standard for the not-so-monthly updates, but right now, major elements of my life are being dictated by a microscopic virus and politicians the world over. My best focus right now is on the little things I can control — and even though I’m not a Christian, I do gain some clarity from the classic Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

I’m somewhat relieved to see board games getting some public shoutouts as ways to make self-isolation (or quarantine or lockdown, as the case may be). I’ve definitely loved seeing all the print and plays coming available in the Facebook groups and elsewhere. There are several board game contests happening right now

Plans for UKGE got pushed back to its new date in August (the 21st to 23rd), so that will probably the next big thing. No telling whether that’ll happen on-time, or how it will be affected by future developments. Essen in Germany and the rest of the big conferences in 2020 will also be affected…

For now, I’m playtesting, playing, social distancing, self-isolating, and trying to stay positive. Hope you’re doing well, wherever you are!