Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Year, New Prize Chips!

December will be the last opportunity to get the original CLINCH Promo Prize Chips for your CLINCH Tournaments*

When Hidden City Games returns from Holiday Break after New Years, there will be a new set of Prize Chips included with your CLINCH Throw-Down Tournament Kits. If you want to get a head start on guessing what the chips do, the art for the chips can be found on the Rally Medallions.

I'll be accepting requests for kits with the current prize chips for the next few weeks, but the clock's ticking.

* Sadly, a new Pirate chip was never produced, so the same 'ol tired Pirate prize chip remains in the set. The original chips will remain available as additional prize support for tournaments run by Hidden City Games. They will also be available to Venture Demo Team members for purchase with their Venture Points.


Gen Con So-SoCal?

The content of this post is completely colored by the fact I just spilled spagetti sauce down the front of my NICE SHIRT! BAH!

After a year of running convention tournaments, you'd think I'd be better at it. I mean, I do fine, but it's rough when you realize you aren't doing it at the same level as the other companies around you. I'll wager Clout players had as much if not more fun than anyone else, but the attendance numbers don't lie. It was a small-ish show with small tournaments. Why?

First, Gen Con SoCal is a small-ish convention. It feels like it wants to be huge (I think because its format copies the huge Gen Con Indy, as it should) but it's not huge. Thursday, in particular, was dead dead dead. To be fair, Saturday had it going on.

Second, I have been long been confusing casual with minimalist. I have intentionally kept the complexity and logistics of running Clout convention events to a minimum. The computers and loudspeakers and podiums and over-the-top decor of the other companies are not only expensive, but, I felt, a distraction from the fun of the game. Those things are a good choice for *their* games, sure. Not what I wanted for Clout. This was sort of a mistake. Sort of. Clout needs DIFFERENT tools, decor, communication tools, etc. to succeed at conventions. What it needs exactly, I'm not sure of yet. If I could swing it, there'd be sofas and round coffee tables surrounding the tournament tables, and large magnetic boards keeping track of points and standings for all to see. And a ICEE machine. Ooh yeah, that'd be perfect. All Con tournaments should come with refreshments. It's stupid that they don't. Could you imagine filling out your Pizza order along with your stack registration so it'd be delivered between round 3 and 4? We'd just charge and extra couple of bucks for the tournament to pay for it. Yeah.

Lastly (and this is going to sound bitter, because I am a little.) all the publishers seemed to get creamed by Upper Deck's World of Warcraft TCG. I just want to say for the record: I DON'T GET IT. It's so been done. Fantasy TCG, big prizes, nice licence. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. I don't see the appeal. Don't get me wrong, the game's fine. Paul says they followed the WoW model for MMRPGs and built a TCG that didn't have anything wrong with it. Perfected the existing TCG model, as it were. That flies in the face of my "innovate or die" worldview, so I'm ticked that it's working so well for them. I *think* WoW TCG is a product with a short lifespan, because it has brought nothing new to the table. As soon as somebody does innovate in a way that registers with gamers, they'll move on. Even so, I'd kill to have buzz like they've got. If nobody does innovate soon, it follows they'll have a good long run with it. If so, good for them! (grumble grumble.)

Anyway, it's good to be back home. I'm catching up with e-mail as I often must do following conventions and holidays (particularly when they butt up against eachother!)

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gen Con SoCal good / 3-player games bad

As is normal for a convention, I'm getting back to a mountain of e-mail (only 67 flagged for follow, and a lot of them are internal e-mails. Phew!)

As most everyone knows, we were going to have a booth at Gen Con SoCal and at the last minute we pulled the plug. It was all there, in the back, just no people to put it together or maintain it. The amazing Gabe "Mondo" Vega allowed us some space in his booth in exchange for helping staff it. That allowed many demos to de done as well as gave the new players a place to purchase Clout. Again, Phew!

My job, of course, was to run the tournaments and run the tournament I did. Thursday was dead dead dead. Through event registration mishap we only had one event scheduled, but it was only attended by 5 players, so having one event seemed reasonable. Aside from Thursday we averaged about 14 players per tournament. Without a booth, I'm pretty satisfied with that. It was doubly hard because of the all the attention going to the World of Warcraft TCG. Heck, even Paul spent a day playing it! (Research, I think he said. =-)

I've about had it with 3 player games. They are hard to judge, hard to make matchups over several rounds, and when there are prizes on the line, people get steamed about getting ganged up upon. I heard many complaints about the format over the course of the tournament, so I may not host any more 3 player tournaments with meaningful prizes. Fun is fun, prizes, even modest ones like I provide, change the dynamics dramatically and not in a way that works well with 3 player multi.

I want to give special thanks to Daniel, Ben, and Stephen who came and volunteers all weekend as well as Craig who came and ran the Dragon Invitational on Sunday while I ran demoes and packed up the mountain of stuff we had stored in the back. I couldn't have done it without you! You guys ROCK!

I also want to thank April and the whole group of SoCal Clout players for the wonderful card they gave me. I was really, really touched. I can't believe how lucky I am to such wonderful people in my life. I wish I could hang out with you all more!

Derak won the Saturday night Clout Dragon Invitational! Contgrats Derak!
Chris won the Sunday Dragon Invitational but I bugged out too quick to take a picture. My bad!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vacation with the Mouse

I freely admit I should have told more people I was going on Vacation, but since I was only missing Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, I didn't think I'd be missed. =-)
You've got to hand it to Disney. In a lot of ways, I'm in the same buisness they are. We both sell fun. The Disneyland fun machine is a work of art (literally, in a lot of ways.) I know it's not the same for everyone, but as soon as I walk through the tunnel onto Main Street USA, I've got a huge smile on my face. Part of it is nostalgia. I first went to Disneyland in 1976, for the bicentennial celebration. I was 6. The sights, the sounds, and particularly (this may sound weird) the smells of Disneyland bring me right back to the best parts of my childhood. I don't know if its the same for folks who go for the first time as adults, but from the smiles, I'd say it's still pretty good. If you have a 5-10 year old, and you can afford to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld, GO. They'll love it now, and they'll love it again in 20-30 years when they take their children.

If you went to Disneyland as a kid like I did, and want to relive some of those memories check out my favorite Disney fan site, Yesterland.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Server Reconstruction!

I've got e-mail again! I know a lot of stuff got bounced. I have no e-mail from Saturday through Monday. If you're not sure if a message got through or not, go ahead and resend. When I get behind like this, I group messaged by sender. If you request the same thing twice, I'll catch it!



Server Destruction

Hidden City Game's e-mail server died a couple of days ago and I've been without e-mail all week. It *should* be fixed today, but the inability to get the files I need have delayed the Turkey Shoot kit construction. I'm still shipping this week, but not in time for this weekend. I hope nobody was planning a Turkey Shoot event this week. The plan is to ship them out USPS First Class by Friday, and they should arrive by next weekend.