My personal post-Gathering of Friends game convention thoughts/wrap up!

So it’s been almost a couple of weeks since the Gathering of Friends convention wrapped up. This year, as last, we had to come back for some of the weekdays in between the weekends because of Real Life. But we managed to pack in a lot of gaming in those long weekends. A whirlwind of not realizing what day it was, and not remembering when we’d been outside last.

You can head to the Daily Worker Placement to read mine and my friend Sean’s kinda general wrap-up of the con here. I also did a big ol’ geeklist on Boardgame Geek like each year I’ve been, mostly to have my remarks all in one place so I can refer to it!

Happy International Tabletop Day from #gof2015! GAMESSSSS

A photo posted by Nicole (@iheartmuseums) on

For me, the Gathering is not an experience I take part in so I can rub people’s noses in it. It’s great fun for me and my other half, and it’s not often we get the chance to attend something like this. I’ve heard a lot of guff from folks post-Gathering that they hate hearing about it because it’s an invite-only convention. I’m gonna say to you all reading right now – sorry, but suck it. This is the only board game-focused convention I get to go to (although this year I will be attending BGGcon for the first time, so there’s more games for me!). I like going because I get to see friends I don’t get to see often, I get to make new friends, I get to play games, and I get to try some games that will be upcoming soon. Almost everything there you can get out of any other board game convention; perhaps the last part only if you go to one of the Unpub events, but sitting down to play prototypes is getting much easier as a gamer in North America, there’s a few cities here in Canada that run designer/testing nights on a regular basis too!

That being said, I want to wrap up with my main thoughts on games I played, experiences I had. It was great to have Tabletop Day fall on the first weekend!

* Japanese/Taiwanese games – I tried a few games that I had never seen, given how tough it can be to get a hold of them in North America, and they were great!! Three faves were Doggy Go!, Colors of Kasane and Deep Sea Adventure. Such streamlined game design, great gameplay, and wonderful graphic design for all three. All gifts of these games to me are welcomed :D

We're playing a tricked out version of Deep Sea Adventures! Wheeeee. #gof2015

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This is the cutest thing ever. EVER. (Doggy Go) #gof2015 #boardgames

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Colors of Kasane is so pleasant! #gof2015

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* Prototypes – there are some of these that I can’t really say much about – two of my favourites were being shopped around for a publisher: Vlaada Chvatil has a word game, and Matt Leacock made a party game. They’re both amazing, and will surely be published soon. The other secret stuff I really enjoyed was some Werewolf-y related stuff from Bezier, and also the prototype of One Night Resistance that they had also. So good! Most ridiculously fun party game prototype was Josh Cappell’s “X While Z” which better get published or I’m gonna be SO MAD. Possibly my most anticipated or one I really want to dive back into was CGE’s Castaways Club, a spiritual successor to Last Will. And I’m curious to see where the development of the awesome Space Cowboys title TIME Stories will end up!

We're trying T.I.M.E Stories, a game prototype from Space Cowboys. #gof2015 #boardgames

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Tried the thematic cousin to Last Will, Castaways Club (working title) from @czechgames. V interesting. #gof2015

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It's time for Josh's party game prototype! He's teaching the crew. #gof2015

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* Fun events/tournaments – I partook in the ‘Game of the Afternoon’ which is a fun afternoon of game designers mocking up small/short games all in one area of the con to try – this year’s theme was cars/racing! It was great fun, and I ended up coming first out of my team in the set of races we went through. I missed the other tournaments I wanted to take part in (Caffeine Rush, Loopin’ Louie) and realized too late there was a cool puzzle hunt as well. And the customary last tournament of the weekend is for Can’t Stop – I didn’t last the first round! As always.

I won the first round of my team playing through the race games themed Game of the Afternoon! #gof2015

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* Prize table – if you contribute to the prize table at the GOF, then you get to pick from it, too. This year, Adam gave a couple of games, and I put in two sets of Meeple tree ornaments – the couple that got them from the table are going to make them into a baby mobile for their twins which is ACE. If you’re a tournament winner you get an earlier pick from the table (really many tables – see below). For first picks, I grabbed Sherriff of Nottingham, Adam got Dead of Winter, and then more stuff towards the end when it was a free for all. I love seeing the creativity on the ‘special’ prizes table – someone made an amazing playable Pandemic globe! And some great painted minis, custom wooden Dominion card box, a set of plates with game boards/covers, and much more. I gotta step up my game next year.

Prize table is towering now! #gof2015

A photo posted by Nicole (@iheartmuseums) on

A photo posted by Nicole (@iheartmuseums) on

BGGcon will tide me over, and let me see some of my GOF folks, but I do truly look forward to next year’s Gathering and all the fun, games and atmosphere it offers.

Seattle-bound!!!

I’m off to Seattle in just 2 weeks. I’m so excited for this little vacation! I love going new places, and as a bonus I will get to hang out with some of my rad board game/internet friends. As a bonus to that bonus, I was asked to take part in a board game charity event, that happens to fall the weekend I’m in town! I will be joining Brittanie, Suz & Stephanie as part of team Token Females to raise money for Hopelink and participate in the Moxtropolis Gauntlet (which our friend Maggi is helping to organize through the Mox/Card Kingdom Engage program!).

You can donate to the team, or to me personally. Our team goal is to reach $2000, which will provide approx 700 meals for a family of four in the Seattle area. Hopelink’s goal is to help support homeless & low-income people in Seattle, and focus on the “importance of providing stability to those in crisis, and then equipping clients to exit poverty on a permanent basis.” What an amazing goal.

I truly wish we could get more regular charity events happening here in Toronto, outside of the Extra Life participation once a year. Perhaps I could start something up in the next year.

On top of all of this, I can’t wait to see Seattle, hang out in the lovely parts of the city, its museums, cafes and delicious vegan eateries. If you have any tips on stuff to see/do in Seattle, drop me a line!

Scarce! The call of the wild… board game convention?

I’ve become a little scarce – with the lovely Easter long weekend throwing my blogging balance off, and the annual board game convention the Gathering of Friends upcoming, you will likely not see much of me here until the end of April. I’ll be busy gaming this (4-day) weekend, and then next (3-day) weekend (and at the end of the month, I’ll likely do wrap-ups like I did for last year)! Between that I’ll be cramming in work, real life, Jake cuddles.

If you are into board games, and on Instagram or Twitter, make sure to follow me there for more Gathering of Friends “as it happens” sorts of stuff! My friend Sean and I will likely be sharing updates on the Daily Worker Placement Instagram and Twitter accounts too, so give ’em a follow. And the tag #GOF2015 will be of wider interest for you if you’re into this all.

Here’s a little shot of what one of the nights of games was like last year!

Game room is ballin' tonight! #gof2014

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See you all soon!

No fooling – just links. April 1 digital dozen!

I’m not interested in sending you all out to stuff that is just a big joke, so here’s some for real cool stuff to check out.

Let’s ease into it with this balloon cat. How delightful and static-y.

Now, I know this might seem really pranky, but it’s for real and amazing. Look at the skill.

I’ve just signed up for a bike sharing program here, so I will have to really remember my helmet wherever I go. Gotta say things would be easier with this awesome design. Fold down helmet! Please.

I’m a huge fan of dogs. I’m a huge fan of rescue dogs. So I’m always a huge fan of tactics to help find rescue dogs forever homes, like this wonderful photobooth initiative. Such sweeties.

I know this was released very close to April Fool’s, but Google’s Pacman layover of maps is a super fun thing! I love it when Google make the fun things, whenever it is.

Morbid but beautiful, ‘Memento Mori‘ is a book that documents sacred sites around the world where human skeletons are displayed. The ways that cultures do this the world over is fascinating.

Have you seen those ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ advertisements around? They’re lining the walls of my subway station right now. So I’m kinda in love with this parody of it, “Also Shot On iPhone 6“.

A quick snippet about how sriracha hot sauce is made! I like the sort of hypnotic factory footage. Mmm, bottles of hot.

Not sure how the drone fared with fireworks attached to it, but the results are gorgeous.

The concept and execution of these movie director portraits is incredible! I’d for real hang this David Lynch one.

I know I don’t have the patience for art. I know because I look at incredible stuff like this and figure I’d have a hissy fit 10 minutes in. But look how pretty and detailed! I’m thankful there’s patient artistic people out there. Make sure to click through for the time lapses.

I need one of these for my desk at work. Or at least I need to figure out how I can make one.

Things I love Thursday – the ‘things I miss Thursday’ edition

See as I’ve been traveling/living abroad since 2007, there’s a few things I miss not just about home, but also my first ‘home away from home’, London. Getting a bit nostalgic today for things & places that I can’t have with me here in Toronto.

Beaches. Not that there’s no beaches in the UK or here in Canada. But I miss those beautiful sandy Pacific beaches! This is Avalon Beach in North Sydney, where I spent many summers as a kid. Things only get better as you go north up the coast into Northern NSW and Queensland, too!

I miss the stuff I packed up & left in boxes with my mum. Books, records and comics. And awesome art like this gorgeous museum sketch by artist Phil Jimenez.

There’s tasty things I miss. I seriously was so in love with these tofu bites, it’s like they were laced with something addictive. Last time I was in London I ate a whole package riding transit back to my friend’s place.

And wonderful Australian vegan treats like these cruelty-free versions of Tim Tams and Mint Slices! omg.

And never mind all of the sweet, tart, amazing ciders that I used to have access to living in England. And drinking my fair share at the Green Man pub in Central London!

But I don’t have to be far away from some things I love to miss them. While I still bake for fun and treats, I do sometimes miss the fun of making delicious vegan (and some gluten free) treats like I used to at a certain board game cafe. I was proud of my work, even when I was undervalued for my contributions. Like, c’mon. Check out these donuts, man!!

Links for everyone! Digital Dozen time.

Digital dozen – 12 ways to distract yourself with shiny internet things this hump day.

I think if I were to get married, this would be 100% the wedding ring I want. Yep. Adulting!! (via)

Though I’m not a fan of their coffee (it’s my last resort when there’s nothing else coffee..) I do love this Tumblr of Starbucks sleeves sketched on to transform them into awesome portraits.

This design is fantastic!! My keyring’s pretty slim these days but if I had more, I’d be into this.

These tiny creations are so delicate and wonderful. I don’t think I could ever have the patience for them.

I’m constantly amazed at how creative people can be when given a restricted set of materials to use to create something. Design Within Reach have a ‘champagne chair’ contest each year, and these are this year’s winners. Super!

Air safety is no joke.. but these are pretty funny, c’mon.

Pixar artists turns R-rated movies into kid’s book illustrations. GOLDEN.

While we’re in the Disney realm.. here’s some lovely Baymax cosplaying as other Disney characters. The best.

Rain-activated sidewalk art! Of course someone in Seattle made this.

New wave rock stars as Marvel heroes was built for my brain.

This artist is carving a wooden spoon a day, and sharing on Instagram. They’re so wildly diverse and interesting!

Old to new – discarded books carved into art.

Things I Love Thursday – Jake Watching Us Game edition

Hello! Here’s an excuse to share cute pictures of Jake putting up with the gaming we do. Poor tortured soul.

Then there was that one time he just gave up and slept on the shelf.

But sometimes he comes to conventions with us!

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