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Austria, land of games

Leaving Germany didn’t mean leaving german-speaking countries as my path led me to Austria. I didn’t know much about this country nowadays, especially in terms of board games creation despite the presence of a rather big publisher named Piatnik, so it was the perfect time to discover it a bit more.

My trip there started by one week of “holidays” focused on discovering cities and interesting places – I was joined by my girlfriend Stéphanie – then followed up by 4 days of workshops in Innsbruck in a structure named Die Bäckerei. I decided to summarize my board games experiences in this article then to follow up by another one focusing a bit more on the cities I passed through.

Vienna – Spielebox, the toy library organizing workshops

I didn’t plan anything else in Vienna than spending time with Stéphanie (and seeing an old friend working in virtual reality, but this will be explained later). However, our host happened to be 5mn from a big toy library named Spielebox (toy box in German) – call it fate maybe ? Anyway, we decided to take a look.

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The toy library itself has its share of games. Being refueled by Piatnik and funded by the city helps them a lot to have both old, classic games and new, trendy ones directly brought from the Spiele messe of Essen. You can also rent games for a very low price – 10cts a day.

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Looks like a nice place, right ? Yet the best part is coming now : they organize board games design workshops. A workshop lasts about 3 hours, involves material such as pawns, dices, tokens… and is animated by actual designers from Piatnik.

Sounds familiar maybe ? I was amazed and very enthusiastic to see other people actually doing workshops in a sort of similar way. I didn’t have the occasion to witness one of those workshops, but I’ll surely keep that in mind for another trip to Vienna. Anyway, I am not alone ! Long live board game design for all !

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Graz – Ludovico, board games before it was cool

Graz is a city I was looking forward to visit mostly to meet a couple of friends met years before Nowhere. They led me to Ludovico, another toy library where I could meet Arno Hofer, who has been working with board games for one hell of a long time.

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Image taken from http://www.sunny.at/

Arno was enthusiastic with the workshops but couldn’t host them at the moment because Ludovico is organizing a games festival. Maybe another time tho. Who knows – board games is a small world after all.

Ludovico is also renting games for a cheap price and lending games to play within the structure.

Innsbruck – A board games cafe and Die Bäckerei workshops

I spent an evening in the Weli cafe in Innsbruck, a cafe with board games available for renting. Each game costs 58cts (?…) to rent. Most board games cafes I saw so far were focused on gaming, with lots of tables full of gamers pushing pawns and rolling dices, but in Weli it seems that people were more into the “cafe” part, with people joyfully drinking pints together while playing some cards or Trivial pursuit instead of the huge tabletop wargames or fun party games I’m used to see in this environnement. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means “worse”, just different from what I’m used to !

No workshops there tho, just some playing. The workshops were supposed to take place in Die Bäckerei, cultural center, the first structure I’ve found some months ago already.

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Unfortunately, only one workshop took place there, saturday in the late afternoon. People there were mostly couchsurfers I invited myself. It seems that nobody saw that the workshops were actually planned to begin with, despite the structure sharing the info via Facebook and Twitter. Without going into details, this experienced taught me a lot about how to run a successful workshop with an open structure – let’s say more planning is necessary from my side.

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In any case, the workshop itself was interesting. The people there weren’t much hardcore gamers and couldn’t stay for more than 2 hours, so we stuck to the “analysis and upgrade” part of the workshop.

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Another article is coming soon to share my non-board games experiences of Austria with you. For now, I’m resting from a bad leg tendinitis so I don’t have much more to do anyway 😉 I should be up and ready for the next workshops :

– 19 November in Graz;

– 25 & 27 November in Ljubljana;

– 1 & 2 december in Lucenec, Slovaquia.

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The city of Essen : beyond the Spiel Messe

I loved Essen. No, I don’t mean the Spiel Messe, I mean the city of Essen.

In France, most people don’t know much about this city, except board games players who know it as “the city hosting the Spiel Messe”. I guess this is probably wrong as the city hosts a lot of events in the Messe hall, so a lot of passionnate people must know various events in Essen – but I’ve hardly heard anything about the city unrelated to the Messe. This is really a shame, because the city actually has its share of interest.

This article isn’t connected to board games at all, but I felt like sharing something a little bit different.

Zollverein coal mine industry complex

The area of Essen is well known for being a former gigantic industrial area, where pretty much everything in the country was produced. The best example of this fact is the Zollverein coal mine complex. Way up in the north of the city lays this huge area of coal treatement, abandoned some decades ago but being well upkept. It’s now an UNESCO site and hosts several museums and sweet expositions, as well as large areas sometimes used by artists or party people. A big chunk of it is now a natural park with its own biome.

I took quite a few pictures, so allow me th share the experience with you…

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2h “LOL” techno parties in a Goethe Bunker

…this may need an explaination.

In the southern part of the city, there’s an old bunker. Instead of being destroyed, it was converted into a party place with a lot of techno events. Thus, it was logically renamed the Goethebunker (you know : poetry… techno…), and sometimes they hold 2 hours techno parties from 10pm to 12pm, so people can be efficient at work the day after.

 

 

Makes sense, right ?

Therefore, I went to one of these parties, and it was actually really fun and worth it. It also seems that Essen has a great underground techno scene, which was obviously something I didn’t know so well.

 

Unperfekthaus, the place where I should’ve done workshops

I’m really happy to know that this kind of place exists for my next time in Essen. Unperfekthaus is a place with… stuff. A lot of artists have their workshops there and rent it to be able to sell their crafts. You can visit the workplaces and often watch the artists work. You can also come here and enjoy the “Sofa internet” space, or maybe take part in a free workshop given by various kind of people. Or you can just come in to have a drink with the free-soda-machine.

It is very hard to describe proprely this place without any pictures, but I didn’t have my camera. Still, if you pop in Essen and are interested in… pretty much anything, be sure to take a look at the Unperfekthaus.

 

Lichtwochen, a light festival

For some unknown reason, each year in Essen takes place a big light festival dedicated to a country of the European Union. I believe this year is dedicated to Belgium. Last year was Sweden.

 

Also, the area is really big, with several cities around such as Bochum, Duisburg, Dusseldorf… and the cities are so close, you can actually reach them with the S-Bahn in a matter of minutes. So if Essen is not enough for you, chances are that there might be something going on in the neighbour cities.

 

Feel free to keep that in mind next time you’re heading to Essen for the Spiel Messe 😉

Workshops in the Spiel Messe : how did it work ?

I will leave Germany tomorrow after almost 3 weeks spent in the country. The first thing to notice is that I’ve drastically improved my German language skills : I’m now able to buy bread AND understand how much it costs, which is a feat I’m pretty sure my German school teachers would be pretty impressed of considering my skills back then. Also, please take notice that “Schmetterling” is actually quite a nice word to say when you don’t try to imitate some atrocious German-speaking Austrian dictator that I will never mention again in this blog.

But let’s come back to Ludi Vojago. I spent some days in Erlangen then in München where I did a single workshop, due to a mixture of bad preparation, failure to find some structures in the city from one day to the following day… but most importantly, I wanted to prepare some last things for the Spiel Messe in Essen. So you could say I “sacrificed” Munich for Essen !

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Organizing the fair with no ressources

It was quite challenging to set up a stand with almost nothing. I’m just travelling with a few used board games, my Mechanicards, some material from Tout pour le jeu… as much as I could carry with my trusty bags.

Problem is, a stand needs tables & chairs. Hopefully, Olivier, a friend from Besancon, managed to bring me 2 tables & 5 chairs. I planned to do workshops with 8 people, so I also managed to borrow 2 extra chairs from a Couchsurfer who hosted me on monday & tuesday (thank you so much, Christoph !).

I also had no decoration, and no time nor money to make/buy anything decent, mostly in this fair full of fancy stuff. Hopefully, my workshops are using cardboard & thick pencils and there were plenty of free cardboard here and there due to shops unpacking their games, so I took a pile and created something.

At the end, my stand was… scrappy and random, but still up to the task ! I was ready… but not really for what would come.

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The failure

The plan was to organize quick board game prototyping workshops. 2h per workshop, everything free, I bring the material and I guide people so they can create a little prototype.

Let me get this straight : I did a smashing total of zero workshops.

There’s no point lying here. The goal of this blog is not to tell you guys how awesome and successful this project is : the goal is to tell you how this workshop project goes, whether it’s a success or a failure.

I had great expectations from the Messe. Despite being my first time in this humongous fair, I felt like a lot of people here would be interested in creating games. Actually, I still believe it is the case. However, I see 3 main reasons in this disaster :

1) The stand was unclear and in the dreadful hall 4

As you have seen, my booth was not really appealing. Nobody said it, but I think I saw some “wtf 😀 !?” expressions in the eyes of various people passing by, which is unsurprising. It was really difficult to explain what the hell was going on just by looking at the stand, and only brave or curious people could know more by asking me directly. Many had to choose between spending some time in warm and friendly stands with plenty of games and carpets on one side, and a dull, cardboard made shady stand in another side. It makes sense.

Plus, I was located in the Hall 4. This hall was open for the first time this year (the Messe usually takes the halls 1, 2, 3 and Gallerie), was after the Gallerie and not many people knew about it, plus most of the exhibitors here were indie creators, small publishers and weird conceptual stands. In addition, several exhibitors moved from this hall to another during the exhibition to save themselves from this unfriendly place, so the more time passed, the more sinister the place looked.

I really hope that next year, the Spiele Messe organizers would actually brand it as the “indie hall” to at least bring some people interested by new and fresh experiences.

2) Nobody knew about those workshops

This is an even bigger issue. Obviously, in a fair where Reiner Knizia was presenting his new games, where Asmodee had a stand of the size of the whole Hall 4, where the illustrator of Ticket to ride was signing copies, nobody knew much about Aurelien Lefrancois, perfectly unknown designer going for an uncommon project.

Also, the workshops were absolutely not mentionned in any program except the one for exhibitors (which made no sense), so I had to manage to bring people by myself & via my stand (see issue 1) ).

Plus, I must admit I should’ve put more effort in online communication before hand via Trictrac or Board games geek, but I hardly found the time to do this. Meh.

3) People are not here for that

Perhaps the main reason is here.

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The Spiel Messe is a place with a ton of new games, as well as free games to play, and more importantly rare and cheap games to be bought in A LOT of stores. This is why people come here : to play and to buy games – which actually makes sense, right ?

So, I don’t see anybody who would be eager to spend two precious hours in creating a prototype when they could test so many more games. Especially when people had to pay for the entrance. It’s actually something that makes a lot of sense for me now.

 

Also, I was alone on my stand, so I couldn’t move as much as I would, which was a bit frustrating for me – but I knew that already. I just have to make sure that I’ll have an accomplice the next time.

 

But still…

It would be unfair to say that nothing turned out well tho. Despite the lack of workshops, the fair was a very interesting experience for me on several points.

1) New opportunities

I met a crazy lot of people there. I actually bought a new scrapbook to note every contact I made here and filled up 5 or 6 pages. A lot of these people were seemingly interested by the project and the workshops and invited me in new places I wouldn’t even dream of beforehand. I don’t know yet how much will actually be of any use, but it was at least very enlightening and made my fair.

2) Rethinking my next stands

Essen was actually only my second time holding a stand for my project. I did it several times before with another association, but the stakes were relatively different. My first time was in the fair Play with meuh, the 1st edition of a fair in Besancon, a relatively small city in France, so I thought the lack of workshops there was due to the size of the event. However, the Spiele Messe is the biggest board games fair IN THE WORLD, so I will never think that again.

The next time I’ll hold a stand in any fair – if the case happens – I’ll do it completely differently, with no actual workshops but just some 1st part (analyze & upgrade a game) and a deeper presentation of the project & workshops.

3) My first Spiel Messe !

This event is really legendary in the small world of games, so I’m really glad I could make it. My first time was a really intense one and I think I got a better grasp of what’s actually going on there, which will probably be useful for the next times.

 

What now ?

The trip continues ! I’m now heading for Austria for 2 weeks, where I hope to set up workshops in Innsbruck and Graz. As usual, if you know people interested by workshops in the area, feel free to contact me !

Next workshops : Essen, spieletage

I’ve been in Germany for one week now, and as you can see, I didn’t find the occasion to write anything about it, which means it has been quite intense. The good part is, I had great experiences I want to share, the not so good part is, you’ll have to wait a bit before I can share them !

For now, I have another week of workshops incoming at the Spiele messe at Essen, where I arrived yesterday.

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This fair is basically the largest one in Europe, so it will be quite a busy time. Still, just come and say hi or create a game !

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Brussels, part 2 – workshopping hard

My week in Brussels was insanely intense. I described the first workshop more than a week ago, so it’s time to tell you more about the remaining workshops.

Wednesday 24th – HEB Defré “Game science and technics”

Like most of the workshops given this week, this one was given during the evening. It took place in the Games library of a school in Uccel, in the suburbean-like area of Brussels. Every wednesday, the Game library is open to public, so some people coming every week or so have heard of the workshop and came to create a game.

But most of the attendees were students in a 1 year game technics cursus. They want to be able to use games in their job, create games, open public game librairies or board game cafes, but whatever their final goal might be, they were really looking forward to create a prototype.

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Of course, this very particular context pressurized me a bit. Those people are going to be professionals in the field of game (when they are not already), they have a large game culture and game design exigence. This workshop was actually a course !

But fortunately, everything went smoothly. I brought 2 sets of Mechanicards, as well as 2 Dobble and 2 Zombie dice games, so the workshop could take place with 2 groups. Each group played Dobble, then analyzed it, then added some Bluff, then the same operation was repeated with Zombie dice (and Cubes instead of Bluff). Once everybody finished an analysis or a card inclusion, one group presented his work to the other to confront it.

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Mostly due to a large break time, I didn’t manage my timing proprely, so everybody had a minimum amount of time to create the actual prototypes – about 45mn after I gave cards and tips. So I had to make it up by defining the remaining time precisely : each group had 20mn to brainstorm, 20mn to create a prototype and then 5mn to switch tables so other people could test their game. The theme was “Harpist”.

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This was quite an interesting exercise tho. Instead of creating a whole game, the workshop attendees had to create a small gameplay element.

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The games may be reworked afterwards during the formation, which makes the workshop more useful !

 

Thursday 25th – La Table – Food & Games

For starters, La Table is an amazing place. The title says it all : La Table Food & Games is a restaurant fully packed with very diverse board gams, so you can come, have a drink, eat something, play, meet new players, mix everything and have fun. Sounds great ? It is.

The workshop started with 5 people and ended up with 2 people once the actual game creation part started. However, this wasn’t a problem at all. The 5 attendees were regular players, so the analysis & rules addition part was done in a breeze.

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As for the game creation itself, I gave the theme “Shadow play”. The cards were “Board”, “Material placement” and the dreadful “General knowledge”, which was quickly cast away by the attendees !

We had enough time to test the prototype 2 times. The second time, I played myself with another player not involved in the prototyping session. Our game lasted 30mn and was quite exciting. I really think this game can lead to something interesting.

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It consists of a symetrical squared board with larger squares inside. Each player starts with 3 pawns on one side of the board. There is also a “Sun” on the middle of the board. Each player plays turn by turn. A turn consists of 2 actions :

– Moving a pawn (if it’s possible);

– Moving the Sun (not mandatory).

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You can move the sun on any side or corner of the board. Sun cast shades : when comes the time to move a pawn, you can’t do it if the pawn is in the “shade” of another pawn. So if the sun is on the right side of the board, and my pawn is on the left of another pawn, I can’t move it.

This simple yet tricky concept is very satisfying to play and I’m very thrilled to see what emerged from this workshop.

 

Friday 26th (day) – Helmet institute – Schaerbeek

This workshop started at 8:30 am and finished at 3:20pm with several breaks in between. The breaks were mandatory because the workshop took place in a school with 23 children from 8 to 9 years old.

Yep.

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I couldn’t take much pictures of the workshop for right issues (you know… children). I was invited by the teacher, Bénédicte, and the children already played some games the weeks (and years) before, so felt somehow easy with games. Still, they were 8-9 years old, so I obviously had to set up a very special workshop, which was at the same time very exciting and very challenging.

We spent more time playing games, this time 3 of them : Dobble, Zombie Dice and Wink. We divided the room in 3 sets of tables so the children could play one game and then change table. Once they played every game, a guided session of game analysis took place with 3 sets of Mechanicards (I removed some hard cards before, such as “Narration”, “Draft”…). We helped them of course, but the results were quite interesting and accurate.

Of course, explaining why Zombie dice was a game using Calculations (“So, you have dices, and you can calculate the probabilit–wait…”) or what the hell is “Logic” was rather challenging, but at the same time interesting I guess.

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Afterwards, I gave each child a secret card, and their challenge was to trade it with another child if he didn’t like it. So basically, 23 children were running in a classroom with Mechanicards, saying “I want your Dice card, do you want my Cooperation card ?”. Fun.

We then noted whom child had which card, went to lunch break and created not-so-random groups of 3 children. Then the creation started.

I didn’t even try to tell them not to take too much care of the visual of their game as it’s so very, very satisfying to create something fancy when you are 8 years old. For the first part of the prototyping session, we asked the children not to take any game material (except paper and pens) so they could focus on brainstorming (!). They struggled a bit in the beginning, but after we guided them a bit, they were ready to go.

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I couldn’t focus enough to remember precisely all the games they created. So, yeah, most of them created Snake and ladders games or variations of Memory games for what it matters. However, some very interesting ideas came out when we tried to ask them questions such as “so, how do you play your game ?”. We had some time to have them test games created by other children, so they had to explain games to other children, which was quite difficult… and instructive.

This workshop changed the way I’m seeing the Mechanicards method. I think the approch has a lot of hidden potential I absolutely didn’t have in mind when I created them, and I’m very happy to see that they can be used in such an educative way. I’m looking forward to see how they are going to be used by the structures to which I leave a set of cards.

 

Friday 26th (evening) – Let’s play together

Remember Let’s play together ? This awesome association, organizing various events around Brusseld based on board games, asked me to do a “VIP workshop” during the evening. As I’m leaving a set of cards to them, we took some time to analyze the tool and see what could be improved.

The workshop itself was quite shorter, but as most people here were already familiar with Game design, the concepts created were quite interesting. The theme, given by somebody on Facebook (follow the page if you want to propose another theme later on !), was “Atoms”.

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The first game created was based on atoms crafting. Each player starts with several random atoms, and the goal of the game is to create a precise chemical formula (HBrCl). Each turn, a player can activate his first or last atom to make it interact with another atom in the middle or possessed by another player.

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The interactions between atoms is defined by an interaction grid. Due to the lack of time, we couldn’t test it enough times to simplify it a bit, so it was quite experimental.

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The second game was based on memorization. You have to create an atom balanced between positive charges, negative charges and neutrinos. There’s a 3 pile of cards (protons, electrons, neutrinos), you can see each pile one time at the beginning of the game, then you have to memorize them. One pile is set on the middle and people have to bet points to define the card picking order.

Greetings from Brussels – first workshop abroad

(English below)

Et cette fois, l’article sera en anglais ! Il faut bien varier les plaisirs… Pour résumer,  le premier atelier à Bruxelles s’est bien déroulé et tout le monde était heureux. Traduction à venir… plus tard.

I spent one week travelling in various places. The idea was to both take a break and meet people, both friends and people involved in games. It was quite fruitful : I met Francine and Nicolas from the Compagnie Caracol, working on games mostly connected to cities patrimoine, as well as Sylvain, working on a cooperative game based on superheroes, and Léo, an old friend of mine working on Honey rush, a game starring bees.

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Bees. Bees everyhere.

 

And then I crossed the border.

Hello Brussels, hello... Lady gaga stage ?

Hello Brussels, hello… Lady gaga stage ?

This week, I work with the association Let’s play together. Based in Bruxelles, they organize several events around board games such as game evenings, conferences and so on. So they invited me to come and set up several workshops with various people.

The first workshop took place in the Flamingo bar. 4 people were here, creating games around beers. I used the new workshop version developped in Besançon : they played and analyzed Dobble and Zombie dice, added new mechanics then started to create their own prototype.

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Everything went really smoothly. They picked the cards “Logic”, “Draft” and “Cubes” and I chosed the theme “Cactus”. They ended up creating a prototype and even testing it for a while. I was curious how a 4 people workshop could take work, but I ended up being pleasently surprised !

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This is a game about water, cactus and drugs. Each player has to find drug cubes while digging in the desert. They move their pawn, roll a dice and pick as much items in a bag as the dice shew. In a bag, there is water, sand, drug and scorpios. Picking sand doesn’t serve any purpose, scorpios stop your picking operation, drug is the winning item (5 durg cubes = winning) and water allow you to move further. Each move costs you 1 water, digging also costs 1 water, each time you consume water you put it again in the bag. There’s also another bag you can only access if you dig on a cactus. Digging on a cactus uses 2 water. Also, there’s a maya temple warping you back home but granting you an extra dice roll.

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What’s next ?

The next workshop will take place thursday evening in the Table food and games restaurant, rue de l’enseignement. Feel free to come !

(Actually, another one will take place today evening, but it’s quite crowded already !!)

First steps in Auxerre

(français dans les jours à venir)

First of all, allow me to tell you that I’m alive, safe and sound ! The beginning of my trip went pretty well. Hitchhiking from Paris to Auxerre was fairly easy, thanks to the great spot suggested in the very handy hitchwiki : the gas station of Lisses, in the southern surburb. Directly asking people if they were going to Auxerre was something new for me, as I’m mostly used to the basic thumbing technique – put yourself on the side of the road, raise your thumb and wait for somebody to stop. I discovered that asking people is more effective, often safer and actually more fun as you are proactive.

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Reaching the station was almost more difficult...

The city of Auxerre is also nice. The center is full of big churches, including the gorgeous Saint Étienne cathedral and the Saint Germain abbaye, and is on the left side of the Yonne river, which is always a good thing for a city. Also, you can see a lot of planks on the front side of the house, giving the city a taste of good old fashion.

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The fine Saint Nicolas plaza

But hey, I’m not travelling for tourism purposes, right ? The first workshop took place in the local board games shop, Cartes sur table. Apart from Nicolas, and Elise, the very friendly shopkeepers (and fellow players), 3 people were there, which was a good number as a group of 3 is better than 2 groups of 2 in my opinion.

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The stage is ready

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The workshop lasted 2h30. The mechanicards picked by the attendees were “Dice”, “Material positioning” and “Narration”. My epic hand crafted theme was “Potato”. In the end, the game prototype involved potato plantations with crops buying, potatoes selling and market flux (at least the idea of stocks was there !).

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The plantation of a player

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Potatoes factory and random events list

What now ?

I’m currently in Besançon to present the trip to local people before the incoming workshops ! I shall write something after those workshops, in something like 1 week. Meanwhile, if you want me to write about something specific about the trip, feel free to send me an email !

D-4 : Travel bags & prototyping material

Today was one of the most important days of any trip : the packing day !

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Yaaaay !

I’m not sure anybody likes packing. I’m always afraid of forgetting this-very-imporatant-thing. For a long term trip, I look at every item and think “hey, couldn’t this be useful ?” – and then “hey, is this really THAT useful considering I’ll carry it for 6 MONTHS !?”. Especially for a trip such as Ludi Vojago, considering I also have to carry some rather unusual (and somehow heavy) stuff. So, how am I organized ?

The big backpack : here goes the heavy stuff

The main backpack is a 70+10L “Forclaz” from Decathlon. It is an old friend of mine, as I did almost all my trips with it.

It is also a heavy friend. Some travellers prefer 60 or even 40/50L backpacks to carry things as they are lighter, which counts a lot in these kind of trips. Also, 70L is an overkill for most trips as most usual things can fin into a decently-packed 50L. If you take more, it is probably unnecessary things.

…unless it’s a bunch of board games. You can see them in the bottom part of the backpack. I carry 12 games. Most of them are obviourly quite light (especially Tête de linotte and Pile poil) but bags tend to fill rather fast.

Plus, I’m carrying this.

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So I believe this big backpack isn’t actually THAT big !

What’s inside the bag ? It’s rather usual actually : a sleeping bag, a mattress, a small pillow (this is actually luxury…), a survival blanket, a lock, a gourd (I dislike plastic bottles), some stuff to write, a mug, a knife, a fork, a small plate, a tupperware (if I manage to cook something – lots of money saved here !)…

The small bag for the clothes

This is a technique I’ve learnt from fellow travellers such as Ludovic Hubler (who hitchhiked around the world during 5 years and also created Travel with a mission) : carrying a second, small backpack in front of you. This lighter bag is used to carry light things such as clothes, as well as some things you’re glad you can access easily (i.e. my camera).

I’m taking a rather large amount of clothes to my tastes, but I prefer carrying more clothes and be absolutely sure of being CLEAN for my workshops for obvious reasons. I’m taking 2 T-shirts, 2 shirts, 2 trousers, 1 bermuda, 6 pants, 5 socks + 1 pair of heavy socks + 1 pair of Merinos socks, 1 light sweater, 1 swimsuit and my trusty heavy rainjacket (with a large sweater included).

What about extra material ?

I obviously can’t carry material for my whole trip. Fortunately, I have a very lovely and helpful mother back home who is eager to send me material packs during my trip. So I prepared some small packages ready to be sent, so I’m sure to have the right amount of material at every moment.

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Work in progress (this picture misses the WINK games)

D-6 : Travel with a mission : the side (and awesome) quest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(No French version today, but if you wish to read something in French, you may have a look at the article about Ludi Vojago on the blog of Travel with a mission !)

Just a quick article today, not too related to Ludi Vojago itself, but to an awesome initiative : Travel with a mission.

What is it ?

Travelling can be great. If done properly, it allows people to discover new cultures, connect each other, share visions about life and so on. However, travellers sometimes feel like they could share more things, or to more people. Let’s say you are a Turkish fireman : you could share knowledge about your country, about firefighting, about first aid and so on. But how are you supposed to do that when you are just travelling from place to place ?

On the other hand, people in various contries are craving for people to come and bring meaningful knowledge to other people. Let’s say you are a teacher in Cambodia. You know people are coming from all around the world in your country. You’d like to invite them in your school to give a lecture about anything to your students, but you can’t really reach them !

The lack of way to connect travellers and structures together wastes a lot of potential mind-opening and discoveries. Fortunately, this is precisely what Travel with a mission is trying to do : connect travellers with a “mission” (or “TWAMers”) and people eager to give them a way to share their knowledge (or “TWAMhosts”).

How is connected to Ludi Vojago ?

Now, let’s say you are a Game designer trying to encourage the creation of multiple games all around Europe. Let’s say you’d like to work with several different structures and allow them to set up workshops on their own after your departure. Let’s say you are deeply convinced that creating games is a wonderful thing, very interesting and enlightening.

…see a pattern here ?

AureTwam

What will I do ?

During my trip, I’ll be at the same time a TWAMer and a TWAM ambassador. Being a Twamer means I’m going to use TWAM to contact Twamhosts on my way and work with them. But if there’s no Twamhosts in the vicinity, it might be simply because nobody has heard of Travel with a mission… which is where my Ambassador duty starts !

So I’ll try my best to allow people discover this not-well-enough-known community to improve it as much as I can.

By the way, I hope you guys have created you account on the website now ? Because we need you ! It’s simple to be a Twamer (you even can do a day or some hours it while on a summer trip) and a Twamhost – and if you don’t have access to any structure, feel free to tell your friends ! 🙂

Workshop material : pawns, dices and Tout pour le jeu

Creating board games only requires some time, maybe some basic theories of board game design and a little material.

Most of this material can be made out scrap : take an old piece of cardboard and you have a board, draw some rectangles on a sheet of paper then cut it : you have cards… Most of the time, prototyping doesn’t require good-looking or fancy material, as you may throw away half of your creation to improve it anyway.

Ot at least in theory. There’s still a couple of problems :

– Some material, such as hourglasses and dices, can’t be easily made from scrap;

– Seeing some material can improve creativity by “triggering” something in one’s mind (ohh, I could use THAT !).

 

Fortunately, several companies are dedicated to create board game material, which is very handy for designers… and people animating board games creation workshops ! One of them is Tout pour le jeu, which means “Everything for games” in French. Based in the east of France, this company was kind enough to accept a simple partnership :

* They give me a hell lot of material I will carry during my trip

* In exchange, I allow people to discover their actually awesome selection of various pawns, dices, bags, hourglasses etc… via their official website or flyers I’ll give during my journey.

As for the carriage of this material, I’ll have a small pack in my bag during my trip, but most material will be sent from Frence by my greatest help : my mother ! 🙂