English

D-35 : what’s going on before the departure

It’s been a while since I didn’t post some news about the project so far, even if the departure day is getting closer and closer. A little bit more than 1 month before the first trip,¬†I may have some things to settle down, but there has been a lot of exciting news.

Let’s do a little recap.

 

Workshop presentation

The workshops lacked a short and clear presentation (nobody likes Walls of text). Here it is.

Feel free to use and share it to any structure which could be interested by such workshops ! ūüôā

FlyersPrezProjetEN

 

Translated Mechanicards

Remember the Mechanicards, those little cards describing board games mechanisms, skills and material ? Well, they are finally translated in English, so people from all around the world will be able to use them.

Feel free to use them as they are on Creative Commons Attribution. You just have to somehow mention me at some point, at least by highlighting the link to my website on the bottom of the cards !

MecanicartesPrintEN

I will put them more clearly on my porfolio as soon as possible, but so far you can download the PDF here.

 

Schedule scramble

The two first months of the project are going to be everything but what I initially planned.

* I’m starting my trip the 2nd of September. My first destination is Auxerre, where a workshop will take place the 3rd.

* Instead of reaching Besan√ßon the 1st of September, I’ll be there the 6th to launch the project at the CRIJ. Then workshops will take place several times during the following week in different places (more information later on the post).

* I will most likely spend some days in Lille after Besançon.

* My next stop is Brussels from the 22nd of September for 1 week. Yes, Brussels – which means I’ll actually travel to 10 countries now. I couldn’t find any structure in Mulhouse unfortunately.

* Then I’ll travel to Munich to be up and ready the 6th of October.

* Finally, I’m going to the Essen spiel festival from the 16th to the 19th of October.

 

Confused ? Maybe a couple of screenshots will help you then !

 

Week1Planning  Week2Planning

 

Besançon workshops

So far, 3 workshops will take place around Besan√ßon. I’m still looking for more (with a huge help from my friend there, Evelyne, who pretty much contacted the whole city – which for I can’t thank her enough), but for now, here are the workshops :

* Tuesday & Friday evening with the board games association Doubs you play. They are usually playing games thoses evenings, but they kindly accepted that I animate workshops at the same time. They are located here.

* Saturday, I’m going to animate a full workshop (playing then creating) at the “Maison de quartier” Montrapon, a place for young people to come and do… fun things.

 

Lots of board games material

Toutpourlejeu, an awesome company selling board game material, kindly accepted to sponsor the project ! So a pack full of board games material is coming¬†in a few days. I’ll keep you informed (these guys¬†totally deserve a full article).

However, I also bought some extra material on Spielmaterial to be able to do some workshops as soon as possible.

MatosLV

Holidays

Ok, that’s not really related to the project, but I’m going in holidays for most of August ! So I’ll try my best to leave you some scheduled articles beforehand to keep you hyped ūüėČ

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Spotlight : Essen, the city of Spiel

Some of you may remember the concept of Spotlight : shedding a light on a city I’m planning to set workshops in. So far, I’ve been quite lazy and did only one of them : Innsbruck, the Bridge city !

This may be explained by one simple fact : I wasn’t absolutely sure to go through each city, as long as I didn’t have¬†every structure to host the workshops. Everything could change because in a blink if I had a different opportunity.

And this is exactly what happened.

I was planning to go around Stuttgart, in Germany, right before Munich. But things have changed, and I’m now actually going to Munich first, then to another city in Germany, named Essen. Let’s have a look at this city !

 

SpotlightEssen

 

 

Essen, which may not be one of the best known cities of Germany outside the country, is nonetheless the central part of the Ruhr, which is basically a huge urban area bordered by the Ruhr river (hence the name) and Rhine. 5.3 million people are living in the area, so Essen may play a very central role for quite a lot of people.

 

A01_v_AbsatzelementAkkordeonGross

 

Couchsurfing-wise, 4,183 people currently have a profile marked as living around¬†Essen. Way to go ! I’m going to Munich to Essen, then I’ll go to Innsbruck afterwards.

…Wait. Isn’t that a very ankward trip ? First I’m going from France to the south-east of Germany, then I’m coming back to the north-west, then I’m heading straight to the south ? Does it makes much sense ?

Well…

That’s right, something very special¬†takes place in Essen : the Spiel festival. Spiel means “Game” (and “Play”) in German, a very fit name for what’s simply the largest¬†board games festival in the world.

It takes place from the 16th-19th of October and I will go there to set up some workshops, so I thought it was worth a little change of plans !

Games I’ll give to the structures : Wink and T√™te de Linotte

The first part of the workshops will be dedicated to playing actual games. I’m trying to achieve several goals :

– Breaking the ice between the attendees, who may not know each other yet;

– Giving attendees references of games themes & mechanisms so they’ll be able to use them afterwards, when creating their own games;

– Creating meaningful links between the players and the structure hosting the workshop : if the structure keeps the game, the players will be able to play it afterwards, then coming back on the site.

This last point can only be successful with some actual games to give. So I looked for interesting games to carry and give, and kindly asked some board games publishers if they could give me 12 games I could leave in structures.

Two publishers agreed and gave me games : Letheia Editions and Flip Flap Editions (which you can find on my Partners page).

DSC_0135

Oh hello.

The 2 games I’ll leave behind me will be Wink and T√™te de Linotte. Wink is a fun game where you basically have to wink somebody else to tell him you have a card he’s calling. But if your wink get caught, you lose points. The game is quite international and was taken in India by the association Inter’Lude.

Tête de linotte is a wicked memory game, where you have to memorize different animals of different colors, then give the right answer about a card revealed some time before. More cards are piling up, so the game becomes increasingly difficult. The game is very small, easy to carry and understand !

Workshop report : “Spiders”

I had the opportunity¬†to set up a new workshop with completly different people. So far, I’ve only worked with youngsters; this time the attendees were members of the video game association enthusiasts of my former university (the association being APOIL), so they were already familiar with Game Design.

They also happened to be my friends, so I had to work “professionnally” with people I could hang out with, which isn’t as simple as it sounds.

 

DSC_0134

Length : 2h30

Theme : “Spiders”

Mechanicards : Programming & Movement (mechanisms) – Calculations (skill) – Cubes (material)

They mainly used the theme and the mechanism cards. The calculation card was quickly discarded. The cubes card was used in the beginning but abandoned a bit before the game was prototyped.

 

In this game, you are basically giant spider riders. As spiders are very fast animals, you ahve to give them several orders beforehand so they can analyse them. Each player has a small pawn in an arena, representing the spider rider, and draws cards in two middle piles : “actions” and “movement”. Each turn, players put 5 cards in front of them, then each player reveals the first card and resolve it and so on.

The spiders can bite, sting and even spit venom, granted the player has the “spit” card and the occasion to make its pawn pass through the acid pit in the middle of the arena.

Mechanicards – almost ready to print !

Some of you may have heard of the Mechanicards¬†I’m currently making for Ludi Vojago. To keep it short, it consists in cards describing board games I’ll use during the workshops.

Here's a sample card !

Still in French for now, translation coming soon !

I started those cards a bit more than 1 month ago for the first workshops, and they ended up being quite well received by various people, which made me very happy. Also, some people gave me very useful advice to improve them, both formally and graphically.

Meca_P1

Here’s one of the first versions !

Now, I’m on the way of printing some sets of cards, as you wonderful people helped me to reach more than 2000‚ā¨ on Ulule¬†! I will also leave some sets of cards in the structures I’ll work with during my trip.

But reworking them wasn’t actually that easy due to some technical inability ! I used a vector drawing software to design the cards, which at the time sounded like a good idea.

However, what if I wanted to change something on ALL the cards ?

Yeah - I had to change them one by one.

Yeah – I had to change them one by one.

So I obviously had to switch to a publishing software, which I didn’t use that well at the beginning. But it gave me the opportunity to practice a bit. ūüôā

You can find the new format on the Mechanicards page. If you have any remark, suggestion, anything… Please feel free to tell me !

Cheers !

Successful crowdfunding and new website !

Hello everybody,

For starters, I’m delighted to announce that the Ulule Crowdfunding had been successful ! Thanks to the support of 61 people, the project collected 2015‚ā¨, which means 134% of the initial goal.

This, of course, is really awesome, so once again, thank you everybody !!

From now on, I will post frequent news on the blog instead of the Ulule page. For the occasion, the website has been reworked ! Some things are still in progress (I’m still not a potent webmaster nor webmaster), but you can already browse what’s new around here.

And finally, there’s a brand new Newsletter¬†! I won’t send you tons of emails, just a couple a month (maximum) to keep you informed of what’s going on around Ludi Vojago. You can subscribe here.

Cheers !

Aurélien

Some fresh news… on the Ulule webpage !

Hello everybody !

This website has been quite silent lately. My apologies to people following the project only on the blog (I believe there’s some of you).

However, the project is everything but silent : I’m simply updating the Ulule webpage, and can’t find the time to update this webpage accordingly – which will only last for the following month !

So, feel free to discover the latest news on the Ulule page news section : http://www.ulule.com/ludi-vojago/news/.

There’s several exciting things there, including the two first partners and the first workshops which already took place !

Alternatively, you can also follow the Facebook page.

Cheers,

Aurélien

Spotlight : Innsbruck, the Bridge Town

And here comes a new category of posts : the Spotlights ! My goal is to share some very basic knowledge I have gathered about the key destinations of the trip.

Obviously, Ludi Vojago is not supposed to take place only in big cities. I am perfectly open to smaller places as long as people are actually interested in playing and creating board games ūüôā

But I have to start searching somewhere, and “WHOLE COUNTRIES” is a bit too large. So, after deciding the key points of my itinerary, I’m currently searching places to be hosted around big cities. I take the cities, find out what’s going on there, then search in the smaller towns around, say, a radius of 50kms or something of sorts.

But as I’m considerating passing by those cities, better do some homework about them, right ? I don’t know most of them, so I only gather minimal knowledge meant to be completed (or totally ¬†discarded) by actually going there.

Let’s start with Austria, and the city of Innsbruck !

SpotlightInnsbruck

Innsbruck, actually meaning “The bridge over the Inn River“, is a city close to mountains. By “close”, I actually mean “very very close”.

The city is between M√ľnchen and Verona, two other cities I’m planning to visit. Couchsurfing-wise,¬†1,974 people currently have a profile marked as living around Innsbruck, which is not bad at all :-).

About games : there’s a caf√© full of board games in the city, the Caf√© Weli. There’s also a video game studio, Still Alive Studios.

Also, the city is quite touristic, and it’s quite easy to see why by looking at some pictures of local buildings.

And finally, some capital information from Wikipedia :

“In 1929, the first official¬†Austrian Chess Championship¬†was held in Innsbruck.”

Way to go !

Being hosted and meeting people : Couchsurfing, my love

On the road, there’s basically three ways to sleep :

* Rent a room in a hostel or whatever;

* “Whatever works” : sleep on the ground, possibly with something (sleeping bag, hamac, tent, sleeping mat…);

* Being gently hosted by people.

 

Each of these solutions have pros and cons. Renting a room somewhere is obviously really comfy and a good way to “charge up batteries”, but often lacks some social contact (although this is not entirely true in hostels) and isn’t free. Sleeping anywhere works wonders in some places and is absolutely free, but you should find a place you feel safe, you need extra effort to wash yourself and it is not always legal.

I’m really a big fan of the people-hosting, mostly because of it’s greatest specificity : you meet people, spend time with complete strangers (who are not strangers for long in most cases !), discover new ways of life as well as points of views about the place you’re staying you couldn’t have obtained otherwise. It is also really heartwarming.

Then, how are you supposed to find somebody willing to host you ? It sometimes happens randomly : some people offered to host me when I was simply strolling around a city or after offering me a lift while I was hitchhiking. You can also ask people in the street, which is something some neat TV shows like J’irai dormir chez vous or Nus et culott√©s can show.

But then, Internet.

Internet changed a lot of things for a lot of people. One of the most fascinating communities I’ve met so far with Internet is the group of people on the website Couchsurfing.

 

CS_LogoOrange_lowres

The idea is very simple : people create an account on the website, tell some stuff about themselves and say whether or not they can host people in their house/flat/room. Then, they can search for fellow couchsurfers in some place they want to go and send them a message to ask if they could host them for some days. ¬†Thus the term of “Couch Surfing” : it is mainly a “couch-borrowing” website.

Couchsurfing is not only a hosting website however, as people can create groups, various events so travellers and locals can meet up, or even just offer travellers passing by to take a coffee or visit the city.

The entire website & hosting process are entirely free, although it is adviced to bring a little something to your host, may it be a present, a knowledge, a cooking receipe or whatever. But this is usually very natural, as people are usually quite friendly (well, they accept to share their home to begin with). Each surfing experience is very different, depending of the people involved in the surfing exchange.

 

Back to Ludi Vojago. I suppose it is quite clear Couchsurfing is my sleeping way of choice, as well as a way to meet people in the places I’m passing by, may it be players or diverse people curious about my trip. This isn’t meant to be the sole way tho, as I could have to rent a room or sleep on the ground in places with no available Surfers, but I’m quite optimistic about the “hosting” part of the trip.

I also think everybody should give it a shot. I’ve seen really various people on CS : young and old, single and married, grand-parents with little children, big houses with several students… So, why not you ?¬†ūüôā

Egotrip : some info about my precedent trips

Ludi Vojago isn’t some sort of silly whim coming out of nowhere : it is a way to combine several fields of interest. Among them : Game Design; Sharing things; Connecting people (no Nokia pun intended, honest). But above all : Travelling.

This concept is quite messy. What IS travelling anyway ? I’m quite sure if you ask this to 10 people, you will have 10 different answers. Travelling may involve driving, tourism, sleeping outside, fishing, struggling, paddling, meeting people, whatever.

I have my own “travelling philosophy”. For me, the destination isn’t as important as the actual trip. “Travelling” means “discovering”, opening my mind to people or situations I may encounter. Travelling also means “destroying” : I will use some means of transportation, use some specific material such as bags and shoes, use Internet to show some parts of my trip and countless things I wouldn’t have done by staying home. This won’t stop me from travelling, but I keep it in mind every time just in case I would ask myself if something is really worthy.

Back to the topic : my travelling experience is guiding me through the preparation of Ludi Vojago. It is not as big as some bigtime travellers walking, biking, hitchhiking and so on all around the world, but I have some interesting stories to share.

Here are some “highlighted” travelling experiences.

2009 РWalking from Paris to Rouen

The first “biggie” is also the one with the most information. If you can read French, you can find some pictures & description on my old travelling blog : HERE and HERE.

Long story short : we were 3 people (Hélène, Amaia and me) walking for about 150km in France, near the Seine river, from the south-suburbs of Paris to Rouen (Normandy). The trip was 1 week long and we slept outside under our tents Рhopefully, the weather was absolutely stunning.

We could expect that, so “close” from Paris, the landscapes would be quite urbain. We were wrong. We passed through stunning areas, little villages and a lot of little roads.

We also discovered that people are great. We crossed the road of really interesting people, just by walking around. We were offered to stay in some places, and we even ended up asking for hospitality to a priest in a very rainy evening. He wasn’t even shocked or anything. He just opened up the community hall and left us the key.

Also, we met the grand children of one of our junior high school teachers. 80km from the school. In the middle of a tiny village. Yeah, that happens a lot.

2010 РBiking from Reims to Utrecht

The plan was to bike from Reims to Antwerp with a friend (Amaia, one of the Paris -> Rouen walkers !) then to finish the trip from Antwerp to Utrecht alone, then reach¬†Scherpenzeel to meet up some friends. It ended up pretty well. The trip was something (very roughly… )like this.

The whole trip was a whole different story from the walking tour. Biking is fun and interesting, but also have some drawbacks from walking (I wrote something about it). So, we ended up travelling huge distances while still enjoying the landscape and meeting people during our stops, but had more trouble to find acceptable ways to bike, where we could climb small hills easily while walking.

During my first day alone, I slept in some grassy area. A boy was quite curious about that little tent in the middle of nowhere, and came to say hello. Problem is, he wasn’t speaking English very well, and I didn’t know a word in Dutch, so we had trouble to understand each other. Still, he went away then came back several time to ask me some things, like “Do you need things ?” or “Do you want shower tomorrow ?”, then “My parents are OK if you want come tomorrow shower”. I was, of course, incredibly moved by the infinite kindness of this boy… but I couldn’t manage to find his house the next morning. So I left some little message around the grass, which was a bit pointless I guess.

Little boy, would you read this one day, I want you to know that you lightened up my trip and I can’t thank you enough. Next time, I will write an adress somewhere !!

2011 РHitchhiking to Finland

I was living in Finland for one semester in 2010. I deeply felt in love with this country and promised myself to come back one day. I kept my promise the year after by hitchhiking there with my best friend Thibault, and a friend of us, Elyse, for the first part of the trip, from Paris to Hamburg.

The trip last 3 weeks – we wend back from Finland to France by plane, as I had some emergency to take care of. We traveled through Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This time, we were hosted during most of the trip, either via Couchsurfing or friends/family (in Hanover & Stockholm).

I don’t even know where to start with this one. We had so many intense times, we met so many incredible people during the whole trip. So, I’ll rather give some “key advices” from what I’ve seen.

– Hitchhiking in Finland is all right, but very hard in South-Sweden. We may had bad luck, but I’m still wondering why…

– Christiania, in Copenhagen, is a very interesting place. It is also a very bad sign to see armored cops there – my lungs may still have some tear gas somewhere.

– Frankfurt am main is a terrible place to stay during a night only with sleeping bags.

– It is unadvised to hitchhike too close to a Finnish metal festival, because wild, drunk Finnish guys pissing on the road seems to be quite unappealing (but still very friendly).

2012 РThe Nowhere event and car-sharing to Hungary

Those two trips were, at the same time, very intense and very conventionnal.

Conventionnal because very organized, involving only car-sharing and quite “comfy” (at least for my standards). Intense because they involved the Nowhere event – the “”European Burning Man”” ¬†(the shortcut is a bit rough) – and one day in the Sziget festival in Budapest, one of the largest musical festival in Europe – as well as the magnificent Budapest itself.

The Nowhere is a very enlightning event where a lot of crazy things happen.¬† We set up a “Tea, Tales & Games” camp with some friends, filled up with board games and, well, tea and tales. We enjoyed being part of this strange community and discover a lot of things, mostly on ourselves. Organizing this trip in the desert was an interesting task and taught me some tricks… mostly about delays :-).

Our trip in Hungary – with Thibault, again – was made interesting by the people travelling with us. We found a car-sharing opportunity on the French website Blablacar, which was uncalled for, and spent some days with four fun and easy-going people.

I stayed one single day in the Sziget festival itself, but it was once again an interesting discovery. Its size is unreal, as well as the amount of people there. The amount of alcohol drunk is also really high and convinced me I was getting fonder of small communities and wild nature, not tremendous parties like this. I went forward in my “travel philosophy building” mission.

2014 – Ludi Vojago

More and more, I wanted to travel for something, to share experiences, bring a little “something” to the numerous people I would meet. And I also spent some years to study Game Design I couldn’t use to travel.

So… here we go. ūüôā


PS : You should take a look at http://travelwithamission.org. This community/website is meant to gather travellers willing to share something or even building a better world, and people willing to offer them a public to interact with.

In other words, TWAM is another wonderful use of the Internet and could lead to great partnerships between great people.