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TableTopDay Blog

Find out the latest news about TableTop Day by reading articles by game industry publishers, some of your Favorite Local Game Stores (FLGS), guest blog posts by geeky journalists, and even helpful articles on how to run an awesome #TableTopDay event for your community!

Hosting an Awesome International Tabletop Day Part 4 – Hosting

Hosting an Awesome International Tabletop Day Part 4 – Hosting

This is part three of a five part series.  You can view the previous posts here:

Part 1 – Preliminary Planning

Part 2 – Community Support

Part 3 – Marketing Your Event

Welcome to part 4 of our ongoing series on how to host a successful Tabletop Day. We have touched on the planning, leveraging support from the community, and successfully marketing the event Now we get to the good stuff: actually hosting your International TableTop Day! Months of e-mails, phone calls, Facebook posts, all leading up to one day and one epic event.  Remember what your goals are – they may change depending on the type of event you’re hosting, but the big three in my mind are:

1.) Celebrate the hobby of board gaming!

2.) Grow awareness about the hobby and specifically about your store.

3.) Create those “You had to be there!” moments throughout the day to generate buzz during and also following the event.

There might be several sub-goals within these – for example, one major way TableTop Day grows awareness about the hobby is by connecting strangers together, and by playing with strangers our players are in fact celebrating the hobby!  What I’d like to look at are some ideas on how we might achieve these goals on the day of the event and then run through a pretty basic schedule of what a TableTop Day event can look like.

To have a successful TableTop Day the first thing you want to consider is the space you’re going to host your event in.  Space isn’t controllable (unless you got creative in the planning stage and went off-site, set up a tent or got permission to spill out into the mall), but how you utilize your space is fully under your control. Some stores will be business as usual for TableTop Day and, while that might be functional, I doubt it’s ideal.  When you host a party at your house you probably end up rearranging the furniture to maximize your space, set out extra chairs, dedicate areas to food and others to mingling, even consider the logistics of where coats and personal belongings go.  It’s no different on ITD, don’t be shy about completely rearranging the furniture to create the ideal space.  Consider, for example, how easily accessible demos are, different sizes and shapes of tables for different styles of games, where you might place a TV hooked up to a laptop for TableTop’s Live Stream, etc.  You might disagree with me, but tying back to this idea of celebration, I think ITD is the one day where you want your store to be more of an event center and less of a retail shop, so if you end up with some narrower than ideal aisles or a dice fixture a little less accessible than usual, I think it’s worth it to enable all the players to have a comfortable, fun experience.   In fact, I’ve found usually casual walk-in customers will be so interested in what the big party is that they easily overlook what would normally be sub-par merchandising of your store.

Other ways to feed into the celebration?  Helium balloons are cheap, and yet for some reason I find they really deliver the party message.  Maybe someone wants to bake a cake or decorate the store in a creative way (http://www.tabletopday.com/downloads/ is a great resource for this btw), if you don’t have the video feed, then some background music can help encourage conversation, but if at all possible I’d try to figure out a way to get the video feed. Transforming a store into a party isn’t easy, so I’d love to hear from you with even more ideas on how you make this happen for your TableTop Day!

How can TableTop Day grow awareness about the hobby?  First is the experience your normal walk-in customers have when they accidentally enter the store for a Jace Magic single and find this crazy board gaming event going on.  One of the exciting addictive powers of Magic is that 4 times a year there is a crazy epic pre-release event (not to mention release events and then Game Day) and people love the social atmosphere of those events.  They also make it very easy for you to connect with new players.  TableTop Day is our chance to bring that to board gaming, but it’s arguably even better because you’re not locked into showing up at a specific time and spending money to register for the event.  On TableTop day your casual walk-ins can find themselves suddenly sitting down for a game of “Concept,” and now they know about a new game, they have met new players, and they know where to go if they are looking for more of both. It’s not just the casual walk-ins though, I think one of the best things you can do on TableTop Day is encourage your players to step out of their norm and play some games they have never played before.  We all know the pain of trying to learn a new game from the instruction manual and TableTop Day suddenly gives you a wealth of player knowledge so that if, say, a group of 4 all teaches 1 game the other 3 have never played you have greatly expanded each player’s knowledge of games and all in a much more fun and interactive setting (your awesome FLGS).

Thus far most of what we have talked about you could do at anytime on any board game night without needing some special dedicated holiday that has an international marketing campaign.  What’s amazing though, is that in the age of media stratification, where everyone watches their own shows, reads their own news and has custom personal information delivered on a daily basis to their smart phone, humans seem to hunger for shared social experiences.  Midnight releases for films and for video games are at all time highs and a major reason isn’t that people are impatient, but that they want the shared experience of “I was there, I stood in line, I saw it at the same time as everyone else.”  ITD is a uniquely similar experience for board gaming and if leveraged correctly can create a powerful emotional connection between your store and your customers.   Bo and the TableTop team have put an immense amount of effort into trying to give you the tools to deliver this experience.  While the TableTop Live Stream might not have as many eyeballs on it as the Beatles did when they hit Ed Sullivan’s stage, it does deliver the message to the players in your store that they are not alone, that they are part of something bigger and shared.

Twitter feeds are another major way to be highlighting this experience, having your players tag tons of messages #tabletopday can both generate a sense of being part of a larger community and also have the incidental power of being a live marketing campaign to those on the fence about coming and joining the event.

Finally, the one thing that probably has your players frothing at the mouth when they rush into your store, is all the sweet promos they can get.  Nothing says “I was part of something awesome” like showing off a sweet Wil Wheaton leader card for 7 Wonders the next Monday at work.  

Speaking of the promos, you want to make sure you have a plan for how you’re distributing them.  Here are some ideas, but they certainly aren’t the only ones:

1.) Random raffles every hour. Keeps players around and gives some excitement to look forward to each raffle announcement.  Also feels fair to most players.

2.) Unlock different achievements.  Player who learns the most new games, teaches the most players a new game, scores the highest score in 7 Wonders all day, is the youngest player to win a game, on and on it goes… Just make sure you set out many of these achievements ahead of time.  It’s fine to have a few surprises but give people a sense of achievement as well, after all, you are dealing with a room full of gamers.  Make sure your prizes are not top heavy favoring the more skilled players, so there is no “bad feelings” for your casual crowd.

3.) Play designers/artists/demoers.  This is how we do it at my store, since we have several designers who attend, I give them handfuls of promos and leave it to them to give at their discretion.  Usually they will give some of the simpler promos out as pity-prizes but reserve the good stuff for players who have played well or had such a  great attitude during play that they want to reward them in some way.  If you do have any designers attending I strongly recommend this setup, as it guarantees the designers are getting the attention they deserve in sacrificing their time to attend your event.

I’m sure there is a ton of stuff I’m missing but hopefully we have now created a setting that is conducive to an excellent TableTop Day.  Keep in mind I don’t expect one person to do all these things, but rather for your staff to work as a team towards these goals. So then what are you actually doing on the day of TableTop? Here is what my schedule will probably look like on Saturday:

8am Show up to the store, start rearranging furniture in preparation, review any decorations that have been set up, find promo material, make sure it’s organized and ready for use, make sure the demo section is neat and prepared for checkout, set out a few of my favorite demos on tables to encourage early players.

9am Get the live feed up and running on the TVs.  Setup giant sized Tsuro with stanchions. My store is in a mall so that set out is sure to catch some mall walkers attention even before we open.

10am Open store, set out sign-up sheets for playing with designers. Text any volunteer demoers to make sure they are coming and at what times.  Check in with mall management, make sure stanchions and reserved signs are out on mall tables.

12pm most of my afternoon designers are Indie designers, Kickstarter designers, and smaller game designers.  I want to make sure they get reserved table space with clear signs about who is at what table.  I assign a staff member to keep tabs on sign-up sheets to make sure their tables are always filled with players.  I hand promos directly to the designers telling them they are free to hand them out at their own discretion.

4pm Make an announcement warning that at 5pm there will be a forum on game design taught by some professionals in the field.  Any time you have a specific time sensitive event I recommend giving at least an hour heads up so attendees can make an informed decision about starting a new game.  Then I’ll make sure the space for the forum is prepared.

5pm  Make sure the forum get started without a hitch.  Many of my bigger name designers are arriving at

5:30pm so then I need to make sure I have play space reserved and prepared for them and check-in on the number of names already on the sign-up sheets.  The more names on the list the more space I want to create around that table for onlookers.

6pm make sure all the arriving designers find their play space, get their promos, and have players seated with them and ready to play.

Our event runs until midnight but I’ll likely head out by 10pm.  You’ll also notice there is a lot of blank space between all those times, that’s because my primary role is being whatever I need to be to make the event successful.  The most important thing you can do in managing this thing is leave yourself open to do what is needed, and in order to do that you will have to delegate, delegate, delegate.  Your schedule will also look vastly different than mine, and that’s because your event will BE different than mine, and that’s awesome – by delivering different experiences we are able to all cater to different audiences.  In fact, Uncle’s Games has two stores 15 minutes from each other and yet we are running vastly different events at those locations, and both will be stronger because of it.

Hope this was helpful.  Feel free to email me any questions at [email protected] and after TableTop Day I would LOVE to hear how things went for you.  This was part 4 of a 5 part series, so you might be wondering, after the event what else is left?  Well, after the event there are many ways to use International TableTop Day and the tabletopday.com website to maximize the return on your investment.  Until next time hope everyone has an AWESOME event, so see you on the other side!

Top 5 literary & word games

Top 5 literary & word games

5) Cards Against Humanity: This dirty twist on Apples to Apples became so popular with my friends I almost got sick of it, which is exactly why they release so many hysterical expansion packs.  Also, props to the creators for putting the game online for free to print.

Cards Against Humanity

4) Huggermugger: The goal of this out of print game is to be the first to spell out a mystery word by solving word puzzles to collect letters. I’m partial to spelling and definitions, but word scrambles still slay me.

huggermugger3

3) Wise & Otherwise: I’d watch a TV show about Wise & Otherwise about the origins of all these weird and wonderful proverbs. It has just the right amount of creativity and reading people to never get old.

wise and otherwise

2) Storymatic: It’s almost cheating to include storymatic, because it’s a several games in one, as well as a writing prompt and a teaching tool. The box comes with hundreds of cards, half rust-colored and half gold. They say things like “person who is always late” and “box of postcards”, which you can mix and match in different ways to create stories.

storymatic

1) Ex Libris:  This game is not for the unimaginative. It’s another bluffing game, but for the first and last sentences of famous literary works. The one that threw all of my friends off? The Wizard of Oz.

game-ex-libris

–Supriya Limaye is a writer based in Los Angeles.

We Love Our Sponsors!

We Love Our Sponsors!

International TableTop Day wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors! Thanks for Japanime Games, AEG, Ravensburger, Asmodee, Calliope Games, Looney Labs, Steve Jackson Games, Stronghold Games and Atlas Games for making 2014 bigger than ever!

Tabletop Gaming: Creating Worldwide Friendships

Tabletop Gaming: Creating Worldwide Friendships

So in the first TGN Editorial, I’m going to talk a bit about my history with gaming and the great friendships it’s created all over the world over the years.

A friend from middle school, Jared, one day introduced me to Magic: The Gathering. That entry into a whole new world could probably be listed as one of the greatest influences on how my life evolved. It might sound like an overstatement, but, considering that the next 20 years or so has been dominated by gaming, it really is the case.

For years there on, my second home became The Fantasy Shop, St. Charles. It was the community there that really kept me going. Friendships created there are still maintained. Though, it does make me feel rather old when I see that friends’ kids, who had been just knee-high when I moved away, now have kids that same age now.

The local gaming community really is paramount to the continued success of tabletop gaming. Along with The Fantasy Shop, I’ve also called places such as Heroic Adventures, Patch and Crowes Nest (unfortunately now closed) and Giga-Bites Gaming Cafe as home. At each one, friendships have been forged in the fires of friendly competition.

That’s the local scene. But hobby gaming is truly a world-wide pastime. The internet gives us a glimpse of gaming’s scope. For me, it was shown when I became a regular poster on the Privateer Press forums. That forum, and other forums like it, create sort of their own virtual Local Game Store. It’s quite possible to talk with other forumites more regularly than those at the real store. These Imagined Communities (as author Benedict Anderson would put it) can be every bit as real and long-lasting as the ones created face-to-face.

Gaming conventions are another place to meet new friends and create new relationships. Events like Adepticonand GenCon bring together gamers from all over the world into a single mass of nerd-dom. Here, gamers who have only known one another online can meet and finally game together. Many forumites I only knew in passing have become great friends due to hanging out with them at a show.

TGN has offered me another great opportunity. Since I have to be in contact with basically every gaming company manager or media officer, I’m constantly interacting with the people out there making all the games I love to play. It’s a really crazy experience, to be honest. I have fanboy moments all the time when I’ll get a notice from various companies.

While we all are a bit eccentric in our own way, the friends that I’ve made through gaming are some of the best I’ve ever had.

The photos are all of people I’ve met through this hobby. This is, of course, just an exceedingly small subset of people I know in relation to gaming. I’m thankful for knowing each.

Find yourself a gamer, and you’ll find yourself a friend.

–Jason “Polar_Bear” Koepp, Editor in Chief of Tabletop Gaming News

Making Connections

Making Connections

 GameGuyThinks3Last year, I helped out at the Crazy Squirrel Game Store here in Fresno, California as a demonstrator for some smaller games during the first annual International TableTop Day. The Squirrel had arranged a blood drive, so I was happily exhausted and a pint low by the end of the day. I remember playing Alhambra with a couple of friends, and we were so tired that everything became funny. We laughed like kids.
Tabletop gaming changed from an activity to a hobby for me about ten years ago, when I realized that my wife’s chronic illness would frequently make it difficult to be away from home. Tabletop gaming has provided me a wonderful group of friends that understand my situation and have given me a lot of support when I needed it. It’s given me a creative outlet through writing at my gaming blog, Gameguythinks, and it’s brought me even closer to my family. TableTop Day is a great opportunity for people to makethose first steps into our hobby.
What I love about tabletop gaming is how the game is both important and yet completely irrelevant. The game provides a point of entry into a social contract where everyone agrees to sit down at a table and have a good time. It acts as both a contract and catalyst that helps define the parameters of how the players will interact, which helps lower anxieties that people may have in social situations. Maybe Bob doesn’t always know what to do or say at the office party, but he knows what he’s supposed to do on his turn of Ticket to Ride. If someone makes a reference to geek culture, then maybe Bob feels even less anxious. These are people who share similar experiences and a common cultural vocabulary.
This kind of shared experience not only builds lasting friendships and a sense of local community, but it also acts as a point ofconnection that can help people find a place in a much larger international community of like minded people. I have a few friends that travel quite a bit for their work, and they often seek out gaming groups in the cities that they visit. They may not know anyone at the table, but they know how to play Munchkin or Small World. It’s the same game with different players. They know what is expected of them in the context of the social interaction, even if they don’t yet know the people.
I look forward to this year’s International Tabletop Day. On April 5th, you will once again find me at the Crazy Squirrel, playing games and making new friends. Whether you spend TableTop Day with a small group at someone’s house or at a much larger event, I encourage you to make those connections with those people who are new to our hobby. Let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay if they don’t know all of the rules. It’s not about the game. It’s about people coming together and having a good time. Have fun and I hope you laugh like kids.
–Jeff Myers blogs about gaming at GameGuyThinks.com

Developing Boardgames – A different approach to gaming

Developing Boardgames – A different approach to gaming

I’ve been involved with the tabletop gaming hobby for just over 20 years now – I was introduced to these great games of ours back in college.  I had always played “board games” as a child, and I had managed to discover the MB Gamemaster series in high school.  I was enthralled by the level of complexity of these games, and I was playing them all the time.  When I first arrived at college, I had trouble finding other boardgamers, but I was quickly enveloped in the budding Magic: the Gathering community.  I played competitively for a few years (from Alpha thru Fallen Empires), but it only took one random game-day at the local game store to turn me onto board games.

Subdivision-exampleAt that time, the quantity of new games available was small, but each one was a fantastic experience, and I was instantly hooked.  My initial game collection was filled with games like Settlers of Catan, El Grande, Modern Art, Showmanager, and Mississippi Queen.   It didn’t take long for me to discover that I could get a new and challenging experience with each different game – and at a much lower cost than a collectible card game!  Within a few months, I had sold most of the Magic cards and I had become a regular at game night at the store.

Fast forward to today – gaming has become a central part of my life.  The majority of my free time is spent working and playing with games.  On a daily basis, I am always thinking about or writing about games.  For the past few years, I have been serving as the editor-in-chief of the Opinionated Gamers, a blog devoted to reviews and commentary about gaming.  The Opinionated Gamers are a collection of roughly 40 gamers who all are not afraid to express their opinions on games.  I also spend time each day on Boardgamegeek.com serving as an admin, mostly curating the file submissions.

I have also been blessed to be a part of the production team of a number of games – most prominently being asked to be a developer for Dominion, the 2009 Spiel des Jahres winner.  I have also helped develop a number of other games including Agricola (namely the solo game and many of the expansions), Suburbia (and its expansions), and a few soon-to-be announced projects from Bezier Games.  In the past year, I have also tried my hand in the game design arena – co-designing three games for Carrera that should be hitting the German shelves any day now: Gib Gas!, Start Frei, and Flizz&Miez.   Having done both, I have come to the discovery that I really do prefer developing games to designing them.

When people ask me to describe being a developer, I start by telling them that my job is analogous to being a book editor.  I take a very good idea from a game designer and try to turn it into a great one – but in the end, I try to keep the end result in line with what the designer had started with.   I have found that you have to take a very different approach to a game when you are trying to make it better.  Not only do you have to be able to play the game well, you also have to try to play it with different styles and strategies.  A developer needs to make sure that the game will “work” for all gamers.  Additionally, a developer needs to make sure that the game isn’t broken or fragile – i.e. that the rules and the game will hold up even under the most extreme strategies and statistically improbable occurrences.

dominionboxSo, the initial process of developing a game is to play it (over and over) and make sure that the game is fun, the rules are clear to understand and that it is enjoyable.  For most of the projects that I have taken on, this part of the process has been blissfully quick – though I think that this is mostly due to the fact that the games were very good designs.  Heck, after about the third game of Dominion, I knew that the game had the potential to be an awesome game.  For most games, I would say somewhere between 10 to 20 games is enough to feel that I understand the game and the possible strategies.  I’ll spend the first half of those games just playing to enjoy the game, and then I’ll spend the second half trying to play specific strategies that I have learned from previous plays.  If I find that I’m not really enjoying the game at this point, it’s probably time for me to step away from the game and let someone else do the developing – if I can’t tolerate the first dozen games, how will I ever be able to make it through the next 100?!

Once I know the game works, then I need to make sure that it isn’t fragile.  I need to make sure that the game plays well in varying circumstances.  The best way to do this is to have all sorts of groups try the game and see how it works for them.  This process ensures that there is no element of “groupthink” in my local group of playtesters; sometimes that group falls into a habit when playing a game, and I need to make sure that this pattern of play isn’t necessary for the game to succeed. In general, during this portion of the developing, I will try my best NOT to play in the games.  I do not want to give the testers any advice or examples on how to play.  I need to see how the game works as if I weren’t there.  Watching how others play a game can help me focus in on areas in the rules that are confusing or poorly explained.  I can also see if players are spontaneously developing similar strategies or not.  Figuring out what the playtesters are gravitating towards can help me when I try to balance things out. This is a hard thing for me to do because I really want to be actually playing games, not just watching games, but this is a necessary step in making sure the game turns out right.

navigatorAfter each play of the game in this phase, I will ask the testers all sorts of questions.  It’s important to know if they liked the game and if they found it enjoyable.  I will also make a point of asking the testers if there is anything they would do to change the game – I’m always amazed at the insights someone has after seeing the game for the first time (from a different perspective than my own).  Once I’ve collected all this information, it’s time to take the game back to the workshop and alter it if needed based on the feedback I’ve received thus far.

The final step in the process for me is to make sure that the game can’t be broken.  To do this, I will once again start playing in the playtest games.  But, I won’t be playing to win – instead, I’ll be trying the most extreme strategies that I can come up with to make sure that the game rules can withstand this type of play.  To use some examples from Dominion, I tried to see what would happen if:

·         I tried to build a deck by only buying more money cards and victory point cards (never buying action cards)

·         I tried to buy Duchy cards as quickly as possible

·         I tried to buy all the Witch cards and give curses out at every possible opportunity

·         I tried to buy all the Village cards to play them each turn

·         I tried to buy as many cards as possible each turn to speed up the end of the game

Each of the above strategies is fairly degenerate, but each caused us to change the rules of the game to make sure that anyone trying them would cause the game to lock up or end prematurely.  While each of these phases is equally important in developing a game, this is my favorite part because this is when I really get to explore the limits of the game to make sure that it works.

suburbiaThere are a number of events going on in the local area, and I am going to do my best to make it to at least one of them.  I’m also going to try to set up an interesting game developing experience where I’m going to run a playtesting session for one of my current projects.  The interesting part is that I’m trying to unite folks from disparate time zones – a spread of about 10 hours.   I’m at the stage where I need to find candid opinions from gamers who have not yet seen the game before.   The hope is that I can set up a video conference to bring together gamers from the West Coast (Vancouver), East Coast (Boston), England and Germany to try out the final prototype of the game.  I’ve never tried anything like this before, and honestly, I figured that International Table Top Day would be the perfect opportunity to bring together folks from four different countries (and in four different time zones) to play a game and enjoy our wonderful hobby.  With any luck, the games that I’m working on will come together, and you’ll be able to see them for yourself at Essen 2014.

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

Developing Boardgames – A different approach to gaming – by Dale Yu

TableTop Day Swag

TableTop Day Swag

Geeks love collecting their favorite things. We tabletop gaming geeks are the same. We’ve got our autographed copies and limited edition collector’s editions of our favorite games, but most loved items in the community are probably the exclusive promotional items. So, Geek & Sundry has made a whole new batch of amazing TableTop Day exclusive promos items just for you. And trust me, you’re going to want to go to your favorite local game store and get your hands on all of these promo items!

Here’s a listing of just some of the promotional items for TableTop Day 2014:

Wil Wheaton Promo Leader (7 Wonders)

Wil Wheaton Promo Leader (7 Wonders)

If you watched our live streaming event in 2013, you’ll know that we love the game 7 Wonders from Asmodee and think it’s one of the best games. So, we are super proud to announce the official Wil Wheaton 7 Wonders promotional leader. Wil’s special power in real life is to draw the best talent around him, so the game designer Antoine Bauza simulated his power in game. When played, Wil has the ability to draw all leaders to one player. You pick the best and give the rest back. Super powerful and doubly so if you get it autographed by Wil himself at one of his many convention appearances.

Krosmater Duel Pack tactics game.

Krosmaster Duel Pack tactics game.

One of the hottest games coming out of PAX Prime last year was KrosMaster: Arena, a tactical skirmish game with the most amazing sculpts by Japanime Games. KrosMaster is based on the anime and if you love Final Fantasy Tactics and games like it, you’ll love this: a fully playable game KrosMaster Duel Pack as a promo item! The steampunk dude is really crafty and incredibly powerful if left unchecked on the board, but I know you’ll love the visually-similar-but-legally-distinct Captain Amakna fig in the KrosMaster Duel Pack. The new Captain America movie comes out the same weekend as TableTop Day, so celebrate by getting your hands on these super amazing promo items!

TableTop Day Fluxx promo

TableTop Day Fluxx promo

If you’ve been to a gaming convention, chances are you’ve seen the tie-dyed color scheme of Looney Labs and their wonderfully chaotic game Fluxx. Well, now those colors grant you an amazing ability in game with the new TableTop Day Fluxx promo rule. Plus 1 draw and plus 1 play if you’re wearing tie-dye? I didn’t want to tell Andy Looney that the card was overpowered, because the one thing gamers love more than exclusive promos is hella powerful exclusive promos!

TableTop Day Munchkin bookmark

TableTop Day Munchkin bookmark

Our friends at Steve Jackson Games make a lot of great games including one of our favorites, Munchkin. And if have any of the promotional items for the game, you know that every thing has its own rule. Enter the official TableTop Day Munchkin Bookmark. While basking under the warming rays of the TableTop Day logo, you can just show this bookmark and slay any creature. What’s that, an ancient plutonium dragon? Boom! Bookmark. Gotta have these for your gaming group!

TableTop Day promo for Roll For It

TableTop Day promo for Roll For It

Microgames are hot. You’ve probably noticed the new trend in gaming to make smaller and faster games, games you can carry with you to dinner or play in line waiting. So, when I asked my good friends at Calliope Games to make a promo for their sweet new dice game Roll For It, I was not surprised to see it a pocket game playable in a couple minutes. But what I was completely blown away by was the production value on Roll For It: Express! The game comes with 6 dice in a new color set (which is amazing), but look at that art by award-winning illustrator Echo Chernik! Must have!

There are so many items in the TableTop promotional retail launch kit, that I’m just going to have to list them all out here to save space. If you’re a retail store, you may get the kits from your distributor (yes, they’re severely allocated so do not wait!). If you’re a gamer, you have to go to your favorite local game store and pick up these items. And if you can’t find one near you, just check the map out on www.tabletopday.com to find a participating store near you!

Here is the complete list of promotional items found in this year’s promo launch kit:

  • Love Letter
  • 7 Wonders Wil Wheaton leader card
  • Gloom TableTop expansion
  • Roll For It: Express!
  • Castle Panic multicolor hero card
  • Origins Game Fair Golden Ticket
  • Coup Inquisitor promo role cards
  • KrosMaster: Arena membership card
  • KrosMaster Duel Pack
  • Fluxx TableTop Day promo card
  • Mice & Mystics promo cards
  • Geek Out promo pack
  • Killer Bunnies promo card
  • Slangology promo pack
  • Unspeakable Words promo card
  • Labyrinth promo 
  • Munchkin TableTop Day Bookmark
  • Space Sheep exclusive promo
  • A bunch of G&S promos items as well (yeyeah!)

And you want to know what’s even more amazing than this incredible list of promotional items? There is a whole separate list of premium merchandise that you can get in the premium merch bundle. I’ll share the premium list in a separate post, but I’m going to put this image here to close out the post with a super teaser. Get ready to lose your mind!!

Felicia Day's card from the upcoming Geeks Deck expansion to Smash Up!

Felicia Day’s card from the upcoming Geeks Deck expansion to Smash Up!

How to Host a Game and a Curry Tabletop Day

How to Host a Game and a Curry Tabletop Day

There are a few simple rules to hosting a successful Game and a Curry Tabletop Day event.

 

1. Shopping for a Game and a Curry Tabletop Day is easy, but first you need to do a few things…

a. Set yourself a budget.

b. Ignore your budget. You’re going to want to impress all your friends and friends’ friends by serving them loads of sweet and savory treats that hopefully don’t stare back at you.

c. Find yourself a good Japanese (or Chinese) grocery store.

d. Buy an absolute crap-ton of stuff that you may or may not know, because it’s all written in Japanese and/or Chinese. Make sure you carefully look at the pictures on the boxes for seaweed, sea cucumbers or other sea animals that probably shouldn’t be eaten by people with unsuspecting palates.

 

Note: Candy is not safe from this either, I’ve found “candy” that has fish, sea urchin, and other ground unmentionables in it happily packed in a box with Hello Kitty-esque cartoons on it.

 

 

2. Plan your menu.

 

Every successful Game and a Curry Day includes curry. There are literally tons of different types of curry on the market and we’ve tried them all. If you read our blog, you know we suggest Kokumaro. Stay away from Golden Curry, Vermont Curry, Java Curry, and anything strictly written in Japanese. Next is to plan your extras. Our favorites are: SPAM, pickled ginger, SPAM, bacon, SPAM, SPAM sausage, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, fried egg, SPAM, or lobster thermidor aux crevettes, with a mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy and a fried egg on top and SPAM.

 

Make sure if you don’t have a rice cooker you use Minute Rice. Trying to make normal rice without a cooker is just too much work, especially if you run out. 

 

 

3. Invite friends that know how to play nice (but not that nice)

 

You all know that person. The Alpha player. The one that has to lead the team into victory, because they’re a know-it-all. They know what’s best for everyone. They can’t keep their mouth shut during Pandemic and they frequent in anxiety attacks in Hanabi. They then get angry and you end up feeling like you don’t want to play anymore. Hey, you may be that person. If you are, then calm down. It’s only a game.

 

On the other hand, if you are a competitive person, go on and be that way. It’s fun being a jerk to other people, but only when they want you to be a jerk. Think of it like BDSM. You both need to consent to the jerkyness and have safewords.

 

Oh and lastly, no one likes an arrogant prick. Don’t be an arrogant prick. You won’t get invited anywhere.

 

 

4. Prizes are an important part of any Tabletop Day, even more so on a Game and a Curry Tabletop Day. We personally like to give out prizes not only for winning a game, but at the end of the night for things like, sportsmanship, tardiness, eating the most curry, and best loser. 

 

Here’s a list of prizes you may want to consider for your own Tabletop Day:

  • A set of brown D6′s
  • Bags of dried squid
  • Boxes of Kokumaru
  • Ramune (don’t just give this stuff to guests, it’s too damn good)
  • A sharpened pencil
  • Games you bought and don’t like

 

 

 

5. Be sure to have as many refreshments as possible stocked up

 

You don’t want to suddenly run out of drinks. Especially when you have a beer-guzzling friend (Jen) in the midst. A great way to prevent this from happening is to ask your guests to bring their own. Even if you have plenty to go around, it’s always good to have a little extra. Also, when they bring their own, they’re usually too tired or drunk to take any leftovers with them, hence you end up with a fridge full of alcohol.

 

 

6. Don’t forget about the overnighters!

 

A lot of the time, your friends may either live too far or are too drunk to go home, so be prepared to have space for them to crash at yours. Most of the time, good friends are nice enough to help you clean up the next day. But a good trick is to always tell those who have had too much to drink that they have to help you clean the next day. They’ll be so out of it that they’ll just nod in compliance before drifting off to sleep.


7. And finally, have games that everybody likes. Not Monopoly.

Tickets for Geek & Sundry's LA event are now on sale!

Tickets for Geek & Sundry's LA event are now on sale!

For the 2nd Annual International TableTop Day we decided to invite all our friends! Join Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and many, many more to play more games on April 5th.

What’s going on in LA? Geek & Sundry is having a party to accompany its worldwide livestream. We’re inviting hundreds of fans and friends of G&S to join us in Los Angeles to play as many games as we can in 5 hours!

What does my ticket get me? Access to Geek & Sundry’s exclusive LA event, a hotdog or hamburger, and 1 drink ticket (alcoholic or non-alcoholic.) Plus, you get to hang out with G&S and play games from our HUGE library. (Including an actual huge game. Yeah, it’s ginormous– 10 feet x 10 feet. The pawns are people!)

To buy tickets: http://tabletopday.bpt.me

Note: TICKETS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR. YOU MUST PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE TO ATTEND.

Growing Up With "Carpet-top" Gaming

Growing Up With "Carpet-top" Gaming

My relationship with my grandparents is inextricably tied with games.  They lived on the other side of the planet, so when they were stateside or I was in India, I had to share them with everyone: parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. That’s how games became the thing we could all do together.

When I was younger, it was Indian Rummy, Sevens, Paanch Teen Don (5, 3, 2), Three Card Brag, Langdi, or Coat Piece. We played sitting on the cement floor of my grandmother’s flat, or my family’s living room, and we played constantly. As I got older, I got to play the grown-up games, like Canasta and Bridge, which were much more strategic, and primed me for the tabletop games I play now.

cards

The best part of these games was the silly house rules we developed, joke-rivalries, and favors owed and earned for points. Some of my best memories of my extended family are from sitting around playing Canasta and seeing my grandfather dramatically pray to the heavens for a card, not get it, and literally throw his hat on the carpet in disgust. My less-than-polite Marathi vocabulary grew a lot playing Canasta.

 

Every so often, if I was lucky, we busted out the Carrom board. Carrom works a lot like pool, except the balls are disks called “men” and there are no cues. Instead, players use their fingers to flick the Striker, which slides the men into pockets. The most valuable disc is the single red queen. Unlike most tabletop games, it requires physical skill and callused fingers to play effectively, so I mostly watched my father square off with his, and various uncles. Still, it was great fun to see them square up their shots while dusting the board with Boric acid.

carrom-167022_640

The nicest thing about playing games was the common ground I found with my friends from all over the world when I went to college. My Korean friends, Russian exchange students, and especially other Indian kids all grew up playing the same games at home—just with different names. It was nice that hours of fun could be had with a five dollar pack of cards and endless variations on games. I still throw a pack in my bag whenever I travel.

That’s why I’m thrilled to be joining people all over the world in celebration of the long tradition of gaming on International TableTop Day. April can’t come soon enough!

–Supriya Limaye is an avid board game fan and writer based in L.A.