That's right, this Friday, January 17, is the start of Unpub 4. In a previous post, I talked about how I thought I'd missed registration, and then got in when Darrell Louder opened up some new seats. Well, now the time is almost upon us, and I find myself frantically getting ready. I've had a few more play tests of Santa's Workshop since that first one back in November - my brother and sister tried it out over Thanksgiving. My buddy Tom came up for a gaming weekend in December and we got in a 3 player game with my wife. However, up until that point it had all been my family and Tom, who is one of my oldest and closest friends.
Last week at our weekly game night at The Game Parlor in Chantilly, Virginia, I had a chance to get it in front of some of the regulars there. Now, these folks aren't exactly strangers, and some of them I consider close friends, but I thought there might be a little more "honesty" than I get from my family. We only had time to get in half a game (and that does play to my game length fears a bit) - but it was a pretty good success. Everyone seemed to like it, my friend Paul Owen wrote a bit about it in his blog, and I received a very nice email the next day from Traci, one of our regular gamers about how much she enjoyed the game. That was all a very nice boost of confidence heading into Unpub.
I've been spending the last few days making last minute changes - updating some cards, updating the board, adding some more dice to the game, so we're not just reliant on one set, etc. I've never been one to sleeve the cards in my games - however I need to do that for Santa's Workshop since I'm just printing them out on card stock. I'm on my 4th or so iteration of the "Coal Cards" in the game...and let me tell you unsleeving and resleeving 50ish cards that many times is a freaking chore. Not to mention cutting the cards out.
|Cards Cards Cards! At this point, my next design will be card-free...|
So, right now the major thing that I have left to do is a rules re-write to have a decent document to bring to the con, and to upload to the Unpub site. However, I've taken a few steps besides just working on the game itself. I've heard on a few different podcasts that it can be "unprofessional" to give out an obvious personal email such as "firstname.lastname@example.org" (that's not my email address, by the way) - so I went to the effort to set up my own domain - "Fergusongames.com", and get an email address there. Then I went and had business cards printed up with all the pertinent information. I figure that the networking at Unpub will be at least as important as the actual game testing, so I thought I'd best be prepared.
|For an extra fee, I was able to add my portrait to the card. I think it turned out well.|
I've got a note with a list of things to bring with me - I'm living in fear that I'm going to forget something important. But really, I'm just looking forward to getting there at this point. I've talked to Paul a few times, and I think the hardest part may be balancing demoing my own game, and play testing others. The list on the Unpub site is impressive, and I want to play way more than I'll have time for. Unpub has also set up a "Speed Dating" sort of thing for designers to meet for 10 minutes with Game Salute - I'm a bit nervous about that, but I hope to get some honest feedback, good or ill. Well, that's about it for now...next post will likely come on the flip side of Unpub - if I rage quit this whole blog, you'll know things didn't go so well...