Well, we had a very pleasant Thanksgiving holiday and I hope
you did as well. This year we shared the big meal of the day
with Alison's family, in Richmond. We had a great dinner there
with eight of her relatives ranging from her grandfather down
to his other grandkids, Alison's teenaged cousins, Brian and
Diana. They ended up returning to our house in the evening, along
with their parents and Alison's mom Jean, for family dessert
night at Wunderland.Earth. There we were joined by my parents
and Kristin's parents, plus Kristin's grandmother and aunt and
uncle, for a fabulous buffet of desserts Alison had prepared,
featuring four homemade pies plus a couple of other true desserts
(i.e. things made with chocolate). Members of all three of our
families mingled thus for a time, and then our friends started
coming over and we settled in for a night of gaming, featuring
a lot of playtesting (and name brainstorming) of Secret Project
44-CC. It was a great day all around and a reminder that we have
much to be grateful for indeed.
other big event for us this week was, of course, Pop Tart Cafe
#3, held at Philcon, which, to quote Ginohn, was a "raging
success". Check out Eeyore's
page of photos as well as my online
scrapbook for scenes of the latest incarnation. As you might
expect, the attention this time was on Chrononauts,
and it was a big, big hit. It sold like pancakes, far outselling
everything else we'd brought, which included everything in own
our line as well as the games at ContagiousDreams.
Speaking of which, we've come to a new decision about this.
It's been almost two years since we first concocted ContagiousDreams,
long enough now to start drawing conclusions about it, and while
the online side of it is working fine (though sorely in need
of expansion and promotion), we've decided to stop featuring
ContagiousDreams games at our in-person events.
This was not an easy decision, as there are many issues involved.
From a financial standpoint, the added sales generated by ContagiousDreams
games seem great. 18% of our sales this weekend were in CD games
(though at Origins,
the average was only 12%). But it comes at a cost. It leaves
consumers confused about who we are and which products we actually
make ourselves. More to the point, it distracts attention from
our own stuff. We've added a lot of products to our own line
since starting ContagiousDreams, and at this point, we don't
need any games but our own to keep a roomful of gamers entertained
all day. Finally, the packing, hauling, tracking, and unpacking
of all those additional items adds considerably to the workload
involved in running one of these events, and as we seek to expand
our schedule of appearances, we need to streamline our processes
as much as possible. So, even though the tests have been profitable,
we've decided to limit the existence of our online store to the
realm it was created for: cyberspace. Henceforth, we'll be handing
out the ContagiousDreams catalog, but not actually selling any
those products, at events like the Pop-Tart Cafe.
There were a few mishaps this time out.... since we're insanely
busy, the packing was extra rushed and we forgot to bring lots
of little things we wanted, including our primary toaster, of
obvious importance at a Pop-Tart Cafe. (Happily, thanks to a
little help from our friends, we now own a brand new *four-slice*
toaster!) Also, when we arrived on Friday night, we were incredibly
dismayed to find that our room was not the full-size suite we
were expecting, but instead a much smaller room, too small really
for us to operate out of, and without the all-important coat
closet we use as a Pop-Tart kitchen. Long story short, Kristin
(the Amazing Accomplisher of the Impossible) got the whole thing
straightened out in the morning and we moved to more appropriate
digs on the sixth floor.
There were other mishaps with happy endings. After a lot of
trouble, we finally managed to get some pizzas ordered, and apparently
while fumbling with cash, I gave the delivery guy an extra $20
bill (beyond the tip). He made a special trip back to return
it! And late that night, while Joshua and Lisa were helping us
load stuff into the van after closing, Josh lost his cell phone.
He was sad for awhile, but when we got home and unpacked, we
found it, and mailed it back to him!
So the setbacks were minor, while the successes were grand.
We created a great gaming space and it was jammed with people
having fun with our games from the moment we opened at 2 in the
afternoon to when we finally closed down around 3 in the morning.
And I even managed to play a few games myself! (Including some
quality playtesting of my new game...)
It was fun getting to see various friends and fans again,
and just as we had neat new things to show off, so too did others:
Zarf brought along a really cool flashing light gizmo he'd made
for us (based on a request we made several years ago), Eeyore
gave me a Button
Me he'd made of me ("andy designs games, writes stories,
draws cartoons, takes photographs, programs computers, rules
the universe, and likes to beat people up") and Andrew Bergstrom
brought along a pile of really cool felt-backed plexiglass renditions
of Eeyore's design for a 3-way
Martian chessboard. (We bartered for a set of six.) Thanks
for the cool stuff, guys!
Anyway, it was a great success, but as usual, we couldn't
have done it without all the help and support of our friends,
and in particular I want to thank Dale and Dan and 'Becca and
Zarf and Eeyore and Paul and Hayley and Kory and Ginohn (and
of course, Kristin and Alison) for everything. You guys rock!
Thanks for running errands and loaning us furniture and helping
us haul our stuff back and forth. We couldn't have done it without