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It has been rather a tiring month.

Mostly because I've been very busy. Let's see...

UK Games Expo


The month started with the final run-up to UK Games Expo 2016, which I was attending as an exhibitor for the first time, demoing and selling SteamWorks for three days. I was expecting it to be tiring in a happy fun way, like my four days at Essen had been. It was exhausting, and not as happy or fun as I'd expected, though still a good experience.

Several things went wrong with setting up my stand, some easily fixed such as needing to borrow 5m of cloth from some friends who were there, other things needing me to pay £50 to get something which I'd thought was included (and had been included at Essen). And where at Essen I'd sold two copies before the show even started, on the whole first day of Expo I sold ZERO copies of the game. Days 2 and 3 were better, but nowhere near the sales I'd had at Essen, leaving me with a big collection of unsold stock, and having made a loss financially overall.

That's the downside. On the upside, though, I did spend three days playing SteamWorks; loads of people enjoyed it; a fair number of people bought it, and took out home to teach to their friends; and several other people liked it and told me it was going on their wishlist or birthday list.

Saturday (day 2) was lovely, because woodpijn was able to zone up and join me on the stand. Things were much nicer with two of us. I'd booked enough tables and chairs that we were able to have two copies of the game out, one of us leading a demo game while the other was talking to passers-by or giving shorter explanations (or taking money). Sunday I was on my own again, including for teardown of the stall, which was very tiring, followed by a 2 hour drive back to Cambridge. I've made a firm decision to never do solo exhibiting again, but always do something like team up with someone.


And more busyness


So that finished on Sunday 6th. It took me several days to recover from the exhaustion, by which time it was Wednesday 9th and I was travelling down to London to meet a publisher to playtest and discuss Shape Of A Nation, the game formerly known as Empire Builder. The last time I'd met them things had been left in a somewhat negative state, but this meeting was very positive and uplifting. I'd been feeling rather down about the game and not had the energy or motivation to do much development for months, but after this publisher meeting I've been feeling much better about things and made a few developments. This was a very positive day, but it did involve a couple more hours driving than most days do.

There followed a couple of weeks where I was very busy most evenings and several daytimes, including a Sunday morning where I'd arranged to drive the video camera at church for a special service, but there were technical problems and it seemed like I'd failed to record the service at all. (It later turned out that I had actually been recording most of it and everything was okay, but it was a stressful morning at the time.)

The next weekend brought this year's Cambridge Steampunk Event, at which I was running the board gaming table :) I did have SteamWorks with me there for sale, but I wasn't expecting to sell many. It was a delightful day. I played a couple of games of SteamWorks and one game of Steampunk Rally, admired excellent costumes, watched the second Cambridge Hat Racing Championship, and so on.

However this was also a week in which I was leading two church activities: a bible study on Thursday night and a Sunday school class on Sunday morning. So having not really recovered from Expo, I was still rather zonked.

Then the week of the 20th-26th was even busier, with some event or other every single evening that week. Fun things, for the most part, but still that's a recipe for a tiring week.

Then Friday brought additional stress with its distressing result of the referendum. I was in a state of shock all day and found it hard to get much done at work that day. People on the internet were panicking, with what seemed to be good cause; it was very good to go to a church meeting that evening and talk and pray about it with sensible, calm Christians, which provided some measure of catharsis.

There was no time to calm down, though, because that Saturday I was doing balloon modelling at Bethany's school fête, followed by a friend's stag do in the evening, and on Sunday I was off to give back the 5m of cloth that I'd borrowed from some friends in the board game design industry (and play a couple of games while I was there).


And work too...


All this might not have been so bad except that things have been extremely busy and demanding at work too. As well as the usual release development to be doing, we've had an extra release or two to be qualifying, and a series of emergencies needing urgent action, which is rather unusual for a company that's generally very methodical: there have been more "drop everything, this is urgent" tasks this month than in the previous five. Plus there's been a management restructuring that has meant my productivity has been under increased scrutiny. So where in some months I'd go to work and catch my breath and recover from the busy evenings and weekends, that's not really been the case this month.


All in all... I am very very tired. So I'm going to bed now. Night-night.