Nov 262014
 

TheApprentice-300x207[1] By Paco Garcia Jaen

Beware, this open letter is an opinionated rant about games in large department stores.

Last night, after our holidays, we decided to watch the only episode of The Apprentice I could have possibly had any interest in. The episode in which they have to design a board game from start to finish in 48 hours and then sell it.

Let’s not go into the issues of asking a bunch of self-serving, up-their-own-asses, pompous, arrogant cretins to create something none of them have a freaking clue about (I am sure their mum think they are wonderful and that if I took time to “get to know them” they would look or sound so bad; but the fact is that they sound that bad and that’s all I have to go with. Sorry).

Let’s not go into the fact that one of the groups designed – more like put together, but never mind – a game that children were actually enjoying even though it was Pictionary for geography without maps and ugly as hell. Geogeek, I think it was called. At least that one had hope of becoming something better if someone with 1/2 a brain took a look at it.

Let’s not go into the fact that the other game was a sexist piece of shit game in which people were giving a multiple choice question and they had to choose the answer. Questions like “What do women like more in a man? A smile, great clothes, lots of money”. Exactly. Let’s not get started on “The Relationship Guru”.

Instead lets get started on how the buying process from Waterstones and Toy R Us went. And for fairness’ sake, let’s assume this was all staged and it might not resemble reality, though by looking at the selection of games they have in those stores, it is safe to assume also that reality is not too far from that program.

During that process, the sellers pitched their “games” to people who looked like generic buyers and not games specialists (first mistake, dear department stores!) and were only interested in whether the game would sell or not, not if the game was any good or not.

And I know that because none of them played the game. None. A few times they asked the “apprentices” to play and explain the game in front of them, but that was it. No real interest in experience what their customers would go through or how much enjoyment they will derive from it. Nothing.

Still, they sold a lot of copies and even Toys R Us got some copies of the detestable Relationship Guru. That left me totally speechless, but I guess when you don’t have to worry about how much your game costs to produce because we, the TV licence payer is actually subsidising that, you can afford to sell a game for £8 even if it costs £12 or £15 to produce.

To say that I was dismayed is an understatement.

Today I went by the games section of WHSmith and then the shop window of Waterstones and suddenly it all made sense.

The rather poor selection of Monopolies, Boggles, Scrabbles, Risks and the like are there because the buyers are not interested in games. They are not interested in their customer’s satisfaction. They just want to make a quick buck.

And quick is the key word here.

If they were prepared to nurture a selection of customers who will come back time and time again, they’d be prepared to have games that might cost them a bit more than £8 to buy, they’d feel the benefits. If they had someone in the shop able to give an overview of a game that involved more than “roll two dice” or “draw a card and read from it” they would feel it.

But most importantly, if they actually had people who understand games running their games’ sections they could, probably would, become the next wave of games store in every single town with all the benefits that entails. Probably most of the people reading this article would be able to restock the shelves of any major store with a better games selection that could attract more customers.

Imagine this. Go into Waterstones in Brighton. They have a Costa cafe on the third floor. The games are on the ground floor (first floor for you American friends). Buy your game. Sit down with a coffee and start to play.

How could that possibly be a bad thing for any business?

So shops of the world, please get your act together. Hire people to the job who understand the product and, most importantly, the customer. Find a way to balance your need and your ability to sell to promote good games, not the same old tropes. It really doesn’t take much and the long-term benefits will be much, much bigger.

And if you need any help, let me know. I know people who know people who’d be delighted to help you too!

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Nov 252014
 

pic2241156_t[1]Alchemists did extremely well at Spiel in 2014. With really cute and gorgeous art direction and a game play to die for, this game is set to become a new classic.

To make matters even better, the game uses an app to help you play the game.

In a way that actually helps the game by replacing the need for a player to act as the games director. And it works!

I had a chat with the rather fantastic Lenka Holubova, from Czech Games Edition Marketing & PR department about the game and why it is so cool.

Hope you enjoy this interview!

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Nov 252014
 

pic1268514_t[1] I could tell you a lot about this company and its charismatic leader, Ignacy Trzewiczek.

I could because they do lots of things and they keep coming up with tremendous games even if the topic might look bizarre.

They just have a knack for it, it would seem.

I caught up with Ignacy at Spiel to check about their new releases and what’s been going on at the company and this is the result.

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Nov 222014
 

LOGO_NOSOLOROL_2012 Well, at last I can announce it. It’s been coming a few weeks now and I haven’t said anything because… well because it could have gone in a different direction, but it hasn’t and I’m happy and very excited.

From now, G*M*S Magazine will also be G*M*S Iberia.

We have associated with Nosolorol Ediciones in Spain to help spread the wealth of Spanish games into the English speaking  market, and help identify exceptional roleplaying games to bring into the Spanish market.

Nosolorol has been a driving force in the RPG scene in Spain for many years and their catalogue of games is nothing sort of impressive.

With titles that cater for the youngest of players like Pequenyos Detectives de Monstruos en la Oscuridad (Little Dectives of Monsters in the Dark) and La Torre de Rudecindus (Rudecindus’ Tower) to adult titles like Cultos Innombrables (Unnameable Cults) o Fragmentos: Director’s Cuts and the rather magnificent Aquelarre, the company has a very extensive catalogue that will fit pretty much any area of the market.

On the other side, G*M*S Iberia will evaluate roleplaying games that will fit into the Spanish market to propose new partnership between the two companies.

We will aim to break the language barrier between the two companies as well as help throughout the licensing process and ensure communication is maintained smoothly until production is in place. With this, we aim to help make sure everything happens as quickly as possible with the maximum amount of transparency.

G*M*S Iberia remains an independent entity but will concentrate mainly on Nosolorol as a partner for its quality and variety of games that we can guarantee to satisfy the standard we would like to satisfy.

We now welcome pitches for games if you are interested in publishing your game into Spanish territory, and welcome enquires from publishers to publish Nosolorol games.

Let the new adventure begin!

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Nov 112014
 

FriendComputer[1]Paranoia stormed on the tables of gamers all over the world in the 80 and has remained an iconic game that lots and lots of people were rather looking forward to see rebooted.

Hence it’s no surprise that when it came out in Kickstarter just a few days ago, it smashed its funding goal in less than a day and it’s still gathering a lot of money. And rightly so!

The authors chosen to bring this new edition of the game to life have all a tremendous record in game design and publishing, so that alone makes betting on this game a very safe procedure. No doubt the combination of James Wallis, Paul Dean and Grant Howitt should put anyone and everyone’s fears to rest.

In any event, and to make sure you have every single possible reason to back this project, I got together with two of the traitors designers to find out more about exiting new edition of the game.

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Nov 102014
 

Iello[1] Iello has gone from strength to strength for the last few years building up on the successes of games like King of Tokyo and others.

Every single year at Spiel they have improved their offering not just in the amount of games, but also in the space they make available for the public to try their games and how approachable they are as a company.

They are, quite frankly and honestly, a pleasure to deal with.

A combination of the *insane* amount of games they released at Spiel and that willingness to talk about their games is what made us want to have a longer interview and start the series of interviews from Spiel with them.

Find out about Zombie 15, King of New York, The Hare and the Tortoise, Guardian’s Chronicles and The Night of the Grand Octopus straight from Mathieu Bonin!

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