Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Merging Board Games and Electronics

A group at Queen's University in Canada is taking some serious steps towards merging board gaming with electronics to produce a compelling potential experience. See the demonstration below.

This isn't the first time anyone's thought about board games including an electronic component (Space Alert has a fun CD audio element, for example) but it's certainly the most interesting and cutting edge implementation I've seen, and it looks like it would be SO MUCH fun to play.

What kills me is, these guys were demonstrating the technology at MIT yesterday. If I'd only known, I could have interviewed them, and since I've already got a lot of discussion about board games on tech platforms like the iPhone or XBox, it would have been a nice addition.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Last Friday, I drove to the American Library Assocication conference in Boston, MA to interview Scott Nicholson, of the Board Games with Scott podcast series.

Scott brings a lot to the game table. Not only does he do the podcasts, as a professor of Library Science at Syracuse University, he's also heavily involved in getting librarians to add board games to their lending programs. Oh, and runs a large annual board gaming event one of the nights of the main ALA conference. He's also recently crossed into designer territory himself, with the 2009 release of Tulipmania 1637.

It was a wonderful interview, and I've since transcribed and loaded it into my digital treasure trove of stuff.

This past week, I also became acquainted with Myriad Games in Salem, NH. I'll be heading over there at some point to get a store owner's perspective, and to film a game night, which they run regularly.

There aren't very many more interviews needed. I fussed around some with footage, but I didn't get much done in the way of editing the last 2 weekends. I'm going to make a schedule with deadlines, it's the only way I can really dig in. But I'm thinking about structure. There's going to be a segment about electronics and iPhone ports, and one about Catan, one about collection sizes and the collecting bug, oh, and maybe I'll include a snippet of Essen in the film, you know, just for kicks... ;)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Books for board game designers

@2boardgames posted a link this morning to an amazon.com Listmania list of "Books for Board and Card Game Designers."

The list is pretty thorough and includes books on the history of old-school board games as well. Worth a look even if you aren't designing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Editing in Studio B-2

I started editing the intro for Going Cardboard a couple weeks back, and while I managed to post the fact on Twitter and Facebook, I neglected to mention it here. D'oh.

And clearly, the kids' spidey senses just went off, because now they're fighting and crying...excuse me one minute...

Back. See, this is what makes editing a challenge here. It's not just that I'm on the learning curve when it comes to HOW to edit (I watched my Unity Montage the other day just to remind myself that I can do it though). And it's not just that I have like 50 hours of footage, yet still a few key pieces yet to obtain, and I have to keep mental track of all of it. On top of that, it's the fact that really the weekend is the only time to do this, and the kids are home, and they do have an uncanny knack for interrupting me the minute I sit down at the laptop.

This phase, more than any other, is bringing out the inherent challenge that is trying to make a documentary as a mom. I'll figure this out, but I may start affectionately referring to them as "my little monkey wrenches..."

So anyway, I started editing with the intro, not because I'm going sequentially, but because I had a good idea how I want it to look and what I want it to do. And more or less, I got the first 30 seconds to do what I intended. Which is cool!

Hold on, they want ice cream...they know they've got me over a barrel here...

At the moment, the movie begins with some text on screen about Essen. One thing that impressed me about Essen was the constant roar of humanity generated by 150,000 people. It was like being at the ocean. It was also a nightmare for filming interviews, but nonetheless, it was part of the experience. So I wanted to capture that somehow, and the way I'm doing it at the moment is to kick in the audio of that ambient roar as the text is displaying, and fade in to one of my crowd shots (still) as the noise reaches a peak. Sort of like they do when they cover rock concerts. Then, as abruptly as possible, I have it cut out to darkness and silence. The part I'm working on today is where it transitions into people talking about playing board games as kids.

So in a nutshell, the intro so far gives the viewer a preview of where things will be headed later in the film, but in a more static way that doesn't really give it all away (and I have Jason Scott to thank once again for the initial idea of how to do this, because at first I had NO intention of showing Essen right away). Sort of "this is where it is today" and then cutting off in a way that should feel like, "But HOLD ON, now. How did we get there?" And then the story begins.

This stuff is actually harder to explain than to DO, wow. :)