When we started our Summer Tour, my original plan was to update the blog from the road and keep everyone updated as we progressed from state to state and made all our stops. Well, between a really aggressive schedule and some very spotty internet coverage, that plan didn’t work out so well… Combine that with trying to get out of Indianapolis on standby the day after GenCon as well as no internet when we got home, and you can see why I’m posting a little late.
Did you know that a lightning strike next to your office will fry your wireless router, even if it’s plugged into a power strip? Now you do. You’re welcome.
So instead I’ll just have to give my recap of the whole trip. I promise it will be better than watching your Aunt’s slideshow of her vacation photos.
In short, it went great. We had a fantastic time, met lots of great people and got to see parts of the country we’d never been to. What’s that? You’d like a little more detail please? Well all right then, let’s start at the beginning!
From there it was off to Cincinnati. Union Terminal in Cincinnati bears an uncanny resemblance to the Hall of Justice from the old Super Friends cartoon don’t you think?
Our first demo of the trip was at Yottaquest. Matt and the crew were mostly familiar with the game, which made for some nice competition for Master Slayer. After some Q+A about the creation of the game, we got in a really fun round of the Overlord version of the game, which we don’t get to demo very often.
The next day we travelled through Cleveland, did some sightseeing and then continued on to Akron where our next stop was at Ahzz’z Arena. Most of the players that night were already fans of Castle Panic, so we had a good time with them, signing games, answering questions and getting destroyed by the Monsters. This gaming group likes to combine two of the alternate rules that came with the rulebook when they play; Under Construction and A Man’s Home Is His Castle. This means you start with no walls and every player is assigned a castle tower at the beginning of the game. We tried a few games with them using those rules and it was a blast, but judging by the devastation we suffered, I’d have to say the Monsters may have enjoyed it more.
After wrapping up Ohio, it was on to Pennsylvania, specifically to Pittsburgh. It turns out Pittsburgh isn’t just steel mills and football players, it’s actually really pretty. We still have good feelings for Pittsburgh, even if the ENTIRE city is under construction and our GPS had every freeway and exit number wrong.
We ran a demo at Barnes and Noble and had a great turnout. This was also the first time we were actually able to see our game on the shelves which was just plain cool!
I’ve already mentioned how excited we are that B&N is rolling out more hobby games and this was a great way to help show them what they are getting into and how fun this stuff can be.
The demos went really well, and it was almost as much fun showing the game to the staff as it was to the customers. The woman on the left is Jesse and she’s in charge of the games section at this particular store. She was great and if you ever go to the Barnes and Noble in Settler’s Ridge Center looking for games, she can definitely help you out.
Then for dinner we found the “Almost Famous” Primanti Bros. restaurant. I’ve always wanted to try one of their sandwiches and here’s proof I finally did. Their Pitts-Burgher Cheese Steak comes loaded with a huge patty, cheese, coleslaw, French fries and tomato. Yes, that’s all actually ON the same sandwich too. It looks like something from an episode of Man v. Food, but it was deee-licious!
The next day took us to Philadelphia, and another demo. This time we were at Six Feet Under Games where we introduced some new players to Castle Panic and also got to play with some very experienced gamers. A few very helpful boulders meant that we actually finished one game with all 6 towers intact and only 1 wall missing. Not too shabby.
The next day we toured the historical area of Philadelphia. It’s amazing and is so full of stories about the start of our country that I could easily fill the rest of this blog with photos, but I’ll resist and just say that if you haven’t been yet, you really should check it out.
That night led us to The Games Keep in West Chester where we got to introduce the game to a bunch of new players and I even got to sign a copy for one of our younger fans. He’s the little guy there in the middle being shy. We met a lot of gaming parents during our trip that are really excited to be able to have a game that they can play with their kids that they can enjoy as well. It’s been really fun to see how excited some of these kids get too, and that leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling about the future of gaming.
New Jersey has a bit of a bad reputation as far as states go, (tanning beds and abs, etc) and I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect when we were headed there. Well, I’m very pleased to report that it’s a beautiful state and was filled with really nice people and lots of history as well. We demoed at Time Warp Comics and Games in Cedar Grove, but we were so busy we weren’t able to take photos.
The next day took us to Princeton where we demoed at All Things Fun. Wes and Jess who run the All Things Fun podcast were there and we ran through a standard version of the game with them. They enjoyed that so much we managed to convince them to try the game out with Anne-Marie as the evil Overlord. (You wouldn’t think it, but she’s very good at being the evil Overlord) Many towers were lost, but we held in there and drove off the last of her minions for victory! While we were there, Wes and Jess interviewed me for an upcoming episode of the podcast, so stay tuned for more information on that once it goes live.
We took the next few days to see some sights and hit one of the highlights of our trip, the Kalmar Nyckel. It’s a working, sailing, reproduction of a 17th century sailing ship that brought settlers to Delaware. The best part is that instead of just a tour of the ship, you actually get to help sail her. I always knew there was a bit of a sailor in me and this definitely proved it. Here’s a shot of me helping to hoist a sail during our trip. We had to sing a great sea shanty called “Haul Away Joe” that sailors used to get their timing down while working the ropes. Here’s a link to a recording of part of that song.
We played tourist in Baltimore which included having an amazing breakfast at Miss Shirley’s and visiting the Washington Monument, all while looking for places we recognized from The Wire. We ran a quick demo at Canton Games that night and managed to turn a few comic book fans into potential board game fans. Yep, that’s us, changing the world one game session at a time.
We made a whirlwind stop in D.C. as we left Maryland, which actually wasn’t part of our plan, but when I saw the dome of the U.S. Capitol as we drove down the interstate, we had to stop.
Virginia was another state stuffed full of history including Richmond and St. John’s Church where the famous words “Give me liberty, or give me death.” we’re spoken. We also toured the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, which isn’t nearly as creepy as you might think. Our demo this time was at another Barnes and Noble and was another great chance for us to show our game off to a crowd that isn’t very familiar with these types of games yet.
Interesting fact: Virginia Beach has a “No Swearing” law along it’s boardwalk that can actually get you fined for excessive cursing. Here’s an example of one of their fantastic street signs to remind you of that.
We ran demos at both Atlantis Comics and Games and the Virginia Beach Barnes and Noble. The latter of which was where we got to meet with a few fans of ours that knew we would be coming and came out to see us. I signed their game for them and we got to play a demo together as well, with Anne-Marie revisiting her role as the evil Overlord for old time sake.
We left Virginia and headed to Charleston, West Virginia to play tourist for another day. It really is a beautiful part of the country and I understand what John Denver was so excited about now. Oh, and just so you know. The capital dome in Charleston is actually covered in gold.
Kentucky was the last stop before heading back to Indiana so we visited Lexington and then Louisville where we stopped at the Kentucky Derby Museum, which I think, may be a legal requirement for all visitors. After that we had our last demo at the Barnes and Noble at Summit Plaza in Louisville. They had a fancy sign out front announcing our demo which made us pretty excited and helped make that final demo a great way to end our trip.
That marked the end of the Summer Tour for us. After that we were off to GenCon, back in Indianapolis where it all started. We had a fantastic time and want to thank everyone that came to our demos or helped us out along the way. GenCon lay ahead of us, but that however, will have to be it’s own entry. To be continued tomorrow.