It’s Been Awhile…

Miscellaneous

It has been so long since I’ve posted anything…too long. I’ve never been a really consistent poster, but I’ve always tried to at least post once a month. Part of the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been trying to decide if I should stick with WordPress or go back to Squarespace, where they take care of everything in the background for me. For some reason, this has been a really difficult decision. On the one hand, letting someone else take care of all the back-end stuff, all the coding, and all the keeping up with the newest trends sounds so appealing. Then I can just focus on making art, designing things, and writing. But then on the other hand, there is no reason I can’t learn how to set all this stuff up, and the thought of paying for a website when it doesn’t make me any money, seems silly. And if you know me, the thought of learning how to do something is soooo appealing! But this time, I took too long to decide, so the decision ended up being made for me, and it’s WordPress now for a little while longer.

A lot has also been going on in my life that I really need to spend more time focusing on. So that has meant my blog has had to suffer. On the good side, while I’ve been silent, I haven’t been sitting idle. I’ve made at least two pieces of artwork every month, did some sewing, and was busy at work getting our latest title, Cloudspire, ready to print. I also went to Origins again this year.

I am planning to post my backlog of things that I’ve been up to. And, for those of you who have been checking, updating my portfolio. I haven’t put anything that I’ve worked on in there since I started at Chip Theory. So you will be hearing from me more in the coming weeks as I post everything from my backlog.

The photo for this post is our cat, Johnny. Sadly, he is no longer with us, after his battle with kidney failure. But I had to share this photo because it’s one of my favorites, and he looks so happy! Even though things were a bit rough in the end and incredibly sad, a photo like this makes me feel like he enjoyed his time with us as much as we did with him…or he just really wants to go outside…I’m going with the first idea!

Another Year Down…

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s, even if you spent it going to bed early. I was happy to ring in the New Year by belting out songs with some friends and Nick in a basement while playing Rock Band. Good times!

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution person, since I think if you want to make a change in your life, it’s better to just do it right away versus waiting for a magical date (if you don’t actually want to make the change, no specific time is ever going to be the right time), but I do think the new year is a good time to look back at your past year, see how you did, and set new goals.

So how did I do last year? Goal-wise, not so great. Out of the four goals that I had, I didn’t complete any of them. Mid-year, I had re-evaluated my goals and deleted three of them. Two were very time intensive, and after starting a new job and having travel as a new thing in my life, I was not dedicating the time needed.

Work-wise, things were good. A new, fun job! Travel! Conventions! Lots of design! Working with creative people! Things were very good on the work-front. I’m definitely looking forward to what 2019 will bring.

General-overall-life-wise, ok. There were some really great times and some really horrible times. Overall though, if I look at the entire year, the positive outweighs the negative, so that’s good! And the horrible times helped to remind me what an amazing man I married! He’s so supportive and funny and sweet! I’m lucky to have him in my life helping to make it great and pushing me to be the best I can be!

And now for 2019. What do I have in store? Art, sewing, and photography! I’ve already completed a painting, sewn a skirt, and taken some photographs. The year is off to a good start, and I hope to continue this forward momentum! This year will be better!

Essen Spiel

Miscellaneous

Last month I got to travel to Essen, Germany for Essen Spiel (board game convention)! It was a lot of fun, and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to go. It was my first trip to Europe, and the longest plane ride I have ever been on.

It was so interesting to see the differences between a United States convention and a European convention. In the US, there is a vendor section and an event section, where people can try out games or just bring their own games and free game. In Germany, there was only a vendor section. Some of the booths had tables set up for people to try their games, but the emphasis was definitely on buying games. On Thursday, the first day of the convention, we had a table set up to demo Undertow for those interested. But the booth was so full of people knowing exactly what they were there to buy, that we just ended up taking orders at the table, until the crowd died down.

I definitely noticed a difference in the people at the convention as well. It was really rare in Essen to see people dressed up in costumes, whereas in the US, it would be strange to not see people in costume. And I hate to bring up stereotypes, especially when I feel that they are changing for board gamers, but in the US, it is a common occurrence to see butt cracks. I think we were two or three days into the convention before I saw one at Essen. And I honestly don’t remember seeing that many.

The convention for me seemed more low-key, after that initial swarm on Thursday morning. Part of that could be due to the fact that we were in the middle of running a Kickstarter, so I was in the hotel lounge working a lot more than in the booth. The other part could also be that we had less stock in Europe and sold out quickly. When you have nothing to sell, there is more time spent just explaining games and chatting with people, which maybe makes it seem less stressful to me. I also feel that since we had a much smaller group in Essen than at the other conventions, there wasn’t as much time trying to coordinate everyone to get meals and figure out what we were all going to do, so we had more time to explore and spent less time waiting on everyone.

I had two booth moments that were my favorites. The first was when one of our volunteers, who doesn’t have a lot of experience playing our games was explaining Triplock, and she had a HUGE group of people swarming around her to learn. Josh, one of the game designers and owners, sat at the table with Undertow and nobody at the table with him. It was pretty funny! My second favorite moment was when two fans came up to Adam, another game designer and owner, and totally geeked out about meeting him. It was super cute, and I was glad I got to be there to see how excited they were to talk with him!

As far as non-convention time goes, I had a lot of fun wandering around the city! I ate way more pasta than I had expected for Germany, and the dessert bar that I went to was way more alcoholic than what I had expected! I also noticed that there were not as many coffee shops around as there are in the US. I think part of that is because every cafe seemed to have their own espresso machine.

Overall, I had a really fun time, and I am excited about the potential of going back next year! (BTW, the sign in the featured image is telling you to not feed the ducks…apparently they forget how to swim and float feet up if you do that…)

GenCon

Miscellaneous

I’m really late with this post. I wanted to get it online shortly after GenCon, but we’ve been busy shipping packages at work to fulfill our Kickstarter. So the days have gotten kind of long trying to cram in my regular work, plus a full day of shipping.

But enough of my sob story! I was so nervous and worried about GenCon and how crowded it would be, but it turned out to not be as big as what I had built it up to be in my mind. I’m not saying it wasn’t big, and it wasn’t crowded, but in my head, it was massive! Walking down the aisles was almost impossible! But in real life, it was like Origins, only bigger.

There were a few things for GenCon that were different for me from Origins. This time, I split my day up between the demo area and our booth. It was so nice! I love having that variety! Demoing was rough though. For 2 hours straight, you are taking people through the game. Then you get about a 5 minute break before the next group comes in. It was very tiring! But it did make the time go really quickly, and it was fun to see how people reacted to the game. It was quite a difference from working in the booth, where you will be really busy, then it’s all of a sudden slow, and then it’s busy again. Overall, I think it was a good experience, and I would definitely enjoy splitting my time up again in the future!

I also got to meet up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a really long time! We used to work at Kinko’s together, and then she moved to Georgia. Her and her husband own Wyrd, which does miniatures, and they were at GenCon! It was nice to catch up with her for awhile, and funny how many people from my past seem to keep popping up in the world of board gaming…

I had never been to Indianapolis before either, and I thought it was a really pretty city. We stayed near the river, and they have a walking area with canals in it! So cute! I was kind of hoping to see gondolas in the water, but there weren’t any. You could rent paddle boats, but I didn’t see anyone doing that. I was bummed that I didn’t bring any running gear because it would have been so pretty to run along the paths, but I was so worn out from the con that I probably wouldn’t have done that anyway. But maybe next year…

The Waterlogged Book!

Design

When I first started working at Chip Theory Games this year, the Waterlogged Book was the first big design project I was tasked with. This is a book that accompanies our newer game, Undertow. It’s a collection of stories and artwork that go with the game and can be purchased additionally.

Before I started working on designing the pages, I was tasked with reading the Liberation Logbook, which was the accompanying book to the first game in the series, Too Many Bones. The Liberation Logbook is really amazing! It is a leather-bound book that has a design burned into the leather cover. It also has pages that have been burned in the book. Seriously! The company that printed and bound the books took a blow torch to the pages to singe them! How cool is that?! And because every page burned differently, every book is unique.

So I had some really intimidating shoes to fill! This book had to be as cool, if not cooler than the previous book (which in a way would be easier, since this book wouldn’t be getting burned…ha!) The leather bound part of the Waterlogged Book was already decided, as well as the format of the book (the sections and a general idea of where some of the artwork had to go in the sections), and we wanted the book to not look so completely different from the first book that it didn’t look like it could have come from the same world.

The first part that I started designing was the background of the pages. I used the same background as the previous book, but I added water pools and drip spots to the pages. I also darkened the page on the edges, which didn’t have to be done to the previous book, since it literally had its pages burned.

Then I moved on to the text and artwork. The headers were really fun to create! After that, I got to read through the stories and search through all of the art from the artist, Anthony LeTourneau, and add things in the book where pictures would seem to make sense. The book is supposed to be like a journal of the Gearloc’s (Too Many Bones characters) journey as they float on a raft down the river. It was so much fun looking through all the art to decide what to use. Anthony is such a talented artist, and he had done so much amazing stuff! My favorites were the tentacle drawings and the pair on the raft at the end of the Kickstarter story portion. When I found the tentacle art, I didn’t think it was being used in the game, but I loved it so much, that I had to add it to the book. It turns out that the tentacles are a part of the Tyrant that is making its debut in this game, so it worked out perfectly!

I also should talk about the prepress snafu that I encountered for this book. Even though my font was embedded, when we sent the book to be printed, our first draft came back with the font looking ok, but all of the ligatures were missing. So the word “first,” would be missing the “fi” and printed only as “rst.” It was very frustrating, since I missed it when I was checking the book. The images looked good, and the text was there, so I was ready to say ok to the entire project. Luckily, Josh had actually read some of the book, and he noticed it right away. (Definitely not my finest proofing moment…) I’m not sure what would cause this to happen when the font is embedded, but now I know that I absolutely need to create outlines before I send out my PDFs for printing. I never ran across that when I worked in prepress. I only saw font problems if the font wasn’t properly embedded, so this was a new one. So for any of you who are sending files out, make sure you do this as well. Or at least make sure to check all of your ligatures, since they can be easy to miss!