Pushing My Games Ahead

In December I made plans to attend this year's World Boardgame Championships (WBC) in Lancaster, PA. It's been 3 years since I last went. Since then I've hopefully gotten somewhat better at the games I play. Also, I decided it made sense to take my tower game on a test run to see how the public reacted to it.

With travel in mind, I again enlisted my talented neighbor Alex Olyarchuk's assistance in producing a new prototype, this time built of sections that could be easily broken down and stored. I had a plan of how to construct this, but Alex rapidly demolished it by pointing out the improvements he could think of. (Those kept coming during and after the construction!)

What resulted was a big improvement from the prior version. It has only two towers, giving better access to the playing surface, and the stages are locked in place. Best of all, I could incorporate play-tester Ken Richard's suggestion to support the stages on the edges of the hexagons instead of the vertices. This allowed wind placement that was much clearer and more understandable to new players, because each vertex has a straight line of hexes through the center of the stage (trust me!).

During WBC, when I was not in a tournament or seminar, I took my game - now re-christened BLOWN AWAY! on advice of my wife - to the Open Gaming Hall, about 12,000 square feet of space where people could engage in non-tournament games. I got adept at flagging people down for a demo or a game and teaching them how to play in the 2 minutes I claimed.

There were very few 3-dimensional games in evidence, and, at about 3 feet tall, BLOWN AWAY! was clearly the most visible! After a while I realized I didn't need to use one of the precious 60 or so game tables in the hall, and I set up the game on a chair near the entrance so that even the people who didn't stop by still got a view of it.

On one afternoon, I noticed a table with a bunch of microphones manned by four people. They turned out to be a podcasting group, The Party Game Cast, and their show "The Party Gamecast."  They came to WBC intending to produce a mini podcast each day of the convention. As I characterize BLOWN AWAY! as a party game, I told them they needed to talk to me! So they did. The interview came out late this week and can be found at

I also put up a Facebook page for the game; it's at
If you're interested, Like it and keep informed!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/22/2014

    Hi mark I have a request please can you continue your Sherlock Holmes librevox recording for the memoirs and return, I loved your reading of the adventures and would like to hear more. Oh and sorry for posting this on a unrelated blog, I had no other way of asking.