Last weekend we played Unlock!  It’s a co-operative, puzzle-solving, escape-the-room game.  It reminds me of those point-and-click PC adventure games that I played when I was young.  Do watch the video if you’re not familiar with those type of games: it was an amazing experience!

The game comes with three scenarios (each lasting an hour) and once you’ve played a scenario, you can’t play it again.  You know the solution to all the puzzles, so it has zero replay-value.  We played the tutorial, then the first scenario, and everyone was like, “Let’s do the next one!”

So we played the second scenario and after that, everyone paused and looked sheepishly at each other.  You could see what everyone was thinking.  We all wanted to play the last scenario, but it felt decadent somehow.  Like buying a boxset of your favourite TV show and watching the entire thing in one sitting.  We should exercise some restraint, shouldn’t we?  Spread out the enjoyment?

Hell, no!


Why I Play Boardgames

My Dad is a retired policeman.  Just around the time personal computers were first made available, he was injured in the line of duty and received a compensation payout.  Newly married, finances were tight and the payout was significant.  He went straight out and blew it all on his first computer: the TRS-80.  My Mum wasn’t happy!

Once I realised that you could play games on this machine though, I thought my Dad had made an excellent decision!  I can still remember playing Donkey Kong and an unfortunately named side-scrolling shooter on the monochrome, green-and-black screen.  This was before the Spectrum or the IBM PC.  They didn’t even have floppy disks at that point.


What is Kickstarter?

As a new publisher, we’re planning to use Kickstarter.  If you’ve not heard of Kickstarter, it’s a crowd-funding platform.  The basic idea is that ‘creators’ present a concept for a project that they need help bringing to life.  It might be a book, a dress, a film, a robot, a boardgame – creators are only limited by their imagination.

Creators are supposed to progress their idea as far as possible before launching their Kickstarter project (although in the early days, many projects launched with little more than a bright idea).  Usually the primary driver for launching a project is to raise funds, but as I have discovered, there can (and should) be a lot more to it than that.



Have you ever wondered where inspiration comes from?  You’re sitting there, minding your own business, when suddenly a bright idea will pop into your head, without warning.  Where do these ideas come from?

Sir Terry Pratchett (may God rest his superlative soul) had a theory, espoused in his Discworld novels, that inspiration was a cosmic particle.

These particles of inspiration would rain down from space intermittently, in much the same way as meteors (aka shooting stars).  Very occasionally, there would be an ‘inspiration shower’.  Like a meteor shower, there would be an exceptionally large number of inspiration particles falling in a certain area for a short period of time.

Now, according to his theory, whenever one of these inspiration particles passes through the brain of a human being, they have a bright idea.


What is a Maven?

A few years ago, a friend of mine described me as a maven.

“A what?” I said.

“A maven.  It’s an old Hebrew word,” he explained.  “A maven is someone who, if they need to buy a washing machine, will really do their homework.  They’ll read best-buy guides, they’ll compile a shortlist based on reviews from experts, they’ll compare every detail of the most promising machines (the load capacity, the power consumption, the water consumption), factoring in their needs and the price of every machine and come to a clear decision about which one represents the best value for money.  They won’t necessarily buy the cheapest, or the most expensive.  They’ll buy the absolute best one in their price range.”

“Mmm… yeah, that would be me!” I laughed.  His description was spot on.