Previously: The Frigid North
Name changed for reasons that will become apparent later on. Now the original idea was to combine any fantasy setting that included cold north spaces, Tamriel, Westeros, Britain, or Azeroth, wonderful in principle, but coming to sit and think about it… I was scuppered. So thank you Alan for A: giving me the idea, and B: bringing his own Jenga tower with him, so that we could have a tournament. It’s wall building, we seem to like walls to stop encroaching peoples from marching south, and there’s a rather ominous metaphor to the whole thing I rather like.
Anyway, to the photo gallery.
Back to where it all began, if only for a little while. A few casual games of Love Letter over coffee and cake… which may or may not have been breakfast. The warmth that makes the Coffeehouse unsuitable for a summer meet (although for a quick brew it’s pretty good) makes it an absolute blessing in this chill.
Cal arrived with gifts! Sample stickers for the purposes of shameless branding and for selling on to you in the name of supporting the Meets, the prizes, and materials thereof. The first sticker adorned the Resolutions Box, more on that later.
Werewolf, chair stacking, Tsuro, cards against humanity, kingdomino, tides of madness… other games that I wasn’t really paying attention to because I was busy talking to people. We had a lot of new faces, and a lot of people who have become regular attendees that now feel like they’ve been with us forever. As we fast approach our second anniversary, it’s nice to see the mixture of old hands and fresh victims… people… people victims.
And we’ve brought back the Resolutions box! When I bust open last year’s efforts (most of failed to uphold our promises, myself included) a lot of people took a keen interest, and were pretty swift to enter into a cruel bargain with me this year… pinning their hopes onto a card, sealing it away, and placing their name upon the box, entrusting their very future to me, making me guardian, arbiter, and judge.
Sixteen competitors, sixteen games, tension, dirty tactics, heart failure, and a tie breaker that I don’t think we’ll ever forget. Would we have it any other way? Could we? For once, maybe have a competition that people can just enjoy instead of the genuine concern for our respective health? It’s not a quiz, dammit, it’s just Jenga. Here I thought it would be a nice and relaxing evening of good natured fun, only tangentially related to the theme of keeping frost zombies from marching south, or romans from getting too far north.
During the quarter finals we saw something I had never thought possible, a tie in Jenga, that could only be resolved by adding a second game on top of the tower! Congratulations Matt on second place, Hannah for the tense fight for third, and finally to Zach for demonstrating dexterity and steady nerves enough to reach first place.
The lesson, should we ever find ourselves in a tie break scenario, chairs are the answer, but we shall always do our utmost to prevent it. Thank you to everyone who came. Next month’s meet: February 28th, Meme Your Own Adventure, details on Facebook and Meetup soon. Expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.
You’ll excuse me if I was glad of a quieter GeekOut this month, it’s been an exhausting few weeks, culminating in being unwillingly decorated for Hallowe’en last Friday. The bruising is almost faded, the blood is almost gone from my eye, but I’m still exhausted.
Still, after a quiet start – just me and Cal for a couple of hours or so – I think we amounted to a little under twenty of us altogether, and a huge thanks to all of those who came, those who joined in the costume competition, and the two sentence horror story competition, and thanks to Nicole for demanding she run a game of Werewolf so that I’d sit and play a game for a short while.
Premeet – The Boiler Room
Pay not attention to the content of the notebook…
I had about half an hour or so to sit and get some work done before I was joined by Cal, not pictured are the efforts of the werewolf costume and the beard that could rival mine that will become more apparent later in the gallery. Not an awful lot to say here, other than the world was proverbially set to rights over coffee and raspberry milkshake before we moved on to a similarly empty Monty’s Tower.
First of all, congratulations to Hannah for winning the two sentence horror story competition, which was very heavily laden with in-jokes, I hadn’t realised how many of those we’d come to develop over the last year and a half. Hannah’s entry sickened me beyond words, and has left me with a greater trauma than any recent criminal activity made against my person:
There was an adorable puppy.
It died, horribly.
And you can see the photos, no guessing who won the competition for best costume, but considering where I found Cal in summer, I really should be more careful putting a costume competition on the docket.
All assembled personages have since been checked for signs of metamorphosis, and argyrophobia, results have proven inconclusive.
A New Toy
Regulars know Vinni by now, right? Possibly by face if not by name, for he has many. Well, aside from being the one local holder of a copy of Gloomhaven that I know about, he also works heavily with wood, and has previously brought custom game boards, and has also been spotted in the wild peddling wooden wares (check out Wreathen Works for more), and most recently he has constructed something for a friendly local dungeon master:
Serious cannot begin to thank Vinni for this one, a custom, fully branded GM screen made of black valchromat, sprayed and carved into shape, with plans to attach metal strips for the purpose of adding magnetised notes to the back some time after the Hallowe’en game at Whittington castle (for which one place remains if anyone is interested) where the screen will be making its glorious debut.
Next event is on the 29th of November, NaNoGeKo… which is a terrible pun! And no, no novel writing will be required, but writing discussion is actively encouraged, and if people are in the mood for a mini-round table, I’m up for it if you are. It will be a quiz month, and I promise to try and tone down the difficulty, still got a lot of fine-tuning to do.
See you then.
August, that long awaited Shrewsbury meet, a whole six weeks have elapsed since last we gathered and the enthusiasm has not faded, nay it has grown. Although it’s notable that with the encroaching term-time, and so many of you retreating back to university our numbers have taken a small blow, so too will our growth from month-to-month subside for a while. Still, there is ever more to look forward to.
This month’s theme was Tengen Toppa GeekOut Lagann, which will make very little sense to those not at least vaguely into their anime. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a ridiculously over the top anime about robots fighting moons and smashing together to make walking boat-swords. You can see the appeal. Our mechs will not be fighting anyone with boat-swords…
Ia! Ia! Gong hei fat choy!
Merry February everyone, this Thursday passed saw GeekOut Shrewsbury return to form with a whole lot of new faces and new tricks, and I solemnly promise this will be the last Lovecraft themed thing for a while maybe. I’m here to serve everyone’s fandoms, not just to celebrate my own, but dammit if it didn’t turn out to be a good idea to ask for Lovecraft themed Valentines cards. It was also a good idea to drive considering the games I have to carry with me, but I learned some terrible things about trying to park in Frankwell.
Let’s get into the gallery…
The Pour House
So I arrived in the Pour House on Frankwell and was surprised to find more than just Murray sat at a table, easily our busiest pre-meet ever with about seven or eight of us, so it’s definitely time to start warning venues of our arrival. Also, consider this a formal request, if you’re planning to show to the premeet please at least drop a comment on the Facebook poll so that I can be prepared and prepare our venues. While it was a lovely surprise, it’s one that could limit our choices in future if we start showing up and asking for large table at short notice.
Magic, Lovecraft Letter (sans the madness rules for now) and some general D&D based conversation in warm and comfortable surroundings. Thanks to the Pour House, and don’t think I didn’t spot a few of you looking over at the games in progress. You’re welcome to join in too, and we’d love you to.
So it was a rather large crowd that travelled to Montgomery’s Tower, via my car where multiple bags of board games had been left behind during the premeet. I set up the Games Library, we bust open some games, hilarity ensued. There are a lot of pictures of Rhino Hero in this month’s gallery, but what can I say? It’s a very photogenic game.
Arkham Horror was a wonderful nightmare to set up, but dammit if we didn’t eventually slay Yig despite the curses and a wholesale failure to close a single portal, but dammit if we didn’t clear up the streets of Arkham with guns and spells and not even dying slightly (once nearly) and I absolutely need to get some bags to keep those damn tokens separated.
My dear mother arrived with a parcel for me early in the afternoon, fresh from the sorting office. I got a Hydradoodle in the very first pack. I am a happy man indeed. More information on Unstable right here.
Being the sole arbiter and judge is a heavy burden, and those of you who made use of my craft materials to create your valentines cards on the day made valiant and truly incredible efforts, Keiran’s artwork was both sickening and adorable, Charlotte’s inside message was just so wonderfully written, and kudos to Albert on your pun-work, I have to respect that. However, the winners are below…
Those who planned ahead seized the advantage, and it’s a shame that Julia’s was left at home because her hasty recreation showed promise. I simply could not decide on a third place, so here are joint second places, you earned your Lego Batman minifigures.
But dammit Vinnie, you psychotic mastermind. In he strolls at about half 6 and hands me this madness. I shall forgive Harley misuse of the term “Non-Euclidean” when describing this unending card because it’s as good a description as any. It didn’t end, and not pictured are the illusive pages 5 and 6 which require the artifact to be unwound and remade to be discovered. First prize well earned, another Lego figure and a lucky cat to celebrate the year of the dog.
March at the Movies for Thursday 29th which means we have a whopping five week gap! You have this time to swat up on your film knowledge for this month’s terrifying Big Geek Pub Quiz. And on the subject of films, a quick head count; who wants to go see Infinity War after the April GeekOut as part of a big ol’ GeekOut group?
So, a few things:
This GeekOut Shrewsbury is kind of a big one because this will be the twelfth, one whole year of Shrewsbury meets and there’s a lot of info to be unpacked, and a lot of questions to put back to you guys. Over this and next month’s GeekOut I’ll be putting out polls to get your opinions on the meets so far, on the subjects of the venue, timing, content, and what you’d like to see from the GeekOut West-Midlands branch in the future. That’s not to say I’m without plans of my own of course. (more…)
So long 2017! You were mostly terrible but there were a few redeeming qualities, not least of which the advent of GeekOut Shrewsbury. On Thursday we rounded out the year in true geeky style, a mountain of board games, Callum’s Nintendo Switch (thanks man), and our first super secret santa.
The Little Dessert Shop Pre-Meet
This was my first trip to the recently opened Little Dessert Shop, and I am not disappointed by what’s on offer, I thought I’d grown sick of sweet foods over Christmas, enough to skip the waffles, but not enough to resist a brownie and custard. The table size was a little small for some serious gaming, but there’s always space for a quick game of Love Letter between coffees. Thanks to the lads behind the counter, you were nothing if not entertaining.
A Very Busy Montgomery’s Tower
To say that Monty’s was busy is an understatement, in fact we had a while to wait before we could claim our seats, and no other table was available for us apart from the little ones we use to rack up the games. But we’re nerds, and never short of something to do. Callum and Murray settled into a Pokemon battle, while I played some pinball and chatted with Ben until we managed to occupy some furniture and bust into a game of Magic.
I also broke out some of my new Christmas presents, including new favourite Rhino Hero courtesy of our very own Timlah (cheers Tim, expect your presents soonish) which will need to be expanded upon at some point; and the DC Deck Builder Heroes Unite, featuring the D-list of DC heroes, but some of the better mechanics from any iteration of the game I’ve played thus far. I did not get to try the Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle deck building game brought in by Harley, who ran an RPG later in the evening.
Around 21:30 the music began, because it’s the bizarre half-formed space between Christmas and New Years where time is irrelevant and no one has to work unless they’re retail, service or emergency services. I neglected to consider this possibility, and may have to restructure next December’s GeekOut Shrewsbury to account for it. Still, it didn’t stop the progress of the Christmassy roleplay taking place in the corner, which I hear involved a murderous reindeer, and Mad Max elves. No doubt I’ll hear the rest of the story another time.
Thanks to everyone who put in to the Super Secret Santa, especially whoever brought the Trumpisms book, which shall take pride of place next to my volumes of George W. Bushisms. I can also say that whoever put in the Ferrero Roche, your present was equally well received. We wound down early as the music only got more intrusive, squeezed in a quick game of Surakarta on a custom board made by John, which cracked spontaneously in the middle of the game surreptitiously moving my pieces allowing me to gain the brief advantage I needed to turn the horrible losing streak I’d started on.
It seemed like such a long wait for it to be all over so soon…
One last gasp for air before we dive into the cold waters of Christmas Cheer, November 30th was GeekOut Shrewsbury, and we have had the biggest turnout since the beginning, way back in… um…
March! Wow, my memory is terrible. Let’s get into what little I recall of the gloriously blurry hurricane of geekiness that was GeekOut Shrewsbury the ninth, complete with photographic evidence. (more…)
It was a happy Hallowe’en. And it wasn’t even Hallowe’en.
Let it be known that I do not cosplay often… read “ever”, so even my low-energy effort as the “Quest Giving NPC” still took some work but it’s not easy to carve a question mark out of styrofoam, get it painted yellow and affixed to a headband securely enough in between all the writing and full-time-job-having. It didn’t quite work out as planned, and five minutes after settling into Sweet and the quest marker was in three useless pieces. I took my frustrations out on Murray’s Magic deck and an oversized milkshake.
Kudos to Murray for his cosplay, he endured his wig, makeup and heels for most of the day, boosted along by the compliments of strangers. Sat next to him I felt woefully under-dressed. (more…)
October’s GeekOut Shrewsbury is in only a week, and after eight months I think we are – as a group – settling into a pleasant routine that’s broadly enjoyable. A competition one month, a pub quiz the next, board games to keep us going, food, drink, and light heartedness. We average somewhere between twelve and twenty people, a mixture of regulars and new faces, enough to keep multiple games going and to leave people room to move around and socialise as they please.
So this month, it’s time to shake things up a little.
I’m asking more of my group this month than ever before. This is pub quiz month, and each month I’ll be trying to add a little more to each quiz, or at least something different, building from just a list of trivia questions that some may have considered rather cruel, a picture round added in August, keep an eye out for what’s coming this month.
Additionally I’m encouraging everyone to show up in costume, and (unbeknownst to them) the prize for the best competition is better by far than those offered to the winning quiz team. Here’s your first clue to my costume, find others hidden around this article:
October the 26th is promising to be one of the more interesting GeekOut’s ever, there are a handful of ideas I’ll be throwing in this month that I have not alluded to on Facebook or Meetup. If you can’t get there, keep your eyes on GeekOut for the catch-up articles we publish on our events every month.
November and December will be busy months, but we’ll battle on to make GeekOut bigger and better, concluding the year with a GeekOut Christmas party, but as the Shrewsbury Meet should fall on the 28th, I want to talk to you – the attendees who are the lifeblood of the event – to find out how and when to run the Meet to suit you, as well as working closely with our venue, Monty’s Tower who have been friendly, encouraging, and even enthusiastic in making the Shrewsbury Meets as good as they could possibly be.
See this projector?
Oh, how I yearn to use this projector for running computer-game oriented competitions, or just to get some different games running. I’m quite aware than not everyone wants to play board games, some of us want to get their hands on mouse and keyboard, a joystick, or a controller. My attempts at connecting my tablet have thus far been fruitless, but technology is bountiful, and there are gears turning that will make it possible for new competitions.
On the subject, I’m idly toying with ideas for upcoming competitions, but as a role-player and a writer I’m naturally orienting toward design based competitions, such as the Pokethulhu designs and the character creation. While they’ve yielded some fantastic content (and I love watching you guys work), it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a little diversity here and there.
Still, it’s you – always you – who we create these events for, in Shrewsbury and in Bristol, and it is your feedback that we thrive upon for making every event better than ever. So this month I have one question and one question only.
With the means to bringing computer games to GeekOut Shrewsbury on the horizon, what games would you like to multiplayer first?
Later on today you’ll see the poll open up to choose a venue for the pre-meet venue for October 26th. I’ll see you there.
Increasingly our Shrewsbury Meets are earning their 18+ requirement, and less for the venue’s legal limitations and more about what happens when our regulars get into a Bucket of Doom. It’s been another month of madcap hilarity, new faces, old faces, new games and a failed attempt at playing NYET! and after a busy month, a bustling Kitacon, and all the extra work that came with it, I was glad of GeekOut this Thursday. It was another great turn out, another great competition, and some new ideas for the future.
Let’s get into this, shall we? Here are the pictures from GeekOut Shrewsbury #6.
Sadly no time to take a proper poll for the pre-meet as the latter half of August was rather consumed by work, but as a snap decision the Boiler House coffee shop turned out rather nicely indeed. A handful of us gathered for a couple of games of Magic which proved my new deck to have… inconsistent effectiveness, and Murray’s premade decks to require little work to become fully operational killing machines. Ben brought some short lived cakes and joined us for a free-for all and a coffee, and we had a visit from Anni of Space Station Centaur who joyously sat with us and chatted sci-fi while we played.
We highly advocate for joining a role-play as big as the ongoing Star Trek online groups like Centaur and Outpost Eden, and any and all of their memebers are very welcome to join us too. That’s not an advertising pitch, I just think it’d be cool to hang out.
Anyway, we moved on to Monty’s to find extra space reserved for us despite the fact that I only asked for it after 18:00, but as it transpired it was probably better they laid out the signs, as people started to join us sooner than expected. We dug into a well timed game or three of Resistance before Anni had to leave, because how better to meet new people than to spend an hour accusing them of deceit and treachery?
A few games before the Bigger Geekier Pub Quiz:
Tsuro and food became the order of the day as more and more people filtered in and began to splinter off into new groups and play other games. Thanks to Harley for bringing in Escape, I heard a lot of people enjoying themselves from the other side of the room. We wrapped up one of the more hilarious games of Bucket of Doom before people divided into teams for the quiz: challenging but not quite so daunting, as reflected in the better scores, and it seems like you all enjoyed the new picture round. Expect yet more from the October Quiz, in the mean time I’ll ponder a competition for September for you to duke it out over in hopes of a disappointing prize. This month’s disappointing prize was:
The beatific winners were kind enough to share out the spoils, but never forget that they had all the power!
Next month is term-time, so a lot of our regulars may struggle to join us, but we can help them get their geeky fix for the rest of the month. Though Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be the foundation of Shrewsbury’s geek-calendar, we need to find those groups that operate at the weekends and the rest of the week. This is a call to action and if you know of any groups for gamers, geeks and nerds anywhere in the Shropshire area we have some very keen members who want to know. And hey, while you’re on the job, maybe tell them about us!