This may have been our biggest GeekOut Shrewsbury ever. I’ve given up on counting these days because with people flowing in and out it’s all I can do to keep an eye on the games to make sure the library stays intact – you guys make that job easier, but a jam packed August has made entertaining a bit of a stretch, but I think it fair to say everyone had a good time.
This GeekOut Meet was not without bad news… but more on that later.
Pre-Meet – Off The Square
Thanks to the good people at Off The Square opposite Shrewsbury’s new Games Workshop location. We’ve never been to Off the Square before (well I have, we haven’t been as a group). We were well fed and fluided, a nice casual get together before the grand migration and a good turnout for the pre-meet. Increasingly we use the pre-meet as a way to get trades of cards out of the way, a quiet space to peruse folders and make exchanges. This time Murray walked away all the happier for a Gen Con exclusive Star Realms card, a benefit of having friends in geeky places.
Those of you who know me from these events know that I like a nice, natural photo, and that I prefer these galleries full of people who look engrossed and engaged in their games. So to say that I repeatedly yelled “Goddamit Nicole!” you’ll understand the fight I have on my hands with certain individuals who simply refuse to ignore me! Still, we’ve had another great meet, with more faces, new and old.
Now to the sad part of the tale.
The Tragic Cancelling of The Big Geek Pub Quiz
No projector means no quiz. The picture round is entirely dependant on being able to see pictures, and as Monty’s tower is currently unable to use their projector, and as I didn’t know ahead of time, a tragic pun is all but lost to us.
The theme for this month’s event was streaming services, so questions about Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch were high on the order of business… along with this:
… for which I am not sorry. Uploaded at Grace’s request amongst others. Send your answers to us here for the chance to recapture all the stress of secondary school geography.
And the quiz would have ended with a small nod to my plans for Friday and yesterday:
Next month, September 26th: Wizard Club… keep your eyes on Facebook and Meetup for details, and watch the new countdown timer on the homepage.
We shouldn’t cancel GeekOut during heatwaves, no matter how tempting it might be. Who’d go outside in that? No one should have to endure those kind of temperatures but… y’know if I start down this path, the discussion gets dark. There were cold drinks and board games, ultimately that’s what’s important here.
The Pour House
I recently found out that The Pour House is about the change hands. Here’s wishing the previous owners the very best of luck in their future endeavours, and hoping the new owners uphold the legacy. We like the Pour House, I mean, I don’t drink so a place that does interesting things without alcohol is always high on my priorities list.
Thanks Tom for bringing in an old rendition of Jumanji as a real-life board game… not as immersive as the original. I managed to settle a score in Magic… that is a blatant lie, I had my ass handed to me by Kim again! Time to raise a deck with a higher pace to it, or maybe raise the Super Soldier deck from the archives.
It should no longer be a surprise for me that our events these days get busy early and stay that way pretty much throughout, especially at this time of year, no doubt things will change come October or something, but in either case Monty’s Tower started out being pleased to see us, then asked us nicely to start using the other bar for a while after everything got a bit hectic. Fair ask, cheers guys.
Highlights of this month’s Shrewsbury Meet, Julia fetching out a 3D camera to play with, we did, shamelessly, an improvised chessboard, and the time it rained for about two minutes and it was… just so great.
Half an hour to design a poster for the best convention you can imagine! A theme, an event, and a special guest star are the minimum requirements, and design talent not… strictly necessary, although apparently an unfair advantage was granted to those who understood – or at least shared – my personal sense of humour, which is almost certainly how Murray won. Milencon would be a bleak affair of staring blankly into our respective hands as we despair over the world we live in and the unhealthy coping mechanisms we use to handle it.
Second place Cluedo Fest appealed to my bloodlust, love of the noir, and I liked the ambiguity of… literally every component. Vanitycon takes third place for it’s cynical approach to internet based narcissism. Other events were beautiful in their own regard, except Joelcon, which had the hubris to assume any relation between me and colours outside of grey.
Next Month, August 29th, Netflix and GeekOut, a celebration of Netflix and internet streaming original content. Attendees are not required to chill… if it’s anything like this month, it may prove impossible.
Board game beginners, bring your friends, those who haven’t touched a dice since Ludo, someone who with the bitter aftertaste of Monopoly finally fading. If you can’t shuffle a deck of cards to save your life, this is your month to dip a proverbial toe firmly in the metaphorical water.
Premeet – Sweet
I did not take photos at the premeet again, I was kind of busy having my ass handed to me repeatedly at Magic while downing milkshake, not by Murray this time, but by Kim and her vicious blue-green ramp deck, which I should not have attempted to mill to death… which makes a lot of sense if you’ve played Magic but if you haven’t… well come to GeekOut, we’ll teach you.
It was pretty on theme too, Kim’s Magic addiction is in its first flushes, so taking out an experienced player with relative ease is always going to be affirming. Although I refuse to accept any and all responsibility for any hobby-induced poverty experienced as a result.
We have outlived the quiz! Not our quiz, the other one that was moving in on our territory. So no need to move into the far side of the pub, we get to keep our corner with all of the amenities we’ve become accustomed to, like a projector, tables for the board game library, and room to spread and expand in comfort.
And this month we were also almost back to a full compliment of 30+ attendees, including some new faces alongside the regulars. Amongst those new faces, at least one new adventurer steps into Meadsbridge, and there will be some newcomers who are most certainly returning – if not next month – then certainly in the near future.
It wasn’t all plain sailing this month, we completely forgot the competition, so I guess that’ll have to be a rollover? And we had a mini-parade of mental and medical complaints, but news and updates from all concerned sound broadly positive. We look after our own, your health and welfare are priority one. Look after yourselves and each other first and foremost, then break into the board games and nerdiness later.
Next Month – Convention Season, the 25th of July, conveniently right in time for me to vanish to America for GenCon, and while I’m starting mad prep for Insomnia in August. No Kitacon, no Amecon, so in the absence of my regular national-scale geeky get together, we’ll do our best to capture the moment.
With sincere apologies to the Boiler Room, given the short space of time I had to arrange this month’s GeekOut there was not enough time to forewarn you of our approach, but thank you for taking us on, and for the bacon sandwich, it was delicious.
Chess, as it turns out, was an excellent thing to have brought to GeekOut, I think it was the most heavily played game this month, I certainly got a couple of games in. Scrabble… less so, and Albert, I have your Scrabble Dictionary, it will be returned to you after a series of increasingly tedious fetch-quests.
Busy as ever, although I don’t think I saw any new faces this month there were still plenty of the same crowd, a handful of irregulars, and at least one Norse god of deception and trickery, seriously Cal that was an awesome crown… actually based on a quick bit of research I think that can be classed as a tiara, and the idea that Loki wears a tiara is incredibly satisfying to me. It might be a coronet but… no… no, I like this better.
No competition this month, far… far too busy to prep anything, but that didn’t slow us down. it just slowed me down. I had to spend some time this month sitting down and not doing much. Thank you all for enjoying yourselves without me, fun is hard work.
We had to move! We now share our regular Thursdays with Disco Bingo, who make use of the audio system on “our” side of the pub making a bit of casual board gaming incredibly difficult, especially as most of those games require communication. So we picked up our gear and migrated to the other side to evaluate for a potential future. Montgomery’s Tower don’t want us to leave, and are determined to help us make this arrangement work as best they can, and since we have swelled in numbers we can now discuss occupying somewhere bigger.
Admittedly this first attempt, with only a few hours to go on our evening, was a little awkward, but there is time to learn and grow into the new space.
Next month GeekOut returns to Shrewsbury on May 30th for Who’s That Pokemon? and this is a quiz month, so… yeah, this will be somewhat predictable, although we’ll need to find a new method of displaying the quiz. Details on Facebook and Meetup as usual, and with more warning this time.
If you can’t wait until then, and if seats still remain, we will be at the 18:00 showing of Endgame at Cineworld Shrewsbury tonight! Some of you I know have already arranged tickets, hope to see plenty of you there.
The so-called video game heavy event ended up being notably video game light… didn’t stop a record turnout or a fun time being had by all.
Sidenote, two years of GeekOut Shrewsbury, not as cool as the first anniversary, but Murray still gave it a birthday badge.
Murray – a month or two ago – armed me with the Commander card for Magic that I have coveted for quite some time, and I now feel like he did it just to show me how badly I build decks. Atraxa, the Praetor’s Voice, the angel of Phyrexia, whose presence on the field makes the strong grow stronger and the infection spread… I might do an article on the deck if people are curious, suffice to say Murray wheeled out a collection of commander decks and put pay do my dreams of Phyrexian dominance.
I rant, but thanks to Taste of Shrewsbury, good food, good drink, a lovely space, and very welcoming and keen to hear more about who we are and what we do. Also nice to see Cal show up in cosplay… and with biscuits.
We are two months running of record breaking numbers, by my own headcount something in the order of forty people throughout the day! No small feat considering we’re not a weekend event. I may have forgotten to eat until a very late hour… well except for a sacrificial biscuit.
The caveat of size is that it is getting harder and harder for me to meet and greet and get to know everyone, I do my best, but I check to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and so far as I could see everyone was.
What noble hero ventures onto the field of battle before the soldiery have arranged themselves at either side, to ensure that the underhanded deeds of the enemy are undone, and to remove the hidden explosives that could undo the best laid plans? Our noble knightsweeper, who picks his way across the board to find the mines hidden nearby.
Now, I wasn’t counting on a well practised minesweeper or chess player to step up to the board, but one of each, who successfully swept the board clean of mines, meaning a versus match had to be played, each starting from a corner and approaching carefully, attempting to outmanoeuvre one another while avoiding the explosives.
The first prize, a £10 Steam voucher, was useless to both first place winner Hannah, and second place Zach! Hannah is, fortunately, an adventurer in Meadsbridge, and has happily accepted and in-game reward (shameless bit of cross-promotion, but it works). For others… an IOU I guess?
Next month’s event is on the 25th of April, GeekOut Infinity, releasing the same day as the conclusion to the Infinity War MCU storyline! Soon after, there will be a cinema trip to see the film soon after GeekOut itself. Look for details on Facebook and Meetup soon.
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…)