I just got back from a truly awesome event - a group of 350 Jonathan Coulton fans on a big boat in the Caribbean - it was called JoCo Cruise Crazy, and I played games for 6 days with the most awesome group of nerds from all over the world! The cruise included performances not only by Jonathan Coulton, but 11 other fabulous and funny geek/internet celebrities.
I had been to a half dozen or so JoCo and Paul & Storm concerts before, and I often remarked on how his audience, his fans, are our fans - the crowd that loves Jonathan Coulton also loves Looney Labs games. So when I heard about this cruise, I knew it would be a great place to hang out and play my games - and WOW was that true! The Table Top Gaming room on the ship was a hot bed of non stop gaming all week long. One of the performers, Molly Lewis, closed the room down at 3 or 4 in the morning most nights, and most of the other celebrities hung out and played games at some point during the week.
I actually did most of my gaming outside of the game room though... well, except for the first ever Pirate Fluxx tournament! We received the first demo copies only a week before I left for this trip, so I was able to bring 4 copies - enough for an actual tournament! We got 19 players and had a great time... the winner was very excited to get a copy of the game more than a month before it goes on sale in stores!
Since it was just me (Andy didn't come on the cruise, something he now very much regrets) and I was on vacation, there was no organized attempt to promote our games at this event. But being me, I played games everywhere all week long. In particular, I played a brand new pyramid game called IceDice which does not go on sale until next June. (Be sure you join our Demo Team if you want to get a set of the dice early...) I had my IceDice prototype (a one-of-a-kind first production sample) on me at all times, and I played it with whomever was sitting next to me at meals, while waiting for the concerts to start, or just hanging out at the bar or the beach. I played it with at least a half dozen people who were not even participating in the JoCo event, and many dozens from our group. I now wish I had kept track. Wow I love this new little pyramid game! Let me drop you into the middle of my facebook photo album for the cruise, with this picture of me solving the Rubik's Cube for two of the performers - you can see my prototype bags (which have not been announced yet) in this picture!
It was a truly amazing week. One of my new friends, Ben, posted on facebook the day he got home: "More fun than Burning Man, there I said it." I have thought about that comment a lot. Burning Man is Ben's favorite week of the year, The Big Experiment is mine. Was this event more fun than The Big Experiment? It was on par with it. In fact, it was better. There I said it. But only because I didn't have to work and could just hang out and make new friends and play games all week and have fun.
One of our fans just IMed me, while I was writing this report, "I just want to thank you guys. I love the Lab. I've made some of my dearest friends thanks to you guys." Hanging out each year in The Lab at The Big Experiment is for him what this cruise was like for me. An awesome week hanging out with awesome people, and I want to offer here another big thank you to Jonathan Coulton for gathering all these wonderful people together for me to hang out with. If you are reading this because you met me on the cruise, please consider this a personal invitation to come to what we have often called the best week of the year in Columbus Ohio in June. It would be great to see you again!