My first experiment with color backgrounds seems to have caused some difficulty on lower end equipment, particularly on monitors limited to 16 colors. The new scheme should clear up some of these problems. Please let me know if it does not and I'll have another try next month.
I have accepted a position with a small and as yet unfunded startup named ClickOver. I can't say much about what we're doing but perhaps in a few months I'll say more.
My wife and I took a trip up to Victoria in British Columbia and had a great time. The city is very friendly, the weather was spot on, and Jos could have tea every afternoon at just the right time. The main motivation for the trip was whale watching, once again, and the side article contains a few pictures of Killer Whales from our time out on the water.
There are at least four game shops in Victoria. The Dufferin Game Room was a bit dissappointing. It promised Crokinole sets and several other items Canadian but, instead, was dominated by darts and pool with a few very common games thrown in. Interactivity: Game & More proved to be dominated by the "& More" with lots of jigsaw and other puzzles and very few games. Lots of nice gadgets, though, including a top that spun atop a magnetic field so that it hung spinning in mid air. There was also a traditional D&D/wargame shop and one other that I didn't have the time to check out.
Have a look over here if you want to know more about our trip and see some pictures of the Killer Whales that were the real reason for our expedition.
The word on the street is that several of the good old Essen regulars won't be releasing games this year. White Wind is up and down on the subject with a good game in the works but no time now to iron out development disagreements. Doris & Frank will only have a small release, Pico. Frank has been swamped with his new job and had little time to work on game design. Doris, on the other hand, is doing the artwork for something like 13 games this year! Perhaps Mayfair should consider tapping her for the art for future Euro-imports.
The death of Friedhelm Merz has generated some concern about who will take over Essen Spiel. Mr. Merz was especially qualified, given his political background, to bring together this rag tag coalition of game companies, large and small, and bring off such a spectacularly popular event. And along the way he managed to embue the event with some of his particular political ideals. The restriction on games involving violence or war that had been quite strongly enforced for many years was beginning to waver over the last few years. Still, Essen, largely because of Mr. Merz, has a very different feel from GenCon and Origins here in the States. And, I suspect, this contributed to its wider appeal. Mr. Merz's successors have large shoes to fill.
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell