Tips for running an effective board game play-test

The Invasion begins…As I find myself deeper and deeper in the design process for Valour, the more I’ve come to appreciate how tight so many commercially-available board games are. In that vein, I’ve been doubling down on the play test schedule, because (to my mind), there is no better way to smooth the experience than to have group after group of insanely smart people take on the design, find the weaknesses, exploit the loopholes, and identify the “fiddly” parts which should be unceremoniously ripped out.

After dozens of person-hours spent around the table beating up on my design, I’ve started trying to systematize the process so I can get the most out of every opportunity, and be as efficient as possible with my volunteer play-testers’ time. Continue reading

30 Day Mobility Challenge

Hot on the heels of the release of our first card deck, I’m excited to announce the Mobility on Demand “30 Day Mobility Challenge”!

It’s a 30-day email series delivering a new mobility exercise directly to your inbox every morning. We even link to an online timer so you can start your mobilizing right from your smartphone when you check your email, wherever you are!

Here’s the sign up: http://www.mobilityondemand.cards/30-days-of-mobility

We’ve got hundreds of people on the challenge, and they are loving it so far! So go get signed up, and forward the link to your friends — everyone could use a little more mobility!

The Importance of a Catch Sheet

One of my most valued characteristics is both a blessing and a curse. I have a creative mind and am constantly coming up with ideas for projects, gadgets, games, apps, solutions, etc.

This is awesome, and I love it, except that it never takes a vacation, including and especially when the time comes around to actually execute on anything. As anyone who has ever tried to build something knows, it’s really hard, and requires a huge investment of time, work, and emotional effort. This is difficult enough on its own, but when ‘focus time’ becomes beset by every shiny cleverness vying for attention, it becomes demoralizing.

In an effort to quiet this noise, I’ve implemented a process using a tool I call the “Catch Sheet”. I’m not sure where that name came from, and there may be some ‘more official’ term, but, whatever.

The process works as follows: Continue reading

Ignite Ticket Swap Postmortem: Ignite 24

Another Ignite Boulder sell-out can only mean one thing: A busy December for Ignite Ticket Swap! If you’ve never heard of Ticket Swap, you can read a bit about it here.

Yule Ball Ticket Swapping by the numbers:

# of people asking for a ticket: 75
# of people who posted extra tickets: 13
# of swaps brokered: 15

I definitely attribute these larger-than-ever numbers to some great marketing help from the Ignite Boulder crew; as soon as tickets sold out, they were sending people my way. This boon didn’t come without challenges, however. Continue reading

Featured on BLDRPPL

BLDRPPL_squareRecently my friend Sean Helvey asked me to participate in his upstart podcasting project, BLDRPPL. While he iterates on the exact format, his consistent overarching theme is is “people you admire in Boulder”.

As he and I were discussing the episode I would be on, he asked me to invite someone who fit that criteria. After some deliberation, I decided the person I ought to bring with me was Jared Kohlmann. Jared owns an incredible camera-equipment rental company called Pro Photo Rental, and participated in the GoRuck Challenge with me. All around incredible dude.

We met at the Rapt Media office, and I blabbed at the mic, while everyone else tried to get a word in edgewise. Jared had some incredible insights on life, business, and pushing yourself.

I mentioned BLDRPPL on my podcast rundown two weeks ago, and it’s definitely one I’d recommend going back and starting at the beginning when you jump in (there are only a few episodes yet, so that’s a pretty easy lift… for now).

Go check out my episode, then subscribe and start working on the backlog! Worth your time!

Thanks Sean & Briana for having me on, and thanks for joining, Jared!

What if You Took a Week Off Every 7th Week? by seanwes

I recently added the seanwes podcast to my weekly lineup, and it doesn’t disappoint. (Least of all in the theme music category). I first discovered him when I went looking for a lettering class to gift Andrea for Christmas last year. (The course wasn’t ready at the time… so that didn’t work out, but I’m glad I’m on his mailing list now).

One recent post/email/episode struck a chord with me, and I’ve been giving it more and more thought since it came out. Take a read, I’ll wait:

What if You Took a Week Off Every 7th Week? by seanwes.

Pretty interesting idea, right? I found it quite compelling. Unfortunately, even with our Startup “No policy” Vacation policy at Rapt, I don’t think I can swing it at the moment. Definitely something I’ll be exploring in the future the next time I’m fully in charge of my own schedule.

Announcing Mobility on Demand!

Over the last year, Andrea and I have been hard at work building a project which has been a dream of mine for a while, but she has really pushed it to fruition.

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Mobility… outside the box.

We’re thrilled to announce “Mobility on Demand” — a set of well-organized cards for optimizing your mobility work either during Open Shop at your local box, or on the go while on a trip. Unlike a smart phone, they’re immune to dropping, and not scared of falling kettlebells or barbells. Also unlike a smartphone app, you can shuffle and sort according to the body parts you need to work on the most or …coming soon!… the equipment you have available. (Our initial offering includes only exercises which can be performed with no equipment.) Continue reading

My Podcast Playlist

After a nudge from Andrea, I jumped into Podcasts with both feet. I listen to them at 1.5x speed, so even my brief commute gives ample time to cover quite a bit of ground each week. Here’s a quick rundown on my Podcasts list and why I listen to each:

  1. NPR 7am ET News Summary ~5 minutes long daily, and keeps me more up to speed on: Ukraine/Russia, ISIS, Ferguson, etc. than if I spent lots of time reading news.
  2. NPR Topics: Story of the day Totally eclectic selection of topics, which is great for experiencing things outside my culture bubble.
  3. Freakonomics Taking a critical look at incentive structures in every day life, host Stephen Dubner puts many experiences in a new light.
  4. NPR: Planet Money Really genius reporting on all sorts of financial quirks of the modern day, along with analysis of how we got here. I wish I’d started listening in time to get a squirrel t-shirt.
  5. Radiolab Eclectic audio production and a tabula rasa approach to investigation from hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich make this make this a really unique gem.
  6. You Need a Budget (YNAB) It’s no secret that I love YNAB. YNAB CEO and podcast host Jesse Mecham provides periodic nuggets for staying the course.
  7. Science Friday Great recap of the scientific advances from the previous week. Its like IFLS before there was IFLS.
  8. The Moth Personal stories told live on stage with no notes. Great glimpse into the lives and experiences of others.
  9. This American Life The radio classic, without the FCC putting the lockdown on swearing.
  10. The Skinner Co. Network JRD Skinner’s flash fiction, in a cleverly cohesive universe. There’s more, but you’re going to have to listen and follow along to experience it.
  11. BLDRPPL Sean Helvey and Briana May’s freshman podcasting effort takes a tour of the unique Boulder scene. While you’re catching up on back episodes, keep a listen out for the episode I’m featured in!
  12. StarTalk Radio Neil deGrasse Tyson might be one of the most important scientists alive today, a spiritual successor to Carl Sagan as mass-market educator. This podcast is a mix of interviews with celebrities who are also nerds and socratic-style answering of questions culled from the internet.
  13. The Human Business Way (transitioned to:) The Owner’s Mind with Chris Brogan One of podcasting’s pioneers interviews business leaders and people with great insights.
  14. NPR: TED Radio Hour There have been so many great TED and TEDx talks, it’s almost impossible to keep up with them all. On the radio hour, they combine interviews with speakers with clips from their talks.
  15. Savage Lovecast Dan Savage has been running an advice column in Seattle’s “The Stranger” for years, and offers a really great, progressive view of relationship advice and
  16. seanwes Hand letterer-turned-passion entrepreneur Sean McCabe brings insightful advice on freelancing, brand-building, and delivering value twice a week. Not sure how he does it.
  17. Board Game University Famed board game reviewer Tom Vasal interviews board game designers about their successes and failures in the board gaming industry, and asks each to dispense “one piece of advice for an aspiring designer”. Great info as I work on Valour.
  18. StartUp Alex Blumberg, the creative force behind Planet Money and This American Life has set out on his own, and is recording all the details of starting a business that us startup junkies take for granted, but is really refreshing to hear about from the outside.
  19. The Paleo Solution — Robb Wolf No bullshit discussions of nutrition, fitness, and everything in between.
  20. Serial A spinoff of This American Life, host Sarah Koenig is dedicating an entire season to uncovering details of a crime committed in 1999 that has lots of unanswered questions.
  21. Swedish Survival Phrases Fun crash course in basic Swedish as I gear up for a 2015 trip to Sweden.
  22. Manager Tools Basics Super cheesy title, but great info if you’re taking on your first management role.

I’ve only gone back and ‘caught up’ on past episodes of some of these (Freakonomics, YNAB), and a few I jumped in right as they were getting kicked off (Serial, StartUp, BLDRPPL).

Hopefully you discover something new and interesting to you! If you have a favorite you think I should be listening to as well, post to comments!

2k Row Strategy Video

A bunch of years ago, Neile, who got me into Crossfit sent me a great video on YouTube by Bruce Kocher with Rogue Fitness, with a rundown of how to approach 2k Row strategy. In the intervening years, I’d gone looking for the video again, but it had been marked “private” on YouTube. Yesterday, I gave it one more try, and while the YouTube vid is still gone, nothing is ever lost on the Internet.

…You’re gonna get to about the 1200 meter mark, and you’re gonna meet your god. And he or she is going to be angry.

2000M Row with Bruce Kocher from RogueFitness on Vimeo.