Man Vs Meeple
COMING TO TERMS WITH COST
After calculating out a very rough and unfinished budget, I knew going into this project that I was completely ill prepared for the tasks ahead. I am not a carpenter or a craftsman and have had very little experience in the way of tools or know-how to create what I wanted to design in my creative mind. Sometimes we dream big and only realize later that we are limited by money, resources or the contacts to make those dreams come to fruition. Each subsequent trip to the hardware store saw my budget escalate, but I knew that I didn't want to cut corners on costs nor present something to our audience that I wasn't inherently proud to have created and put to film. I was at a crossroads and was constantly told that we didn't need to start off big, that we needed to walk before we ran, but I have never been one to listen. In life you only get one real chance to make a firm impression upon people, and I wasn't willing to cut corners at the start.
I also wanted the Set to mirror my personal preferences in style and design, leaning towards an industrial/transitional look (aka Pottery Barn/Crate and Barrel). Yeah....this wasn't going to be a cheap endeavor.
Having a full time business career and doing the build out solely by myself meant that working on this project would be limited to nights and weekends, and that the time frame for completion would have to be set for approximately May of 2016 - this was going to be a long, drawn out process that would take me through a flood of different emotions.
A TEST OF ENDURANCE
Now that the basic frame of the set was assembled and attached, it was time to begin work on the walls of the set. I made dozens of trips to the Hardware Store for lumber, lumber in the form of fencing planks that had to be cut to specific sizes and painted.
The painting process took what seemed to be an eternity due to each color having to be mixed individually and painted with multiple coats. In the end, I purchased just two colors of paint, a white and a dark gray. With these two paint colors though I made dozens of varied mixes in order to create a background that was both unique and eye catching in design.
The process was daunting, intense and time consuming, and required resources that I did not own nor have in my budget to purchase but was ultimately able to borrow from friends and neighbors.
As the days rolled by the Set finally began to take shape. What was once just a thought on paper began to take fruition and the mold began to turn my weary state into encouragement for what was to come next. With each new board that was placed upon the frame, new ideas began to take sprout and root in my mind and there was an overall feeling of hope each time that I showed the set off to my family, friends and co-host.
My idea of a unique Video Channel had finally evolved into something that was actually going to happen, and not just happen in my hopeful day-dreaming mind, but was physically taking place before my eyes.
In February of 2016, I was finally able to share my project with my Indianapolis community of gamers at IndyCon. In just one month, the framework for our show was finally taking shape. There was still a metric ton to complete, but we finally saw a glimmer of hope ahead...
Man Vs Meeple
STUCK IN FEAR
Man Vs Meeple began in earnest in February 2016 when I finally made the conscious effort to put my fears aside and push forward by investing a very large amount of my time, resources and money into fully backing a project that I had been wanting to commit to for the better part of 2 years. With the blessings of my wife, family and friends, I embarked on creating something that I hoped would spark interest in the community and revitalize the creativity that I have been bottling up since I walked away from reviewing in 2012.
With almost nothing in the way of tools or carpentry knowledge, I once again tasked myself with doing something that I did not know how to fully complete. That something was to craft a "Workspace" that would provide myself and my co-host with a unique location by which we could broadcast our videos to the world at large. I knew from the start that I had to finally put myself in front of the camera, and that our personalities as a whole would have to be up front for people to fully connect to our message - and the only way to do that effectively was to create something that the community had not seen from an amateur reviewer broadcasting from a lonely corner of his own basement.
Without an ounce of skill or experience to my name, I set off to design something in our barren and dark basement that we would eventually house what we call our "Set"....or the home of Man Vs Meeple.
I can't describe the fear that goes into doing something like this, but I can tell you that it is palpable and real. Knowing that I was about to take a very large risk by investing our family's money into something that we could only hope to see a return investment on is a scary proposition for anyone, but knowing the sheer amount of money that would be needed for everything that was to be involved in its creation was enough for me to consider walking away on several occasions. I knew from the start that this would be a risky project but I also felt that anything that you are truly passionate about is worth the risk, so inevitably I took the plunge and made my first of what would eventually become dozens and dozens of trips to one of many hardware stores in my area.
I knew from the start that I wanted Man Vs Meeple to be both unique in its appearance and delivery by providing a form of entertainment different than what other Video Reviewers were currently crafting. In order to pull that off I wanted to start by creating a fully functioning set - one with multiple cameras, soft box lighting, microphones, a TV, simple but unique shelving, and a desk to pull it all together. Our conversations went back and forth on its overall design and function, but we eventually settled on something that we both felt would provide good form and function for both us as reviewers and for our viewers.
I spent a week clearing our basement free of clutter, junk and years worth of girls toys to make room to both build and house the set that I would design. In a matter of days, we had the foundation for what was to come.....
Man Vs Meeple
MAN VS MEEPLE
It's been a long time coming.
Approximately 5 years ago I launched one of the first video review series for board games. Drakkenstrike’s Components Breakdown Video Review Series in HD was focused on melding high end production values with a real flair of creativity. Although it was a mouthful of a name (and ridiculously long to type), it was a true labor of love for which I spent countless hours of my time in production to create the highest quality videos that I could. I am proud to say that these same videos are still some of the most popular and most watched board game videos even today. I have been eternally grateful for all the kind words of encouragement from those who have enjoyed my work and have asked for my eventual return.
Unfortunately as time went on, I found my catalog of work in a swarm of legal issues which took out almost all the joy that I got from the creative process. It may sound silly, but I really loved crafting each unique video and have missed it ever since.
As I gradually backed away from my efforts, numerous other reviewers have continued on or others have picked up the torch as it were. As I have watched from the sidelines, I had always told myself that when the time was right, I would come back -- but only if I was willing to put myself out there and once again create something unique, different and fresh. The months and years have rolled by without an answer, and although I never left the hobby or my love of gaming, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted come back. I often teased my return on several occasions, but due to work and just the grind of life in general, the timing or circumstances have never fully lined up.
That is until now.
Over the past year, my close friend and I have sat down numerous times brainstorming many, many ideas that could serve as a catalyst for my return to creating high end videos. The concepts that we created have taken dozens of forms, but most felt like a re-implementation of what other reviewers were already doing. We finally arrived at something that most definitely caters to my goals of being unique, different and fresh, but also has a familiarity that I hope most viewers will appreciate. That idea quickly grew into a mission, and in early February 2016 I began laying the groundwork for what will be known as Man vs Meeple. I hope you will follow me here as we begin our journey on this new video review series. Stay tuned as we prepare for our launch in May 2016....
Man Vs Meeple
I wanted to quickly catch everyone up with what exactly is on the plate with Drakkenstrike Videos both now, and in the coming Months.
I just concluded my Drakkenstrike's 11th Components Breakdown Video Review Contest and will be announcing a winner shortly!
I also have another Contest running that will last until Wednesday, July 20th and can be found here Drakkenstrike's 12th Components Breakdown Video Review Contest. For this Contest I am giving away a FREE Pre-Release Copy of the sure to be Must Have Title of GenCon 2011, Quarriors!.
Speaking of GenCon 2011, Drakkenstrike Videos has entered a number of its Video Reviews and has now been accepted as a Finalist in the GenCon 2011 Film Festival Contest for "Best Series". My Reviews will be Showcased on Friday, August 5th @ 1:30 PM in the largest Screening Room at the Convention Center, with Category Award being announced on Sunday, August 7th. The Videos I entered for the Contest were as follows:
Drakkenstrike's Star Trek Expeditions Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Drakkenstrike's Lord of the Rings: The Card Game Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Drakkenstrike's Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Drakkenstrike's A Game of Thrones Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Drakkenstrike's Pastiche Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Drakkenstrike's War of Honor Components Breakdown Video Review in HD
Win or Lose, I am hoping that if nothing else my entries will draw additional interest to our Hobby and possibly spur future media growth by showing Publishers, Retailers and most importantly Gamers the overall value of this type of format.
I am also currently going through the process of Incorporating so that I can more aggressively pursue those avenues within the Industry where I best feel that I can contribute with my Video Review Series.
Finally, I just completed my Video Review of Ninjato, and it should be posted shortly. Being that GenCon is only 2 weeks away, I have decided to take a quick break from my "NORMAL" Video Reviews to bring something a little Different to the mix....look for it soon !!
Until then....see you at GenCon.
Jeremy D Salinas
Man Vs Meeple
I've returned from Origins, and although it was a much different experience this year than those in the past, it was still a very enjoyable and worthwhile trip for several reasons.
Overview and Basic Concerns
Going into Origins this year, I knew that my expectations were going to have to be lowered for me to enjoy the overall experience, so I treated the trip more as a normal business outing, hoping to spend the majority of my time doing networking with my peers rather than playing games.
Being a more active and recognized name in the Industry this past year, I've had the benefit and luxury of playing a huge number of games months prior to the public release. Come Convention time though, this is both a blessing and a curse, as a majority of the games I've played are just now releasing, so as enviable as my work may seem at times, it's not always as glamorous as it appears. In the back of my mind though, I was still very hopeful that a few unannounced titles would be released during the convention.
In reality though, more and more Publishers are choosing to skip Origins in order to focus and showcase their new titles at GenCon in August. Due to this, the Exhibition Hall at Origins continues to suffer the slow decline of attrition and one can't help but notice that over the past several years its had a trickle down effect into the smaller Publishers as well who are mostly struggling to obtain the traffic and sales they need in order to make their trips worthwhile. Attendance once again appeared to be down in the Exhibition Hall, and without the draw of the major Publishers at the show, its becoming more and more apparent that Origins needs a drastic change in its Philosophy when dealing with the Exhibition Hall. What I do know is that it can no longer be a direct competitor of GenCon and for that a change is needed, as attendance and traffic have shown that over the past several years.
I spent 3 full nights in the Board Room and once again, it was a wonderful experience and a testament to the immense popularity and draw of Origins for Board Gamers. Pick up games with others were easy to find and most everyone there that I met was polite and attentive. There were a large number of Demonstrations, Prototypes and unannounced Concepts floating around the Hall for players to enjoy and preview, and I had the opportunity to provide some feedback on several that I personally played which was a real joy.
Being a larger part of the Community this year, I also had the opportunity to meet a great number of wonderful and appreciative people who have watched and enjoyed my Video Review Series. Most people didn't recognize me until I started talking which created some fairly humorous conversations throughout the Convention, but wearing my Drakkenstrike shirts and name badge drew a lot more attention than I had expected, and it was always wonderful to be appreciated by not only fellow gamers, but also the numerous number of Publishers who have given me a chance when I was struggling to find just a single company who listen to my vision.
There are a Huge number of Highlights from this years Origins, and I hope NOT to leave any out, and I am mostly terrible with names, so I will try to keep this brief.
These are in NO particular order:
1. Video Review Colleagues
A. I first met Ryan Metzler (aka Slaqr) from the Dice Tower. I will keep all our personal communication out of this, most of which was hilariously funny, but to be brief, he was a terrific and fun guy to hang out with, even though we don't share the same tastes at all in games.
B. I met Tom Vasel who really needs no introduction at this point. I had the opportunity to go to lunch with him on Thursday to discuss our goals and ambitions (which I will let him announce at his choosing), but the overall experience with him all week was wonderful. I also introduced him to Quarriors, which he immediately gushed over which only reinforces my original statement and Video Review....Quarriors is going to be a HUGE hit at GenCon...not big, but HUGE.
2. Publishers and Designers
A. After working with WizKids on Star Trek Expeditions and Quarriors, I was very excited to finally meet the guys who gave me an opportunity to Review a couple of their products very early in their production cycle. Justin and Max were exactly what I expected, smart, intelligent, forward thinking Publishers who knew what was important to gamers and what made them excited. One of my best experiences as Origins !
B. Christian, Phillipe and Pierre from Le Scorpion Masque. I've spoken with these guys in the past, but spending time with them in person was a blast. We played Quebec twice, and Christian table talked me like crazy (which I did back as well), but I ended up beating them twice so justice was done in the end...though I am sure he will have something to say about it. Very enjoyable conversations for about 6 hours.
C. Stephen at Stronghold Games. Another relationship that I forged rather early, but had never had the opportunity to meet in person. Stephen and Stronghold Games are the real deal, and just like WizKids, both of these companies are fairly new to publishing "Board Games", but both KNOW exactly what gamers want and are spending a considerable amount of attention to the details in all of their products. Couldn't be happier that this Company is finding success, and they deserve every bit of it.
D. Colby, Josh and Isaac at Plaid Hat Games. I spent a lot of time with all three guys, either talking about board games, watching games or playing games. Dungeon Run was one of my favorite games at the Con, though it still was not available for purchase Why tempt us? Another STRONG company that is taking their time with their games and giving each new release the proper amount of attention that it deserves...these guys need to be watched in the industry as they are a very talented group.
E. Ryan at Gary Games. I had hoped to see Justin again this year, but he couldn't make it, but I have traded a lot of email with Ryan so it was awesome catching up with him briefly at the Convention. Very down to earth guy and very welcoming, and he actually approached ME which was awesome and further confirmation that what I am doing is being noticed and appreciated.
F. Max at Mayday Games. My wife and Max bonded hahaha!!! She actually spent all day helping him preview his new game Eaten by Zombies after she fell in love with the premise and mechanics (a new deck builder). He is a new Designer and this is his first game, and one of the first ones we tried at the Convention. One of the nicest, most genuine guys we met!
G. Beth at AEG. I've spent a lot of time working with Bryan and Todd at AEG, but Beth is their Convention Guru and a really wonderful person. She and John spent some time discussing games with me which was an incredible treat !!
H. John at Small Box Games. I walked over to check out one of their new titles (Omen) and John (Owner and Designer) immediately recognized me so we sat down to play a quick game. Incredibly nice guy who is about a small a Publisher as you can get, but loves games and everything about them !!
I. Travis at Indie Boards and Cards. I had spoken with Travis on numerous occasions in the past, but met him for the first time at Origins. He brought 911 to the Convention in Prototype form, but I didn't have the chance to sit down and play it...although I LOVE Co-ops. I hope to see the game in some form at GenCon.
J. Brian and Geoff at Z-Man Games. These guys are so passionate about The Ares Project...you can just feel it sitting down playing and discussing the game with them.
Games at the Show
As I said, this was a very disappointing New Release Schedule for me this year, and most games that were new I had played in some capacity. In some "semblance" of order, here are some of my favorite games.
Although not for sale, it was being shown heavily by WizKids, and unanimously enjoyed by everyone I saw playing it and have introduced it to myself. This is going to be a monster hit !!
2. 7 Wonders: Leaders
Very very very limited quantities at Origins, and I think a lot of people weren't able to pick it up. I've played it 4 times so far, and it's pretty awesome !!
The only real new Euro there (and again not for sale until Sept.). A fun game that I can't wait to play again in its final form.
4. Mage Wars
I don't believe this is in the BGG database yet, but was in demo form and really well liked by a large number of people. It's an ElfinWerks game.
5. Summoner Wars: Master Set
The Master Set is awesome....with an awesome insert and lots of new factions !!
6. Dungeon Run
Only in Demo form, but I really really liked it.....a LOT.
7. King of Tokyo
This game was being sold by a random vendor even though it's hard to find here in the US, and I saw it being played all over the place. Although it's not a new game to me personally, it's new to a lot of people...and very very fun !!
8. Ascension: Return of the Fallen
New Release !! And I still haven't played it yet....but I do love Ascension so I am hedging my bets of liking this new expansion.
9. Eaten by Zombies!
Another game only in demo form. It's a very easy, light, but vengeful Zombie Deck Building game that's really fun and escalates quickly, resulting in a lot of death !!
10. Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War
Another game I've had for some time, but it was released here and being played all over the place. Everyone I spoke too who has played it has loved it!
11. Omen: A Reign of War
I got a very brief demo of this, but am looking forward to sitting down and playing it in full. The artwork is BEAUTIFUL !!
12. The Ares Project
I've had this for a couple weeks, but didn't really get a chance to play until I sat down with the Designers to learn. If you dig RTS computer games (Starcraft, etc), you will dig this...it really presents that style of game in a Board Game format almost perfectly. This game sold out I believe in less than a few hours.
13. Thunderstone: Thornwood Siege
I've already put a Review up of this, but another game that saw its release at Origins.
14. Nightfall: Martial Law
I've had this for a couple weeks as well, but just now got a chance to play it. I've been without the proper sleeves for 3 weeks, so I ended up buying sleeves at Origins, but playing another persons copy .
It's been out for awhile in Japan, but just came out at Origins via Z-Man.
16. King's Vineyard
I picked it up and alot of people at the Convention enjoyed it...I am hoping it's another hidden gem like Hagoth.
17. Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
I played the demo (nope, it is not out either), and I really enjoyed it !! It's confrontational, but fun.
18. Star Trek: Expeditions
Another game that I've had for months, but debuted at Origins. This was being played everywhere and deservedly so, it's a solid Cooperative game.
19. Star Trek Deck Building Game: The Next Generation
I have mixed emotions on this one. I hated Bandai's Resident Evil Deck Builder...and the gameplay in this one left me wondering if it was the person who taught it to me, or the gameplay itself.
WHAT? One of the surprisingly fun unknown games at the fair that I picked up...a really cool, quick playing strategy game.
So that is just a very very very small sampling, and I probably left out a ton of people, and games and moments that were great at the Convention. Origins remains a fun and enjoyable experience, but I think it's beginning to lose its focus just a bit which is creating some identity issues, most obviously with its use of the Exhibition Hall.
Thanks to everyone who came up and introduced themselves, or sat down and played a game/prototype or two with me. I look forward to GenCon and hope that it brings a wealth of new, unbelievable titles to our Industry.
Man Vs Meeple
As promised, in conjunction with Wizkids, CBS Studios and and The Official Star Trek Website, my Video Review for the upcoming June 15th release of Star Trek Expeditions is now live.
The video is going to be EXCLUSIVE to www.startrek.com for 12-24 hours, in which time it will be made available here on BGG through my normal channels.
Thanks for being patient as we awaited approval from CBS Studios.
Man Vs Meeple
I have some extremely exciting news to share regarding my ongoing Components Breakdown Video Review Series in HD. I recently reviewed the Wizkids upcoming June 15th release entitled Star Trek: Expeditions and after numerous talks with their marketing department it now appears that CBS Studios is looking into hosting my Video Review exclusively on the Official Star Trek Website for a very short window of time prior to its wide release both here and on Youtube. As you can guess, this is incredibly exciting news for me as my Video Review Series now has the opportunity to reach an audience of people that is much larger than ever before.
I've spent hours making sure that the video has as many bells and whistles as it could for my level of experience, and once again I am quite proud of the end product.
As most of you know, I try to write, film, produce and edit a Video for the BGG Community at least once/week as this is and will always remain my platform of choice for my Video releases, however, due to the nature of this current situation and opportunity, the Video is now in the hands of CBS and is undergoing a "Review" process of it's own so we are anxiously awaiting their response. If all approvals are given, which we believe they will, then the Star Trek: Expeditions Video Review should go live on approximately Thursday, April 21st or Friday, April 22nd and will be exclusive to The Official Star Trek Website for ~24 hours after which I will embed it through my normal channels here on BGG.
I invite those who enjoy my Video Review Series as well as those who are awaiting a first real glimpse about the game to stay tuned to this thread as I will announce the details of its release as soon as we hear back from CBS.
Thanks again to the BGG administrators and community as well as all of those who have supported my endeavors thus far, it is very much appreciated !!
Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:52 am
Man Vs Meeple
I have my Cosmic Encounter Components Breakdown Video Review in HD hitting this evening. Please check it out, and comments would be greatly appreciated.
I also have the NEW Website up and running. Go over to www.drakkenstrikevideos.com to check it out!