JoCo Cruise Gaming

March 4, 2015

This is the second of four planned posts about Kristin’s and my recent cruise trip.  A few days ago I posted an overview of the cruise itself.  Now I want to tell you about why Kristin and I were there, specifically.

Swag Bags

As I mentioned, there were 900 geeks on this boat and a 24/7 gaming room, fully stocked.  Sounds like a great place to get people interested in Looney Labs games, doesn’t it?  Yeah, they thought so, too.  Which is why they became one of the sponsors of the cruise and included pyramid games and rule books in all 900 swag bags.

Taste Test

(And by the way, the swag bags themselves were great!  They had insulation that you could zip in or out and were just the right size for a carry-on!  Thanks, JoCo!)

So… now that all the Sea Monkeys had pyramids, it was our job to make sure they had fun playing with them!  So Kristin and I staffed three events.  First, the Table Top Taste Test (which actually featured Loonacy).  This was a chance for participants to learn new games and enter a raffle for the chance to play games with the celebrities.  It was reported that over 200 people showed up!

Playing with Pyramids PanoNext came Playing with Pyramids, a four-hour event in which we gave out Starship Cadet training booklets and challenged participants to become Starship Captains by learning ten pyramid games.  You can see Leila on the left, me in the middle, and Kristin’s table (she’s taking the picture) on the right.  The event was this busy for not only the scheduled four hours, but another two after that, and only ended because we insisted on going to dinner despite protests of those who wanted us to stay and teach them more.  🙂  I know of at least one person who learned ten games and earned his Starship Captainship all during this one event!  And Sage–the guy in the purple shirt in the photo–waited for hours for a chance to learn Homeworlds.  Thanks for your patience, Sage!

Our third and final scheduled event was It Takes Two–an event spotlighting two-player games of all kinds.  Again, far more people than expected showed up, and Kristin and I had our hands full with two tables of four couples each learning two-person pyramid games!  (This photo was taken towards the end of the event when several couples had already left.)

It Takes Two

In addition to these planned events, Kristin also agreed to participate in a spur-of-the-moment “Quitting Panel,” as she had on a previous cruise.  The Quitting Panel is a group of people who have quit their day jobs in order to go into business for themselves, and are willing to share their experiences with others who are considering doing the same.  This event was well attended, with about 25-30 participants.

Game RoomAnd then there was the game playing outside of the scheduled events.  We spent a lot of time in the game room, which was almost always packed, even at 2 in the morning!  (Added bit of fun, Where’s Waldo style–can you find Kristin in this game room picture?)  But the game room isn’t the only place we played games!

Thom Robertson


I taught Thom Robinson (inventor of Artemis) to play Homeworlds in the Windjammer Cafe one day.

Looney Pyramids, Matt


Kristin taught Matt Inman (The Oatmeal) and Elan Lee (co-inventor of the recently record-breaking Kickstarter game “Exploding Kittens”) how to play Pink Hijinks at dinner one night, and Matt came back to learn more later, which Steve Petrucelli turned into a fun comic strip!  🙂  We also played a ton of prototypes that I can’t talk about, but made people very happy all week long!  And we spent quite a bit of time in a hot tub one night with about a dozen Sea Monkeys who really wished we had a floating table so we could play pyramid games in the hot tub.  I really think we need to make that happen for next year.  🙂

16309372279_d697e49094_oAnd then there was Celebrity Munchkin.  Remember that at the Table Top Taste Test you got to enter a raffle to play games with the celebrities?  Well, one of those possibilities was playing Munchkin with inventor Steve Jackson.  Kristin had admitted earlier in the cruise that she had never played Munchkin and would love it if Steve taught her, so he invited her to play her first game at the celebrity event!  And, with the help of an advisor from the audience and an ally at the table, Kristin won!  She gave the two prizes (valuable game cards) to her two helpers, so it was a win-win-win!

Well, now you know why we were there.  It really was a working vacation… but so much fun!!!


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