Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bracebridge - Festival of the Falls - September 20th

Applause - Give Your Kids a Hand
6 Manitoba St., Bracebridge, ON

It was a great fall day for the Bracebridge festival with the main downtown street blocked off to traffic and the stores all showing their best out on the sidewalk. And UPSET was there at JAKE and JENNY THOMAS’s great toy and game store APPLAUSE. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm enough to be comfortable but not too hot and not at all humid. A great day and lots of good gaming going on.

Early on EMILE and CATHI were interested enough to try out the game (Cathi won) and impressed enough to buy one. Their family is going to be getting UPSET for a long time to come if Emile and Cathi have their way!
Likewise, MATT and JUSTIN gave Paul a good game as did JESSICA and all left with great things to say about their new boardgame discovery.

The Bracebridge Idol stage immediately in front of the store was a mixed blessing for the UPSET/APPLAUSE team because, although it provided great entertainment and drew a lot of interest from the audience, no-one was then going in the shops and it was impossible to explain the rules of the game over the sound of the music! Paul shouted himself hoarse before admitting defeat and just sitting back to enjoy the concert.

Meanwhile Stuart, relocated by Jake in the back of the store, was able both to enjoy the music and demonstrate the game....
IRENE didn’t like it - she LOVED it and, although she didn’t win when she played in the store, she took one home determined to try it out with friends and family and get her revenge that way.
Idol prizewinner MEGAN and her friend HANNAH were happy to distract themselves from the tension of waiting for the results by playing a game of UPSET in the store. Megan resolved to buy a game if she won and she went home with a signed copy.
And finally ANTHONY and his mother JENNIFER (and her friend JEN)....
Anthony started out like many new, young players. He kept rolling when he should stick, kept chancing when he should be content to stay and Jennifer and Stuart had to let him learn his own way. And learn he did - and very quickly! And was he ever lucky?!! In a really fun game, Anthony beat Stuart and Jennifer was happy to treat him to a new game - after all it’s great for developing mental math skills! And, who knows, she may even introduce it to an adults games night as well?

All in all, a very satisfying day in Bracebridge and many thanks to Jake and staff members CRYSTAL and KARLEE for having us at Applause. We look forward to our next visit.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

CABBAGETOWN FESTIVAL - September 5th-7th

Cabbagetown really was once a town of cabbages. But those days are long gone and, today, this shaded community beside the Don Valley is one of Toronto's most interesting downtown neighbourhoods. Residents and fans of the area come together every September for the Cabbagetown Festival. A street festival, arts & crafts and other things sale, short film & video festival, pub crawls and tours of the stately homes, are just part of the 3 day event.

We have mixed feelings about this event this year but nothing to do with the organization or the event itself - just the weather! Big thanks to DOUG ROLANDS for all the info and support he was so generous with both before and during the festival.

Friday afternoon was damp and too windy for the canopy so we arrived early on Saturday for set up. The location - at the corner of Sumach and Winchester by the Necropolis and opposite the Park entrance - was just delightful and Saturday itself was a great fall day. All day long we had a constant stream of players who were unanimously enthusiastic about this new and exciting game they were discovering. WENDY and MATT had to dash off for a party after Matt had tried out a couple of times; lovely speech pathologist LAURIE couldn’t have been more full of praise, energy and enthusiasm and also stayed for two games. When all was said and done it had been a great fun and busy day with lots of games sold and hardly any time to dart across to the Park Cafe on the opposite corner for a bite to eat.

And then came Sunday! Just time to set up the booth before the rain started. And it rained and rained. Lots of time now to cross the street for a hamburger but, bit by bit, the stuff had to be packed away to stop it getting soaked (never mind us - we were soaked practically from the get-go!).

UPSET was designed partly with the outdoors in mind. Everything packs snugly so it doesn’t blow away in play and the glide clips included in each game allow you to connect the lid and the box to keep it all anchored on the table or beach-blanket or wherever. Breezy, yes, but it’s not designed for the rain and nobody wants to sit and play during the rain either. So, after over 4 hours with no-one even sitting down for a chat, we packed up and left. Of course, a couple of hours later the weather started to clear but by then it was too late to salvage the day. Too late even for photos!

Cabbagetown Festival then will be on our list of events to attend next year. It’s a great event, terrific location and wonderful people. We’ll be there - and hope for good weather!

One great bonus we got was this email from ALISA WING which we received on Monday Sept.8th

"My husband and I bought a copy of your game at the Cabbagetown Festival on Saturday. We’ve played at least 10 times since then and we love it.


Alisa Wing

Hobbs & Co. Wine Merchants Inc.
736 Dundas St. E. Toronto Suite 607

For pictures of this year's festival click here.

Fan Expo Canada 2008

Weekend of August 23/24 was a great weekend at the FANEXPO 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the second year we have exhibited there. The FANEXPO is a unique event which assembles celebrities, creative talents, promoters and exhibitors from pop culture with their thousands of fans and UPSET was delighted to be a part of it again.

As well as Superman, WonderWoman, Dr. Spock and dozens of other movie/T.V./comicbook characters present in the variously costumed, 50,000+ fans, there were the likes of SEAN ASTIN (Lord of the Rings), EDWARD JAMES OLMOS (Battlestar Gallactica), ‘Captain’ KATE MULGREW (Star Trek: Voyager), HENRY ‘Fonzie’ WINKLER, BRENT SPINER (Star Trek, TNG), and director WES CRAVEN on hand to sign autographs.
And then there was UPSET at a table in the games area available for anyone to play.

The Games Expo was incorporated into the FanExpo in 2005 to showcase and provide a play venue for fans to sample and play out various new and traditional games. Although there were many RPG games around, fans seemed to enjoy the chance to sample a more traditional game like UPSET. Paul and I played many games all weekend at a standout event (over 45 people played) and handed out literally dozens of promotional games to winners at the table. Players included NICK (won), KAREN, DOUGLAS a.k.a. MEGAMAN (won), WALLY, PAT, SARAH (won), MIKE (won), LOGAN and many, many more.

Thanks, JUSTIN, for having us and we are already looking forward to next year.

(L-R, Douglas, Paul, Karen and Wally)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Applause - Gravenhurst

Wednesday (Aug. 20th)

Really busy week this week.... Wednesday found us in Gravenhurst in Muskoka cottage country. It was Farmers’ Market Day and APPLAUSE toy store owners JAKE and JENN THOMAS had invited us to demo the game at their store close by the market area and in a lovely waterside location.

We had a great response early in the day from the visitors from Ohio in the U.S. and Sydney, Australia who purchased a couple of copies of the game and then DENISE, MATTHEW, and ALLAN (L-R below) also loved it well enough to take one home.

MARK and SUE checked us out, went away to think about it, came back and played a game (LOVED IT!) and then got one as a little gift to them selves for their wedding anniversary. Pleasure meeting you guys and Happy Anniversary.

AMANDA, KENDAL, REGAN and JOHNNIE had an “UPSET INTERUPTED” when they had to leave in mid-game. They sat down originally, I think, more for a rest than with any real curiosity or commitment but, as the game progressed, the interest level rose and the energy and interactions flowed and soon they were battling it out in earnest. Fireman Dad reminded them a couple of times they had to leave before they reluctantly did so but they were so determined to complete their match that they took one home to finish it there. We’d be interested hearing who won, guys and I’m sure it was just the first of many challenge games for you all!

And finally, the young lady from the clothing store next door (didn’t get your name - sorry!) came over after hearing about the game from customers coming in after they had tried it out. The word-of-mouth must have been favourable because she came over herself to try it to see if it would suit as a birthday gift for her aunt who, apparently, is a great games player. Turns out it would be just the thing and Paul and I were happy to sign the game with our best wishes. Again, we’d be really interested in how your aunt enjoyed her new game.

Comment... from Sue and Mark

We had a great time playing with you guys as we clebrated our 25th Anniversary in the Muskokas. We are still playing ( and I am still winning!) and have new converts too!

Thanksguys! Keep up the great work!

Sue (and Mark)

October 27, 2008 10:11 AM

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