Cool Kid On The Block


So Buonacoure makes fun of me. He calls me the Cool Kid On The Block because I use Snapchat and we all know that only kids use Snapchat, right?

Well, yes and no.

Snapchat is a medium for kids. It’s a medium for MTV celebs, for movie stars and sportsmen. I am none of them. No one is interested in seeing my wardrobe or my morning workout. I am pretty aware of that. So what the hell am I doing on Snapchat?

I talk about game design. I show my work. I show how I play test games. I show how my games are born.

Why not on Twitter? Why not on Facebook? Why not on YouTube? Why not here on this blog?

Cause each medium has its specific features and tools. Each medium is perfect for a different kind of message. You guys consume each medium for different reasons.

I chat with you on Twitter, I post mean comments to my board game friends, I banter and I love it. I got almost 10K followers because I feel that on Twitter I’m in my element, I can feel this medium with my entire soul. This is like my native environment. Punchlines, bantering, 140 letters that go straight to the point. Find me on Twitter at @trzewik and start bantering. Can’t wait to meet you there.

I have an official Facebook profile at where people who like my games can see updates every couple of days about what’s going on with me. I write short updates, post pictures and I am much more active there when I am visiting new places. It lets me show cool conventions and cities I visit. This is my most serious and official channel of communication with you.

I run the #askboardgames show (which previously was a Portal Games vlog and evolved). That is my medium for having a constant Q&A session with the gamers. When I visit conventions, you guys catch me and ask me many questions. That’s basically the formula for the show. You don’t need to grab me at conventions anymore. You can ask me questions about my opinion on Pandemic Legacy, about the app in First Martians or about the next Robinson Crusoe expansion release date and I’ll answer in the show. I used to answer a ton of email questions every day. Because of this show I was able to reduce it drastically. You guys are updated with my weekly answers. Clean and simple.

So, finally Snapchat, huh? Do I really need another channel of communication? What for?!

Snapchat is for unofficial stuff. It’s for prototypes that are in the works. It’s for stuff I  cannot post on BGG yet. It’s for videos that can’t get published on YouTube. It’s for work in progress, for dirty stuff, for uncut, unprepared versions of my games. The real work. Nothing photoshopped, if you know what I mean.

Listen, you don’t need to be the Cool Kid On The Block. You only need to be a gamer who wants to see First Martians coming to life in real time. Without photoshopping. Without the marketing bullshit. Just the real stuff and a real prototype.

Join Cool Kid.

Find me at trzewik23


Don’t hesitate!

IMG_1643It was yesterday when Seth Jaffee asked me on Twitter if I agree to teach him how to play Imperial Settlers at BGGcon. He said: “Will you teach me Imperial Settlers? Or would you prefer not to have to “work” in Dallas?”

Both of us, Seth and me knew that “work” word deserves this inversed commas. Why?

Because every single designer I know loves to teach their game and to see their game be played and enjoyed by players. It’s not work. It’s pure fun. It’s the best payoff for all those hours spent on the game. It’s the best that can happen – real people playing and enjoying his game.

It’s not work. It’s exactly 100% opposite.

After all those years I still enjoy running demo games of Robinson Crusoe. I still have pure joy presenting Imperial Settlers. I want to teach people how to play Pret-a-Porter, Convoy or Zombiaki. Yes, and Stronghold too!


I go to BGGcon to have fun. I want to play dexterity games. I want to play Dead of Winter. I want to play games. But remember, the most fun I have is when I see people playing my game. So guys, don’t hesitate.

Come and ask me to teach you one of my games.

That’s how I understand having fun at con…

Imagine Lucca

photo-gallery-of-4-stars-hotel-in-lucca-64Imagine old city. Italian, beautiful city with narrow streets, small squares and decorated gates. With small shops on every street and hundreds of small restaurants and cafes on every corner. It’s sunny in the day and it’s bright in the night too, with all those lamps and lighting from windows, cafeterias and moon. Imagine Lucca.


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Imagine convention that takes place in a whole city. Not in the exhibitor hall. Not in the convention center. Imagine convention that absorbs the whole city.  With exhibition tents on every square. With geeks on every street. With events, cosplays, fun taking place on every corner.

They say Gen Con has about 50K visitors. They say Essen has about 50K visitors.

Lucca has 180K visitors…

Imagine convention that takes place in a whole city…


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Every little shop celebrates convention. Whatever it sells jewelry or clothes, whatever this is a grocery store or small pizza place, it celebrates convention. Comic books, video games, cosplay. The whole city… You walk those narrow streets and you see comic book store and another comic book store, and store with action figures and store with cosplay accesories and you don’t get it. How’s that? This is some sort of a dream city? With only geek dedicated stores on every street?

They explain you. For the 4 days of convention local stores close and rent the space to geek stores who open only for those 4 days.

So you walk those narrow streets. Geeks all around. Comic book store on the right, action figures store on the left. Dream city it is…


zdj-cie 2 (3) zdj-cie 4 (3) zdj-cie 3 (3)You are fan of Dragon Age? They built actual village for you. Have fun. You are in a Lucca. Dream city…


zdj-cie 1 (2) zdj-cie 1 zdj-cie 2So you are comic books fan. Or Warhammer fan. Or Munchkin fan? It’s not gallery that waits for you. It’s actual performance area, where your favorite artists paint in front of you, create masterpiece paintings right there, right for you. Imagine Lucca, can you?


zdj-cie 3 (1) zdj-cie 4 zdj-cie 5 (4)Awards ceremony? Of course, it takes place in a fancy theater. Guest panels? Of course in press room. And so on and so on…

Last weekend I’ve been in Lucca. Biggest con I have ever been. Con that takes place in a city. Literally. Imagine that. Imagine Lucca…


That was most busy and exhausting and amazing at the same time Essen so far. I need to catch up with sleep, with rest, with everything, but hey, it’s Wednesday – I owe you a post, right! Here is some cool photos from Essen. Those of you who follow me on Twitter already saw them, for rest of us – here it is, Essen how I saw it.

zdj-cie 1 (1)Three big personalities of our hobby, from the left: Eric W. Martin, who covers for us all board games news, Tom Vasel, who covers for us reviews of nearly every game that is published in the world, and Brad Jr. Tolton, designer of publisher of great games (like Pixel Tactics or BattleCon). As we clearly see, Eric is just announcing that he heard about 600 new games that will be published and which need to be reviewed…

zdj-cie 1 (2)They say that in Essen you can buy everything for your board games. Well, I couldn’t find sleeves for this Settlers card…zdj-cie 2 (1)Best trolley ever!

zdj-cie 2 (2)Zee was stealing my thunder and signing box of Imperial Settlers. C’mon man, design a game by yourself! 😉

zdj-cie 3 (2)We all knew that Essen will be like a heaven for Ryan Metzler. It indeed was. 🙂

zdj-cie 5Don’t worry, I can fit one more game here! Everything is under control!

zdj-cie 4Runar had one suitcase. I had one car…

zdj-cie 3My Essen haul in all its glory!

5 things I will do at Essen 2014

7 days left. Essen is close. And since Essen is far too big to improvise I need a plan. A little bit of experience from previous shows, a little bit of wicked Trzewik and a little bit of craziness from my Twitter feed added together, shaked and here we are: my plan for Essen Spiel 2014


1. Find a hidden gem

As I wrote last week – Gen Con is all about huge releases from FFG, Asmodee, IELLO, Stronghold Games, Plaid Hat Games… At Essen you can find much more publishers that are small, that have no reputation yet, publishers who come to Essen with a small but a great game. Just like Portal Games in 2007 with Neuroshima Hex did.

My goal is to find a small publisher with an awesome game. It won’t be easy, because I will be stuck at Portal Games booth for most of the time and I will be unable to walk around and test little games, but hey, that’s where my cunning plan comes into play!

Here is a pocketbook. I will ask you guys about little games you found and you recommend. I will note down all titles you recommend and I will use you as my scouts, as my eyes and as my resource. With your help, with all of you gamers walking around here and there and searching for Essen2014 gem and reporting me results, I will find it.

So be prepared – you meet me, and I will ask you about a gem! A superb game from small publisher! This notebook awaits for your recommendations!

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2. Meet designers!

Excalibur suggested on my Twitter feed that I should: “get autographs of 10 dev”

This is actually an awesome idea!

Here is what I am going to do – I will have a diary with me. I will gather autographs of every designer I know and I manage to meet at Essen. I will ask them to write something to this Essen diary. I will try to get as many entries as possible. And when it is ready, after Essen I will give it for charity auction as a Designers Diary Essen 2014 and hopefully this will bring some money to those who are in need!

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3. Socialize!

I want to meet as many of you as possible! I want to do selfie with you. I want to sign your boxes of games. I want to chat with you about games you bought at Essen. I want to have fun with you guys.

Do not hesitate to say Hello, do not hesitate to stop me when I am running through halls! Chat with me. I am coming to Essen exactly for this reason – to meet you!

If Essen was only about selling games, trust me, I would send to Essen my Sales Team and spend weekend at home. But Essen is not only about selling games. It is mostly about meeting people!

I put most of my scheduled meetings for Saturday and Sunday so I can be at Portal’s booth for most of the Thursday and Friday. Please, come to us (hall 1-C120) and let’s have some fun!  Make photos, draw cows, chat about games! This is my plan for Essen 2014!


4. I will buy games!

This year I am going to catch up with some titles that are not in my collection and I find it a serious mistake. I want El Grande. I want Concordia. I want Jaipur.  And Telestrations. And Tamsk, Risk Legacy, Downfall of Pompeii… Yes, I plan to buy more than few games that my collection misses and Essen is the right place to hunt them all and bring home.

That’s the plan!

Any recommendations of old great games worth hunting?


5. Present Imperial Settlers!

I will present Imperial Settlers like crazy. This game had an amazing debut at Gen Con – we sold all copies we had in 26 minutes and for the 4 days of Gen Con we were able only to say: ‘We are sorry, it is sold out!”. It was freaking crazy!

Imperial Settlers is most important release for Portal Games this year. We will have a table to run demos, we will have space to present short explanation and we will be doing our best to show you this great game.

We will also have expansion for Theseus, we will also present Legacy, our great game released in 2013. Our special guest – just like the last year – will be Michiel Hendriks, designer of Legacy. You can come to our booth and congratulate him this superb design. And yes, ask him about expansion! 😉


6. And more!

Please, follow me on Twitter at @trzewik and please, subscribe to my You Tube channel. For all 4 days of Essen I will post photos and video right from the Essen, right from the biggest board game event in Europe. That’s gonna be 4 amazing days!


I plan to write a series of articles about organizing a game conventions. Without false modesty – I am pretty good at this stuff. I am doing cons for my whole life. I created and run many conventions, big ones, and small ones. I also attend hell of cons every year. I know much about mistakes, I know much about cool ideas.

But before we move on to this, let me just make a shout out to… myself!

Tomorrow I go to miniPionek (miniPawn). This is con I created few years ago. It is held twice a year in Gliwice. It is con for 50-80 gamers. Most of them are my friends. I would invite them all to my house and play games, but my house is too small. So we have this small con. We meet in Cultural Centre in Gliwice. One huge room, 20 or so tables and 2 days of gaming with friends.

I packed my car with games. That will be an amazing weekend. Shout out to me. I invented this con. And that was one of many brilliant ideas I had 😉

Social media I love you

I am a huge fan of social media. I use both Facebook and Twitter a lot. And before I move further, let me throw here few examples.

I am in Bojszow, south of Poland and I tweet: ‘I’ll be in Chicago next week. What places should I visit?’ In a moment my Twitter feed gets crazy. I get addresses of 3 game stores. I get address of Jazz cafe. I get address of super amazing book store. And I get this: ‘I live in Chicago. Let’s meet and have a game or two.’ And soon after: ‘I live in Chicago too. Game night? When you come?’

Few weeks later I am in Chicago at the train station. I tweet: ‘I have train in 3 hours. I am in Chicago downtown. What do you recommend?’ In a moment my Twitter feed gets crazy again. I got one cool idea after another. That’s how I discover super cool mexican restro and that how I discover Chicago stuffed pizza.

I tweet: ‘Wyndham hotel sucks!’. Two minutes later I get replay: ‘I am at Wyndham too.’ Few hours later we play game at hotel lobby and have great time. First I teach Dan and his buddy Imperial Settlers and then they teach me Trieste. Another super fun evening. Because of one tweet.


There is this famous YouTube movie called Look Up about us being enslaved by smartphones and technology. Well… I couldn’t disagree more.

Because of Twitter technology I met Tony, Brian and Walt and had an amazing game night in Chicago. Because of Twitter technology Brian knew I was looking for Star Realms – so he took me to the local game store where I could buy Star Realms. Because of this technology I met Jeff ( ) and Chevee who both became Portal Games Team at Gen con and who are freaking awesome guys.


I could now post few hundred names and nicks of people whom I met at Gen con for the first time in person. People who I knew from social media, with whom I banter about games every day and who live few thousands miles away. With social media we stay in touch. With social media we make jokes, we talk, we explore and celebrate our hobby. And once a while, when we have a chance to meet in person, we do Look Up. And we have fucking awesome time.

This Gen con was an amazing experience. I was not stranger. I was not alone. Wherever I looked, there was a person I knew from social media. I was among my people.

Now I am back in Bojszow, Poland. I am back to Twitter. Till the next con. I Look up and I Look down. I have fun for the whole year with my gaming friends.


Me in heaven again

Many of you know this story – there is a group of 4 players who wants to play Robinson. I sit with them, I explain goal of the scenario and I point my finger at round 7th depicted on scenario sheet. ‘You are gonna die here. Round 7.


Last week I was in Coy, Spain with a group of great people who works in education as trainers, teachers, event and activity organizers. I was teaching them about modern board games.  One day they asked me to present them Robinson. I told them what’s the goal of the scenario, I pointed my finger on 7th round and I told them they will die here.

They played. They survived till round 8th. It was an epic struggle.

Few hours later, in the evening they asked me if they can play rematch. They wanted to play again. So they played. Long, epic struggle that ended 1 A.M. Round 10th. They died. I thank them and went to bed.

Next day they approached me again. ‘We stayed at the board for half an hour that night trying to find mistakes in our strategy. We also had today in the morning meeting.’  they said – ‘We were planning our strategy. We want to play again. We will win.’

We set up Robinson again and they played again.

In the 11th round they were like John McClane at the final 10 minutes of any Die Hard movie. Covered in blood from head to toe, they were hardly breathing. The Island treated them with no mercy. It was 11th round and the wood pile was far from being ready. I used all me experience in the game, calculated every option I could see and I said: ‘As far as I see… theoretically you can still make it. You need a miracle, but you still can win against this f… Island.

And you know what? They did it. They won. Their third game in a row finally ended with a success. Merry recorded this moment when they survived event phase in round 12th and put wood on the pile.

They were so damn proud and happy.

And believe it or not, I was 10 times more proud and happy. Just in front of me passion, emotions, pure joy and happiness were happening because of Robinson Crusoe. It was amazing feeling. Me in heaven. Again. Thank you.