Hopwood Games

Castle Bromwich Beer Festival - Saturday 10th May 2014

Beer Festival

Yes, it rained a bit and, yes, it was a bit windy but the Castle Bromwich Beer Festival still provided a taste of summer. Not the sun-tanned sleepy kind of taste. The getting together with friends old and new, enjoying being outside kind of taste, the fresh kind.


I was showing Mijnlieff to visitors and was overwhelmed by the reactions I got. This was my first beer festival showing the game and I had no idea how it would be received. I needn't have worried as the first response to “would you like to play?” was a resounding “yes indeed” from none other than the landlord of The Woodman pub (that's the very welcoming place just by the Thinktank) - The Woodman


Then came a a succession of people who were prepared to try something a bit different. Musical opponents came in the form of Robert, Laila (sorry Leyla, I have no idea how to spell Leila) and speedy toddler William and the four saxophonists from Giocoso. I have no hesitation to admit that Abi beat me fair and square on her first game (a rare feat) but I would point out I have never played amongst 4 saxophonists before, does that count as an acceptable excuse? They have 1000 twitter followers and they tweeted me but I didn't feel a thing! More importantly they know how to play a saxophone, well one each at least – Giocoso Quartet


Now, do you associate artists with burrito's? Aside from burrito's being the highest form of food on the planet of course. Well, our lunch consisted of delicious burrito's from the Hungry Toad (have I said burrito's too much?) made by a very helpful man who also happens to be an excellent artist – www.robinpugh.co.uk . Shortly after our delicious lunch (burrito's) my games stand was visited by Kevin and Charlotte who work in Digbeth. Kevin creates abstract art on wood and Charlotte is about to open her first exhibition (good luck Charlotte, remember to remember everything).


It was heart-warming (if not weather improving) to see the Green Man again. He recognised the game, which always gives me a boost and we discussed the trials of being a Green Man at public events. Apparently photographers always seem most interested in snapping him eating or drinking, it sort of dis-spells the myth a little. So I have deliberately chosen an image with him doing what he does best, summoning in the summer with a little tune.


The mayor of Solihull made a brief and welcome appearance, stopping by to have a quick chat about games. Naturally he looked very fine in official chain but some of the other costumes were just as impressive. I always think if you going to play a Hurdy Gurdy you may as well go the whole nine yards and these two gentleman musicians certainly managed that. They were joined by various characters from history from the respectable and splendid policeman to the pox riddled reprobate he was escorting around the premises.


Other players included Mark the Engineer, Sandra and Peter, and Carol and Roy who used to run the Youth Club I frequented as a teenager. Last play of the day was with one Eric Knibb whose name you'll recognise if you've played Diplomacy over the last 30 years. He was selling the beer tokens and as I was leaving he persuaded me to show him how to play. Once I'd beaten him at Mijnlieff we discussed games and I found out he was not only a lifelong Diplomacy player but he's a VERY GOOD diplomacy player.


Hopefully I'll get to see a lot of these lovely people again at the UK Games Expo in a couple of weeks but if not they all certainly helped to make it an enjoyable day at my first Beer Festival. I think I'll be repeating the experience.


For more information about the Castle Bromwich Community Project take a look at their facebook page