What A Peaky Weekend Looks Like

By Steve Hatherley

If you've not been to a Peaky before and want to know what it's like, this is my summary of my Peaky 2014.

Booking a place: Peaky is usually held in the spring. Bookings start in the previous autumn and close by the end of February. There are about 30 spaces (we had 32 people attending in 2014).

Arrival: Peaky starts properly with the AGM early on the Friday evening. Before that people arrive, find their rooms, catch up with old friends or play a few boardgames. (I had time to play 7 Wonders and Transamerica this year.)

Pitching ideas and forming groups: Following the AGM and tea, we form writing groups. Sometimes this is organised by email in advance, but usually we just pitch ideas on the Friday night – and this is what we did in 2014. Once we have agreed what we’re going to write, and who is going to write them, we usually just check to make sure that the groups aren’t too unbalanced. A group without a Peaky veteran may struggle to get their game completed.

This year the ideas included a game with cryonics, Romans in Britain, a science-fiction political/cyberpunk game, a game set in a kitchen/lounge area, an experimental game and the business game I co-wrote.

Brainstorming: Once the groups are formed, they leave for their writing areas and start to brainstorm ideas. Usually this takes two or three hours and consists of discussing ideas for plots, characters, and situations that may be used in the game. We often go through quite a few sheets of flipchart paper on Friday night.

Socialising: Writing activities tend to stop at about 11pm on the Friday night (although if a group is inspired they will often carry on). After that people go to bed, socialise, and play more boardgames.

Breakfast: Breakfast on Saturday starts at 8am. For the early birds amongst the writers (and that includes me), cereals and toast are available. Otherwise it’s waiting for a fried breakfast at 8am. If I know what I’m doing, I’ll often set up my laptop and start writing before breakfast.

Writing writing writing: Saturday consists of writing, writing and even more writing. Writing is punctuated by breaks for lunch and tea, but the goal of Saturday is to have a workable game by the end of the day. Saturday can be a hard day – there’s plenty to do and only so much time to do it. Ideally, by tea time, it’s time to start checking and proofreading some of the material. It won’t all get proofread, but the more checking the better.

Planning the running: During Saturday, someone will organise Sunday’s games. They have to find out how many players the groups are writing for, and match that with the number of players who want to play the following day. That was my job this year, and it seemed to go okay.
Not writing into the wee small hours: If things have gone according to plan, then the writing stops and envelopes are packed by about 11pm on Saturday night. If things haven’t gone well, then writing may still be continuing into Sunday morning. Luckily, this doesn’t happen as much as it used to – we have learned how to write games in the time available.

Jerry and I stopped writing at about 11pm – and I was so tired I went straight to bed.

More Socialising: As with Friday night, once writing has stopped people go to bed, socialise, and play even more boardgames.
Breakfast on Sunday: Breakfast on Sunday is the same on Saturday but with the addition of any last minute game changes that someone has realised that their game needs.

First two game slots: The first two game slots run from 9.30am to 11.30am, and 11.30am to 1.30pm. The times are approximate as games may finish early. If it looks like they will run over, we usually try to end them early so that there’s time for the other games. Quite often there will be two games running concurrently during the game slots.

This year we played The Truth (the game I co-wrote) first with about 25 players. Then straight after that we ran two games concurrently – the cryonics game and “4”, the game set in a kitchen/lounge area.

Lunch: Lunch takes place after the second slot, during which the games are discussed and feedback is given.

Third game slot: The third game slot runs from about 2.30pm to 4.30pm. This year there was just the one game running – the experimental do-it-yourself freeform.

End of Peaky: Peaky ends officially at about 5.30pm. After that people start drifting home.

Sunday night: The accommodation has been booked for Sunday night (check out is Monday at 10am). Those who are staying unwind and socialise.

And that’s Peaky!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License