Launching The Art of Science in the UK

Bristol pubs we like. They also seem to like The Art of Science. The Robin Hood, The White Bear, are the most famous, but also several more now hold our games. For those who happen to be in Bristol to try over a beer or two. We also had the opportunity to try their beers, and what can we say, drinking beer in England just IS so much more cultural then doing the same in Sweden…!

Tuesday morning, after a short visit to “@ Bristol” science museum, heading east again towards Reading. At first we found a really nice old English style university campus, but without students. After much walking and lots of guessing we learned that this campus actually was under construction. They had moved all students to another campus, their bastards. Off we went and there they were, hipes of them!

Blackwells in the student union building already sell the game so together we made a campaign giving out flyers to a huge amount of people and showing the game in the entrance of the shop. The campaign will continue there until Christmas for those who missed us. As a science student at Reading University I don’t think you can have missed that we exist though.

Got some tips for good board game pubs in Reading, so I should finish here for today…

1. Reading students happy to see the game

2. …more of them

3. Björn preparing the game at Blackwells

4. Fairly good exposed one must say…

5. Björn and Alex Hall at Blackwells in Reading

6. Some students really stayed for long to try the game


Acabo Games’ newly wed love couple Björn and Claudia is this week reporting from their road trip…

A storage hall full of Christmas presents! We can tell you that Santa Claus gets a lot of support from the people in Swindon. On this year’s list of Christmas gifts is definitely: The Art of Science!

Since today, Claudia and Björn tour through Southern England. They started in Bristol and the tour continues to Reading, Cambridge, and Oxford. In Bristol students are still busy with their lectures and exams and a lot is going on at the university. Claudia enjoys the fairly moderate temperatures after arriving from snowy Sweden. The last colourful leaves on the trees are soon to fall off. Only the Christmas decoration in the streets and our promotion code for The Art of Science on the posters reminds one that it is Christmas in four weeks. We met many students from the Math department, Biological sciences and Engineering, and several tell us enthusiastically about fun knowledge game evenings in the local pubs of Bristol. But whoever is lucky can win our game at the Student Union Christmas Party!

On the promotion tour through the bookstores and game stores the nicest contact of the day was Kerstin, a woman who comes originally from Gothenburg, Sweden at Playful.

Björn in the hall of Santa (Tristan, the distributor, that is)

The Art of Science in Bristol

Noone can miss us in Bristol anymore

An academic for academics: Claudia presenting The Art of Science in Bristol

Björn, busy, busy

Kerstin, a very nice Swede in Bristol

This Tuesday the yearly Anders Wall-lecture was held in Uppsala. It is a huge event which fills the beautiful University house with around 1700 people. As last year’s project leader of the arranger Entrepreneurs Academy, I naturally felt an urge to attend this year’s show. The peculiar Swedish linguist and comedian Fredrik Lindström was once again the presenter. Warm in his clothes this year, he did a great job.  The first speaker was extraordinary Percy Barnevik, who put up quite a show, using a projector and admitting he was really “an old dinosour” – well I agree, but a very important one! What he has done so far, and the goals he has put up to actually make the world a better place with Hand-in Hand, is incredible!

Then it was time for Gustav Söderström, Spotify, who was also very inspiring. Talking about his path from studying engineering, to Yahoo in Silicon Valley, to teaming up with Daniel Ek and starting Spotify. It was interesting to hear about their challenges and how he had dealt with them so far.

Jane Wagerud talked about her way from California to Sweden, doing what she enjoys the most; building start-ups and developing companies. First an Angel investor and then being a more active investor in Teach-heavy companies. Ashkan Pouya and Saeid Esmaeilzadeh from Serendipity are two really cool guys who have had great success in creating a portfolio of, investing and developing, innovation based companies from Academia.

Lastly, there was a discussion with three “young Entreprenurs”, among them Mai-Li Hammargren with her innovative “Mutewatch” (a silent vibrating, sensoring wrist watch). Sammy Ben Abla, and Oscar Lundin, founder of Ung Omsorg (Young care), which organize young co-workers to make the day a bit brighter for the elderly at retirement homes in Sweden.

The re-occuring message from the speakers was: “Find what you have a passion for and don’t settle before you do” (i.e. be an entrepreneur because that is the best way to happiness, although hard work).

Afterwards very nice food and wine at one of the University student houses close by, where it was great to catch up with acquaintances from Uppsala and talking to some of the speakers. I was so inspired by the lecture that I actually started contemplating if I was doing the right thing – not being an entrepreneur anymore but working at a big, well established company. Cause I really enjoyed it, I was so motivated to work for myself and the team of my business, I could work around the clock. The thing is I really like my new job as well.. but who knows what happens in the future?

Victoria, The Crown Princess of Sweden handed over the prize of “This year’s Uppsala Student” (and the receiver gave a fantastically funny speech talking about the Crown Princess condition and giving her his Student house flag to put somewhere in her travels…

Anders Wall’s favorite magician Seth Engström of course attended the event, here entertaining me and friends at the reception. I’ve seen him quite a few times now, and he is just awesome.

My colleague Markus Larsson represented Acabo Games in Swedish largest entrepreneurship competition Business Challenge, for young entrepreneurs 18-30 years old. The mission of the organization is to get more young people to start and run their own business.

The main prize “the company of the year” was EUR 11 000 and went to a cool company called Housify (a social web-based music service allowing you to discover, stream and share electronic music), but thanks to Markus efforts in applying, Acabo Games won “Best Marketing”, and “Best Sales”, both winning money and a sales workshop with the professional Jonas Möller. YEEEY!!!!

I couldn’t believe my ears when I first heard about this, it was really cool to receive this prize – all our hard work during the last year payed off!

The event was held at the renowned Grand Hotel in Stockholm, and included a full day of exposition, pitching, networking, mingling, ending with a gala dinner at the beautiful hotel. I wish I could have been there with Markus…

(Click to enlarge slideshow)

I am proud to say that Cambridge’ University science magazine Bluesci has reviewed our board game The Art of Science. They say that “overall, it is an excellent game for science fans” – yey that’s exactly what we want to hear! On the same page there is a review on a book about global warming: Cool It, by Bjorn Lomborg. Seems pretty interesting. I think there is a need to remind the world about this debate, which according to me should be taken more seriously. It is not hot anymore, which could be one reason to why many begin to doubt its consequences. I might be wrong, but to me the signs are clear.

I am also very proud of our new product pictures, taken by my friend Anna who is a great photographer (really a fashion photographer, have a look at her pics here)

I have been extremely bad at blogging this Summer. Inspiration just left me as soon as I left TechHub, and London. First I went on vacation, although not able to let go completely of work. Going to where I am now, working half time and still trying to enjoy Summer a little while I have taken on a lot of other projects at the same time. Not optimal…

“Not-so-trivial pursuit – A new board game tests your science knowledge.”

I was thrilled to have a guy from the BioTechniques Journal calling me a couple of months ago. Not only do I have a background in Biotech myself (studied 5 long years at the civil engineering program of Biotechnology at Uppsala), but the Journal is international and he was calling from the US! And we have done absolutely no efforts to get us a name there so far. Almost everything spreads by the web nowadays, alas Word-of-Mouth is just so much easier. And as we are a small company with limited resources, we are very thankful for this.

In the article I am quoted a couple of times, but everything can never come out right in media, I have learnt. Here it was just a minor thing. We do not claim that The Art of Science  is an educational “tool”; we have made it more as a complement to university, to motivate students in their studies, and to provide a fun game which is made specifically for people interested in science, in all ages. We want to promote science, to say: Science is cool – here is a product just for you people.

I like this description in the article:

“The Art of Science promises to rattle the nerves of even the brainiest scientist and technologist.”

A bunch of people from the worldwide popular science magazine New Scientist have now tried The Art of Science: 

“Last week, in a heady atmosphere of beer, chips and science banter, a selection of New Scientist’s hardiest science bods gathered after work to put the board game through its paces.”

I’m going to let them speak for themselves, but I agree in a lot of things they say. However, I think claiming that you need to be an “uber-geek” for this game is a bit unfair (then I guess they all are), as then all science-interested people who I’ve ever showed the game for, who tried it, and liked it, are uber-geeks. well…haha. I’m certainly a geek myself.

We played on. It was intense, it was challenging. Sometimes it was slightly confusing, but ultimately we had a lot of fun.”

They ultimately summarize the game quite nicely I think:

“A great concept, The Art of Science fulfils the needs of any University Challenge enthusiast and anyone looking to put their degrees to challenging and hopefully friendly competition.”

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