Fastaval 2023

It was great to visit Fastaval 2023. Few things had changed with Fastaval since my last visit in 2018, more things have changed in my life. It was great to reconnect with old friends, it was great to escape into a bubble of games for a few days, it was great to see my companions enjoying themselves and finding their feet.

I brought my son (10) and my nephew (18) and I brought my game Clemency

Jeppe Norsker presented and play tested his coming new series for 50 Clues. I had a good chat with Jeppe. He went full time as game designer some years ago to publish 50 Clues which he did with great outcome, both commercial and quality of life.

Fastaval Junior 

My son attended Fastaval Junior Saturday. Kids aged 6-14 played games in small groups instructed by adults. Two sessions with a pizza break in between. 

Very well organised. As a responsible parent you feel very safe in handling over your kid in good hands. My son came back energised and told war stories about one shooting the enemy wizard in the last turn helping his team to a draw in a tabletop game. He also played Heat: Pedal to the Metal, an excellent racing game by Asger Harding Granerud and Daniel Skjold Pedersen. He would have loved for the event to be longer. 

The other days he enjoyed pick up games from the quality selection of the board game cafe. He taught me to play Heat and Patchwork. He even played a three hour game of Ares Expedition with a  Fastaval veteran. A game which he proudly won with a 2 VP margin after building a solid terraforming engine. 

My nephew plays role playing games with his friends at home. At Fastaval he played The Iron Chancellor and the Hypnotic Ray and The Art of Painting a Sunflower (both on the regular programme). He enjoyed both games immensely and came back energised with stories and ideas for his games at home. 

The Last Days of the Soviet Union by Nicholas Hjelmberg. Entry for the Designer Boardgame competition. Looks beautiful and something worth picking up in a shop one day.


My story game Clemency found an audience. Small but good. Not all Fastaval players enjoy storytelling games and the topic of social justice in USA is somewhat remote for average Danes. 

I played in one session and enjoyed seeing how long term Fastaval veterans breathed life into Norman, Joseph, and Bart. I got the feedback notes from other sessions and a good debrief from a friend who played the game earlier. I can see that it hit home with many. 

The game owes its oomph to the US criminal system and to the stories shared by commuted felons. It could work in an educational context as an introduction to a study of Obama’s USA. 

I’m happy with what the game does.

Taking a break from the sometimes chaotic convention environment, we visited Fyrkat, a nearby fortification from the Viking Age. Shown is a reconstruction from the 1980ies of one of the 16 interior houses. Copyright Frederik Jensen 2023.

Cage of Secrets

I played the character Adelina in Troels Ken Pedersen’s Cage of Secrets. A well conceived Dungeon Drama. Terrible characters in a city of terrible people. You get dungeon crawl with character drama, elegantly controlled by a time limit and a healing system tied to revealing your deepest secrets at the most desperate moments to get out alive. 

I enjoyed the puzzle solving knowing that the fun part (character drama) would come only as we took damage so I paced the group headfirst into dangerous areas without fear. I was not disappointed. 

All the character backgrounds come into play for satisfying and dramatic scenes. As players try to win or at least for their character not to die, they face a choice of picking sides and decide if there are higher causes to fight for. Freshly returned from Greece, I could see where the inspiration came from.