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Author Topic: [GenCon 2204] Booth design and logistics  (Read 12224 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: May 18, 2004, 01:26:45 PM »

Hello,

Quick note first
I am possibly unique in this, but today it was a huge surprise to me to check the GenCon dates and to realize that they've been changed. The con is August 19-22, not late July like I thought.

Go ahead and mock me if this has been common knowledge for however long. I'm posting it just in case I'm not the only goof in the house.

More substantive stuff
It's time to talk about the booth design and logistics. It's the same size and basic look as last year: an endcap, 20' broad (head-on) and 10' deep. In some ways that's awful small - there will certainly be no neutral space. In other ways it's pretty big, especially since it's not enclosed and people can wander in from any of three sides.

I want to preserve the basic idea that the booth is primarily about actual play. Lots of little tables, lots of chairs, lots of "hey! I'll show ya!" going on. Paul's Thirty-Man-Hours display rack will certainly be there, and there will be one long table along part of the back to serve as purchase-point and various storage (i.e. under). P

ublishers who have paid for the privilege may mount posters on the back curtain or stand them up on said table. The Forge banner will be posted on the back curtain.

Fortunately, there will be no stumble-over pile of boxes this year, which was an unexpected complication last year.

So! What do people want to suggest, or to revise from last year? Or anything else about the look, feel, conduct, and general activity at the booth?

Oh yeah. Yes, I know that managing monkeys' and publishers' presence at the booth is a big deal. We will work hard (a) to keep enough people there to have meeters & greeters, and (b) to keep enough people away in order to make room for money-bearing customers. So give us all a break and talk about other stuff that's important too.

Best,
Ron
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2004, 01:32:49 PM »

Planning ahead is good and all, but there are limits.  I mean, how many of us are even going to be alive in 200 years, let alone going to GenCon?

Sorry for the nonsubstantive post, but damn am I amused with myself.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2004, 01:42:18 PM »

Gahhh, people who can't keep straight when the most important convention in the hobby is being held, by month, have no business moderating someone who mocks them about dates ...

Mock away, mock away, I say. I stand before you, schedully-impaired.

If someone could post about the booth logistics, though, that would be nice.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2004, 01:47:34 PM »

I don't suppose it's any use to bring up some of the ideas that I had that were shot down last year. Stuff like alternative furnishings (chairs that can support a big guy like me, for instance). Basically, if it's off limits this year, it's still off limits?

Will we have a computer at the booth this year? I still have a program that I put together that would do all the tabulation automatically, and produce reports for each publisher when needed. Or will we still be on paper?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2004, 01:54:49 PM »

Hi Mike,

About the chair, my question is, can you provide it? (Damn; if we were still in Milwaukee, then it would be simple.)

As for the computer, the concern is power. You pay for power at GenCon - in fact, you pay through the nose, unless you want to do the car-battery thing like Greg P does. I'm not saying no, but I do want to say that I ain't paying for it by myself. And the buy-in money as it stands is only taking a bit of the hurt off the primary sponsors; spreading it out over other stuff isn't immediately attractive.

Best,
Ron
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jrs
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2004, 02:00:03 PM »

In an earlier thread, both Ralph and I suggested that the back table be moved from center location to abut an aisle.   During busy times, this would allow the cashier to answer questions from the periphery, and as Ralph noted, improve access to the sales point.

Julie
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2004, 02:05:21 PM »

Hello,

Last year's GenCon 2003 is probably good background reading. I turned out to be wrong about a dozen things, so don't treat my posts in that thread as rules for this one.

For instance, if we didn't catch any shit for Greg's car battery, I don't anticipate any for carting in one measly big-guy chair. (But Mike, you gotta organize that, I can't due to brain melt-down.)

Also, the single point-of-purchase was a huge success, and I give credit to Matt Gwinn for finally explaining why so that I could grasp it, as well as to Danielle and Julie for managing it most of the time.

Umm ... so, what do people think about advertising actual play? My little dance worked more often than anyone (I presume) would think, so maybe something a little more active? Leaflets? Pamphlets? Signups? Or?

Best,
Ron
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2004, 02:19:13 PM »

Hey

Well I play on having my deadbeat friends wandering around with pamplets while they are enjoying the show.  Maybe a single leaflet with all the stuff going on at the booth would be a good idea.  One of the bums is even supposed to dress up as a goat and try and get people to the booth (he lost the american idol bet with another bum).

About the power, how much would it cost?  I would be willing to pay some extra cash for power (as long as it isn't lots more).  The computer reports sound like a good idea

As a newbie to the whole GenCon as exhibitor scene, how exactly was the booth set up last year?
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Luke
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2004, 03:39:36 PM »

I can't believe I am going to volunteer for another thing, but...

Menus
There will be a game menu this year. All booth participants will submit to me the name of their game, hopefully with a logo, a website address and a one or two line blurb. Cover images are delightful, as well.

I will then make half-sheet menus that we can strew about the place. They'll hopefully even have a map or directions to our booth and a little about what we are doing on the back. They'll be on bright cardstock, so they will look and feel cool. You will all give me a dollar or buy me a drink (as in root beer or lemonade) or something for doing this.

Names and shtuff are due to me no later than July 15th. If you don't submit to me by then, you simply won't be on the list.

Booth Monkeys
I will be there with Dro. We can usually handle anything BW related that comes along. Vincent, Matt Wilson and Scott Knipe were amazing BW boosters last year. I want them on my team again. :) Vincent, Scott I hope you'll be there!

Scheduled Demos
This is an interesting idea. I think a schedule could be worked up well in advance of the show. Sorcerer, 12 noon, Saturday; Riddle, 4 pm, Friday, etc. Personally, I think there should only be one or two scheduled games a day. From my experience, the walk-in technique worked well.  This should definitely be discussed more.

Furniture
Ron, what are we doing about furniture this year? Are we simply renting again and taking the hit? Is there another option? Is anyone driving with extra storage space?

-L
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daMoose_Neo
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2004, 07:25:51 PM »

I'm there and would volunteer my laptop cept we're looking to use it :P
Can scrounge around however...do have a second laptop, just need to see what it needs to be fixed, can help provide that maybe?
Laptops slightly older, Pentium 2, Windows 98, can run most everything business like. Power on something like that wouldn't be too much, battery isn't the greatest but still~ Less to haul though.
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
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btrc
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2004, 03:11:55 AM »

A few notes:
1) I was planning on bringing the car battery and inverter again this year. This should be sufficient to run low power electronics without any problems.
2) I don't actually have a laptop with a CD burner, so I'm looking for a used one (Mac) to buy, or any CDRW laptop to borrow.
3) I'm scrounging around to find one of those multicolor programmable LED signs for the use of one and all at the booth. People are mesmerized by the pretty colors...
4) I think we should give away free poisoned candy and only give antidotes with a minimum $10 purchase.

To organize a 10 x 20 space? My first thoughts would be to put the casual/demo(D) bit at one end, the retail stuff(R) in the middle and the sales(S) at the other end, with some rotating selection of "featured product"(F) near the checkout station to get the last minute impulse buys.

D.......R.......R......S(F)
.....D...................S
D.......R.......R......S(F)

Although having the retail stuff on the end where the high foot traffic will be might be better than having it on the sides. Just my thoughts.

Greg
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2004, 04:03:26 AM »

I agree with Julie and Ralph about the point-of-purchase table being along the back outside edge. While I understand a symetrical layout like in 2003 has an appeal ("They'll see our demos and be drawn in") I think the logistics would be better served by having the shelving on the outside edge of the booth (perhaps in the opposite corner of the Point of Purchase[PoP]) and having the demo area in the center might be good. Folks who have already consented to play in a demo are less likely to mind having to navigate around chairs, tables & people than folks who are just speculatively browsing the games. I know Ron's brought up the possiblity of losing the sale on the walk from the display rack to the PoP, but I think we also lost people last year due to the crunch at the PoP.

If we define the back curtain as South, I'm thinking that the PoP be in the SW corner (to allow writing space for right-handed money-handlers) and Paul's wooden shelf in the NE corner. If Greg is staking out a table with the CD burner again, he should be in NW or SE corner. There should be a rule of thumb that demos/sitting down with a customer to look at the book should start as far from the shelf as possible (start West and work their way East as tables fill up) to ease the natural tendency toward crowdedness at the shelf.
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btrc
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2004, 04:37:25 AM »

As long as there will be a computer on-site, I am open to putting together a "pdf flyer" for any any all Forgites (Forgees?) to be burned onto any purchased CD. If someone has a portable printer, that also gives us the capability of making flyers or signage as we need it.

I have no problem with a computer being tucked off into a corner, and I'd much prefer it be off-table when it's not actually being used so that me or anyone else can use the space as needed.

Greg Porter
BTRC
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Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2004, 05:28:13 AM »

Actually Michael, using your directions, I'd rather have the detail display in the north central and north west next to the PoP.  

That frees up the entire east side for wide open demo all the way to the aisles, and it also puts the product close to the cashier.  That location is not only more convenient but also somewhat more secure I think.
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Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2004, 07:50:25 AM »

This is sort of in line with what others have suggested, especially BRTC Greg with his nifty faux-diagram.

Three demo tables, one on schedule, and two for spur-of-moment (or maybe the other way around).  I'd make the scheduled table(s) more prominent than the non-scheduled.

Put the cash wrap and display rack next to each other on one end. Make it so the buyer is actually standing in the aisle when they pay.

I definitely wouldn't place the cash wrap somewhere hidden from view, though. Gamers need to see other gamers buying stuff at this booth and then see gamers playing the stuff they're buying. It works better in that order. They need to know that other gamers think our stuff is worth money.

What's the deal with storage space at the booth? If I'm just a regular hundred-dollar schmoe, how many copies can I store at a time?
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