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Next Year's Booth: Storm this Brain

Started by Luke, August 24, 2004, 08:55:14 PM

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Ok, so now that buzz is settling down to a manageable level, I want to catch everyone's immediate and fresh impressions for next year's booth.

So next year, assume all this year's goodness, but what else do what? What would you change or tweak?

This isn't meant to be a bitch session. If you've got a problem to address, offer a real actual solution for us. Also, this thread is primarily addressed to booth members this year, but comments from interested customers are welcome as well.

I've got my own ideas, but I want to hear what everyone else thinks before I propose my cockamamie thoughts.



Driftwood Publishing


I would suggest the same.
Granted I didn't exhibit with Forge, but I did get the chance to stop by check it out, speak with a couple of you ^_^
Would say bigger booth would be a great thing. Too, this is a bit of a personal (or selfish?) reason~ Spent way too much money for my return this year for Twilight, and if possible I'd love to hang with Forge next year (if they would allow my meager CCG- might help if I have Divergence finished by then ^_^) and even help with the extra booth space- get a couple more people could possibly afford an extra 10x10 no? Would at the least be more gaming space~
Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!


The first thing that pops into my mind was the rack. I am not saying it was horrible but that maybe it could be better. It was a traffic jam at times to get around that thing, not to mention to the long table behind it (such as when stock needed to be adjusted) or the gaming tables beside it. When we were busy there was very little actual viewing room.

I was actually prepared just to pay things on a table in stacks. Not sure that would be better either though.

Maybe the long table that was on the edge of the booth could have been a rack front and back, like an A-frame rack. Then the F*ck This table could have been moved closer to the others and the rack would have been congestion lighter.
Keith Taylor
93 Games Studio

As Real As It Gets

Matt Wilson

The booth this year mostly rocked, I thought. Not much I'd want to change. But here's some late-night brain dumping.

Regarding bigger space, a 20 x 20 "peninsula" booth cost $4750 this year with early registration. That's a helluva lot of cash to count on. I'd say that a larger booth is pretty unlikely for next year, and that we should stick with thoughts of how to better work the 10 x 20 space.

I didn't much like the whole "handing out flyers" business. I'd rather do something like have folks walking around in t-shirts or something that say "follow me to booth 1141 for a free demo," and list the various buy-ins on the shirt. And the landfills in the Indianapolis area would probably appreciate the lack of paper waste.

By the way, did everyone remember to pitch in and help Luke pay the $180 those flyers cost?

To make more space for banners, we could see how much it'd cost to hang the Forge banner from the ceiling. It might not be much in the grand scheme.

One more thought: since space on the rack was a little tight this year, maybe the number of products you plan to display should limit your buy-in choices. For example, if you want more than 2 different books displayed on the rack, you must buy in at the 200 level or higher, or something like that.

Paul Czege

To make more space for banners, we could see how much it'd cost to hang the Forge banner from the ceiling. It might not be much in the grand scheme.

Three words: plastic electrical conduit.

With three lengths of rigid plastic electrical conduit, two right angle join pieces, and a roll of duct tape, we can elevate the Forge banner itself above the height of the curtain wall by taping the smaller gauge conduit to the upright poles, just like the booth next to Key20 did this year.

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans

Trevis Martin

Several times I saw Julie and others holding up little DEMO STARTING signs and an idea struck me that for the games that have banners like MLWM and Riddle did this year that you could mount those on some time of pvc or electrical conduit and pull them off the back wall and elevate them when a demo starts, maybe with an under banner that says Demo Starting.  I can imagine someone standing with something like that out in the traffic, or at least at the edge of the booth would be a bigger visual impact than the little signs used this year. (2 jolly good try points to those signs though).



Please forgive that these aren't booth construction related exactly but more booth management.  You might consider having Forge t-shirts made or patches used in conjunction with a general dress code of some manner that will help distinguish who a person should talk to at the booth.

The "follow me to the Forge Booth for a free demo" is a cool idea.  During the feedback session for GenCon people mentioned that the Exhibitors' Hall lacked a level of excitement that it once had.  They asked for things like the Doom-Sayers from a few years back that promoted Hell on Earth.  Maybe the Forge can work on a spectacle over the next year for one of the big releases or such.


Ron Edwards


I really like the idea of suspending the banner. The first reason is that it frees up so much space on the back curtain; I swear I'd forgotten how big the thing is.

The second reason is that, as one approached the Forge booth from the nearest entrance (nearly a straight shot), it was absolutely and completely obscured from view until you got to it, due to another booth's height-heavy display. I like the idea of a banner being a long-distance landmark.

I might even be willing to spring for getting another made, so we can suspend two at right angles to one another (two sides of a square) over the booth.

The flyers were good in their way, but we broke GenCon rules about fifty times with them, and (more importantly) did indeed cramp the styles of our neighbors. Apparently most of them forgave us when they realized that we corrected our behavior fully and quickly when told. (The Kung Fu Fighting guy was really nice about it when he had a full right to bitch me out, and you should buy his game.)

Here are some thoughts that got kicked around among several of us on Sunday.

1. $200 buy-ins should start with $100 first. This is for the companies' benefit, for a number of reasons. Suffice to say it's not good to put that much into it but not get stellar sales, and to get stellar sales, you need to have a really strong idea of how the booth works.

I'm not totally certain about this one, but it's something to consider.

2. Crack down hard on who's getting exhibitor badges. In the interest of civility, I won't point anyone out, but if someone gets an exhibitor badge at the Forge booth, it means you freakin' work there for half a day per day. Some folks took a bit to find their feet, but that's fine - they came to work there and eventually did it. Others should not have had badges at all.

Part of this is a clarity issue, for people who sign on fairly late in the process and without a lot of interaction here or in previous booths. I simply need to be more firm.

I'm gonna tell you something I was planning to keep quiet about. You know how you paid $55 for each badge? Well guess what - an exhibitor badge cost $70 this year on-site, all of a sudden. Which means Adept Press just ate $15 of loss per person who got a badge besides myself and three others. Do the math ...

I can't ask anyone to help me with that, but it's an example of the kind of unexpected cost that will plague anyone who takes point in an endeavor of this kind.

So in previous years, a spouse or friend or someone extra who's really getting the exhibitor badge just to be at the con and get in and out of the hall at the same time as their booth-friend, was no big deal. This year, a handful of such folks was a real kick to area VI.

Conclusion: no one gets a badge without a full personal statement from them, to me (or whoever's point), that they are working at the booth according to the written standards.

3. I have another idea. Wait for it ...

Two booths. Two separate sets of primary sponsors, so that means the headache doesn't get doubled, just re-distributed.

It would be interesting to consider the advantages and disadvantages of two options, if we have two booths.

(a) Put one on an endcap and one on a side-row of the same island, so they share a corner. Removing all the barriers would make for a mighty fine space.

(b) This is the weird one - have them be well apart from one another in the hall. Two whole worlds of goodness.


Matt Snyder

Quote from: Ron EdwardsHello,
I'm gonna tell you something I was planning to keep quiet about. You know how you paid $55 for each badge? Well guess what - an exhibitor badge cost $70 this year on-site, all of a sudden. Which means Adept Press just ate $15 of loss per person who got a badge besides myself and three others. Do the math ...

You mentioned this to me, and I still don't get it. Are you saying that you charged us $55, then had to pay $70 for everyone who paid that? Or, are you saying that some people came to the con expecting to pay $55 and you ate the difference?

Wasn't the $55 accurate for pre-registration? And, didn't you pay that pre-registration -- how else did we have printed names and company names to boot? This is me, not getting it, and I'd really like you to explain just how our $55 payments worked, specifically. If the pre-registration WAS $55 and we missed that bargain, why?

If this is the case, then make us friggin' pay what we should. This ain't hard, Ron. You know, like "Hey, guys, I'm out $200-$300 bucks (or whatever it is). Pay up!" Do you really think anyone's going to deny that? They ain't. I sure ain't. You want $15 to cover the difference? Um, yeah, with my sales I might be able to cover that.

EDIT: A quick check of the GenCon site reveals that badges were $60 before June 30, and $70 afterward/at the door. Either way, Ron ate AT LEAST $5 per badge (minus four badges that came w/ the booth). But, when did we pay? I can't remember. Was it before or after June 30?
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Ron Edwards


I got the badges at the con itself, which was the only and single way to make sure that absolutely everyone got his or her name and company right.

I discovered that last year, when I tried to do it piecemeal along the way and ended up with an amazing headache at the con, including a few new badges to buy, a few names to switch around, and even (somehow) a few unused badges. Plus it made getting into the hall for the first time a total nightmare. It was the number one complaint from booth members. This year, it was top priority for me to make sure that when every single person arrived, all they had to do was go to the exhibitor booth, state "Adept Press," get their badge with their name on it, and walk in.

Yeah, it was easy to get in this year, huh? That's because I spent literally days getting the slightly-more-ambiguous information straightened out across dozens of emails and posts over six months. That "straightening-out" of emergency additions and last-minute name switches was absolutely necessary literally right up to the last two days before I left for Indianapolis. That's what I learned last year and it applied to this year as well.

Matt, I really do appreciate your viewpoint, but I cannot demand recompense from people, because it's changing the original deal on them, which is what they budgeted for when deciding to come. I didn't even want to post about this in the first place, because I despise saying things like "Well, I can't make you do X, but you should do it," which carries the implication "Or I think you're a bad person." And any posting of this sort is going to be read that way by a lot of people.

(Incidentally, this is different from Luke needing a bit of help on the great flyers he did, which was an on-the-spot thing at the con and not at all a contractual understanding. Same goes for the banner last year.)

So basically it's my whole fuckup. I should have known that on-site badges were $70 and that I'd be getting them on-site, hence $70 per. "Should have knowns" cost money, and that's all. I'll do it right next year.


Matt Snyder

Ok, thanks for the clarification, Ron. Folks, in case it ain't clear or you're fucking blind, Ron ain't a bad person!
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra

Ron Edwards


Let's get back to booth improvements, suggestions, feedback, and so on.

I like the idea of some gimmicky way to do the "demo starting" signs, although the low-tech and grassroots approach is actually pretty effective. Danielle has this very audience-attracting expression when she holds up the demo sign ... kind of a self-mocking but also confident look which is socially 100% opposite of the usual "GenCon vendor look." My demo-dance from 2003 was similar; I still can't tell you why it worked, but it did.

So I guess I'm saying that a gimmicky add-on to these fundamentals would be neat.

Clearly, a PDF here at the site explaining the whole deal for exhibitors, to be available all year 'round, is a good thing. Must ... do ...



I think we need a one-page handout specifically geared to distributors and retailers.  We had a lot of distributors and retailers stopping by the booth and their questions were the hardest ones to answer.  A handout that sums up the fact the the Forge is not itself a business or a distributor or a warehouse and explains which games are available through distribution and which ones are only available directly from the creator would be handy.  



No offense to Danielle or Julie or Jasper (for that matter), but what about a booth babe. Those cheerleaders for Undefeated caught my eye (on more than one occasion).

I was told on several occasions that having women there is a good idea. That women feel more comfortable talking to other women. And lets face it, what guy wouldn't stop for awhile to talk to some babe about the games.

Although I think that having them in the booth might be distracting, but having them wear "Follow me to the Forge clothing" and walking around the hall might be a good idea.

Again, no disrespect to the wonderful job that Julie and Danielle did, they were great and generated alot of buzz themselves. This is just a suggestion and nothing more.
Keith Taylor
93 Games Studio

As Real As It Gets