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Author Topic: Forge Booth Customer Feedback  (Read 12474 times)
Luke
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« on: August 23, 2005, 09:00:22 AM »

Ok folks, this thread is for customers only. Members of the booth shouldn't post here. No responding to gripes!

As customers to the booth, what didn't you like? Why?

What did you like? Why?

What would you like to see different next year? Why?

Please be explicit in your answers and constructive. Pithy or destructive answers are the best way to waste your time and ours.

Keep it civil,
-Luke
« Last Edit: August 24, 2005, 06:56:00 PM by abzu » Logged

Andrew Morris
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2005, 10:07:33 AM »

What I Liked
    * The fact that if I noticed a game I knew nothing about, someone was there to explain it. Frequently, they'd offer to demo it as well.

    * The energy. Even if I'd never heard of the Forge, the booth had such a feeling of excitement and activity that I'd have wanted to check it out and see what was going on.

What I Disliked
    * The display for the games was in a weird place and not easily accesible. I know that I didn't look at the games on the back too much, since I felt like I was looming over a demo or standing in the "sales area" behind the register.

    * I was charged twice for a game. Fortunately, it was Bacchanal, so the $4 hit wasn't as bad as if it had been, say, the hardcover TSoY, but still...

    * The hard sell. "Buy this game" really rubs me the wrong way. It also puts me in the awkward position of saying (usually to the designer) that I didn't like the game in the first place, because if I like a game, I
will buy it, either on the spot, or online. When a polite explanation or excuse of "I've already spent too much" or "I'll think about it" is met with further pressure to buy...well...it gets pretty tough to be polite. [/list]

What I Would Like to See Next Year
    * The booth needs more room. There were several times I would have liked to at least watch a demo in progress, but was shooed off for blocking traffic. Fewer tables or a larger booth could be the answer. I'm sure it's not a practical idea, but a couch or some comfy chairs for a "theory and discussion area" would be awesome.
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Andrew Cooper
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2005, 10:40:34 AM »

What I liked.

The people.  Everyone was friendly and enthusiastic.  They were also pretty knowledgeable about almost everything at the booth.  I don't think I ever asked a question about a game that I didn't have an almost immediate answer for.  The energy around the booth also attracted people.  Lots of people.  It was a happening place.  The conversation was stimulating.  It was like a live version of the Forge website and getting to actually see the people while they talked was great.

What I disliked.

I am also NOT a fan of the hard sell.  I have two reasons for this.  First, I'm a compulsive spender so I purposefully did not bring any extra money to buy games.  GenCon was for me to try everything out that I wanted and then to take the information back home where I could plan out a strategy for buying those games I liked over the next few months.  People attempting to coax me into being irresponsible and put money that I really need for my mortgage and utility bills (even if they didn't consciously know they were doing it) really rubs me the wrong way.  Second, I'm stubborn and a master of passive resistance.  I don't like being pushed and even had I brought money to buy games I would tend to not buy games that were pushed at me, even if I had planned on purchasing it originally.

What I'd change.

I know that more space is very expensive and I sympathize with that.  But there has to be some way to make it easier to get a demo.  Out of a whole plethora of games I wanted to try out I only got to demo 2 of my list.  I did get 2 demos that weren't on my list.  I couldn't get a Sorcerer, Dogs in the Vineyard or Shadow of Yesterday demos that I really, really wanted. Mostly because I'll probably buy 2 out of 3 of those games in the next 60 days.  It would have been great to see the systems in play to help me make my decisions.  Holding demo times down is one way to get more demos in.  It really is possible to do a 15 minute demo.  Tony proved it.  However the most obvious solution is more space.  Of course that runs into the economics of more expense.
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ivan23
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2005, 10:48:19 AM »

What I Liked

The energy and enthusiasm. The willingness to put other stuff aside in order to demonstrate games. The booth was one of the most vibrant and active around, from my perspective, and that draws a lot of attention. I had no trouble getting any demos, no matter how many people were currently on the floor.

What I Didn't Like

The presentation of the games. I think a flat-rack is a more logical way to get a lot of folks looking at stuff than a triple-spin rack will be - I had the same problem of not wanting to crowd in to look over a rules system.

What I'd Change

Flat rack for demonstration. Honestly, that's about it.
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rickr
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2005, 11:16:41 AM »

What I Liked
Meeting the authors of the game and talking to them about it. I really love their enthusiasm and openness.

What I Didn't Like
The demos and the demo space. It was way too crowded and confused. It's the price of being popular, I know, but I didn't want to fight the crowds just to get a chance to sit down and shout at the other players.

What I'd Change
I really wish that there were a few more scheduled events where the author (or a suitable deputy) runs his or her game in a 2-hour slot. Is it really that hard to get away from the booth, especially at noon or 10:00am, to run a game for players who pre-register ahead of time?
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Rick Rutherford
Make Mine Incarnadine!
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2005, 11:50:33 AM »

Right now, way too many people. It's scary over there. But a bigger space isn't what you need.

My suggestion:
Have the existing Forge space (whatever that size is called...) and a separate booth (the standard 10x10) next door/across the aisle for extra stock, cash register, promo materials and sales people. The big area is for tables and demos, the wee area is for sales. You could even schedule special signings or what-have-you without sacrificing demo space,

The Forge as a booth is less a store and more of a demo space anyway, why not make it official? Think of it as an auto showroom floor with a separate office for buyers.

Also: less crazed carnival barker "salespeople."
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Eric J. Boyd
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Posts: 114


« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2005, 11:52:00 AM »

What I Liked
  • Getting to meet all of you folks in person and get good, high-energy pitches about your games.
  • Some great demos of Mountain Witch and Capes.

What I Didn't Like
  • The credit card fiasco. I was the first credit card purchaser and, while hanging out with Luke for 20 minutes while being processed was cool and all, I'd have rather spent that time demoing his game.
  • I agree with the crowded rack sentiment. Getting to the back side looked quite difficult when the demos were in full swing.
  • I bought about $200 worth of Forge Games Thursday morning, hoping to have the time to demo many of them throughout the weekend. Every time I came by, though, getting into a demo proved difficult. The few times I waited around until I did get in, I got a vibe like the demos weren't really for me since I had already bought the game (which I stated if asked what I knew about the game). Was this all in my head?

What I'd Change
  • Organize the demos better, perhaps creating a schedule for the most popular games and allowing folks to sign up.
  • Once I buy your game, now what? How about having a separate group of folks do longer demos or play pick-up games in an open gaming area that the booth staff can direct you to. That way, the demo tables are kept rotating and focusing on quick demos aimed at making the sale.

All in all, though, you guys made my first GenCon a rockin' experience.
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2005, 11:57:42 AM »

what didn't you like? Why?

The 3-sided bookshelf was really hard to navigate.  I was all set to buy my books in one swoop but missed some and had to come back.  Now, I came back a few times a day, just to see and help and kvell but with many con-goers, you are going to just get one shot.

What did you like? Why?

The whole vibe.  The sight and sound of people demoing and getting into it.

I loved sitting in and helping out on demo's and seeing people's eyes light up when they began to get Polaris or Burning Wheel.

What would you like to see different next year?

I'd like to sign up with the booth and see Dictionary of Mu on the shelf right next to all of your beautiful freakin' books.

I'd like to see more books that have the keen design sense of The Mountain Witch, Burning Wheel, Conspiracy of Shadows, Primetime Adventures, DitV and Sorcerer (I'm sure I missed some  but those stand out in my mind).

I'd like to see more booth-monkeys with a Thor-like demo flexibility.  Maybe some time at the Embassy could be spent so that every Booth Monkey can demo 3 things.  I realize that by the end of the day you Forge sista's and brotha's must be spent but a little bit of flexibility all around would be so great.

I think we need to analyze demoing with an Actual Play level of scrutiny.  Ben's Polaris, Luke's The Sword, Tony's Bank Robbery that I went through at Dexcon, and Malcom's A|State are all demo's that stood out to me as particularly strong.

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Iskander
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Posts: 226

Alexander Newman


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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2005, 12:39:27 PM »

What I liked
  • Activity - the booth was buzzing, lots happening, very alive. There was nothing more disheartening than the "look at my new game" booths with a couple of folks all dressed up and hiding behind a table. The Forge was exactly the opposite: not hiding behind tables is good.
  • Friendly - the booth-staffers were friendly... OK, I knew some already, but still, it had a good vibe. Having people come up to you and invite you to demo a game is good. Remember, your customers may not have many dice in social skills.
  • Demos - you were actually running demos of games (and game mechanics), and that didn't include miniatures, TCGs, CCGs, crap. I felt a bit naughty demo-ing The Sword, having played The Heist, but if a man can't have his pleasures at GenCon... anyway, the mere fact that you had demos running all the time was alluring.
  • Payment - the folks staffing the register were delightful. Kudos for staying so over the course of a long con.
  • Jared - you may owe him a debt of blood. (If I have the right guy... the demon horns rocked. I want them).
  • Cool - talking to designers about their games at a con has a certain cachet. Exploit it.

What I disliked / What I would change
  • Demo and Game Information - what is available to demo? when? can I sign up? is anyone running a game I could try to one-shot with generics? Being able to play a demo is the best thing you've got going for you, so make it easy to find out when your customers can come and try out your great games. Have a handout of the one-shots being run with each system, each day: give customers a chance to use generics on your games. I ended up doing a demo I wanted to do (BW), for a system I already owned, and was pre-registerted to play. I bought a couple more, but I would gladly have demo-hopped and demo-shopped for several hours, given the chance. If the con booth is too expensive for more demo space, hijack open tables in the Hyatt lobby for 15-minute demos. Do not use your gaming time for this, though! We like you fresh and inspired, not worn out.
  • The display - hard to see all the stuff, prices appeared to wander, and the non-rotating prism rack was a pretty inefficient use of the space. Moving the merchandise to an adjacent (or opposite) 10x10 would be a good call... room for another demo table.
  • Payment - the friendly staff were cool, but I really would have preferred to charge to plastic... and if it had been running smoothly, I would have very likely have added Primetime Adventures, Capes and Conspiracy of Shadows to Sorcerer, Mountain Witch, Dogs and BW - Jihad. Either make an investment in a hardcore parabolic directional wifi antenna to blast through the con. center's walls... or just cough up for the gouging facilities.
  • The funk - by Sunday, someone on the booth had their stink on. I have no idea who it was... but it was a booth staffer. Game designers of all people should know to shower, for the love of dice!
  • Space - the next-size-up prices are outrageous, but you've got enough great stuff that you need more space, to give customers an opportunity either to participate, or watch. Watching a demo through can be almost as enticing as playing in it, especially if it's a strict 15 minute one. Again, can you annex open gaming tables in the hotels? Rotate through hotels? Advertise that schedule, if you can.
  • Hard Sell - last, because it's kind of inevitable... but still, try not to make punters feel awkward. It's a long con: allow people a couple of days to come round. I know your game is the best game evar, but that still doesn't mean I should give a shit about it, let alone give enough of a shit to cough up for it.

What I want for Next Year
  • A Giant Foam Rubber Forge and a god-like blacksmith for eye-candy. I'm thinking Thor.
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Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
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Jason L Blair
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Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2005, 12:57:05 PM »

Hey guys,

What I Didn't Like
Density
Every time I walked by, all I saw was a solid mass of people. Great for you guys, maybe, but not for customers. I can look through the crowd and say, "There's Ron. There's Luke. There's Thor. There's Droz (note: shiv him later). There's Snyder, Wilson, Senkowski, Kitkowski, Czege, etc." but that's because I'm not the casual visitor.

Obscured Stock
The book display was lost in the crowd. Sure, I could see the bookshelf but the actual books on it were hard to see. For example, there was a whole bunch of books I didn't even see until the third day and on my fourth visit to the booth.

What I Did Like
Well...the games for one. ;) Also, having the sales table on the end, as with last year, was very nice.


That's all I have for now. I hope the show was great for you guys.

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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
John Wick
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Posts: 210


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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2005, 02:17:51 PM »


    * The display for the games was in a weird place and not easily accesible. I know that I didn't look at the games on the back too much, since I felt like I was looming over a demo or standing in the "sales area" behind the register.

    * The hard sell. "Buy this game" really rubs me the wrong way. It also puts me in the awkward position of saying (usually to the designer) that I didn't like the game in the first place, because if I like a game, I
will buy it, either on the spot, or online. When a polite explanation or excuse of "I've already spent too much" or "I'll think about it" is met with further pressure to buy...well...it gets pretty tough to be polite. [/list]

Yes and Yes.

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John
ViperNYC
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2005, 02:31:32 PM »

What I Liked
    The Merchandise. A lot of great games in one place

    The Demos. Though I only demoed one game, that I wound up not liking, I think the sheer amount of demoing going on was very impressive, and a testament to the dedication of the people running the booth.

What I Disliked
    The hard sell. I really, really, really, hate the hard sell, especially when it comes to games. I like to browse, and aggressive hard selling makes that impossible, because it makes me uncomfortable, and just makes me want to leave the booth as quickly as possible. If I have two games in my hand that I am definitely going to buy, and am just sort of browsing the rack to see if anything catches my eye, that DOES NOT mean I need someone popping up next to me asking "So what kind of games do you like?" in an attempt to sell me on something else. I was buying Capes, and luke's jihad supplement when this happened to me, TWICE. Within five minutes... so I just paid for my stuff and left to avoid it happening again, and honestly, if there had been anywhere else to but those two products at the con, I would have gone there and bought them instead. It's all well and good to believe in your product and sell it, but I think you should respect the fact that not everyone is going to like your game as much as you do, nor do they necessarily want to give you a chance to prove it to them. If your game interested me in the first place, i would have signed up for a game, asked for a demo, or even just asked a few questions. If i didn't do an of the above, that means I am just not into it, and it isnt a personal judgement on you or your creation.

    I feel kind of bad saying all this, because I am really friendly with Luke, Thor and Dro (you guys are all aces in my book), but it really made me uncomfortable, and I definitely didn't spend as much time at the booth as i would have otherwise.

What I Would Like to See Next Year
    I agree with everyone who said the display was hard to navigate. It was. i know you guys didnt have much room, but in the future, a storefront section seperate from the demo are would be a good idea if you could work it out.
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Lisa Provost
Member

Posts: 52

aka urbanpagan


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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2005, 02:33:51 PM »

What I liked:

The fact that no matter what, I could get a demo of a game at pretty much a moment's notice.  I also liked that there were plenty of tables for said demos and that most people could demo more than one game.  I also liked that I could stand off to the side and watch and listen while others demoed games.  

What I disliked:

On Thursday and Friday, very few of the games on the display rack had prices listed.  I had to continually ask someone "How much is this?"  I felt bad having to interrupt someone to ask.  (It was nice when they did post the prices via postie notes on Saturday and Sunday.)

What I would like to see changed:

I know it may not be possible just because of space requirements but if you could move the items for sale away from those that are demo-ing games, that would be great.  It was hard to navigate around all the people sitting down to look at what games were on the back of the display case.  
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Lisa Padol
Member

Posts: 365


« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2005, 02:42:55 PM »

What I Liked

The sheer number of games
Being able to buy them -- if Paypal and Credit Cards had not been an option, I could not have bought all those games.
Meeting people I'd known only online
Seeing people I've met before but only see once or twice a year
Being able to get into demos
Being able to push other people at the booth, the games, and the demos
Ben's sensitivity to the mood of the prospective customer I pulled over for a Polaris demo. As soon as she said he was losing her with the demo itself, he called off the demo and just gave her a quick rundown of the remaining rules, and did not try to push the game on her.
Discovering that I could get seriously into character as a popular high school bitch queen in Sweet Dreams
Snarling at Ron in a demo of The Shadows of Yesterday, and realizing that this was a game explicit created to allow players to be both the intrepid heroes and the divided adversaries that are usually mere exploitable NPCs. This took about 2 minutes of my time, as I came into the middle of a demo, and I had hardly any contact with the system, but this is what made me buy 2nd edition TSOY, despite having 1st, and despite having dropped a lot of money at the booth.

What I Didn't Like

Not really being able to hang around the booth for socializing -- not something to change, I think, as folks at the booth are there to sell games, and that's legit
Not feeling that it's kosher to get into a demo of anything other than something I've just bought and want to get the feel or or something I'm considering buying. Again, I'm not sure this should change at the booth itself, and I have no intrinsic objection to the idea that booth demos are for the purpose of selling games, but more demoing/gaming available outside the booth would be nice. (See below.)
The Hard Sell. I did not usually come up against that, but when I did, it was annoying. As someone said earlier, if the attempt to sell me the game persists after I say that I'll think about it, I quickly become less interested in buying. Also, some things aren't my cup of tea, even if I did enjoy the demo, and I don't like being put on the spot because of that.

What I'd Change

More short (figure 2 hours or less) demos and scheduled games -- Is it feasible to use open gaming space? To have sign up sheets for after hours / unofficial games, like I saw with Deliria in the Laughing Pan Booth?
Having more of an idea when and where I can socialize with folks (even if I'm also trying to juggle several other plans)
Having more of an idea of what I can do to help out. This involves playing more of the games in the intervening year and/or contacting folks if I think I just need a little coaching to get up to speed for demoing something.
Personal Check being a payment option
Credit Cards working more smoothly as an option

Query

What is considered a good length for a demo by the people working the booth? I assumed that 10-15 minutes was about right, but I gather this is on the long side?

-Lisa
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Vaettyr
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2005, 03:08:58 PM »

What I liked
The energy and enthusiasm. Seeing you excited about your game, or even someone else's, makes me excited about it. All the Forge folks are great about this, but you gotta admit, Luke and Tony got it in spades.

Demoing games I've been waiting a year for, obviously.

Meeting and talking with the designers of said games.

The pre-demo approach. I know some folks don't like someone coming up to them and asking "what games do you like?", but I dig it. I hate going to booths and seeing the folks working there just sitting in a chair, afriad to make eye contact for fear that they'll drive you away. Some folks are scared off if they can't idly page through your book without starting some kind of conversation with you about it. However, I think books are what we have to learn the game from when you don't have the creator right freaking in front of you.

The effeciency of the demos. Time limits help everyone.

What I didn't like
The hard and/or awkward sell. I know you've heard this a million times, so I'll clarify a bit. After I've demo-ed your game is when a lot of demo-ers expect to close the deal, which isn't a bad thing. However, don't tell me to buy it. Ask me if I like it. I thought Tony LB did this best by asking the innocuous but loaded question "can I put this in your hands?" after demo-ing Capes. I don't know why, but that just seemed to jive with me better than any other sales techniques I heard.

The crowds, not in that I was intimidated, but I hated blocking their view of demos and games while I was chatting with booth-monkeys/game designers. It was like if I wasn't in a demo or in line to buy a game there was no where I couldn't be in the way.

The triangle book rack, but mainly for the poor folks what got stuck on the back of it. It also kind of misleads you into thinking you can page through a book, which I think more than a couple folks learned was probably not the best idea for traffick reasons.

What I'd like to see next year
Organized demos outside of the exhibit hall. Maybe there were a few and I totally missed 'em, and if that's the case some advertising at the Forge would really help. I can tell you, if there were organized Forge games out there (and if I knew about them, in case there were), I'da been out there instead of taking up space at the booth.

Either a better bookrack or none at all. Some people have said a bigger booth, and that'd work, or just move the browsing types over to a different booth, like key20 or blue devil. Personally, I don't have to see the books right there to know what you guys are doing. I think other folks'll pick up on it quick.
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