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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 160 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Synchronizing scheduled events with sales.  (Read 5630 times)
Eric Provost
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« on: August 24, 2005, 07:05:24 AM »

On the plane ride back from GenCon I was thinking about my daytime gaming experience.  It was kinda lame.  My choices were indy games that were packed to the gills, games I thought might suck, or games that I knew would suck absolutely.

It occurred to me that I should damned well volunteer for GMing next year (and at any other Cons along the way).  I mean, DitV is super fun, and probably one of my personal top pics for Functional and Entertaining Within A 4-Hour Block.  Then something else occurred to me;  Every game I played in during the Con ended with either a free game, free game pieces (more Pirate ships!  Yay!), or a useful discount at a booth where that game was sold.  I mean, even the L5R game that nearly sucked the life from me produced a $2 off a purchase of $10 or more at the AEG booth.

You can see where I'm going with this.

I'm wondering if there are any of the indie-designers here at the Forge that would be willing to drop a discount for any Convention players who play their game at an organized event?  A good game plus a $2 off the Purchase of the Game You Just Enjoyed coupon might be the one-two punch it takes to make another sale. 

For the purposes of this thread I'm not interested in discussing why this may be a less than perfect means of selling a game.  I am interested in discussing ways to benefit the designers and the Forge as a whole as I'm GMing their games.

-Eric
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TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2005, 09:12:07 AM »

How do we make sure that games other than the most popular games get this treatment?  It's not that I don't think that Dogs in the Vineyard and (say) Burning Wheel, Sorceror, My Life with Master, etc. don't deserve their popularity.  They certainly do.  But I also think that (to pick at random) Kayfabe would make for a terrific short-form slot for people who've never even heard of it.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2005, 09:37:35 AM »

I think the answer to that is really simple Tony.  You need people who are excited about those games to volunteer to GM them (or just organize them when there really isn't a GM).  That's it.

And then do all the paperwork and hoop-jumping to become an official GM at GenCon.

I happen to be intereted in jumping through those hoops for DitV and tMW.

-Eric
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2005, 12:57:38 PM »

You know, there's something odd going on here. Every year, we have too many people around the booth. Now, all of these people are itching to play games. But we don't want to run demos for these people, especially if they've played the game before, or have had a demo already.

Now, GMing a game officially is one way out of this problem. But there's another. One thing that was supposed to happen, but didn't, is that people were supposed to get together at the booth and then go and play stuff during the day. But somehow that just doesn't happen.

And I gotta tell ya, I tried. Me, "Hey, should we get some folks together and play a game somewhere?" Random Forgerino, "Well, um, I wanna get in a demo of Game X in a bit."

I don't get it. Maybe it's just me? I did shower this time, honestly.

What I think we need is a room. Whatever it takes to get a room, I think we just have to have one. Where, instead of going to get a demo at the booth, you can go and get a full 4 hour game with whoever happens to be handy.

Mike
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Eric J. Boyd
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 03:47:09 PM »

You're totally right, Mike. As an eager indie game purchaser and player, I know in my gut that the booth isn't really for me once I've demoed a couple of the new games and made my purchases. But I kept coming by anyway because I wanted to be part of things. Eric's idea of having more daytime indie sessions is a good one, but the more informal stuff Mike suggests would be even more satisfying to me.

I would definitely be in favor of having a room for this purpose at future cons. I'd even be willing to pay a nominal fee (equivalent to attending a scheduled game) for the opportunity to hang out and play pick-up games.

-EJ
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TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2005, 04:00:34 PM »

I totally agree with this, and would take it one step further:  On firday (particularly) and saturday (maybe), at least some game designers should spend two hours away from the booth, hosting games in this annex space.  Of course, by that time they must have at least two designated people who can demo their games in their absence.
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daMoose_Neo
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2005, 04:12:18 PM »

I know Twilight wasn't demo'ed a lot at the booth (I did squeeze a couple in along with Imp), but thats pretty much what I had set up to happen at the TCG hall. We scheduled a slew of 2 hour slots, from 10 to 10, and had a few folks man the tables. This made a very nice, open way for folks to come in, get a full game (or several!) in without being rushed. It accounted for about half of my sales. I tried to make sure that when people were interested in checking it out, all they needed was a generic ticket for the next event and they were ready to go. On top of offering a drawing at the end of the day, we had a decent draw.
Next year, I'm planning on getting a room one way or another anyway, because of the tournament structure I want to get rolling on. First couple days will be placement events for later events, which are to be a part of a Storyline event, but at the same time I'm going to keep up with the 2-hour "long demo".
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
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Blankshield
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2005, 04:14:15 PM »

Part of the issue is that, whether actively promoted or just perceived, the booth is the place to be.

Folks don't want to go anywhere else, because they're here pretty much for the forge, and nothing else.  So while the dealer's hall is open, that's where they are.  I'm quite certain that this:

Me, "Hey, should we get some folks together and play a game somewhere?"
Random Forgerino, "Well, um, I wanna get in a demo of Game X in a bit."

Totally reads in my mind as:
"Let's go do something cool!"
"But...but... the cool stuff happens here!"

Fix that, and you fix the booth crowding, the lack of gameplay during the day, and probably something else at the same time.

The downside is that it then becomes work to be a booth monkey instead of a priviledge, and the attrition rate climbs.

James
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2005, 11:59:26 AM »

Fantastic stuff!

One problem.  The subject of this thread is getting players from the games I will be running back to the booth to buy games.  Not to get buyers out to play them.

To reiterate:

I will be running official, in the books, buy yerself a ticket indie games at GenCon and Origins next year.  Along with a slew of smaller cons between now and then.  Suggestions on getting players who dropped in on DitV or tMW (or anything else I run) as noobies to run out and buy a copy of the game immediately?

I mean, I'm gonna be running the games.  That's in stone from my pov.  Now I'm offering the designers of the games I love the opportunity to make a couple sales from my sessions.

And maybe others will spread out and start running indie stuff on the books at these games, infecting others with their kewlness and furthering the sales of indie designers even further.

-Eric
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Judd
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2005, 01:14:02 PM »

I will certainly try to figure out a way to balance being a boother next year with running some on-the-books games.

I know that the two gamers who played Dogs who didn't own the books ran to the booth and bought it after our game.

A player in the Sorcerer game had the main book but I saw him with the three supplements, & Sword, Soul, Sex.

The GM's of IGE could make it a habit to get back to the booth to let folks know how it went.  They could offer to go with the gamers at their table.

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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2005, 01:16:47 PM »

James, you're right, but I just don't know how to combat the effect in question. That is, again, it's baffling to me when I ask somebody to play cool game X for 4 hours, and they say that they want to hang around the booth to wait for three hours to get to play a demo of the game for twenty minutes.

One problem.  The subject of this thread is getting players from the games I will be running back to the booth to buy games.  Not to get buyers out to play them.
Eric, I'm talking strictly about forge people here. That is, I do not, and would not ask potential buyers to come play a game. What I'm talking about is grabbing the excess Forge folk, who don't need to be sold on the games present (heck they probably already have purchased them), and taking them to play.

That is, what the problem is at the booth is that we have lots of folks who hang out there socially. When it needs to be a business operation in terms of play. If you want social play, there should be somewhere to go where we're all hanging out waiting for it to happen.

I specifically avoided being a member of the booth this year so that I could pick up and go when I wanted to do so. So I found it a bit agravating when people standing around the overloaded booth wouldn't head off with me to play a game. It's like James says, people know that play is happening here. If they go off with you, then maybe it won't happen (this can only mean that people don't know me very well...)? Anyhow, again, if there were a second location that didn't have anything to do with selling per se, where we Forgefolk could hang out and get into the sorts of games we like, I think it would solve a lot of problems.

Now, the question is what form it should take. To some extent, this thread is stealing the thunder from the Indie Game Explosion threads discussing the same issues. That is, what I'm thinking is that, if possible, what would rock would be some room in which the Indie Game Explosion events could occur (and, Eric and all, don't schedule an event without making it part of the Explosion, assuming it happens again), and open tables were there as well so that we could play ad hoc. I know that groups like Rogue Cthulhu and such make this happen at conventions so I'm sure we can if we get organized about it.

Mike Miller did the Explosion this year, and I hope he exploits his experience to do things better next year. But I'm going to volunteer to co-ordinate. That is, even if I have something to sell next year (who knows), I'm going to set aside some proportion of my daytime hours to being a hall captain for this room, and making sure that everyone who comes along gets to play something. As usual what's required to make this sort of thing happen is just some committment.

My hope is that it'll be hep enough for the cool kids. That is, that the folks that people come to see will spend some time away from the booth and at the room. Because I think that, largely, the problem is one of personalities. Ron and Luke are always going to be down at the booth, so people want to be there to ride on their energy. I'm hoping that there'll be enough personality in the Explosion Room that it'll get people hanging out. I must have gone by room 207 a dozen times this year looking for such action to form, but it was always lonely in there with just a couple of games playing. I was just itching to take advantage of those empty tables to run something, but I couldn't get hardly anyone to come along (who was the one person who did acompany me?).

Again, this is about actual play, not demos for sales. Now, should the room manage to attract crowds of potential buyers, well, so much the better. Those people can be told where the booth is, and where to go get demos of the game, or they can get a full game in the room. But that's not the goal of the room, as I envision it.

Mike
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Judd
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2005, 01:19:30 PM »

Mike,

Rock.

Sincerely,

Judd
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2005, 01:24:21 PM »

Mike --

If I get the information (room #, etc) of the Indie Games Explosion next year, I will make it a point to send satisfied customers and extraneous booth folk alike to that room with instructions to get their play on, and I'll come out as soon as I have time away.

I didn't know where the IGE was this year, and I wasn't certain that pick-up play could happen there, so I couldn't send people.

I'd even spring to have "The Forge: Booth xxxx.  Demoes all day every day.  Indie Games Explosion: Room xxx.  Pick-ups and scheduled games all day and all night." printed on a bunch of bookmarks, and hand them out with every purchase.

yrs--
--Ben
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2005, 01:40:21 PM »

Well, to be clear, there was no such room this year. That is, all of the IGE games were scheduled in room 207, AFAICT, but the room was not specially cleared for pick up games. And I'm not even sure that such is allowed per se. Had I gotten people to come play during the day this year, I'd have just found some open area to play. But, again, that's less attractive than being at some place where you know there'll be interesting traffic.

What may have to happen to get a room like this is to schedule "blank" events. I've seen this before, and I'm not sure how valid it is right now. But you put an event in the book like "Indie Game Explosion - come to the IGE room and play one of several independent RPGs!" and then we just make sure to have enough GMs on hand to ensure that if people come with tickets that they get to play something. But mostly we just run on generics.

Some rooms, however, seem to just get away with having the room to run events at will. Looney Labs comes to mind. So it's something that we'll have to check in with Gen Con to see about what the options are.

Worst case scenario, if there's "open gaming" somewhere we can just set up a station there, and make that indie game central. That said, I don't know that I saw any such areas this year. It could be the embassy suites, but that's a bit too distant from the booth. It would be nice to be able to get back and forth with alacrity for those who wanted to split time between working the booth and playing and such.

Scheduled events are fine, and should be a part of this if possible. But what I'm envisioning is more freeform so that people can come and go in games as they find people to play. Instead of having to worry about who you're going to end up with in a scheduled event. So you get the best of both - scheduled event length, and getting to play with your favorite folks like you do in the booth demos.

Mike
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Judd
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2005, 02:21:31 PM »

Well, to be clear, there was no such room this year. That is, all of the IGE games were scheduled in room 207,

I ran an IGE game that wasn't scheduled for 207.  I think they were all in the low two hundreds but not necessary all in 207.
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