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Forge Booth Triumphant 2005

Started by Valamir, August 28, 2005, 02:05:00 AM

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GenCon Sales Results and Comparison
Click here for last year's detail.

In 2003 we had 287 separate customer transactions
In 2004 we had 360 separate customer transactions (+73 Customers +25.4%)
In 2005 we had 516 separate customer transactions
This is an increase of 156 customers or 43.3% over last year.

In 2003 we sold 513 individual products, averaging 1.79 items per transaction
in 2004 we sold 780 individual products, averaging 2.17 items per transaction (+267 items, + 52%.  +21.2% items/tran)
in 2004 we sold 1210 individual products, averaging 2.34 items per transaction
This is an increase of 430 items or 55% over last year
Our average items per transaction increased 7.8%
I'll note that I think our items per customer is MUCH higher than our items per transaction because I know many many customers came through the booth more than once

In 2003 we did $8,105 in total business, or $28.24 per transaction and $15.80 per item sold
In 2004 we did $11,310 in total business, or $31.42 per transaction and $14.50 per item sold (+$3,205, +39.5%)
In 2005 we did $19,466.50 in total business, or $37.72 per transaction and $16.08 per item sold

This is an increase of $8,156.50 or 72.1% over last year (and 240% over 2003)
Our average sales per transaction increased by 20.1% (after increasing 11.3% the previous year)
Our average unit price per item sold increased by 10.9% (1.8% over 2003)
Higher unit sales at higher prices = beau coup revenue.

Thursday's Top 5 sellers by unit:
Mountain Witch, Primetime Adventures, Dogs in the Vineyard, With Great Power, and Polaris
I'll note that Breaking the Ice and Jihad were a close #6 and #7 and 7 other products enjoyed double digit sales on Thursday

Friday's Top 5 sellers by unit:
Dogs in the Vineyard, Breaking the Ice, Mountain Witch, Primetime Adventures, and Jihad
with Polaris and With Great Power a close #6 and #7

Saturday's Top 5 sellers by unit:
Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard, Mountain Witch, Polaris, and Jihad
with Primetime Adventures a close #6 and 5 other titles breaking double digit sales

Sunday's Top 5 sellers by unit:
My Life with Master, Dogs in the Vineyard, Breaking the Ice, with Burning Wheel, Polaris, Primetime Adventures, and Bacchanal tied for fourth and Mountain Witch in fifth
again there were 5 other titles with double digit sales

Overall top 5 sellers by unit:
Mountain Witch, Dogs in the Vineyard, Primetime Adventures, Polaris, and Breaking the Ice
29 seperate products had double digit sales and 13 products sold more than 20 units

Yes, you read that right.  Breaking the Ice in the top five.  Congratulation Emily for kicking Burning Wheel's Ass ;-)
Although Luke can be consoled by the fact that Burning Wheel and Jihad were 6 and 7 respectively.

I'll note that the previous record of 81 units sold set last year by My Life with Master was broken by both Dogs in the Vineyard at 88 and Mountain Witch at 91.  We'll have to wait till next year to see if the Witch can duplicate the Master's 2 year title run.

Any booth members wanting a specific spreadsheet breakdown of sales should PM me their email address.


Wow, guys.  That is tremendous!  Grats to everyone who had so much success especially to Witch and Dogs.  That's really great news for the indie-gaming industry.  A pat on the back to Ron, Abzu, and Val for all their hard work.  Nice job guys!



Nev the Deranged

That's just too awesome for words. I don't think I could be more enthused if I was actually making some of that money.

Thanks Ralph, for the great boost to my indie-gaming ego ^_^

Jürgen Mayer

Wow! Congrats to all!

Thanks for the detailed update, Ralph \m/
Jürgen Mayer
Disaster Machine Productions


QuoteYes, you read that right.  Breaking the Ice in the top five.  Congratulation Emily for kicking Burning Wheel's Ass ;-)
Although Luke can be consoled by the fact that Burning Wheel and Jihad were 6 and 7 respectively.

Yes, once again, Burning Wheel is shoved to the side by new, fast and strong breed. And though our poor, tired, two and a half year old game can't compete with the sheer volume surrounding Mountain Witch, Primetime, Dogs or Breaking the Ice...

We make up for it in power. Highest earner over all, baby!
Not to mention most overall units sold.


Thanks Ralph for crunching these numbers. Would have been a disaster without you!

And congrats EVERYONE! Our best year yet. And that's YOUR fault.



Congratulations everyone, a great result for all concerned.  Next year will be bigger and better no doubt and that can only be a good thing.
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Christopher Weeks

Quote from: Valamir on August 28, 2005, 02:05:00 AM
In 2005 we did $19,466.50 in total business, or $37.72 per transaction and $16.08 per item sold
Wow.  Sweet!

Have you correlated sales to either financial buy-in or demo presense participation?  (Or anything else?)  The talk of enlarging the booth makes me wonder if you can sell participation in the booth as you did this year but with the understanding that the additional cost for e.g. two extra both spaces will be divided by sales shares.  Is there some kind of scheme like that that wouldn't cheat someone?

Eero Tuovinen

Yep, it seems to my uninformed shelf that costs divided by shares of sales could be a solution to some crucial financing issues the Forge booth faces. One reason for that is that with a wide enough organization (which you already have) that kind of arrangement all but removes the risk of not covering whatever costs are included in the arrangement. It's probably not wise to make all costs dependent on sales, but a base cost-of-entry and another part covered that way could very well be the ticket. (The main issue financially, of course, is the fact that nobody seems to be able to really know beforehand what sells and what doesn't. But we do know that somebody will sell really well.)

I'm arranging a book tour here in Finland with Ben Lehman, and using the same model: at the end of the tour, the travel expenses are split between us based on the sales percentages. This is good, because I have no friggin' clue whether Polaris with it's designer will sell better than our other articles. Because this is somewhat riskier than the Forge booth, we're probably also sharing the losses in some equiable manner, should it prove that we sell less than the expenses.
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Mike Holmes

I think that's an ideal, though potentially difficult to execute model, Eero. The one really neat advantage of spreading out the costs based on sales is that each member is incentivized to cross sell like heck to ensure that they aren't the only one doing well.

The biggest problem is collecting, however. It's so much simpler to only allow pre-paid people to participate, and thus cover the costs up front. Otherwise somebody has to take the risk that everyone will pay up, or deal with the problems if/when they do not. Or all recipts could be held until the end of the con and the books figured then before money was handed out. But it's all a lot of extra fuss.

If it's what's needed to grow the booth, however, maybe it's worth it? It'd be dependent, too, on somebody like Ralph being willing to put up with all of the figuring.

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Christopher Weeks

It sounds trivial to me.  Have a spreadsheet set up ahead of time.  Plug in the sales figures after each day (or after the con if that's how you're doing it).  Have the spreadsheet come up with the numbers.  Dole out the cash sans upgrade share.  Presumably the upgrade shares that are deducted go to the five(?) main partners who have already paid for the booth.  The only problem I see is that different publishers have different margins and someone who sells like mad with a really low margin is taking it up the ass.  It might be sufficient to explicate the payment scheme very carefully with specific emphasis on this possibility.

Eero Tuovinen

I agree with Chris that it's very much doable. If you're handling their money anyway, there's no appreciable additional financial risk for either the core participants or the whole team. Just takes some preplanning. And regarding that, remember the teaching: I've followed the Forge booth's development from the beginning, and every time you people decide to preplan and think ahead, it's paid off. So if you figure out in advance how to do this kind of thing, it's eminently possible.

As for profit margins: what Chris sees as a problem, I see as a good thing. Having a decent profit margin is a good thing and your own responsibility. If you have so tight a margin that it could be eaten up on a bad year (meaning a year when the whole booth sells badly, which is the only way your costs-per-sale is going to rise above expectations in this model), get somebody else to give you a loss-guarantee. Your parents, for example, or somebody else who thinks it's important that you get to participate.

But it's not like this is my business at all. I just thought to mention that I'm currently using the same model. I'll let you know if there proves to be any major problems with it.
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Matt Gwinn

Personally, I'm not opposed to adding another $100 to the entrance fee to the booth.  My game was one of the lower selling games at the booth this year and I still made enough cash to cover $200.

A 4 booth Pennisula costs $4750 of we pay half by February and the rest by May.

If we can maintain the number of booth participants (23), at $200 each that's $4600.  That size booth also gets 8 free badges (a value of at least $480).  That gives us a budget of $5200, so unless we are really getting raped on the tables there's no erason we can't handle the cost.

The key here is getting half the booth paid for by February so we can get the cheepest price.  I have no problems paying $200 by that time.  If getting a bigger booth is something that everyone is wanting, I don't see why anyone should have a problem with doing that too.

My recommendation is limiting the booth to 24 participating companies.  Companies sign up by December 31st and pay by February 1st.  If something happens between February and August which prevents a company from participating, they can either sell their slot to someone that didn't make the 24 slot cuttoff, send their books with someone else, or eat the $200.

Just my take.

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Guys, this idea has been discussed. 
No doubt it will be at least considered for next year.
But I don't know that there's any point trying to figure out the details of a hypothetical solution to a hypothetical issue of a hypothetical problem for a booth that's a year away in this thread.

There are far more fundamental booth decisions that must be made before worrying about payout spreadsheets.
That's for next year's primary sponsors to worry about.


That is so cool! I'm with Dave in the 'excited and it's not even about me!' camp. Congrats, all, and thanks for the report, Ralph.