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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 163 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Gen Con Demos - A Procedure for Ensuring Coverage and Request for Advice  (Read 2950 times)
Justin D. Jacobson
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« on: May 11, 2006, 10:33:56 AM »

Perhaps this should have been split into two different threads. In any case...

1) On the other GC threads, there's been some concern expressed about the ability to demo so many different games. Would it be a good idea to undertake some sort of organized distribution of games among those working the booth so we don't end up with a situation where 17 people can demo one game but only 1 person can demo another? This might be as simple as posting here with what games of yours you'd like to distribute to others to review for demo purposes and what/how many games you'd be willing to accept to review for demo purposes.

2) If you have any specific advice about structuring demos for our games, please drop some knowledge. How long should they be? What materials should I plan on creating for the demo? (Tony's swank, laminated Capes materials are standing out in my mind.) Obviously, I've demoed my games a million times, but never at the GC Forge booth. I want nuts and bolts stuff so I can run successful demos at the booth--successful for me and successful for the booth/other vendors.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2006, 12:28:09 PM »

On your points:

1) Indeed.  I'd be happy to provide PDF copies of my product, Push, to other folks who are gonna be working the Forge Booth and want to be able to pitch it or demo one of the games inside it.  That's a done deal.

2) I'd love some advice on this front as well.  Obviously Luke & Co. are going train our brains with a few prep hours of hardcore boothmonkey conditioning.  But it might be easier if we start some of that now.
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Blankshield
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2006, 01:21:09 PM »

I'm only a fellow publisher, but I can give some advice on experience:

-You should keep your demo to 15 minutes, tops.  This means when you build your demo, aim for 10.  If you can't show "enough" of your game to hook someone in 15 minutes, you're showing too much.

-Pick one thing.  Death's Door demos don't do character building, endgame, or hell, even a full turn of play.  It gives a bare-bones minimum goal resolution for 1 person.

-Have character sheets they can walk away with, especially if there's been some writing/customization of the sheets.  Put the website on it.

thanks,

James
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TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2006, 01:26:17 PM »

-You should keep your demo to 15 minutes, tops.  This means when you build your demo, aim for 10.

And calibrate that aiming with an actual stopwatch.  Your intuitive sense of time during a demo is worthless.  You think it's running fifteen minutes?  Heh.  Would you be surprised to discover that it was more like an hour and a half?  You would not be the first person to be surprised that way.
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Justin D. Jacobson
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2006, 01:30:01 PM »

-Have character sheets they can walk away with, especially if there's been some writing/customization of the sheets.  Put the website on it.

That is a great idea! Hell, I might even stick a coupon on there.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2006, 01:42:54 PM »

Play your asses off between now and GenCon, using the games that will be there. Arrive at your own answers for:
What is this game about?
What do the characters do?
What do the players do?


Take notes. Save the characters that you made to use as pregenerated demo characters. Ask questions that arose during here here at the Forge, in Actual Play. See if you can articulate what's fun about playing each game.

Don't make it grinding homework. Embark on this as your own discovery. Enlist friends in that spirit.

Best, Ron

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Luke
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2006, 06:11:47 PM »

1) On the other GC threads, there's been some concern expressed about the ability to demo so many different games. Would it be a good idea to undertake some sort of organized distribution of games among those working the booth so we don't end up with a situation where 17 people can demo one game but only 1 person can demo another? This might be as simple as posting here with what games of yours you'd like to distribute to others to review for demo purposes and what/how many games you'd be willing to accept to review for demo purposes.

This never works. I recommend arriving at GenCon with your demo firmly in mind. Once the booth gets rolling on Saturday, invite other Forgies int your booth and be sure to sit down with other designers and play in thier demos.
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Matt-M-McElroy
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2006, 06:17:41 PM »

Blankshield has some really good advice on convention booth demos.

Keep them short, keep them interesting. There just isn't enough time or space to explain every detail about the game. Give them a hook and let them do something cool in the setting for a few minutes and that is it. If they had fun they'll have a few questions (where you can further sell the product), if they didn't like it you won't be wasting thier (or your) time and everyone can move on to something else.

Now, I read there will be full length demos going on away from the booth? If so, someone who got partially hooked during a 15 minute demo could try out a longer one if they really need to. This allows them to have fun playing th game while freeing up the booth folks to sell and demo to more people.

The mini-character sheet is a good idea. Malcolm from Contested Ground has a great 20-minute a|state demo with half-size character sheets already filled out. I've got something similar with the Obsidian LARP Quickstart (not pre-gen, but half sized with the website listed).
Regards,

Matt
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