Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[GenCon 2006] Forge Booth rules - important

Started by Ron Edwards, May 14, 2006, 06:45:52 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Ron Edwards


This is where I lay down the law for participating at the booth. By signing up (that is, by paying Luke), you are agreeing to all of the points listed below, plus whatever I forgot but remember or decide later.

1. You're at the booth at least half of the working day, every day. The booth's open from 10 to 6 Thursday-Friday, and 10 to 4, I think, on Sunday. Be there for half of that time, and not halves in little bits that add up, but a solid half. Also, being there for early setup each morning, which does not mean 15 minutes before the customers are let in, but more like 45 minutes before, and definitely being there at the end of the working day, are both serious business.

2. Your primary job there is provide demonstration games and to participate in them. Demos cannot be more than 20-25 minutes long. For those who haven't been to the booth before, this is nothing, absolutely nothing, like the typical RPG booth. Think in terms of the collectable card-game booths, where they have little tables there with decks on them, and you try a few hands. You're not running a session, you're demonstrating the game as a sales pitch.

3. Behavior at the booth is guided by these principles:

a) The people arriving desperately want to have fun playing games and they would not be in this hall unless they wanted to spend money on games they think will be fun. Show them how fun a given game is.

b) Fellow publishers are all on each others' sides. Participate in others' demos, learning the game better yourself. Run demos for others' games if you know them well enough. Most importantly, ask customers what they like and direct them to the people who can talk with them or show them appropriate games.

c) The atmosphere of the group is to get the demos rolling and to get the customers feeling easy there, doing that. Last year, it was way too much flea market and not enough Forge action. Plus some too-cool-for-school hangers-outers.

Fun play for people who are genuinely interested will sell the games.

Therefore, more demos for more games with more mutualistic participation for more focused interest among the customers. That's what's happening.

4. In the past, I have had to speak sharply to a publisher or two on Saturday morning, and I'll say it here for everyone. If by Friday evening, a booth person is displaying bad attitude, not helping with others' games, or otherwise being a pain in my ass, I'll speak to them and lay it on the line - they can shape up by Saturday noon, or pack up and go. No refund, don't come back. Be aware that this is in full effect. I didn't have to do it last year because people had better attitudes, and I don't expect anything of the sort at all this year. But I'm letting you know it exists, and Luke and I are going to be pretty hard about this, this year, given the number of people.

OK, there's probably more, but I'm a little tired all of a sudden and will remember it later.

Best, Ron


It probably goes without saying, but rule #4 also applies to the "too cool for school hanger outers" who either need to get with the program, or get lost.  A couple folks teed me off last year not only not participating as much as IMO they should have but also contributing to the wall of bodies blocking the isle.

and may I also suggest

5. The booth is not a social club.  Hanging out and being cool with each other is great.  But rampant socializing and sharing deep thoughts needs to be done in the half of the day you're NOT at the booth.  Also, a few people have a fan club, people who come to actually get to meet and great the designers.  This is SUPER cool and a super fun thing to do and a big part of what makes being an indie publisher so great.  But be sure to reign in the admiration in a reasonable period of time, use your obvious clout with your effusive fans (or friends just stopping by to say hi) to get them into a demo of somebody elses game.  If necessary schedule a time to meet said fans / friends later (or, if appropriate, invite them to your after hours play session) to continue with any shareing and discussion and not take up valuable booth time and space.  I should also note that this last also applies to the periodic parade of artists looking for work who will visit the booth to show off their portfolio.  Use your judgment, but if we're the least bit busy schedule a time later to look it over or at a minimum take it to the free play tables or some other out-of-the-booth location and make it quick.



I just want to ask up front to make sure, but is there a rule limiting the maximum amount of time one may spend working at the Forge Booth per day?



Ron Edwards

Actually, the half-day rule is not in force in order to make the exhibitors show up, but rather to make them go away. The majority of us are way too enthusiastic and crazed, and part of the art of the booth is making sure that we leave enough time for everyone else.

So the half-day acts as a cap, mainly. Now, I have been known not to enforce it, but that only occurs when traffic was slower or when a number of people happened to take the same time off. The default is to enforce it.

Best, Ron