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Author Topic: Joint booth with Projekt Odyssee at Spiel in Essen/Germany?  (Read 23107 times)
Frank T
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« on: May 21, 2006, 09:33:31 AM »

“Spiel” is the game fair to be in Europe, this year 19 to 22 October. Previously discussed here and here. This weekend on NordCon, I was approached by the folks of “Projekt Odyssee” who asked how seriously interested people from the Forge are in a presence at Spiel. PrO would be interested to do a joint booth.

Who are PrO? They are a project group of Nexus e.V., a role-playing club (membership corporation) from Berlin. What they do is they provide an organization for German indie game authors to be present at conventions and fairs. They have had booths on Spiel several times and know how things go there.

A booth 2 meters times 5 meters is approximately 800 Euros. The people of PrO figure that if you take two of those, you could have a booth and three tables for demos. Nexus e.V. would put in some money, as would some German authors. However, if on their own, they probably wouldn’t even get together a single booth. They need to know:

How many authors and booth monkeys would sign in?
How much funding could be raised for such a project?
Who would be the responsible person in charge at the Forge?

Since the sign-in term is the end of May, a decision needs to be made quickly. I promised to get back to them within the next couple days.

Watcha say?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2006, 10:52:50 AM »

I cannot stress this enough: Spiel Essen is one of the most important gaming events in the world.

And here's some information I have from direct experience: Nexus e.V. and more specifically Projekt Odyssee, is one of the most significant actual-play, actual-promotion gaming groups in the world.

It's important to remember that "the Forge" is not a company and does not own or pay for anything; technically, the Forge booth at GenCon is really the Adept Press booth.

So Frank, I think that expecting any centralized or leadership-based response isn't going to work well in just a few days. The key information right now is commitment directly to Projekt Odyssee. And for that, PrO needs to provide their financial expectations and requirements, as in, "how participating in this booth will help us all, and here's how to do it," so individual publishers can make their decisions quickly.

As for me, I will be in Germany twice this year, but I will not be at Spiel Essen due to my job requirements here in the States. I do plan to have an Adept Press presence there, via PrO depending on the details of their program. I am also willing to commit right now for a blanket promotional investment in the booth, up to E300, again, depending on the stated plan.

Best, Ron
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Frank T
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2006, 11:52:51 AM »

Thanks Ron,

Okay, so lets find a way to make this work. I am willing to coordinate this as best I can between PrO and the Forge people. I think that a "double booth" is a good idea if we can get the money together. I'll sign in as a booth monkey, but I can't promise 100% that I'll be able to be there on the working days. I think the way to go is for PrO to organize the booth and individual people of the Forge diaspora to provide funding and/or help at the booth. But we need a definitive commitment. So:

Which of you would want her/his game presented, sold, and possibly demoed at the booth? How much money would you be willing to commit?

Who of you would actually commit herself/himself to be at the booth in Essen on 19 to 22 October?

I think if we could raise some 1000 Euros and get some... I dunno... 4-6 people to actually be there, we could do it.

- Frank
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2006, 01:55:32 PM »

My, we're moving late here. Well, these things take time to set up. If not this year, then the next. Frank: if you need help in your assumed coordination role in terms of web operations (I'm not in Germany, obviously), contact me immediately.

I've written about my own Essen-attitude in the earlier threads. Current situation: no game for Essen 2006 with 90% certainty. On the other hand, I've committed to getting a game out for Essen 2007 in self-respect terms. When I have a game, I'm rather eager to operate Essen in a manner similar to the Gencon Forge booth. In this regard I have an intense interest in an Essen booth this year, too.

Meanwhile: IF THIS HAPPENS this year, I'm committing two highly skilled workers, myself and my brother Markku. This is more than reason enough to appear, even if I have no business of my own there. We run the Arkenstone operation in Finland, so we're more than qualified for selling and demoing the usual assortment of American Forge products. I'm rather sorry that I can't commit money, but with no product it'd make little sense, even if something like this would be an useful experience for the next year. And I don't exactly want to hasten my planned design schedule just to get my game done for Essen.

I make the above commitment while quite aware that this will most likely come to nothing, considering the amount of coordination and investment required in the available timeframe. TO MAKE IT HAPPEN: Frank, I suggest contacting the top American indie names personally and finding out if they'd be interested in investing money and product, if a capable team is formed to take care of their talent for them (akin to what Ron suggests above). It seems to me that we have men of good reputation and high skill for the project here in Europe, but less in terms of product to move and money investment, so the only way to make this happen is to get overseas investment. While working on that, here's a logistical angle: while any American product for the booth is probably best shipped directly there, Arkenstone can retail or warehouse any sensible (meaning under 20 copies per title) leftovers afterwards. So returns are unlikely, as long as as the numbers are kept realistic.

Anyway, is there any European designers with product here? Frank, what's the Barbaren situation, I've not seen it at the forum lately? Or any American designers willing to come, for that matter?

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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2006, 05:52:47 PM »

I'd very much like a representation at Essen and, like Ron, what I'd like to see very much is a simple explanation of: "This is how much this will cost you, this is what we will do for you, this is how we'll get profit back to you (if at all.)"

I'm tentatively willing to commit 100-200E into the an Essen presence; I just want to get a stronger sense of exactly what you're doing.

yrs--
--Ben
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Frank T
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2006, 11:48:08 PM »

Eero, you are right, we are moving late here. I think probably the best way to get moving in time is to point the PrO guys to this thread directly, since they are much more experienced in running this kind of endeavor than I am, so they can tell you how they’d do it. I’ll also write to some game authors personally to make sure they’re aware of this thread. Plus, I’ll point it out to a few German people who might sign in as booth monkeys. Having some German native speakers around who can demo Forge games would probably be key.

As for Barbaren, I won’t have the book finished till October. This makes me unhappy, but I have to be realistic. What I’m hoping for, however, is a neat poster and a demo version. Based on this, I’ll be willing to put in 50-100 Euros as well.

As I see it now, once Clinton, Luke, Vincent, Matt and others have posted to this thread, we’ll already be pretty close to having the money together, provided that we manage to figure out the legal and logistic part in time.

- Frank
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Frank T
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2006, 11:57:54 PM »

P.S.: There’s one more thing to consider: The weekend after Spiel, there is the south-western game fair in Stuttgart. PrO gets a booth for free there. So any stock left from Spiel could be taken there (if Eero doesn’t take it to Finland), and anyone traveling to Germany could stay around for a week, see some sights, and do the Stuttgart fair as well.
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oliof
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2006, 01:20:47 AM »

I'd be available for booth duty on at least one of the weekend days, as well. I could demo some of the games I know for the german audience.

Regards,
    Harald
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Nicolas Crost
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2006, 01:22:53 AM »

This sounds like a great idea! A booth at the SPIEL would be a great springboard for indy-sales in Germany and to do this together with PrO (who have much more experience in stuff like this then anyone else in the German indy-sector) is excellent.

I would gladly be a booth monkey, even though I will not have any design of my own ready in October. But still, this is a great opportunity and if we can pull this off in 2006, chances are that in 2007 (when I might just have a game ready) we will manage again. I don't know if I'll be able to be there for all 4 days, but it should be no problem to take Thursday and Friday off, as to ensure some presence on the weekdays.

So, I'll demo Forge games, haul boxes, get coffee and ... well, stuff like that.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2006, 02:35:03 AM »

As I see it now, once Clinton, Luke, Vincent, Matt and others have posted to this thread, we’ll already be pretty close to having the money together, provided that we manage to figure out the legal and logistic part in time.

Yeah, assuming that they have free money and see the benefit. I figure that the advantages for the Americans are:
- Profit, if we'd sell enough to cover their investment. We can hardly promise any guarantees. On the other hand, they'd get pretty much all the profit from the sales of their own games, I don't foresee a retailer cut for us booth monkeys in this situation.
- Publicity and possible future sales, if we can represent Forge in a positive light for a substantial amount of retailers and audience. From what I've seen the "European strategy" seems to differ greatly between publishers, so I imagine that the value of this is very case-dependent.

The logistical part should be simple, the event is still far off. The main question is when and how any stock would be shipped, and how much we could realistically move at the convention. There's all kinds of fiddlery with the shipping options to get the freight costs down; doable, certainly, but something that needs to be looked at immediately at the beginning of June if the initial money outlay is managed now.

Legally: If PrO is both experienced and trustworthy, then the best bet is to let them handle the booth reservations and be the front for the project as far as the fair is concerned. As for designers investing money and product, they'd be contracting with us booth persons, essentially. Pretty much a matter of trusting in us doing a good job.

Frank: both Ron and Ben asked for concrete details on the deal. Let me sketch something here, and you correct me if you have a better idea:
- The deal is, you and your peers pay for the booth in Essen. In exhange, we'll gather a team of salesmen to sell and advertize your product at the fair. You've all had plenty of opportunity to check out Frank, me and other people interested in doing the booth; we're good with your games, and have enough commercial experience to do this.
- We need a set amount of monetary commitments (1000€, apparently) to do this thing. I figure that the simplest method of splitting it is by product; we'll see how many products' worth of designers are interested, and divide the outlay accordingly. At that point we'll see if the people are still interested. Because we can't promise any extra sales for those who might be willing to pay more, there's little reason to take multiple levels of buy-in. So, hypothetically, if we'd be shooting for a 100€ per product, we'd need 10 products worth of designers to jump in. More products means less per product, of course, and we can certainly handle, say, 30 products without any major problems (assuming they're mostly the stuff I'm already familiar with).
- We're not considering the work of organizing, setting-up or running the booth financially at this time. Our reward is pretty much experience at setting something like this up with little monetary risk for ourselves. If somebody both has product and wants to be there, more power to him in ensuring his game sells, but otherwise he pays the same as everybody else. The principle is: the people with product pay all the booth-related costs and take all the profits; the workers pay for their own travel, accomodation and food. Tickets for the fair could easily be included in the investment cost; Frank?
- Anybody who commits to the eventual product submission fee, whatever it proves to be, may ship their product to be sold at the fair. Logistical details can be decided later, but you'll send us however many games you think we can sell. Enough to cover the investment and shipping expenses (you're paying the shipping), obviously.
- After the convention any profits are funneled back to the publishers. Any excess stock is either shipped back (still your expense; we don't want you to dumb us with insane amounts of stuff) or retailed in some other manner here in Europe (some at the Stuttgart convention, some for Arkenstone... plenty of opportunities, which can be arranged individually with each participant) or simply warehoused to wait for some other project on this continent.
In summation: at this point we want to know if you're interested, and if you are, how much you're willing to pay per product to get in. That way we can see if there's enough investors to begin with.

Frank: we need a more concrete budget than just "1000€". There's other expenses apart from the booth, and apparently we don't know exactly how much our share of that would be. We need an exact figure to calculate how much of a money outlay we need from the interested publishers. I can't do this, because I have not a faint idea of what things cost at Essen or in Germany in general, and cannot read German fast enough to parse anything together this week.

About the deadline: I thought that the booth reservation deadline was in the middle of May. Well, if PrO can surpass time and space, all the better for the project.
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Frank T
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2006, 02:55:26 AM »

Hi Eero,

You are right, the homepage says that the sign-in term expired 15 May. The PrO people were telling me something about the end of May, so I guess they are probably in contact with the fair organization and have some means to still book a booth. I think we’ll have to wait for the PrO folks to show up here, I have posted about this to the PrO forum and will send out some mails this evening. They will be able to answer most of the questions much better than me.

Your suggestions seem sound to me. Concerning the use of left-over stock, I think the PrO people always have a certain stock of games they take from convention to convention, but I don’t know how much they can and will handle. Again, I hope they’ll show up pretty soon.

The PrO people are all working complimentarily, and I’d expect the same from other helpers, so no additional cost there.

- Frank
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neph
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/dev/null


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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2006, 03:33:25 AM »

Hi,
I'm a PrO-Author and part-time forge reader. I did the organisation for the last PrO-Booth two years ago.
This is on very short notice for us as well, but everyone who heard this so far was enthusiastic by the idea of doing a booth together with the forge (perhaps this will even motivate some more PrO-authors).

Original deadline was May 15th but we called the publisher who organizes the Spiel. Booth-registration will even be possible after the end of May but only if there are free spaces available, and who knows in what corner the booth will be in that case.

I will do a few phonecalls this evening and try to find out more details, like actual pricing of a bigger booth, and try to post them here.

In the last years the PrO-authors paid 50-100 Euros for the booth, the rest was sponsored by Nexus eV, but accomodation was mostly managed on a personal basis (like having seven PrO-people in my flat).

Andreas
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2006, 05:19:05 AM »

Huh, this seems to come together faster than I expected. I'm giving it... 30% odds to succeed, which is up 15% since the beginning of the thread.

Could somebody tell me more about all these German abbreviations? Like, what's Nexus eV? Sounds like they could be a factor here.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2006, 05:23:01 AM »

I have a suggestion for other American publishers regarding the Spiel booth.

It's this: consider buying into this booth to be an investment in good will and good promotion. That's what I'd doing with my E300; I would not expect that money to return to me from booth sales.

Now, whatever money is made by sales of my books there, I'd like to have it, yes. But recouping my investment, in this case, isn't the highest priority. I'd rather see a PrO booth at Spiel with a lot of our books there, and with some knowledgeable people promoting them (and playing!!), as the first priority.

I don't expect anyone else to be quite as motivated as me about this, and I also think it'd be financially prohibitive for most of us to buy in, travel to Europe, stay for a few days, and deal with all those expenses. So what I'm calling for are American publishers who are willing simply to contribute to the booth's financial existence and to supply some books, without necessarily going all the way there and working the booth itself (we can talk about that for 2007 though).

E75 to E100 sounds about the right range for such a contribution, if you're interested. Let's call this a fund-raiser for a worthy cause in which at least a little of the contribution might be recouped, but isn't expected to be fully repaid.

Andreas, with my E300, maybe this interpretation can get us up to E1000.

Best, Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2006, 05:45:39 AM »

Ron, this is exactly my thoughts on the matter -- having a presence at Essen does enormous amounts of good for the culture of role-playing as a whole, and also for our relationship to the European gaming scene, which has historically been really receptive to our games.

Here is me, contributing at least 70 euroes, maybe more as I hear more stuff about the booth.

yrs--
--Ben

P.S.  Eero, contact me privately about your Polaris stock and ability to cover the con w/ it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2006, 05:48:13 AM by Ben Lehman » Logged

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