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[GenCon 2007] The plan for this year - important

Started by Ron Edwards, January 07, 2007, 08:35:52 PM

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Ron Edwards


I'm getting started early this year for a couple of reasons. The first is to make sure we hit the early-bird deadline for signup, which is February 15, and the second concerns some crucial reorganizations that you guys need to know about as soon as possible.

Remember the Forge vision thread? The reorganizations are all about that.

1. The current primary sponsors, that is, the companies that are purchasing the booth up-front, include Adept Press, Indie Press Revolution, CRN Games, and a couple others to be negotiated and/or disclosed later. This arrangement is no different from past years. Like last year, IPR will be handling all the stock and transactions and general money logistics.

2. Newcomers who'd like to join the booth pay the sponsors $100 buy-in fee + badge. This is the usual rule, no different from past years either. If you were new last year, you may buy in at $200 + badge, which again is just the same as before. A very few folks who are basically "booth staff" are welcome for the badge fee only as well, that is, the famous booth ninjas (who forevermore shall wear the term "monkey" no longer).

3. Now for the new thing: there is no one else. No other buy-ins are permitted. Companies with a longer history of participation at the booth, whose owners want to participate at GenCon, this is the post which says, "It's time to leave the nest." There are a couple of exceptions based on a specific service or for a gray-area of 2005 participation, but not many (ask privately if you want).

But! This isn't kicking you out of the nest entirely. All IPR titles will be sold at the booth, in addition to games from the sponsors and buy-in companies. And if you have been a long-term participant at the booth and aren't carried by IPR, and if you're at GenCon in any capacity, the booth will have your game on the rack too for no charge beyond IPR's commission, if you desire. (Note: this is different from previous years in which doing this cost you $100.)

Now for some discussion of alternatives and sibling-activities at GenCon which are available too.

1. Luke is setting up his own booth for Burning Empires, and as I understand it, he is considering a similar, limited buy-in model for veterans of the Forge booth. He and I consider Burning Empires to be the current star example of graduating from the Forge into the full vision of its creator's desire, and as such, the two booths will be associated and mutually supportive. Depending on how Luke wants to handle his finances and the booth, some of the Forge veterans may want to pay attention to what he posts here over the next few days.

2. There's always setting up a booth of your own, in whatever financial arrangement, logistics, and aesthetic vision you like (I mean, obviously; it's not like you need my permission). A first-time 10x10 booth is only $700 or so; a small group of established publishers can make a pretty good go of that. I can think of a round dozen of you guys who probably will do far better in this situation than at the Forge booth. More on exhibitor-hall placement in a minute.

3. As many of you know, Paul Czege is organizing his "Hobby of Equals" or "Ashcan Front" activity, as expressed in:
I think it's one of the best ideas I've ever seen for GenCon; some of the established publishers who can count on steady sales from IPR or elsewhere at GenCon might do best to embrace their punky roots and have maximum fun participating here instead.

Although new booths (#1-3 in this list) don't have any points for getting their placement of choice in the hall, I have plenty. I will name these booths as my desired neighbors, and as long as their applications say "Adept Press" as first-choice neighbor, the chances are high that we'll be in close proximity.

4. The Games on Demand event ran pretty well as a successful pilot last year, I think. This year, I have some good ideas for pumping people directly from the Forge booth to Games on Demand, and vice versa (fill in "Luke's booth" here too, relative to Games on Demand). So my hope is that being more active there rather than at the Forge booth will pay off well for people whose games have been out for two to four years.

Starting up

I'll open signups later - much later, in fact. In the past, we've done far better to have signups during May, rather than earlier, and I'll stick with that experience this year too. But I figure a lot of you who might have planned to participate at the Forge booth needed to know about the changes right away, in order to make plans.

Anyway, that's that. Questions, concerns, comments?

Best, Ron
edited to fix the link


Could you clarify the place (if any) that publishers who are carried by IPR but not bought into the Forge booth (what I'm going to call, herein, "sibling publishers") should have, as regards the booth?

Certainly there are activities that I think of as "part of the GenCon experience" (e.g. demoing my game) which consume limited resources (e.g. Forge-booth table-space) and though I'm still adapting to the idea emotionally I am intellectually in favor of assuring those limited privileges foremost for precisely the people who the Forge can help the most.  So I hope this doesn't come across with any sense of entitlement, because that's not where I'm at.

That having been said, as I continue planning to "spread my wings" it would help a lot to know every detail possible about the new situation.  Will sibling-publishers be demoing their wares at the booth?  If not, will anybody else be available to demo those wares upon customer request?  Would it be appropriate for them to demo games for companies that are bought into the booth ('cuz helping is fun!)?

Hrm.  Y'know, I genuinely thought there was more to the booth than that.  I mean, yeah, there's chairs and cash registers and all that, but those things are clear in terms of where they go.  Less ambiguity than I thought when I started posting.  If you already have answers to those questions, I'd love to hear them.  If the answers are something that are still being worked upon then that's great too.  Whenever they're figured out will be plenty of time.

It's a very exciting change!  I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops!
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

Clyde L. Rhoer

Hi Ron,

I'm not clear on the term "$100 buy-in fee + badge". Does that mean as a first year designer, I spend $100 and get a badge in that price, the cost is $100 plus whatever Gen Con reveals badge costs are this year, or $100 and I need to buy a badge separate from the booth? Thanks.
Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design., Clyde's personal blog.

Ron Edwards


Hey Tony, good questions. I do have a very clear framework for the answer, and it's pretty much based on how things have run in the past. I'll use you as an example.

As you are a client of IPR, the IPR guys will bring copies of Capes, rack them, sell them as customers bring them to the register, and monitor stock and the progress of sales. At the end of con, you get a check, and the remaining stock goes home with them. Easy enough.

But how about you? Well, you're welcome to be at the booth as a participant in others' demos and generally to be a nice guy if you want to. Capes will not be demonstrated there - that's specifically what the booth fee is buying, just as in past years except for 2002. So you and others can't demo Capes at those tables.

I hope the alternate routes I talked about - whether, say, a booth that you and others organize together with demo-space, or Games on Demand, or similar - will fill in that gap.

Let me know if I missed anything in what you asked.

Clyde! Yay, I was hoping to see you in this thread. Here's how it's worked in past years and how it will work this time. I will use you as an example and assume that you'll have a game ready to go in August. (If, in May, it doesn't look likely, then I suggest Paul's booth, but for now, let's assume.)  What you'll do is wait until the designated sign-up time, then pay me, by check, $160. That's $100 for reimbursing booth cost to the primary sponsors, and $60 for the exhibitor badge (I will double-check on the exact amount; a couple of years ago, they raised the price and I was stupid enough not to double-check, thus ended up eating the difference on every single badge).

The important thing for first-timers and for all buy-ins, in fact - do not sign up for GenCon in any other way. Don't register. Don't get a badge. Don't sign up. Don't do anything except sign up through me and let me get your badge through the normal within-exhibitor, within-booth mechanisms. If you do that (there're always a couple of people who do), it's a major pain in my ass and in the GenCon staff's ass.

Best, Ron

Paul Czege

Regarding The Ashcan Front...

For this year's GenCon Indy, I and Matt Snyder are organizing a booth separate from The Forge booth. It will be a booth focused entirely on selling ashcans (as per the recipe laid out in the threads Ron linked to above). Expect additional details in February. Right now I'm maxed on several projects, including planning a trip.

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans

Andy Kitkowski

Sounds awesome.  I'd also like to add, "Let's find out the details on registering gaming events into the GenCon catalog".

For those not appearing at the Official Forge Booth: Without booth demoing, the single best way to promo your game is to run events of it, scheduled events, and get a tablefull of folks playing your game. Some will have heard of your game, many will be there because they had blank generic tickets and their first choice canceled, and your event description appealed to them.  I couldn't find this process at-a-glance, but for some of you putting up your own booth, this is a good way to score some sales. I can personally attest to the regularity of 4-6 people hitting the Forge Booth right after some game session they just played for 3.5 hours, specifically looking for Your Game.

Again, I couldn't easily find this process at the GenCon page at a glance, but if someone locates it (especially in regards to event registration deadlines, where to send info, etc), please post links here.

The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.


Heya Ron,

I have a question.  The "one gamer per new participant" rule that Luke instituted  last year, will that be in effect again this year?  It will make a difference in the number of copies of certain games that I order.  Thanks! :)



Ron Edwards


One point to reinforce about Andy's advice: it's best suited for people who do not have a game at the Forge booth. I know you said that, Andy, but I betcha that's the crucial qualifier people will miss. Running demo games and working the booth is not recommended.

As for the importance of GenCon event play itself, I'm hoping to beef up that connection Andy mentioned as much as possible via Games on Demand, especially since it will benefit games that are present on the rack at the Forge booth, but are not otherwise promoted. If you're in that position and want to schedule your own event, then go for it, obviously.

It's conceivable that we might make a schedule of all such play and post it at the booth each day, but that's not something I want to organize and run around refining - someone else will have to take point about that.

Here's another point about that, though ... I and the other primary sponsors of the Forge booth will not be allotting any organizational effort to GenCon scheduled events. It splits the effort too much. So if you're interested in that angle, you'll have to find out all the deadlines and logistics yourself, at the GenCon site.

Troy, I have a mixed response to the first-time participant's limit to one game that we tried out last year. On the one hand, it certainly simplified things, and it also probably benefited most of the new participants as they could concentrate on one thing, but more importantly because others only had to learn one about one thing per person. A new face, a name, a game, and a set of rules are relatively easy to process; if you have to remember multiple game names and sets of rules per face and name, it gets wacky. Considering a number of newcomers at the 2005 booth, several brought 2-4 games and only one per company was ever recognized or demoed at the booth anyway.

However, the main concern last year was losing the newer people in a sea of veterans. There won't be any long-term veterans this year aside from the booth sponsors. So part of the problem that policy was designed to solve has been eliminated in the first place.

I'll talk it over with the other primary folks and see what we all think. My inclination is to lift the limitation, but perhaps another one might be called for, or people might raise issues that I haven't considered.

Best, Ron

Jason Morningstar

Quote from: Andy Kitkowski on January 08, 2007, 12:58:49 AM
Again, I couldn't easily find this process at the GenCon page at a glance, but if someone locates it (especially in regards to event registration deadlines, where to send info, etc), please post links here.

Here's the process from Gen Con past.  No registration deadlines or anything yet for 2007, as far as I can tell.


I will be getting my own  booth this year and I am considering if I can and should take on additional partners. I know there's a lot of people cut adrift by the recent changes, so I'm willing to discuss creating a new home for us flotsam. Right now, I'd like to keep the discussion private. So if you're interested in sharing a booth with me, Burning Wheel and Burning Empires at Gencon, please PM or email me.



Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy.

Ron Edwards

Hi Justin,

I'm not totally sure what you're asking, but will assume you're talking about buying into the booth at either $100 or $200 plus badge fee.

The answer is, absolutely not. I'm not sure where that idea comes from; the booth and its buy-in existed long before IPR did. Any independent publisher can buy into the booth - IPR affiliations, Forge participation, et cetera, don't mean a thing. The only new constraint is past participation, as described above.

Please let me know if that answered your question. It might be that there's a bigger question underlying it, or maybe I missed what you were asking.

Best, Ron

Scott "DensityMan" Chevalier

Not certain how many will remember us from last year, but we (Full Void Studios) were parked squarely behind the Forge booth in the GenCon Indy expo hall.

This year we're exploring options, since registration-time always seems to hit us by surprise, and looking for a few details I didn't see covered here already.

Can a company with multiple partners each buy-in for  the company/product buy-in for $100/$200 and each person sharing time in the booth pay the additional $60 or does each person buy-in for the $160/260 rate and share time in the booth demoing games?

While we only have one product (racing towards the final press copy still) we do have prints and shirts as well.  Are these type of auxiliary products welcome in the booth?

Do all badges read "the Forge" or do these still include the individual's company name?  Or are both included somehow?

Will the booth be allowing space for banners/signage on the walls this year (or has it already done so in the past)?

Scott "DensityMan" Chevalier

Ustio: the Rebirth

Ron Edwards

Hi Scott!

QuoteCan a company with multiple partners each buy-in for  the company/product buy-in for $100/$200 and each person sharing time in the booth pay the additional $60 or does each person buy-in for the $160/260 rate and share time in the booth demoing games?

The buy-in fee is by company, so only $100 for Full Void, but each person has to get a badge. My experience with such situations is bipolar - in some cases, all the people involved are amazing assets at the booth (TAO Games, Halfmeme Press) and in others, it turns out that the extra "exhibitors" are just buddies or family members, or were under the impression that all they had to do was sit there. As long as everyone involved is committed, up-front, to busting their asses at the booth, then I'm OK with more than one person per company getting a badge.

Seems like a good time for me to say, to everyone, "If you want more than one person with your company to have a booth badge, clear that with me and realize that I may say no." It's not a disaster if I do. Nothing stops your spouse or your friend from getting a regular attendance badge.

QuoteWhile we only have one product (racing towards the final press copy still) we do have prints and shirts as well.  Are these type of auxiliary products welcome in the booth?

No problem. Display and promotion of them will probably be as spotty and unreliable as it's always been in the past, but stocking and selling them is perfectly all right.

QuoteDo all badges read "the Forge" or do these still include the individual's company name?  Or are both included somehow?

All badges carry the company name only. "The Forge" is not a company and as a term has no GenCon status or identity. The booth is actually the Adept Press booth.

QuoteWill the booth be allowing space for banners/signage on the walls this year (or has it already done so in the past)?

This has been a source of great grievance and hassle every single damn year. People show up with beautiful banners that are twice the size they were supposed to be, or whatever. I have tentatively decided to abandon all banners except for those of the primary sponsors. On the other hand, I'm also a total weenie about this whenever I consider your booth from last year and drool a little over the eye-candy you guys had up. Gah! I dunno. Probably not. Someone pour water on me.

No matter what, this year I'm disallowing all stand-ups and other similar things. They get in the way, they get knocked over, they get moved for logistic reasons and get stealthily replaced by their owners, and generally have prompted me to want to put them in a bonfire by the second day.

I'm glad to see your interest, Scott! I liked all the material about your game and look forward to seeing it. If you have any questions about the final stages of book production and if you want any consultation about getting it printed cheaply, speedily, and well (not a myth), please send me an email.

Best, Ron

Scott "DensityMan" Chevalier

Thanks for the information!

Personally, I loved the constant energy and buzz of the Forge booth last year.  Just having to decide now between an expensive, solitary booth filled with eye-candy or an ultra-productive, shared booth experience with a minimalist approach...

Forgot about asking this in the message above - does the Forge/Adept Press booth do any shared advertising or promotions?
Scott "DensityMan" Chevalier

Ustio: the Rebirth