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Author Topic: Forge Booth 2003  (Read 8243 times)
Paul's Girl
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: May 23, 2003, 07:28:51 AM »

Hi Everyone,

Ron asked me to get things together for the booth this year at Gen Con and I wanted to post about how the plans are going so far.  The first priority was the banner. A local place can create a 3' by 6' (standard conference size) vinyl banner with the bangs and whistles for $118 with tax. I also inquired about 2” by 2” stickers with the forge logo and the web address, but I am still waiting for a quote. The banner is a definite purchase, but I wanted some opinions on the sticker idea. I will have to start some fund raising for the banner and the stickers if there is a good vibe about them.

I did a search thru the forum, wrote down all the ideas that people had and thought about what was reasonable and doable. Since the current budget is a whopping $0, I had to get realistic about what could be done. I needed to combine some of the things people requested so that there is not a very cluttered or confusing Forge Booth. So I am proposing that we have a game menu, author photo and game demo signage combination. My plan is to have 11x14 sheets of paper with the game logo across majority of the page, with a sub title or slogan below it. In an upper corner the author’s photo and name. Below this could be a list of other people who could run a demo game. (The game designers have the option of putting this together themselves or I will be happy to put it together if they send me the info.) Since we’ll know before hand how many game tables we’ll have, I can print out signs to place under the game sign that will say something like “Demo Game - Table 3”.  Onto these game signs, authors can also write notes saying if they went to lunch or whatever.  Ralph, Paul and I are working to come up with a floor plan and a display rack.  

-Danielle
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2003, 07:38:34 PM »

Well, the banner is a necessity, although pricy. I trust it will be something generic enough that it can be reused from year to year? I’ll chip in a few bucks towards it.

As for stickers … freebies to give away with purchase are always nice, if they’re cheap enough. Of course, I find that I come home from GenCon with far more small, flat things (flyers, pamphlets, business cards, character sheets,etc.) than I ever look at again … so the might get lost in the shuffle. I know Luke Crane (abzu) has gone the sticker route, so he can probably comment on their effectiveness and what a good price is.

The 11” x 14” sign for each game is good. Since demos are only 20-30 minutes, I don’t know if identifying what game is currently playing at what table is all that vital. But then again, if things get packed, people could get lost in the shuffle.

I’m not sure if this is the place to bring it up, but in the previous thread, Ron said there would be “an explicit policy of promotion and sales for demo people.” On that thread, we thrashed out that everyone should be knowledgable enough about everyone else’s products to at least farm interested parties in the right direction (which, as an aside, means we should have a final list of who is selling what soon, right? Wasn’t the deadline supposed to be June 1?) However, what kind of guidelines will there be for: A) distribution of freebies? Will they be shoved in the bag with every purchase, put on a rack to be picked up by those interested, or what? Heck, will we have bags? B) What about running demoes of Indie games that aren’t for sale at the booth? I know Ron had stuff like Orkworld and 21 other fine games prepped to go last year, and didn’t Mike Holmes run Sorcerer & Space (which still isn’t available)? Will this kind of thing be allowed? C) Who will actually handle the exchange of money? Ron mentioned a common cash box, but does that mean one cashier or everyone makes their own change from the common box? D) Are there guidelines for how the rest of us should encourage sales of Adept Press, Arc Dream, & Driftwood, since they’re paying a lot more for the booth than any of us?

Just worry-warting.
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Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2003, 05:02:11 AM »

Quote
Well, the banner is a necessity, although pricy. I trust it will be something generic enough that it can be reused from year to year? I’ll chip in a few bucks towards it.


That's actually not a bad price for a 3' x 6' Banner.  I agree that it should be generic enough to use every year.  Now we need to agree about what is should say.

Quote
As for stickers … freebies to give away with purchase are always nice, if they’re cheap enough. Of course, I find that I come home from GenCon with far more small, flat things (flyers, pamphlets, business cards, character sheets,etc.) than I ever look at again … so the might get lost in the shuffle.


A better choice might be bags.  Does anyone know how much it would cost to get a few hundred bags made up with the Forge logo on it?

Quote
The 11” x 14” sign for each game is good. Since demos are only 20-30 minutes, I don’t know if identifying what game is currently playing at what table is all that vital. But then again, if things get packed, people could get lost in the shuffle.


I like the idea of the signs aswell.  It will help ensure people are talking to the right person, plus help people remember who everyone is.  I'm terrible with names, so I know it would help me a lot.

Quote
Who will actually handle the exchange of money? Ron mentioned a common cash box, but does that mean one cashier or everyone makes their own change from the common box?


From my discussion with Paul's Girl the other day, I gathered that it would be one cash box for everyone, and that we would have a receipt book.  I think having an actual cashier would be far mroe professional than having to hunt down the guy with the envelope.  I think it would be helpful if the cash box was always in the same place too.  My GF, Janet, has volunteered to help out with handling the cash box.  She handles cash every day at work, and has an impecable record of accuracy.  She's also not as big a gamer as most of us and wouldn't mind missing out on demos and stuff.

,Matt Gwinn
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2003, 06:37:00 AM »

Hey Matt,

I'm not sure there's been a final determination about the booth having a single point-of-sale. Last year, Adept Press and Key20 were the two primary sponsors of the booth, and each had their own point-of-sale. And then there was the point-of-sale for everyone else (Dust Devils, Kayfabe, Riddle of Steel, Universalis, etc.), which was an envelope in Jake Norwood's back pocket. I think everyone recognizes that with three primary sponsors this year, that the booth cannot support four separate points-of-sale. It seems that a single point of sale is the ideal solution if it can be made to work. What Ralph, as financial manager, and Danielle, as booth manager, are trying to work out is a logistical arrangement of furniture and display that  facilitates dynamic actual play in the booth, presents product in such a way that designers can "hold court" around it and interact with customers, and allows for customers to purchase product directly from designers.

Ralph can maybe provide more detail, but my understanding of the current conversation is that a designer who's making a sale to a customer will be able to walk into the point-of-sale and be assisted by someone there in making change from the cashbox and in filling out the receipt for the customer.

As far as bags are concerned, I've got a shload of plastic bags from local grocery stores that I could bring. I'm not sure what I think about the stickers idea. I guess I need to hear how much they cost before forming an opinion. But I think people tend to at least keep stickers when they get them and that unless a bag is real nice, which we probably can't afford, people just throw them away. Anyway, Danielle is just pricing out the stickers so we can have a conversation about the goal of disseminating the Forge URL. And maybe the outcome of that will be that we just end up going with flyers.

Paul
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Paul's Girl
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 47


« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2003, 07:11:34 AM »

Thanks for the great feed back, to answer a few questions:

1) the banner will be general, it will have the logo, the url and a statement, either "the Home of Creator-Owned and Published RPG's" or "The Internet Home for Independent Role-Playing Games". I assume it will be used every year and perhaps in Gen Con SoCal.

2) the display we are looking into will have three sides. Right now we are thinking that two sides would face out and have games for sale while the third can have freebies.

3) still figuring out the money situation but I will nod to Ralph who is the finance guy.

4) as far as guidelines for the sale of other games, we haven't explored that topic yet, but now that it's out there I'll look into it.

As soon as the guy calls me with the sticker quote I'll post it.  Paul also offered to put an example of the 11x14 sign up on his website so everyone can get an idea about it.  AND we are still working on the layout of the booth and the areas for sale, nothing has been finalized since we haven't heard from the other publishing companies.

I'll try to keep everyone up to date.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2003, 08:43:46 AM »

Any news on the coffee thing? Is that problematic with liscencing or anything?

Is the motif still Jazz Coffee House?

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2003, 08:54:52 AM »

Regarding the "cashier" arrangements.  This is an important piece to the overall layout of the booth.

In My Ideal World there would be 1 and only 1 point of sale where actual money was being exchanged.  This point would be staffed at all times using an actual cash box and carbon copy reciepts so that every sale and dollar amount is recorded.  We also need a second method that can be used as a double check to make sure everyone's sales track correctly.

It is my understanding, however, that Ron desires a seperate point of sale solely for Adept Press.  IMO this makes things overly complicated, but I'm not footing the major cost for the booth, so that ain't my call to make.

That leaves us with 2 points of sale.  1 for Adept Press and 1 for everybody else.  However, this then depends on the other major sponsors and whether THEY will want seperate points of sale also.  Given the limited amount of space in the booth, clearly 3 or 4+ places to take money is not only a huge waste of space, but largely confusing to potential customers also.

So in My Second Choice arrangement there would be 2 points of sale, either:
1) 1 for Adept Press and 1 for everyone else, or
2) 1 for all of the major sponsers and 1 for all of the smaller press folks (my preference).
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2003, 09:05:00 AM »

Hi there,

Just some random notions out there ...

1. Points of sale for each of the major sponsors seems like a real chaos factor. I can't see any way around it at this point. Part of the reason is, bluntly, that people really want to buy the game from The Guy, meaning the person who publishes it. It's a tangible and highly significant desire in the case of Sorcerer; if we go with a single point of purchase, I anticipate anywhere up to 50% loss of my sales. Can't afford that, given what I lay out for the booth. I'm open to suggestions.

2. The Jazz Coffee House model should remain the ideal, especially as opposed to the Hysterical Flea Market. This is a big deal for everyone selling a game there. However, unfortunately, I can't see any way for us actually to have coffee available at the booth without spending huge amounts of money.

3. I really think we need bags for purchases. Not only did a lot of customers expect them last year, but they provide a way for us to include all the promo handouts. I think that some pre-con collating of "the bag wad" is definitely going to be a priority.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2003, 09:19:17 AM »

Hey Ron,

Points of sale for each of the major sponsors...I can't see any way around it at this point. Part of the reason is, bluntly, that people really want to buy the game from The Guy, meaning the person who publishes it. It's a tangible and highly significant desire in the case of Sorcerer; if we go with a single point of purchase, I anticipate anywhere up to 50% loss of my sales. Can't afford that, given what I lay out for the booth. I'm open to suggestions.

Picture a three-sided display near the leading edge of the booth. Game books are all face-out on it, and prices are in large letters near each of the game books. It says "Indie RPGs" on the top of each side. Game designers hang out nearby, engaging with passers-by and talking up their games. They wear badges that say, "Ask me about Sorcerer," or whatever games they're knowledgeable about. Closing a deal is walking over with a customer through the area of active play to the point-of-sale, where there's someone manning the cash box. That person gets you the pen and the receipt book, but you, the designer, fill out the receipt and take the cash. The person manning the booth makes change for you, which you pass on to the customer. You bag up the product and hand it over to the customer.

Paul
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Valamir
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2003, 10:08:10 AM »

Re: Ron's Point #1

I can't really speak much to the idea espoused as certainly buying from "The Guy" has never once motivated a single purchase I've ever made at any con, nor can I say I ever witnessed anyone at a booth declining a purchase from whoever happened to be behind the register at the time.  

But assuming this is actually a real phenomenon that I am simply not familiar with, it would seem to me that Paul's outline meets the needs of buying from "The Guy" without requiring each "Guy" to have their own cash box and point of sale location.  Ron, your thoughts?

Between foot traffic from browsers, occupied tables with demoers comeing in and out and arrangements for same being made, people shilling their product and the like the booth could be a real zoo.   Made the worse by several different cash boxes and people trying to get to and from them to make sales, etc.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2003, 10:17:47 AM »

Paul's model for POS sounds optimum. I think a laptop or other computer with a DB on it to act as register/recording device would be good as the primary method (with recipts for backup). Probably a bit classier, too. Makes the accounting much easier. I can organize that if nobody else can.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2003, 10:23:34 AM »

Do we know what booth number we're in? I've got the map from the GenCon site, and I'm curious as to what sort of facing we'll have.

Mike
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Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2003, 10:29:29 AM »

Quote
Part of the reason is, bluntly, that people really want to buy the game from The Guy, meaning the person who publishes it. It's a tangible and highly significant desire in the case of Sorcerer; if we go with a single point of purchase, I anticipate anywhere up to 50% loss of my sales.


I agree with you in part Ron, but I think I'm missing something.  I agree that people prefer to buy the game from the designer, but why does that mean the designer has to have his own cash box or lose sales?  How is it that making the sale, then walking 5 feet to the cash box to make change makes 50% of those buyers suddenly change their mind?  Having one cash box doesn't mean having a cash register where the customer goes to buy the game.  I'm thinking of things being run similar to last year, but with only one cash box for everyone that would stay in one location at all times with one person there with it.  It's important that the cash box (and supervisor) remain in the same place the entire con.  A big part of the chaos last year was trying to determine where the money was and who was in charge of it.

I think something we need to clairfy here is whether or not we are all talking about the same thing.  I don't consider the "Point of Sale" and the  "Cash Box" to be the same thing.  In my mind the point of sale is where the buyer says "yeah, I'll give you money for that", and I'm 100% for the three major contributors' having their own designated point of sale - you payed the cash, you deserve the bigger signs and table space.  But having the cash go to more than one location makes no sense to me.  In my opinion, it makes the booth seem fractured, and it makes me feel a little like you don't trust anyone but yourself to keep an accurate count of your sales.  

The way I'm seeing it is we have 4 distinct locations: one for each of the major games and one for the cash box and cashier.  The three game locations would be either a full table or half table with a major emphasis on the designated game.  The game designer would be stationed at that point just like we did last year.  The cash box location would be nothing more than a small centrally located table with a cashbox and a chair.  Whenever someone makes a sale, they bring the cash to the cashier, then get change and a receipt.

Just my take on things.

,Matt Gwinn
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2003, 10:42:54 AM »

Hi Matt,

That has a lot of merit. Here's one small point:

You wrote,

Quote
it makes me feel a little like you don't trust anyone but yourself to keep an accurate count of your sales.


Not an issue at all. I actually trust most of you better, ethically, than I trust my own frazzled brain, functionally/cognitively. My concern is exactly with the five feet you mention. In my experience, anyway, the moment between "I'll take it" and "cha-ching!" is a delicate one. A lot of people have noted that I sell Sorcerer way better than anyone, and I suggest that it's not the pitch, it's the ruthless pounce on the moment of opportunity after the pitch.

But! I'm not set in stone on this. I'm thinkin' about it. As you all know, I think slowly, so don't expect an immediate decision.

Best,
Ron
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2003, 10:57:07 AM »

So they give them money to "the guy" and the guy makes the purchase offically after the customer leaves. All done.

Jake
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