*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 22, 2018, 02:17:00 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 141 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Dreamation '06] Lessons of GenCon  (Read 2071 times)
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« on: August 23, 2005, 06:25:44 AM »

[Keanu]Whoa![/Keanu]

Manning the Forge GenCon booth this year (for my first time) was one hell of an eye opener.  I thought we (for which read "I") were doing a solid job of demoing and selling things at Dreamation and DEXCON, and that our (for which read "my") inability to consistently attract a customer, cleanly demo and close the deal was some inexplicable quirk of fate for which there was no remedy.

But then, two years ago, I thought that my inability to consistently assemble a gaming group, engage them together, and create a great game was an inexplicable quirk of fate for which there was no remedy.  Turns out?  Wrong on both counts.  The spotty performance is explicable, and there are specific techniques to correct it.

As excited as you've ever been about bringing these techniques into your play and reaping the solid, definite rewards?  I'm that excited to bring this knowledge back to Indie Games Explosion 3 at Dreamation in January, and reap the solid, definite, financial rewards thereof.  Only, in fact, I'm even more excited than you were, because I'm excitable by nature.  Ask anyone!

So, I'm going to be hitting this note over and over in the months to come.  Double Exposure simply runs the most welcoming conventions in the world.  If you're on the east coast you should be checking them out.  And the IGE group, because the pressure of customers is less than GenCon, does a lot more internal sharing of techniques.  That was hugely valuable (to me... others can speak to their own experiences) but I know that now, with stronger techniques under my belt, I can make the experience even more valuable to people showing up.  This is the perfect place for people to come and hone their salesmanship:  better than with your friends, better than any other small con, maybe even better than GenCon itself.  You can study selling rather than simply practicing it.

I'm not running IGE3 at Dreamation.  But what I will run s the Salesmanship Track within IGE 3.  If nobody steps up to organize IGE 3 then all it will be is a bunch of scheduled games (which, yeah, I'll organize if I must, but I'll be surly) and the Salesmanship Track.  Because this year that's what I care about.  As of this morning I think that the Salesmanship Track will consist of:

The Fifteen Minute Demo:  Is your demo really fifteen minutes?  Test it against a stop-watch and I think you'll be unpleasantly surprised.  When I did that, I discovered that my tight, rapid demo for my rules-light system weighed in at forty minutes!  We will:
  • Analyze your current demo:  Timing it, Grognarding it, judging (in the harshest but truest way possible) whether you close the sale
  • Trim your demo down.  There's stuff in there (more than likely) that is about explaining your system rather than selling your system.  It has to go.
  • Ramp the excitement.  You probably have some vestigial shyness about your product.  It will be taken out back, behind the chemical sheds, and shot twice in the head at close range.  You'll thank us later.
  • Cut you off at the right moment.  Most (well-nigh all!) demos roll blithely past the moment when the customer is most engaged.  They satisfy the customer, leaving them in a pleasant state of contentment that is the polar opposite of the rabid, grasping, visceral need that will get them to clutch convulsively at their wallets.  Ron has a metaphor here about sex and teasing that I probably won't be able to convey in its fullness, but I will tell you that it spectacularly improved my ability to turn demoes into sales.

The Demo Collective:  Everyone who attends needs to sit in on a demo of every single system being shown.  I cannot possibly overstate what a difference this makes in your ability to engage with customers who are browsing.  I went from "Hey... uh... you don't happen to like super-hero games, do you?" to "What do you like to play?"  Why?  Because by mid-GenCon I could enthusiastically sell a broad set of products at the booth, and that meant I could be confident that most anyone who I talked to would want something I could offer them, and would thank me for talking to them.  You achieve this by letting the excited designer infect you with her excitement.  Let's spread the plague of excitement as broadly as possible!

Game Designer Roundtable:  Or whatever the heck Clinton, Jared, Vincent et. al. called that thing they did at GenCon, because man did we get a surge of interested customers after that!  I would not have thought that theory was so sexy that it would have people panting to get their hands on any Indie Game they could grab, but I certainly can't argue with the evidence.  So we do it again!

Game Design Idol:  I suspect that if we can pull budding designers in and get them to talk about their games (perhaps in the setting of a competition) that we can create a "one of us" mentality that will both empower people to pursue publishing their own systems, and will convince people to buy stuff at the booth.  Everybody wins.  This is still in its embryonic stages.  I want to thank Justin Jacobson for the seed of the idea.  Yeah, thanks a LOT!  Now I've got a seed growing in my head.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Rob Donoghue
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2005, 06:49:58 AM »

Heh.  Immediately after the handful of things I have to now wait to buy, this was exactly the stuff that made me deeply regret not going to Gencon.  Dexcon was eye-opening for me, and it sounds like its seeds bore pretty spactacular fruit in the grand melee of Gencon.

That said, I have one additional concrete suggestion to add to the track: the role of props, and maybe a bit of overview on how to prepare them.  While your Capes demo kit was probably the best example (With expecial note for sexay grease pencils), things like Luke's laminated combat sheets (and character sheets in general) also are worth lookign at. At little preparation goes a long way.

One other area of focus might be ways that non-demoers can contribute, as ropers (The guys who draw peopel in) or shills (specifically guys to pad out the demo so a lone interested guy doesn't feel alone and who give decent examples of player action).

So that said, I think this is an awesome idea, and I admit I find myself peering at the calendar for Dreamation.

-Rob D.
Logged

Rob Donoghue
<B>Fate</B> -
www.faterpg.com
Helvetian
Member

Posts: 66


« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2005, 07:27:14 AM »

I would love to have you guys use Dreamation as sort of an ongoing workshop for honing demo and sales techniques.  If I'm understanding what Tony's looking to do there.  One of my personal desires is for our conventions to be a place the pros can come to really connect with one another as well as the players, without the pressures of conventions like Origins and GenCon.  Just let me know what you'd need from us.  We don't use C deck there, so you'd be back in that great central area on B.  But console gaming and Makoto won't be right there for Dreamation, so there won't be as much noise as at DEXCON.

Becca
Logged

Rebecca Badurina
Vice President, Programming
Double Exposure, Inc.
www.dexposure.com
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2005, 08:33:53 AM »

Thanks, Becca!  The B-Deck is, indeed, rockin'.  We can make much better use of the space this year than we did last year.  Having seen the open cafe stylings of the GenCon booth, our armored little fortress of rectangular tables from last January seems a wonderful example of psychology on open display.  We wanted protection from our customers.  Luke referred to that type of setup (talking about Origins, I believe) as a wall placed directly between him and sales.

By comparison, if we set up a fairly open atmosphere of small tables, perhaps with a central aisle through it (so folks are enticed to actually put themselves right in the middle of our gaming ecstasy) then we become a de facto part of people's cool-down.  We're a destination, where they go because the atmosphere is open and relaxing.  Obvious, yes, but it's hard to overstate the impact that has on how many people you get to talk to.

That said, I have one additional concrete suggestion to add to the track: the role of props, and maybe a bit of overview on how to prepare them.  While your Capes demo kit was probably the best example (With expecial note for sexay grease pencils), things like Luke's laminated combat sheets (and character sheets in general) also are worth lookign at. At little preparation goes a long way.
I hope to bring all the equipment that I use to make such stuff.  My lamination kit is very portable, and my computer itself is a micro-mini... fits right in a backpack.  I'm not so sure about my flatscreen or my laser printer... they're both bulky and fragile, so I may try to do a deal with people closer to the con-site itself.  But, overall, being able to say to people "You need laminated handouts X, Y and Z," and head up to the hotel room to generate them in half an hour would be a tremendous boon.

It would also be nice if folks with other artistic leanings could bring some of their stuff too.  Someone who's a fair hand with polymer clays, for instance, could roll-and-chop a nice set of customized tokens in no time flat. 

Quote
One other area of focus might be ways that non-demoers can contribute, as ropers (The guys who draw peopel in) or shills (specifically guys to pad out the demo so a lone interested guy doesn't feel alone and who give decent examples of player action).
FWIW, I'm not sure I believe in the need for shills.  I need two other people to run my Capes demo, and so I went around saying "Hey!  I need your help.  This guy wants a demo, but I need at least a third player.  Will you play the Iron Brain, and stuff Major Victory's patriotic platitudes back down his throat?"  Interestingly, the people I roped in that way had (at GenCon) something very near a 100% rate of buying the game, where people who had already been thinking about Capes were substantially less likely to part with their money.

Ropers, however, are absolutely indispensible.  Allan Dotson and I (I'm pretty sure) sold many more copies of other people's games at GenCon than we sold our own.  Even Ben Lehman may have done that, and he was selling Polaris like he had cornered the life-raft market on the Titanic.  But he was also selling a ton of games written by others, on raw enthusiasm.  And, of course, when you've put My Life with Master, Burning Wheel and Dogs in the Vineyard into someone's hands, they're likely to have gotten used to trusting your judgment by the time you put your own game on top of the stack and say "And this is mine... you totally need this too.  Pay for it, then I'll run you a demo!"
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2005, 08:45:35 AM »

Hello,

Rob, we're way ahead of you. All the stuff you're talking about is standard at the Forge booth, as developed over the last five years (starting with Sorcerer's book-debut in 2001).

Best,
Ron
Logged
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2005, 09:52:42 AM »

Yeah, but I need more than four days a year of practice at the techniques that the Forge Booth has developed.  That's why I'm hoping to make Dreamation into a good environment for (a) people to spread this knowledge and (b) people who know to practice and hone.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!