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Author Topic: GenCon 2002 - very important  (Read 5866 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: April 16, 2002, 08:16:50 AM »

Hello!

Jason and I have now, albeit with much suffering, landed our three tables at GenCon (or close anyway). As I've described before, Forge folks are welcome to attend and to bring their own games to promote. A lot of people have responded positively and are apparently intending to come.

So it's time to lay some ground rules. If you can't commit to these, do not attend, as I plan to enforce them strictly. Some of you may be alarmed or dismayed by them, but that's all right - I have not deposited any of the checks that some of you have sent already, and I will not do so if you decide that you don't want to attend after all.

THE GOLDEN RULE
The goal is promotion of the indie scene, and actual play of all the games at the booth. This means that you will have to back off regarding your own game. I shudder at the thought of a person arriving at the booth and having a dozen games brandished in their face, with each author saying "Oh please! Buy my indie game!" I also shudder at the thought of the authors crowding one another in the attempt to attract people to play the games. Such a spectacle will be extremely off-putting to anyone at all, and I will not permit it to occur.

I anticipate Soap, InSpectres, The Pool, and Shadows to be ongoing booth games. By contrast, I anticipate games like Universalis, Donjon, Kayfabe, Cartoon Action Hero, The Questing Beast, OctaNe, Wyrd, Scattershot, and many others - the majority of games present - to require more setup and more cooperative trade-offs among the creators. We may even have a schedule: e.g., OK, it's Thursday morning, so everyone be ready to participate in playing Donjon and Cartoon Action Hour; all other games are in the revolving rack (presuming I get one, which I want to do), and the author is available for questions, but otherwise, back off.

I think a pamphlet that describes all the games at the booth will be a really good idea. It will be freely available and the first step of promotion is to direct the person's attention there.

Finally, Adept Press and Key20 Publishing are both incurring massive costs in time and effort. I think that the following requirements are reasonable. (1) Direct the attention of potential customers to either Jason or myself, no matter what (e.g. after you have spoken to or played with the person). (2) I absolutely require that Sorcerer and Little Fears be scheduled booth games (not all the time, but at designated times, maybe 1/day each).

AN UGLY FACT
You are not going to sell 100 copies of your game. Even attempting to max out your sales is going to work against the shared, mutualistic goals of the enterprise, and ultimately it will work against everyone. You must commit to attend for promotional purposes, not for sales, and understand that a sale for one person is an ultimate sale for everyone, later. That means that you should bring about twenty copies, maximum, and plan to sell about five, total. I realize this is far under the expectations that some of you have generated. Do not plan on covering your costs with the revenue from sales.

I have already committed to this fact myself. Last year, busting my ass every minute of the con, I moved 100 copies of Sorcerer. Given the activities and approach I'm offering this year, I don't think I will sell more than 25 or 30, as so much of my time and energy will be devoted to the indie scene rather than to Sorcerer specifically. Please recognize that I will be taking quite a hit in this regard for the common good, and that I'm expecting everyone else to enter into that contract with me.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2002, 08:33:37 AM »

I don't know that I have a problem with this conceptually.  But theres an awful lot of games there I've never read, let alone played, let alone run.  How is this cross selling effort going to actually function in practice?

How is everybody going to become at least marginally familiar with the games involved to be able to do this effectively?

Ideally we all show up to Gen Con a day early and spend the entire day playing each others games so we have some real actual experience to share with interested parties...but I don't know how practical that is.
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Misguided Games
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2002, 09:16:34 AM »

Ron,

I am expecting to set aside some table space for promo materials from other companies.  I'll try to push people your way.  We'll probably be buried in the back, unlike Origins, since we have zero priority points for GC.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2002, 09:25:42 AM »

Ditto, Lewis. Another part of the plan is to have a photocopy of the exhibit hall, with all the indie guys highlighted. Your booth will have a special indicator on it.

Ralph, I expect that most of the games will be run by their authors, during that designated period. The requirement for the other people present during that time is to be willing to play them.

Best,
Ron
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Misguided Games
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2002, 09:42:07 AM »

Great Ron.  Sounds like a good idea.  Are you going to be at Origins as well?
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Mario
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2002, 09:45:11 AM »

Ron,

I don't see any reasons you and Jason should shoulder the costs.  Heres what I suggest.

A regular 4 day admission costs $53.00.

Like last year you gave a discount to people if they worked your booth.  If your doing the same this year lets say you ask for $45.00.

If someone wants to sell their game at the same time have them pay another $10.00. for a total of $55.00

I don't think these costs are unreasonable.  You can change them anyway you see fit also.  I can totally see that if someone is going to be selling a game that they should pay a little more to use the space just as you and Jason, or they would have to if they had their own tables.

I also think you should work some sort of minimum time someone should work at the booth and perhaps at least one scheduled time.  I remember last year there were times that we had 2 people at the booth and others where we had everyone.  This would help to give people time eat and other things.

Since there is going to be more room you will need a certain minimum to just keep the area covered.    I think at least 2 people per table space should be the minimum.  This should be maintained at all times.  Thus you should set up a schedule, do it in slots. everyone will have to work at least one slot that is scheduled.  after that they can work as much as they like.  Also consider a maximum number of people, 5 per table space would mean 15 people running around.  That could get to chaotic.

I know you may not want to get this anal about things, but you also don't want 30 people crammed in, talking over each other, telling people about there favorite games either.

Just some thoughts
Mario
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2002, 09:46:11 AM »

Ron, for those of us who where asleep at the wheel on GenCon details, can you tell me what's involved in getting one's game on the "rack" and, further, what's required to sell? I seem to remember something about paying ya'll $100 to do that?Isn't there a thread that discusses this? Or perhaps we'd be better served to remind folks here in this thread.

I ask b/c I'm thinking about offering a "dime-store" version of Dust Devils, and maybe promotional material for Dreamspire.
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Matt Snyder
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Mario
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2002, 09:49:00 AM »

My last post refers mainly to the sales and promotion side of things not the running of the games.  That should be seperate from the people working.

Mario
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2002, 10:36:41 AM »

Hello,

The parent thread to this one is GenCon 2002: the lowdown.

In there, and it looks like it needs to be repeated, the costs are given.
1) If you are attending but are not selling a game, pay $45 (the cost of the badge) - you'll be expected to spend some time working the booth and generally helping out.
2) If, in addition, you are selling copies of a specific game (which I assume also means being willing to run it), pay an additional $100.

Hotel room space is available through me if you want and "while supplies last" (I'm renting two rooms and anticipate a certain level of guys-and-dirty-socks in each one). We can handle the finances on that after the con.

We also need to talk about finances. Adept Press and Key20 will each have its own individual kitty, to be managed separately by me and Jason, respectively. I think that I shall have to come up with a reasonable method for the pack of indies, avoiding the disadvantages of both of the "shared coffee can" and "wandering aimlessly in groups of one" problems.

Best,
Ron
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2002, 10:40:56 AM »

You want me there?  Let's talk about cash.  How much, what's the deadline, where do ya want it, and how much time do you need?

I haven't a thing to sell, but demos aplenty.  Also, how about a little talk about 'stepping on each others toes' in terms of coverage?  I got a mini-shot of Scattershot that might be ready by then, but it'll clash pretty heavily with one of the listed 'for sale products.'  I'd hate to 'steal' sales from someone with a freebie, so what do you suggest?

A little short on time,
Fang Langford
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2002, 10:46:06 AM »

Hi Fang,

Couple of things ... first off, I think that the money deadline ($45 or $145) is best set by July 1. Jason and I probably need that lead time in order to make sure the pamphlets are done and that people aren't flaking out, or whatever.

Second, if you're showing up and have a game to demo/play, but are not selling it, that's fine too. I don't think you have to worry about swiping "sales," although I expect you to put in time to play in other people's games too. A number of games are going to be in that category, e.g. Soap.

Best,
Ron
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lumpley
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« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2002, 11:00:04 AM »

Hey, can I send freebies of my game puppies with someone, for them to hand out or put in a stack on a table with a 'free' sticker or toss in the dumpster?  Should I pay somebody something for that?

Paul, Scott, back in the day you mentioned being willing to do this, if it was cool with the powers that be (by which I guess I mean Ron and Jason).  Are you still?

Powers that be, is it cool with you?

I wish I could be there to hand them out or toss them in the dumpster in person.

-Vincent
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2002, 11:05:15 AM »

I'd put this in a PM, but I want everyone who hasn't seen Puppies to read this:

Sell that thing, Vincent. Shit, I'll take copies if you want. It's good. It's damn good. Throw in the supplement (whose name I forget) and sell it. Really.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2002, 11:07:48 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Ralph, I expect that most of the games will be run by their authors, during that designated period. The requirement for the other people present during that time is to be willing to play them.


Well if thats the requirment that Hot Dog.  I've been wanting to play them anyway.

So I guess the next detail is how will the "Work the Booth" "Play the Game" time be scheduled.  I assume we'll all have some of each.
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Mario
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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2002, 12:43:36 PM »

You talk of people playing the games.  I assume you mean as plants.  so how many plants per game are you thinking?  Are you thinking the games will mostly be 2-3 people?  How long are you thinking these games should run?  Are they all going to be run at the booth or is there going to be a space somewhere else for games as well?  I know this is all up in the air but what would be your ideal situation?

You mention directing the attention of potential customers to either Jason or yourself, no matter what.  Does these mean anything dealing with sales issues are solely your domain, or are you just talking about money matters?  What if you and Jason are talking with someone about a game and someone else wants to purchase something, will they have to wait for you to finish to handle the transaction? I personally didn't like this about last year, although I completely understand why.


Heres an idea, have one register for everything and designating one person to man the cash register.  That person would keep a list of what titles and how many are sold.  This person has no other job than to watch the register.  This frees up everyone else to do the promoting.  Afterwards that person would take the list and calculate the total due each publisher and then count out the register and divide it up accordingly.  
This has many advantages, but I do understand your concerns about the financial issues.  I just think there should be an easier way of doing things.

Mario
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