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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [GenCon 2006] "untitled"  (Read 25162 times)
TonyLB
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« Reply #45 on: August 21, 2006, 03:18:45 PM »

Okay ... I'm feeling very quizzical here.  Some folks have latched on to the idea of the database as "Tony's contribution."  People are praising it, and even offering elaboration.  That's just strange.  The database is dreck.  I mean, yeah, I'm going to do it, and maybe it will help.  But in itself it's unimportant.  It is an example, nothing more.

What I wanted to contribute was a call to individual action ... to each and every one of you to recognize that you too should be inventing such ideas and making them into reality. 

If you look at the idea I've put forward, and my determination to make it a reality, and you admire that ... well, that's great.  Your next step is NOT to say "Okay!  I want to support Tony's idea!"  I don't need that kind of support.  Your next step is to say "Okay!  Tony's got that database idea.  Now what even cooler idea am I, myself, going to bring to the party?"

The battle-cry of our revolution isn't "That's cool!"  It is "That made me think of something cool!"
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Librisia
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« Reply #46 on: August 21, 2006, 04:34:16 PM »

Keep track of numbers daily, that way you can say "games x,y, and z have not sold any copies yet. Lets make sure we keep them in mind when talking with booth visitors today. Any questions?"

I just wanted to chime in here.  I am planning to come to GenCon next year and help Brennan run the booth - assuming that that is going to happen again.  If it DOES happen again, I was planning to do just what Mcrow suggested.  Watching Brennan try to do all of the books for the entire con in one swell foop was painful.   Keeping track of inventory should be easy if cash register paperwork is being done every day.

The rest of my explanation is fodder for another thread, as I understand the culture on the boards.
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"Let me listen to me and not to them."
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #47 on: August 21, 2006, 04:52:56 PM »

Tony,

It is your contribution. Whether you wanted it to be, whether you wanted more, is not the point. You put forth the idea, you said you're going to do it. That makes it your contribution.

On the point of other people tossing in their cool ideas.. I think you're risking a case of too many chefs. Better to improve your original idea (or sure, replace it with something better, if someone's got a better idea) than to have a dozenty-one individual ideas that fall apart due to lack of cohesion before next year. As a matter of fact, unless I'm totally missing something, getting people to go "good idea, let me support that" is the only chance the database has of helping at all.. And if you don't actually expect it to help, why bother? A call to arms by itself is meaningless. A call to arms with something of a plan has use.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2006, 12:11:52 AM »

I've thought about this for a day or two before posting, and I'll keep my comments just to "Untitled" specifically.

On reflection I do feel that I personally let Keith down at the booth this year. I bought Untitled on day one (it was the first thing on my list of things to get) and I knew how good it was from the get-go, and I didn't go on about it enough to everyone I met.

I felt that there would've been a better awareness of the game at the booth in general though, and I was wrong. My reasoning was that

(1) It won a Ronny award.
(2) The 24-hr version of the game was freely available to anyone that wanted to see it.
(3) Keith flagged it up on his blog.
(4) Since Keith had a hand in a few books this year other than his own that there would be more interest in his own work.

Keith and Untitled got lost in the shuffle -- there were a load of books on the stand. But the lesson I'll learn is that if I like something then I've got to realize that and spread the word.

The one thing that I encountered the few times I talked about it was its price point, and comparisons with Burning Empires. Y'know, I had the answer to that one myself but I didn't stand up for it enough -- I bought Untitled but not BE, one I'm likely to play and read in its entirety, the other I wouldn't. So I should have pushed back harder on that. And if I'd been able to play part of the CD to people it would have been selling for sure.
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iago
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« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2006, 01:00:26 AM »

So my current moment of duh: GenCon wasn't this game's only chance. I missed the boat there, but there's no reason I can't set sail right now.  As such, I have started pimping the game on my blog, and will mention it other places as well. 

You should too.

Folks who've bought the game should bloody well review it on rpg.net or something -- get awareness out there.  Word of mouth is big mojo, folks.  Soon as my wallet recovers enough for me to buy the not-24-hour version of it, I will, and I'll do more.  Take the steps you can.
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2006, 06:14:22 AM »

You should too.

Folks who've bought the game should bloody well review it on rpg.net or something -- get awareness out there.  Word of mouth is big mojo, folks.  Soon as my wallet recovers enough for me to buy the not-24-hour version of it, I will, and I'll do more.  Take the steps you can.

I'm VEEEEEERY wary of folks plugging a game without buying it.  The Forge has a pretty big (unwarranted in most cases) rep for "friends plugging friends" or "forgies plugging forgies" without address to quality of product, playability etc. Simply cause they roll in the same circles. I'm kinda gunshy about reinforcing that rep. I'd rather see people get it, and if they like it, to plug it then.

Now, I say that, but in my own case:
1) I had been planning on buying "untitled" for months (since I saw the original, then heard that Keith was turning it into a "$40 'SE7EN journal' looking package").
2) I just bought it myself (should arrive in a week or two).

Just a thought before people start going nuts.

-Andy
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iago
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« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2006, 07:44:12 AM »

You should too.

Folks who've bought the game should bloody well review it on rpg.net or something -- get awareness out there.  Word of mouth is big mojo, folks.  Soon as my wallet recovers enough for me to buy the not-24-hour version of it, I will, and I'll do more.  Take the steps you can.

I'm VEEEEEERY wary of folks plugging a game without buying it.  The Forge has a pretty big (unwarranted in most cases) rep for "friends plugging friends" or "forgies plugging forgies" without address to quality of product, playability etc. Simply cause they roll in the same circles. I'm kinda gunshy about reinforcing that rep. I'd rather see people get it, and if they like it, to plug it then.

And that's fair.  But I hasten to point out that as Gregor linked above, there's a 24-hour version of the RPG that operates as a pretty solid preview of what the game's due to be like.  I wouldn't be plugging the game if I hadn't read the 24-hour one cover to cover.
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2006, 09:57:44 AM »

Heya,

Quote
Remember back in elementary school when the teacher would divide everyone into small groups to work on a project?  There'd be like 4 or 5 kids with their desks in a circle either working together with paints or trying to pull the interesting information out of a textbook about ancient Rome or something. 

So, that's what I'm thinking of.  I'm imagining that, starting maybe a month before GenCon, when most everyone is signed up, Ron, or Luke, or Clinton, or someone starts matching up groups of 3 to 5 designers.  Each member of a group is responsible for knowing each other members' demos really really well.  When latecomers get signed up, they can be assigned to a group that has a smaller number of people in it, and the whole group will play a little bit of catchup. 


-Speaking as a teacher and someone who, baring another unforseen family event, will be at GenCon next year, this makes a lot of good sense to me.  With 5 or so people knowing how to demo another person's games, we should be able to fulfill any request while at the same time making sure every game gets some exposure.  The important thing is to tie to to people, not games.  For instance if I had to learn Vincent's, Eric's, Joe's, and Ralph's games, I would be responsible for learnign to demo all of them.  Of course they'd be responsible for getting me all the materials I'd need to do that.  The best part would be I'd be responsible for only a few games rather than 40 or 50.  It makes things simpler.

-I really like it because it would expose me to games I might not have even heard of before.  Also, I'd probably end up buying a few and that would help everyone out.  I would have no problem with Ron, Luke, Ralph, or Brennan assigning groups next year.  I think it would really improve things.

Peace,

-Troy
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #53 on: August 22, 2006, 10:36:11 AM »

So Push vol 1 sold out at GenCon, despite the fact that I could only sorta demo it.  A bunch of factors contributed to this, I think, but I wanna talk about one that is pretty applicable here: I came to GenCon with a posse.  Eric's plan for like "sleeper cells" of indie revolutionaries is hot and Push is sort of a posterchild for this working, I think.  Because it was a collaborative project, it was not just my baby, but also the baby of Emily Care Boss, John Kim, Shreyas Sampat, Paul Tevis, Annie Rush, and Thomas Robertson (and those are just the people who were at GenCon). All those folks were already really excited about it and could, in turn, get other people excited about it.  Viral excitement sells books, even without demos.

I love you folks and being at the booth this year was way awesome (and the right decision, Ben, despite my stubbornness), but I don't think it's effective to try to demo and sell that many products in such a small space.  I think trying to pitch more than, say, 5-8 products per 10x10 is not going to give you the results that you want.  Five or six creator-publishers splitting a 10x10 and working hard to understand and sell each others' games seems much more feasible to me. So if someone was interested in game X you could just say "yeah, those guys over there are the ones to talk to about game X."  I do worry about the potential for creating little cliques of people who are only interested in the games they're pitching, but I don't think having 80-some products (certainly over 100 next year), an overcrowded browsing area, and a demo area that's packed tight (and often without enough chairs) is working optimally now.  I certainly think it's going to get less and less feasible as the booth continues to get bigger.

I had one product this year.  Next year I'll probably have 4.  I don't think I'm going to feel good about taking up the amount space and time that I'll need to effectively sell 4 products at the booth.  It would be unfair to the other people there.  Personally, I'd love to be part of a break out Wicked Dead-style section next year.  For example, 5 designers might decide to combine forces and split a 10x10 between us and sell/demo our games in an area just for that.  Ben's totally right that if we have completely seperate booths, people won't know where to find us.  But I think the time has definitely come for decentralization or, at the very least, a higher degree of meta-organization (which can sorta be the same thing, actually). 

A semi-related thought: it would be cool to subdivide the booth based on thematic or play-style interests, the same way they treat books in bookstores.  Man, can you imagine the excitement that might surround a section devoted to Shadow of Yesterday, Agon, Dictionary of Mu, Hero's Banner, and a couple other indie "swords and hard choices" games?  And I could imagine a "games about relationships" section with My Life with Master, Breaking the Ice, The Roach, It Was a Mutual Decision, Polaris, etc.  You could even take the same basic scene and demo it in a bunch of different game systems, so people could get a sense of how the games addressed things differently.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #54 on: August 22, 2006, 10:52:51 AM »

Jonathan, you are super-right in many ways. (And can I take a personal moment and say how great it feels to be giving you thumbs up all the time? I'm glad to have been wrong and I'm glad you're awesome.)

What I do worry about is the booth splitting up and then getting spread to the winds. While that may be a good thing - indie seeds across the show floor may grow well - it tears apart the community we have. I don't want to work a booth at GenCon unless I get to hang out with all my friends all day. There are certain people that if I didn't get to spend time with them, I'd not really be that interested in being there. If we could, on the other hand, build some sort of indie shanty-town of booths, well, that'd be amazing, but it's not going to happen.

----

This is a slightly different subject, but I want to address it. The success of the revolution has bred an atmosphere of selection. Two years ago, I was excited because I saw an independently-published game. This year, I'm excited when I see an independently-published game that is well done and fits my interests, and I have to be that selective because there's a lot of these games. I didn't get Burning Empires or untitled because they didn't fit that criteria, and I wasn't a supporter of either of them. Games that did meet my criteria - ahem, Hero's Fucking Banner, cough, Cold City - got my attention and I sold the heck out of them to whoever would listen.

Now, why do I bring this up? Because the bar is raised, cowboys. I published some real crap at the beginning because I wasn't a good game designer. I'd like to think I've changed, but even The Princes' Kingdom is a big step over the glaring errors in The Shadow of Yesterday. In order to sell a game in the future, you need to do these things:

a) Playtest. Wait - rephrase: be playtested. Playtesting with your home group, or even with you in the game, is not playtesting. Playtest a lot. I brought home games from GenCon with busted-up rules. This applies to me, of course. I am not singling anyone out or judging anyone.

b) Promote yourself. Tell people about the game you made that you are really excited about. If you don't put forth that effort, no one else will or should. If you think it's cool to be aloof, go away. If you're not so excited about your game that you can't stop talking about it, make a game you're that excited about.

c) Promote others. I love telling people about Push. Why? First, it's good, seriously. Second, Jonathan Walton loves talking about The Shadow of Yesterday.

d) That (a) about playtesting? Do it more, and make a complete, well written, edited game that you're excited about. Note I didn't say "professionally laid out," or "full of art," or anything else about presentation. Make "untitled," or "kill puppies for satan," or "Burning Empires," or "Death's Door." Make whatever you like presentationally. But don't make a broken, incomplete game. It is sticking a poisoned dagger into the sides of the people who helped you get there.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2006, 12:26:14 PM by Clinton R. Nixon » Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
David Artman
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« Reply #55 on: August 22, 2006, 12:08:53 PM »

"shanty town of booths"... "shanty town of booths"... Why do I LOVE the sound of that, from an Indie sensability?

Quick side question: why wouldn't this be possible? With enough advance commitment, couldn't "The Forge MetaBooth" be comprised of, say, ten actual booths, each with a "branding" banner of The Forge or Indie RPGs, but each focused on a particular subset of the games?

People could even self-select their grouping (using still-more fields in the database), up to a given maximum number of games per grouping. Or the subsets could be comprised as above, by "genre" (in an Indie context -or- in a traditional fictional context).

One could even, then, split out the booth cost responsibilities, so that the entire risk isn't being taken by the handful of folks who spearhead our relations with the con(s). Once ten (or whatever) folks commit to go, they are sharded off into their own booth to pay for, setup (with some co-branding help/requirements), and manage.

By the way, this would not prevent the booths from appearing to be contiguous, nor would it prevent economies of scale (sharing demoers and print costs for con-specific marketing collateral; using a single register and stock area).

Hmmm.... or even if the sharding of the cost structure is unimportant, and The Forge will instead just increase its reserved floor space to accommodate flow and increased stock; could a "shanty town" still be considered, for aesthetics? I just like the image of a bunch of similar--but by NO means identical--little huts and stands of product all surrounding a "lawn" of demo tables, with an entrance gate (where the register would be) and crazy picket fencing and various "streetlights" and maybe a hot dog vendor or coffee cart and....

Worth considering?
David
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Mcrow
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« Reply #56 on: August 22, 2006, 12:18:08 PM »

I have to say I like the idea of there being more space and the "booth" being sectioned off a bit. When I stopped by the booth this year the books were hard to get to with the traffic around them and it looked incredibly  crowded in the demo area (even if there really were not that many people there). I for one skipped out on both books & demos because of that. I instead went and bought BE from Key20 and other indie stuff from the IPR website.

It may be my failure, but I couldn't tell who was working the booth and who were just other folks checking it out. I could of missed something though because I didn't really take much time to obeserve the whole scene. As a possible customer, I like to know who to ask questions if I need to.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2006, 12:21:17 PM »

Quick side question: why wouldn't this be possible?

Short answer:  new booths don't have much control over where in the hall they are placed.  I'm getting bits and pieces of the long answer on the booth red tape thread.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #58 on: August 22, 2006, 12:23:39 PM »

David, that's absolutely what I was trying to propose.  Thanks for being more articulate.  I appreciate being able to be at the booth for $100 and all, but I think the booth needs to double in size (yes, be twice as big) if we're going to continue to operate effectively, and I'd fork out at least another $100 for that to happen (and maybe more).  I see no reason for us to not be at least as big as the White Wolf booth was this year.  We sell a lot more products than they do and have many more people.

I felt I spent a large part of my time at the booth standing around, not because I had nothing to do but because it was more effective for me to do nothing than take up space in the store area or in a demo (when there were plenty of customers waiting for demos).  If we have a demo area that is twice as large, I don't think we'd have any trouble filling it.  Whenever a table opened, it was a piece of cake to be like, "Hey Jason, you want to demo The Roach for some people?  Okay, let me find you some" or just to see Judd waiting patiently and then tell someone that Dictionary of Mu was awesome and they had to demo it RIGHT NOW.

I really dig the idea of an indie games circus, with various microbooths and sideshows for people to go demo games in before buying stuff in a central location.

Also, Tony, people aren't suggesting new booths.  People are suggesting that Adept (or whoever) buys like 8 booths in a central area and then sells them off to groups of designers.  Of course, that would require a lot more long-term planning, since I'm sure they have to reserve space pretty early.
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Blankshield
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« Reply #59 on: August 22, 2006, 12:45:20 PM »

guys, two short answers:

1: take it over to the other thread; this isn't remotely about untitled anymore.

2: you're talking major $$$.

James
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I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

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