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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 142 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: GenCon: Launching a Satellite Booth  (Read 16721 times)
Judd
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2007, 05:39:25 AM »

I'm a little confused on how the Forge booth presence works. I thought that people who weren't there for the first or second time couldn't be represented there. Clearly I've misunderstood something. Is it the case that your book can be there but you can't?

But your book would still be at IPR, you just wouldn't be there to demo it.

Ron brings up some really interesting points that I'm still, frankly, sorting out.

More later, very possibly much later.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2007, 06:29:55 AM »

It may well be, too, that a publisher says, "You know, my game is at the Forge/IPR booth, and that's OK with me," and just goes to GenCon and has a good time - maybe playing a bit at that booth, maybe GMing up a storm at Games on Demand, or hell, doing whatever he or she wants. Matt Wilson, you did that, right? I didn't get to chat with you much, but my impression was that it was pretty satisfying for you. My call, at this point, is that this option is a better default than a new booth - if one hasn't thought about what the booth is for, what it will be like, and what it offers besides just grins, books, and an association with the Forge.

That was me, this year. I bought into no booth, but With Great Power... was still available through IPR (as are all of IPR's products). IPR took a bigger percentage than they would have if I had bought into the booth, but I didn't have to pay for a buy-in or an exhibitor badge. Running scheduled events for the Indie Games Explosion meant that I was able to get a GM's badge for free. In 2006, I was part of the Forge/IPR booth and sold 19 copies of my game while talking about and demoing my own and other people's games all day long, plus running scheduled games. In 2007, I sold 10 copies of WGP... just by running scheduled games and enjoying myself at the con.

Being boothless, particularly if you don't have a new game to push is a very viable option, as I mentioned on the Post-mortem thread.

EDITED to add: I would have had to sell more than twice as many books to justify the cost of a booth buy-in and badge, even if I had been eligible. For me, boothlessness was more enjoyable AND cost-effective.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 06:32:37 AM by Michael S. Miller » Logged

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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2007, 06:40:19 AM »

Just to clarify, the Forge booth attitude this year was that your book could be on the booth even if you were not a member of IPR, see the case of My Life With Master.

Matt Wilson and Michael Miller took the year off from being on a booth, and from talking with them at GenCon it seemed a good choice for both of them.

I have done my two years on the Forge Booth and I am considering what I'm going to do next year. I plan to be at GenCon for sure. Whether I am on a booth or not is something I am mulling over. I had a few discussions with other designers that I share a lot of commonality with, so there are options. I want to make the right one, and I find Ron's post very helpful in that regard.

I see it not as him telling me, or anyone, what to do, but rather sharing his opinion on it, which I something I'm mindful to listen to.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2007, 06:40:36 AM »

I'm a little confused on how the Forge booth presence works. I thought that people who weren't there for the first or second time couldn't be represented there. Clearly I've misunderstood something. Is it the case that your book can be there but you can't?

If you'd already done two years at the Forge booth, your games could be sold at the booth (and My Life with Master and Bacchanal were), but you could not otherwise participate (i.e. no exhibitor badge through the booth and no running demos at the booth). You could only participate at the booth if it was your first or second year.

Paul
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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
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2007, 06:52:52 AM »

Ron, I don't actually understand what you're asking, but let me guess and see if this is an answer:

It's the Playcollective because we want to focus on play, not the vagaries of publishing.

We're separate companies because *that* part is about publishing independently.

We cherry picked the people for the Collective because they bring energy and have reputations. Some of us got in for other reasons, like we bring energy and can design banners. Some folks, we wanted to collaborate with but either were doing something else already or had a different vision.

So the answer is, I think, that we need some literature and graphics that make this clear next year: we're an association of independent publishers who share a vision grown out of mutual play, and if you like one of our games, you'll likely enjoy another one.

I pretty much agree with Tony, incidentally, that, hey, we're over here doing something, and you're in no position to give unsolicited advice. On the other hand, I take the questions in the spirit they're given because a) I'm interested in your opinion anyway, whatever the formal arrangement, and b) our experiences will be useful for others as they get their shit together for next year.

Incidentally, this booth was in early planning stages before last Gen Con ended. It would have been different if everyone had been pushed out of the nest, to be sure, but while the final lineup changed a bunch, it's fundamentally what we were envisioning last August.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2007, 07:31:08 AM »

Ron, correct me if I'm wrong: your thesis here is basically that there's no room for evolution on the Forge booth concept -- that you can't be "the Forge booth, but better in these particular ways" (say, in terms of stocking, personal experience, demo handling, etc.) and also be a successful booth. Thus, in order for a booth to be successful at GenCon, you need to totally new concept (like the Ashcan Front had.)

I'm not sure that's trivially obvious. Why do you think someone couldn't just do you one better on your own booth?

yrs--
--Ben
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2007, 07:50:54 AM »

Obviously more clarity is needed. Or perhaps emotions are running high and it will be useless. We'll see.

1. Tony, I am telling no one what to do. I am providing my observations and judgments, which can be ignored as anyone sees fit. We're talking about business in this forum, and you guys carried out a business practice. It is absolutely fair game for scrutiny and discussion. You're an example because you exist, just like any other publisher and any other booth. Regardless of anyone's conclusions, the essence of independent publishing is that you can do what you want anyway, so there's no skin off your nose.

2.  Ben, I have no idea how you constructed that bizarre interpretation. I said absolutely nothing about whether a booth may or may not emulate the Forge booth procedures like demos or whatever. This isn't about permission for anything. Everything about your paraphrase is wrong.

3. Joshua, I am not asking for any answers. All of my sentences ending in question marks in my post are rhetorical. They're questions I think that all booth owners should ask themselves, substituting whatever cool title or equivalent concepts for their proposed booth that they've planned. If you think they're attacks, criticisms, or challenges, then you're incorrect. You do not have to answer anything and I need no clarification of the questions' answers. As I said, I know the answers.

This is the Forge's Publishing forum. If you publish, you've come under the the lens of shared discussion, and there is no escape from being singled out. Talk of who has the right to say what may matter at other websites, but here, it does not. Here, the lens is all that matters. Leave your ego at the door.

Best, Ron
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2007, 07:51:58 AM »

I remember Vincent pitching Universalis to parents with strollers a couple of years ago: "It's a game you can play with your kids." My reading of Ron's point is that you succeed as a booth when you present a unique value proposition. Most of the Playcollective booth participants integrate games, game design, family, and friendships in a powerful way that probably a lot of gamers struggle to accomplish. Imagine if the Playcollective booth and products were focused on selling that unique life solution. Would it be a more or less compelling booth?

Paul
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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
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2007, 07:56:41 AM »

Hi Paul,

That is a correct reading of my post. Again, to be clear, it is not specific advice for the Play Collective, it is an example of what any people with a booth at GenCon may do well to ask themselves ... and again, this is regarding 2008 and beyond. Nothing I've said concerns 2007, which was the honeymoon year.

Best, Ron
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2007, 07:59:11 AM »

Gnarly, Paul.

Ron, I'm'a chalk this up to Stupid Internet. I don't think these are attacks. Also, you happen to have literally caught us in the middle of discussion (and, honestly, added some pressure to it) in other channels. We're just barely looking at our cost/returns, like, as of a couple of hours ago, and still counting stock and sharing stories.

We'll have concrete observations, anecdotes, and numbers later, all of which we hope will be useful to new krewes starting a thing. We'll probably have more questions for them to answer for themselves, too.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Ben Lehman
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Blissed


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« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2007, 08:06:32 AM »

Ron: Huh. My reading of your post is Paul's reading. I don't know where you got any crap like permissions or whatever from.

My only point is that there's an assumption imbedded in there: that a booth's value could not simply be "like the Forge booth, but more fun for reasons x, y, or z." I look at that assumption and go "that might be true, but I'm not sure it is at all, could you elaborate on why that's true?"

yrs--
--Ben
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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the glyphpress


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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2007, 08:23:33 AM »

The Internet is making us all bad people.

Ron, I'm sorry if I sounded defensive. Maybe that's how I was feeling. I don't feel that way now.

My answers, like your questions, are examples. They're real answers and out of order, but maybe I'll go through and answer them point by point a little later.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #27 on: August 29, 2007, 08:27:36 AM »

Joshua, cool.

Ben, that assumption you've stated isn't embedded. It's not present at all. If someone wanted to do "like the Forge booth, but better," even without an x, y, and z, that is of course entirely possible. I have no monopoly on the quality of a booth.

What I said (I hate having to type that) is that I don't think that a booth will do well, in the future, simply to self-identify as "we were at the Forge booth before," to offer books without anything else going on, and therefore be, effectively, further shelf space from the already-existing Forge booth. This point applies if the books are duplicated at the current IPR shelf or not. That is not the same thing as "being like the Forge booth" (which you are apparently reading it to mean). I am talking about not doing anything, Forge-booth-like or not.

Any cries of "we didn't do that," or whatever, are not to the point. Just in case anyone's about to type something of the sort. That point is general, and not aimed at anyone regarding booths from 2007.

I can't make it any clearer than that.

Robert, I missed following up on your question. Gregor and the others who've answered you are right. The whole business about being with the booth only for two years applied to buy-ins for exhibitor badges - for people, and for the associated demonstration play. It has nothing to do with books. All books carried by IPR are there, and any book which has been at the Forge booth in the past is also welcome to be there, subject to permission from me. That last bit probably won't ever need to be applied, but I reserved in case of some terribly funky situation, and because open guarantees are asking for trouble.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #28 on: August 29, 2007, 08:28:54 AM »

Oops! Stupidity. I wrote "Publishing forum" in my little iron-fisted paragraph up there, didn't I?

Conventions forum. Conventions. Geez.

Best, Ron
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #29 on: August 29, 2007, 09:09:28 AM »

Ron: Very clear. Thanks.

yrs--
--Ben
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