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Dragonmeet and other conventions

Started by razgon, December 05, 2001, 09:48:00 AM

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Hi again.
I'm posting this here since no other catagory seems to allow "general" talk :smile:

I was thinking about the whole "INDIE RPGS" community here, and what they did to promote themselves.
My job at Lidium is also PR management and I'm constantly looking for new approaches to advertise and market our game and site.

Does anyone here ever go to conventiones?
I mean, not just as another visitor, but as an actual games designer?
I know that a lot of expenses follow the attending of a convention, booth money, making actual paper copies of games, the setting up of the physical booth and so forth.
BUT...if the sense of community I get from being at places like this also translates to the real world, why don't we (Indie rpg designers) get together and make some of organisation?
This is something I discussed briefly with Marco (JAGS) before, and he seemed to like the idea.
We could pay a small amount of money to the organisation to run the administration, and the money would also go to conventions, where local representatives could represent the organisation and the games we make?

Let me hear what you guys think :smile:
/Flemming Madsen
VP Lidium

Jared A. Sorensen

Unless it begins with the letters GEN, conventions don't really do much.

And really, I do belong to an organization of indie game designers. You're there right now.
jared a. sorensen /



Unless it begins with the letters GEN, conventions don't really do much.

Well, as I see it, there is a large mass of both roleplayers and potentialroleplayers out there, who never gets the chance to see many of the excellent products displayed here for instance.
For example, there is still, believe it or not, a large group of people who still have little or no acces to the net. They would get a chance to see more of these products if we displayed them at conventions. And, I tend to disagree with you...Other conventions do matter :smile:
I don't see many europeans attending GENCON for instance.

And really, I do belong to an organization of indie game designers. You're there right now.
I know about this place, but...I don't know how long this site has been here, but I've been playing rpgs for close to 16 years now, and this is the first time I've encountered most of the games displayed here.
My point is, that perhaps other channels of promotion might work as well, together with what you do presently.
We (rpg makers) are in danger of being forgotten/left behind by the large companies that have large PR budgets if we don't do anything.
I realize that electronic publishing has given a lot of smaller rpg companies/makers the chance to reach out and touch a larger audience than before, but don't count on it being enough.

Any other opinions on this?

/Flemming Madsen
VP Lidium

Mike Holmes

Hi R,

One of the main ideas here on The Forge is that Owner produced and published RPGs can do just fine in the market with the "big boys". Ron Edwards is a main progenitor of this theory and he has a lot to back up his claims. He has published a game all on his own, and it's doing just fine (last I heard; how're sales, Ron?). There have been other success stories as well.

Look around, and you'll find out how these accomplishments have occurred, and a lot of publishing ideas. Not to say that other measures can't or won't work, but the net distribution methods used here do work. What other channels of promotion were you thinking of?

As for GenCon, we had a number of people from Europe stop by and say hi at the booth that Ron ran. I distinctly remember a waifish girl who was dispatched all the way from Ireland by Gareth Hanrahan (AKA Mytholder) just to insult several people at the booth. And who could forget Jurgen the German (where ya at Madmoses?!?) and his RPG Hebrew Waitress World.

Sure there weren't tremendous numbers of Europeans, but there were 25,000 gamers or so who did attend. That's exposure. Origins runs a distant, though important, second. Yes, the European GenCon would be good for exposure abroad, but seeing as the GenCon here is held just down the road from my house, it's more than a little cheaper for me (and most others in country, I assume) to attend. More important is all the "industry" people that you meet at the big Cons. You should have seen the number of copies of Sorcerer that Ron sold at the Con alone.

And, lets face it, GenCon rocks just to attend.

Welcome aboard,
Mike (who's been to 15 GenCons :smile:  )

[ This Message was edited by: Mike Holmes on 2001-12-05 14:53 ]
Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.


15 GenCons!  Holy Crap.

In regards to the question posed by this thread, I'd have to see some kind of plan proposed - and a real sensible one at that - before I would believe that a mass convention onslaught could be productive at all.  GenCon is fun, and I'm sure it was profitable for Ron (profitable in the sense that he gained some useful exposure and probably made back what he paid for the space).  Origins might be too.  But beyond that, I'm not sure how useful convention representation is.  Ron sold some copies of Sorcerer, and we gave away a slew of freebies, but not that many when you really think about it and realize that there were 25,000+ gamers on the premises.

The Wick might have a better answer to this question though; I know he's been to a couple cons in his life, promoting games and whatnot.  Ya' out there John?

- Moose

Mike Holmes

Good point Scott. If you an only get one percent interested at Gen Con, then I assume that only one percent would be interested at most conventions. Ergo, very few hits at a small convention. Even if you assume that you can get ten times the performance out of a small convention due to concentration of interest or something (a factor which can be argued against) Gen Con is still more than ten times the size of most other conventions.

And, sure GenCon costs more for booths, etc. But in the end I find that it's the time spent that's the most costly expense. I'd love to go to a jillion conventions each year. But I can only manage two right now (one or two more than many people I know) due to time constraints, so GenCon and Origins it is for me.

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.


To be honest, I don't think that a demo organisation - an indie RPGA/Men in Black essentially - is worth doing. It's an extra level of complexity. Anyone pushing their game should get out on the net, find a few fans in each of the worthwhile markets, and get those fans to run enthusiastic demos at a con.

Ron Edwards


At present, I am attempting to organize a certain amount of cooperative effort at GenCon 2002, regarding promotion of creator-owned games. More information is forthcoming when it's available.

I do think that such promotion is useful at ANY convention or get-together of role-players, but several reality-check points are necessary, before getting all fired up about it.

1) Any claim to quality has to be backed up. Just speechifying or passing out pamphlets is not enough; actual games should be present and, ideally, played.
2) Commerce should be involved for at least one of the games being presented. (Hate to say it, but people perceive money-exchange as a legitimizing force.)
3) Success at this effort should be perceived in the "every little bit" sense - even a couple of role-players or would-be designers who get perturbed or attracted is good. I recall shocking two young hopefuls who'd been thoroughly hornswoggled by Lt. Col. Zocchi's "advice" to self-publishers ...
4) It's work. It's nothing but work. Forget shopping for cool stuff, or hangin' out with gamers, or chatting up industry dudes.
5) Booth presence may or may not be necessary (some cons won't let you sell stuff without a booth; some will). Sharing booth costs is a really good idea, as is a lot of volunteer assistance.


P.S. Answer to Mike: Sorcerer is grossly successful - as I've discussed before, pre-orders on Sword (the first supplement) have already paid for its print costs, which themselves had ALREADY been covered by the gross on the first book. Adept Press is beautifully in the black, joining a handful of RPGs in history to do so on its first print run.


Hi people. Thanx for the great feedback :smile:

Mike Holmes:
I really like the idea of The Forge. It is actually exactly what I'm talking about - Coorporation between those that publish owner produced rpg games. As Ron later in his post comments, Sharing Booth costs is one of the good points to this.
The other channels of promotion I was talking about is many things, mostly ideas I have in my head, some of which includes, Sharing Booth costs - multiple rpgs at one booth
Pamphlets in other rpg books and other stuff to lengthy to list here :smile: (And many of them haven't been thorougly thought through by me...yet)

Don't dismiss other conventions, such as Dragonmeet in London out of hand - they can do a lot of promotion for your game, although it may not be appearent from the first.
Unless you get people to know your games, they won't buy them.
For example - before coming to this place, I've never even heard of most of the games here, including sorceror I'm abashed to admit :wink: And I've been playing games for 16 years now, and visited A LOT of different game sites.

So, how do you promote your games in Europe, when they are as expensive as you yourself mention they are?
By getting someone else who already lives in Europe go to the convention :smile: Thats the kind of coorporation I'm talking about.

RON:I agree totally with your points, and look forward to hearing more about the coorporative efforts you mentioned.

/Flemming Madsen
VP Lidium