Running a Hot Convention Table Without Booth Babes

The Game Crafter recently sponsored a Designer’s Table at OrcCon 2014 for Kevin Warner and his team. It was a successful event and Kevin wanted to share some helpful tips on how to run a exhibitor table at a game convention. You can see photos and read more about his experience on facebook or google+

Here a some things we thought really made our OrcCon weekend a success for us. 

1. Draw People To You

I really recommend putting effort into making an attractive table display. Try laying out the components on the table like you would in a magazine ad. Stand some things up so your display doesn’t feel flat and can be seen from a distance. When people walk by say a simple friendly “Hello”- if they slow down or came over then ask “Are you enjoying the convention? What games have you had a chance to play?” By letting them talk to you about what they are excited about you open a dialogue, make them feel comfortable, and you can tailor your pitch to their interests. 

2. The One Minute Demo. 

Work out a quick 60 second demo your game that focuses on the story, theme, and goal of your game- don’t try to explain all the rules in 60 seconds. The goal is not to teach someone how to play- it’s to make a viewer interested in learning how to play. If possible demo with a minion at your table who knows how to play- it can take the pressure off a watcher. At the end invite them to learn more. 

3. Invoke the Collector. Instead of handing people flyers or business cards for the games we let people choose one of 5 convention exclusive promo cards. The promo cards had our website on the bottom. These functioned just like business cards but had perceived value- people then wanted to have the game that went with the promo card. If they were on the fence I offered to give them the complete set of 5 with their purchase. If you can figure out a way to do this for your game I highly recommend it. 

4. Run Demos. Some people were interested but not ready to buy. I invited them to come play a full game at one of our demos, or would even send someone to demo it for them right then. We sold a lot of games when people came back from a demo excited and ready to purchase.

5. Have a Plan for Selling Out. Once we sold out the weekend could have been over if we hadn’t made a plan. We had a tablet with Wi-Fi set up for purchases. To add incentive for people to do it right away instead of waiting till they go home where they might forget, we had coupon codes ready that we would give to anyone willing to buy online right then at out booth.

6. Bring a Team.  I could not have pulled off this weekend without the support of my friends- I had a team of 6 who were there all weekend to run demos, take photos, give me breaks, run for food, and be awesome. We all wore matching t-shirts and the fun we were having brought people over to us- they wanted to have fun too. 

Note: If you are interested in running a Designer’s Table at a game convention, please visit our Designer’s Table Sponsorship page in the help section of the site.

Kickstarter: Go For The Win

When you’re running a Kickstarter campaign for your board game, you need a win. Winning is more important than winning big. That’s why we structured our Village in a Box campaign with such low funding goal. Once your game is funded, new doors open to you.

First and foremost, people follow success. If you do really well in the opening hours of your campaign then more people will pile on. If you fund in the first few days, then you have the rest of the campaign to knock their socks off with other stretch goals or add-ons. 

Second, getting the win means you now have a list of backers who are more likely to back your future projects. You can send out campaign updates to this project for your next project. This of course means that you need to not-fumble the delivery of your project, but that’s where we can help. We have a variety of crowd funding tools to help make your campaign a success.

A great strategy is to set your funding level to something small. Something you can easily achieve through The Game Crafter’s Bulk Pricing. That way, at the very least you get the win! If your game happens to blow up, then you can pull out your ace in the hole: bids you got from other large scale printers like Panda Game Manufacturing

Tips! is now available on Kickstarter

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Tips! is a new game by Chad Foster, illustrated by Shawn Fone. It’s a card for 2 to 8 players, and it plays in 15-20 minutes. 

There are 90 cards total. The cards consist of two decks, one are the table cards waiting to be served, and an action deck consisting of menu items (like drinks, appetizers, etc) and special action cards. Here’s a sampling of the cards:

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Serve your customers drinks, appetizers, main dishes and desserts in large quantities. The number of menu items you can serve of each type is constrained by the party size, also the menu items need to be served in a particular order (no dessert before the main meal in this place!). Minimize the number of times you get an order wrong, have customers run out the door without paying, and taking annoying restroom breaks (try to just hold it in!).

At the end of the game, each player counts up their tips - whoever has the most wins!

Click here to support Tips! on Kickstarter today!

Note: This article is being promoted on TGC News because the designer is participating in The Game Crafter’s Crowd Funding Promotion. If you would like to be promoted by The Game Crafter then read the details here.

Revelations from Running a Kickstarter Campaign

A large part of why we ran our Village in a Box Kickstarter was to learn what our designers go through when they run a Kickstarter. I have to say, we’ve learned a ton. With that in mind we’re going to do a series of blog posts on all the things we learned along the way, in an effort to help you be more effective.

Let’s start with the first tip. You should be listening to The Game of Crowd Funding by All Us Geeks. As we were getting started, Jeff (one of the hosts), kept telling us “you would have known that if you listened”.  He’s so right. We’ve been retroactively listening to the podcast, and it’s just chocked full of great insights. Be sure to subscribe today.

SaltCON and the Ion Award Competition

Being a game designer can be tough at times, especially when you are trying to promote your game or make connections with people in the industry. One important tool you can use to help you break down some of those barriers is a game design competition. 

SaltCON is an annual board gaming convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, where you can enter a game design competition specifically for unpublished games, the Ion Award competition. They also have a great game library, volunteers who teach games and various other gaming events to help attendees have fun and meet new people. 

This year SaltCON is being held on March 28-30th, 2014. You can attend the convention and check out the Ion Award competition and then submit your game for the 2015 competition. The Ion Award finalists are invited to come and present their game in person to the judges, who then spend time playing the game with the designer. The judges are publishers in the board game industry. They fill out feedback forms for the finalists and the finalists get to talk to them in person. Multiple Ion Award winners have been published.

One of the other events that will also be taking place is a Game Jam Prototyping event sponsored by The Game Crafter. On the first day of the convention teams of contestants will be given the parameters, a theme, maybe a game mechanic, materials (some of which are prototyping materials supplied by The Game Crafter) and a goal. These teams will create a prototype and then present this to the judges on the final day of the convention. The guest judges will be publishers and other experts in the board game industry. There will be a prize sponsored by The Game Crafter, but the real prize will be the experience, the feedback from judges and other teams, and the ongoing discussion with other creative peers at the event. 

If you are looking for some inspiration, come check out the Ion Award, the Game Jam Prototyping event, The Game Crafter components, and possibly play the prototypes of the Ion Award finalists at Salt Con 2014!

The Game Crafter is also sponsoring a Designer’s Table at SaltCON for Derrick Duncan from Ye Olde Games. If you are planning to attend, be sure to stop by the vendor tables and meet a fellow game designer from the TGC community!

Find out more at: http://www.saltcon.com  

Our New Idea Box

Since the dawn of TGC we have had an ideas forum where you could tell us what you thought was missing from the site. We often rifle through it and pick the ideas we like from it and implement them. This has happened hundreds of times over the years. However, there’s a few big problems with this process, most importantly, we don’t know which ideas are most important to you. For that reason, we’ve launched our new ideas system:

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Here you can quickly vote on all the ideas that have been submitted. If you don’t care about an idea you can “skip” it. If you like an idea you can say “yes” to it. And if you really like an idea you can contribute a small amount of crafter points to it to bump further up the list. the list. 

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You can of course submit your own ideas to the list as well. 

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And you can sort and search the list of ideas in a variety of ways.

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You can also view the details of the idea, and there you can comment on the idea. 

This will make submitting and tracking ideas a much simpler process. And now you can vote on those ideas too which makes the whole process kinda fun. But more importantly, we at The Game Crafter can much more easily see what ideas are really important to our community at large. And you as a community can put your social media contacts to work to actually get your ideas to the top of our todo list.

That brings us to the final point. This ideas system isn’t just a way to store ideas that fall on deaf ears. This is your way to influence the direction TGC takes. Every Wednesday we will comment on the feasibility of the ideas in the top 10 list. And if the idea is possible, we’ll do our very best to accommodate those ideas. 

So what are you waiting for? Go try out the new ideas system now!

Enjoy!

These are your semi-finalists for the Mystery Challenge

The votes are in and we are pleased to officially announce the list of semi-finalists for the Mystery Challenge.

We’re really excited to see these board game bars and cafes opening up. We definitely think the trend is going to continue and we certainly think board games are on the rise! :)

Here’s a pairing you probably haven’t thought of: Rockets and Rings.

Here’s a pairing you probably haven’t thought of: Rockets and Rings.

A quick look at the new double-sided tiles.

We’ve recently added accolades for reviews from Gamer’s Remorse and To The Table reviews. Enjoy!

This is a look at the new double-sided small square tile.

New Chat System

We’re trying out a new chat system. Our existing chat system was having some trouble this past week, so we started investigating a new chat system. 

There are lots of new features available with this chat, so we hope you like it. Here are some of the highlights:

  • It is mobile friendly, with a new native mobile app coming soon.
  • Emoticons.
  • Persistent private user chats.
  • Messages post faster.
  • Dedicated full screen chat room.
  • Avatars displayed next to what you type.
  • Usernames link directly to your TGC profile page.
  • Better moderator features.

Enjoy!

H4Ck3Rs_ is now on Kickstarter!

You probably haven’t heard of Legend Zero, but they’ve been planning for this moment for a long time. Legend Zero has been working on this game for nearly four years, and finally the H4Ck3Rs_ Trading Card Game comes to kickstarter!

H4Ck3Rs_ is a unique game that twists what we know and love about TCGs and layers it into a brand new experience that will be playable both online, through a virtual client LZ is developing, and sitting down at the table using the printed version. Gameplay is fast paced but more strategic than current TCG’s due to the game’s unique play field that is split unit two distinct ‘worlds’. Will you engage in an all-out-assault on a single field of battle, or outwit your opponent to conquer both the Natural and Digital Worlds? The choice is yours in H4Ck3Rs_!

Check out their website for more information and to see behind the scenes videos, updates, and tips from the creators of the game. Legend Zero won’t be able to make this a reality unless they meet their goal and are able to give H4Ck3Rs_ the launch it deserves! 

This is LZ’s first attempt with The Game Crafter to make their game a reality. With 34 days to make it and a $10,000 goal, we hope that LZ will be able to claim success come March.

Support H4Ck3Rs_ on Kickstarter today!

Note: This article is being promoted on TGC News because the designer is participating in The Game Crafter’s Crowd Funding Promotion. If you would like to be promoted by The Game Crafter then read the details here.

62 Entries in the Mystery Challenge!

The submission period for the Mystery Challenge has ended and we’re pleased to reveal 62 entries! It is now up to our community to vote on the entries to narrow the field from 62 down to just 20 semi-finalists.