Last blog post I talked about Conventions and how amazing they are, their benefits and why it is a good idea to go to them; whether promoting, selling or just going for fun. In this blog post, I am going to discuss what is needed if you are showcasing on a panel.
The Game/s: Probably the most important aspect of going if you are promoting or selling, you need the product to sell and promote. I would have one or two copies able to be playtested and maybe another to put out on display. If people can play the game, they will be more interested in purchasing or finding out more information about the product.
Table and chairs: This may be dependent on the convention, but if you are showcasing you will want to have tables and more than likely chairs. Some conventions will allow you to purchase some with your booth cost, while others you may have to bring your own. At PAX I was lucky enough to be involved in a joint booth and tables were supplied. Unfortunately there were no chairs, so standing up for long periods of time can get tiring. Definitely worth having/bringing both.
The next set of items are used for promotion.
Sign up Sheet: If people like your product, you will want to have a sign up sheet available. Having people on your mailing list is the best way to keep people informed on your products and upcoming releases. At PAX, I used a piece of paper and pen, but found after the campaign that it can be hard to read people’s writing. I am contemplating using a tablet/computer next convention for people to input into the website and sign up directly.
Business Card/Bookmark: It would also be a good idea to have business cards or bookmarks lying around to give people. This will be useful to let people know where to find you but also advertise any upcoming games. I was given a good idea for a bookmark instead of a business card. Bookmarks are more likely to be used and kept rather than a business card. I used a barcode on my bookmark for which people can scan and sign up themselves. I used http://www.barcodelink.net/ to create a link to my sign up page.
Free stuff: Some people hand out promotional gear to people to lure them in to the game. Examples of this are exclusive cards (or cards in general) or cosmetic upgrades. This has both pros and cons with similar points to Kickstarter Exclusives.
Promotional Gear: You will want to have promotional gear to make your game interesting to come to. This can include banners, things to hand out or demos going on. Decorate your area as best you can to lure people in.
Box of Supplies: How are you going to hang up these promotional gear? What happens if there are errors that need a quick fix. Bring a small box of supplies. This can include, pens, pencils, sticky tape, blue tack, string, and whatever else you can think of. It’s better to be overprepared then under.
Cheat Sheet/Pitch Document: If you are trying to sell your game to publishers, it would be a good idea to bring a Pitch Document and or a Cheat Sheet of your game. These can also be helpful in teaching new players to the game. There are plenty of online resources on what to include in these documents, but on a high level, you want to show the core mechanics to assist players or showcase to publishers.
The next set of items are more for general use.
Feedback Sheet/Paper: Depending on where you are in development, you may want to bring a feedback sheet or alternatively paper for yourself to write on with what you noticed during playtesting.
Cash Registrar/Eftpos: I have not done this personally, but if you are selling your product, you will need a secure place to store cash as well as a possible way to take eftpos.
Phone Charger/Powerboard/Laptop Charger/Battery Pack: If you have electronics in use, make sure to bring all charges and a powerboard.
The next set of items are for personal well-being.
Water: You will be talking a lot throughout the convention, so bring plenty of water.
Food and Snacks: It will be a long day, so bring some food to eat throughout the day. There is usually convention food, but it is normally expensive.
Hygiene: Be aware of personal hygiene at the convention. It can be a long stressful day, so bring deoderant. Also, it is also recommended to bring hand sanitizer.
And finally Helpers: Try and get the assistance of others to help run or promote you booth. They can be outside the booth trying to get people in. They can also help with playing or describing the game. It is a long day and you will need to have some breaks throughout so having another person handy is helpful.