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THE BIG SHOW!
Seriously, in my brain, this was THE big show!! My local, huge convention with a large gaming area and lots of people I know. SO! The night before the big show comes and I gather up all three different kinds of ribbons, all of the buttons, there were about a dozen different kinds, the two tall table signs, the 6 short table signs, the two banners, fabric, button maker, two white boards, the lip balm, and various miscellaneous items. Oh, and clothes. I packed for the show and we’re ready to go!
Showed up before gaming programming began while Game Central was getting itself sorted. I asked if B-1 and B-2, the tables I was assigned, could be next to the escalators. I assumed they would be based on the location and the numbers (There was no A-1/A-2, as B represented the board gaming section specifically). They had no qualms about it. I still don’t know if that was already what they were going to do, or if it was done in part because of the recommendation/request, but it worked out great for our tables. Right next to the escalators so people saw it first thing coming into gaming and walking toward the food section and coming down the elevator. It was perfect!
I set up my two banners next to the table. However, Meeple Games had their banners up in the same area and they were much nicer, much larger, but it didn’t stop me. I was just happy to have mine there. We had two tables. One dedicated solely for Battle Gnomes the whole time, and the other table was for Nocturnes, Book Collectors, and Parks. The organizers preferred breaks between games, but I asked them to let us do back to back games since we would have GMs there the whole time. I think that was a good move, since we were nonstop busy, but the breaks would have been nice. Each GM, there were six of us, got their 12 hours of games.
Scheduling was strange because we didn’t start games on the hours that we were assigned for, we just kept running games over and over on the tables and if one left while there was a game going, the new GM took it over. That started when early on I snagged some sign in sheets from Game Central. I forgot the policy was to have people sign up at the front (game central) and then get to their tables. So for the course of the weekend, we just had the sign in sheets at our table and it was a first come, first serve basis. I think it frustrated some people, but we didn’t want to not run games if people were there and interested in playing. A couple times over the course of the weekend a game did start on the hour, as expected with a break before it between games. I am of the opinion that we gained a lot more players than we lost by keeping it running. I don’t know that we lost any, really, just that people took the hover over the table until the game is ready approach.
Further, I tried to accommodate people the best I could. I’d run a side game if I could and a couple of times I loaned the game to someone I knew if they wanted to play it outside of hours we were running the games. I also ran games before and after scheduled hours if there was interest. Pretty much the idea was exposure and that was excellent. We had a large group of people show up for a 6pm game of Nocturnes around 5:15pm. They found a table off to the side to wait. When the game Parks ended at 5:30, I went ahead and talked to the GM who agreed we could/should start Nocturnes early so they could get into it sooner rather than later. Otherwise, my GM would have just been waiting for the next game and so would they. It was a good match.
The lip balm was a fun extra thing to have. Not something people expected. My gnome artist laughed when he saw the gnome on it and said, “I’ve made it! My art is on lip balm!” Haha, that was great for me. The buttons were pretty popular, along with the ribbons. Those all were great. We used one of the GM’s cameras for most photos, but a photographer I know went ahead and took pictures of the game and the group. I made a lot of other contacts playing the game, and we got over a hundred email addresses for when the Kickstarter comes out.
As for me, I pretty much was awake early enough to get to the tables around 9am Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I kept the schedule to end 8pm/10pm and on Sunday 4pm. Games were still in their swing Thurs-Sat when we were done on schedule but I wanted the GMs to have fun so didn’t schedule them for those hours. Besides, we always had traffic so I was fine with the hours we chose. I tried to sleep around midnight each night. Saturday night was fun, one of the GMs, Denise, had a social gathering in her room and most of the GMs were in there. It was celebratory because of how great the weekend had gone. The games had nonstop interest and people enjoyed the swag. The GMs had a huge boost. Unfortunately, I was exhausted and barely able to stay awake so had to crash out before the others.
So, to recap, we had swag and signage. We ran games fairly nonstop (not a single block of time didn’t have games go off). People were interested, lots of emails, lots of people taking the business cards and swag. Positive feedback was abundant, all the GMs showed up for their shifts so it wasn’t problematic at all there, we got some good pictures taken, and it was pretty exhausting in a fun, productive way. I couldn’t have asked for it to go better! I had people throughout the weekend tell me they had heard good things, or comment on how full my tables always 😀 Which is fantastic. I didn’t spend too much personal time with others, but did see lots of lovely folks. I even sent an invitation to be a GM for me to two different individuals, one I was planning to talk to even before the event and one that I met at the event who was eager and excited. Looking back though, I’m pretty lucky that I had 5 other people agree to run my games because that really was the kicker. I appreciate the heck out of my GMs. So all in all, great show! I learned a lot, and got a lot from it, it was definitely worth all the time and attention put into it. 🙂