Skip to Content

Demos and sales at conventions

5 replies [Last post]
HandwrittenAnthony
HandwrittenAnthony's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/01/2011

I will be attending some local pop-culture and sci-fi conventions later this year, with some demonstration and playtest sessions for my games & prototypes.

This will be my first time demonstrating at conventions, and I'm not exactly certain what to expect. Who has had experience demonstrating at more general, non-game-specific conventions?

And do you have any advice or experiences you can share? Especially in terms of the number of people you talked with, number of play sessions, how many sales/sign-ups were converted, selling actual product vs. taking orders etc.

All feedback appreciated!

Dralius
Dralius's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
There have been times despite

There have been times despite being on the schedule in a good time slot where I couldn’t round up players to save my life while other times I have been able to set up a pickup game with little effort. I don’t do sales at these shows so I can’t help you there. Im just a demo monkey but I have demed for well over a 1,000 people or as we say 1,000 B.I.S. (Butts in seat) because many are return customers. Here is my basic advice for anyone doing demos.

1. Be well rested. If things go well and you are busy you may be working 12+ hours in a row. Probably not at a small con but the big ones like Origins and GenCon my days are long.

2. Set up the game before the time slot if possible. This has two effects. Fist it gets people’s attention and secondly you use less of their time if they don’t have to wait while you shuffle, sort, etc… the 250 pieces of the game.

3. Tell it like it is. If the game lasts 130 min on average and your players only have two hours don’t tell them sure that’s plenty of time just to get players. Inevitable the game will take longer than planned.

4. When I write rules I’m big on explaining things in the order they happen in the game and I suggest you do that when demoing it. If you have a very complex game it’s better to cover the basics so you can get started and fill in the details just before the players need to know them. The reason for this is a lot of people don’t have that great of attention span and at the end of the 20 min explanation they will have forgotten details.

5. Be friendly, cordial, and easy going even if they aren’t. Oh and smile, smile, smile even if your exhausted, have a headache, a cold, your cat died, etc… happiness is contagious and conversely so is misery. If you project negativity on them they may go away feeling that it was the game that made them feel that way.

Good luck

bonsaigames
bonsaigames's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/20/2010
Great Advice

Great advice Drailus! We have our first Convention coming up in a little over a week and my anticipation / nervousness meters are pegged already. I have experience talking to a roomful of strangers and in sales, but I've never done these things for something I've created beyond local game shop demos.

How big is the difference between FLGS demos and Cons?

Dralius
Dralius's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
bonsaigames wrote:Great

bonsaigames wrote:
Great advice Drailus! We have our first Convention coming up in a little over a week and my anticipation / nervousness meters are pegged already. I have experience talking to a roomful of strangers and in sales, but I've never done these things for something I've created beyond local game shop demos.

How big is the difference between FLGS demos and Cons?

Not much different unless you’re talking about the big cons where people might line up to play if you got something hot. This can be an issue so we often do shorter games. For example Gangster by Mayfair games has three rounds which are played the same. In that case I’ll teach the rules explaining that we are playing only one round. Many games have ways to shorten them like lowering the score threshold or making the end game trigger happen sooner such as in games where a card must come out of a deck to end the game. You just put that card higher in the stack.

HandwrittenAnthony
HandwrittenAnthony's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/01/2011
Great advice, thanks Dralius.

Great advice, thanks Dralius. Thankfully the game I'll be demoing is a quick'n'easy slugfest that goes for 30 minutes max, so scheduling the players shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Good luck with your demos bonsaigames! Let us know how it goes.

bonsaigames
bonsaigames's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/20/2010
Thanks

HandwrittenAnthony wrote:
Good luck with your demos bonsaigames! Let us know how it goes.

Thanks for the well wishes.

I will be posting to our website / blog / twitter while we're at the Con.

I will make sure to link it back from this thread as well.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut