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Attending my first convention as a designer, tips?

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CrosswindsGaming's picture
Joined: 06/11/2017

Next month I will be attending the Fan World 2017 convention in Niagara Falls. This will be my first convention as a designer, so I'm definitely excited/utterly terrified.

I have a table reserved in the board game room to do presentations and demo games of my prototype The 12 Towers, and I'll be working on various handouts and giveaways to provide and gain some followers.

While I'm not expecting a massive crowd, I'm definitely hoping to turn some heads and make the most out of my time there.

As an amateur designer and attendee, if you any helpful tips or information on how to draw and keep a good crowd, or any personal experiences you would like to share, please post! I'd love to get all of the info I can to prepare 100%

Current journal:

Convention site:

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011

I've only been able to attend a handful of game conventions in my time as a designer. Here's what I recommend.

Don't Go Alone. Have someone come with you, even if just for moral support. Sitting all by yourself is a surefire way to look bored at your table and have a lot less fun. Having a second person will also help with making sure your table is staffed at all times with at least one person.

Have An Agenda. Are you going there to show your game to potential publishers? Are you going there for playtesting? Are you going there to promote the game prior to a Kickstarter campaign? Your objective will help you plan out what you will be doing there. Do some research and see who else will be there, and whether or not future collaboration is possible.

Do What You Set Out To Do. If you are there to meet publishers, then leave your table and do it. Contact them ahead of time if possible, and set up a meeting time/place/etc. If you are there to have playtesting done and no one seems to stop by your table, then either move your spot or aggressively recruit. At conventions it's unrealistic to expect people just to fall in your lap when there's so much other cool stuff happening. So take some responsibility into your own hands and make it happen.

Have fun up there. :)

The Professor
The Professor's picture
Joined: 10/25/2014
Simply underscore let-off studios' comments

Absolutely have someone join you as conventions can be a very long experience by yourself, if you're not going from table-to-table and event-to-event. With regard to the research, make sure you're pitching your game to the right audience. Meaning, don't pitch a heavy Euro to Haba Games or one that's not family friendly to Rio Grande Games. So, do your homework and prepare your pitch...make sure that it's to the point. If you mage o get a 20 or 30 min slot, use only a few minutes to describe the game, a few minutes for some initial questions, show off the game and allow the rest of the time to serve as the space for dialogue.

ssm's picture
Joined: 04/06/2017
Be prepared to smile a lot,

Be prepared to smile a lot, talk a lot, and be positive a lot. Be well hydrated a couple days before and stay hydrated throughout.

BHFuturist's picture
Joined: 11/01/2008
Have Fun

I have been looking into things like this for a few months now. While I don't have much personal experience with board game conventions, I have been to a few conventions for other types of activities. They are a lot of work and standing...

They can also be great fun. Make business cards for yourself that you can give out to people when you make connections with them. (these are not part of the giveaways). These cards are for industry contacts that you make.

The guys from the Board Game Business Podcast have done a few episodes on making the most out of connections.

I hope you have a blast and will come back and share what you learn with all of us here on the forum!


Joined: 01/28/2017
There's some great advice

There's some great advice above.

I'll add to it by saying big visible artwork also helps to draw people in - consider pull up banners or table stand adverts. Or even the free standing flag pennants.

We didn't give stuff away when we exhibited this year - I might do this in future in exchange for emails. People love swag and not much is free so its definitely an option

Fliers - we printed shedloads and chucked most of them. Print only a few show specific fliers, and do more game specific (but show agnostic) fliers that can be reused in future.

Make your prototype look as good as possible. I don't buy into the "don't spend money on artwork" point of view personally.

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