I've been thinking that I should probably do some declarative thing about this so others can join in on it if they want to. Then I noticed that hey, it's almost exactly a year since I last decided to do the same thing
. Beginning of May seems like a good time to work on Essen Spiel. As Forge has been revised since the last time around, I guess I'll do the main thread on the topic here at Story Games.
So, anyway: Essen Spiel
last time went passably well, and I expect that we'll be able to cover the expenses once more, which means that it's time to get into the breach again! I'll be reserving a booth space at Essen within a week or so, with the intent of running a Forge-style indie booth; we'll have a large new shipment of American games here in Europe by then, and although I don't plan to have any new products myself, I'm confident that we'll do at least as well as last time around. After all, there's more experience in the game now, and the customer base has been softened up suitably. Last time the booth made total sales well in excess of 2000 €, and my personal goal is to improve on that this time around.
You can read about the last time we set this up here
, and the outcome of the enterprise is reported upon here
. As I explain in those threads, Essen Spiel is the largest tabletop gaming fair in the world, the people largely get English and even if roleplaying is a minority enterprise there (playing second violin to boardgames), there's still more customers than you've got sticks to shake at them. Also, just like last time around, I'd be happy to get into touch with other publishers who are interested in getting in on the action: we need a larger work force, and nobody operating on our kind of scale really needs that whole 5x2 booth entirely for themselves; I figure that if we could get half a dozen indie publishers into the booth, it'd be nicely crowded and happy and not filled with tired monkeys on the last day.
(In case you're wondering, last year we partnered up with Jim Raggi, a fine Finnish indie publisher; Jim is not coming this year, though, as he's looking for a German importer for his stuff and generally feels that his interests at Spiel will be adequately covered without him being there himself.)The Program
The 5x2 meter booth considerably cheaper at the Spiel than the other options, so I'm strongly favouring that unless Luke Crane tells me that he wants me to get him a mosh pit. We'll have a retail section (essentially a big bookshelf + catalogues) at the back and a few high demo tables (ones you can stand next to), a POS and some normal table room for displaying the flagship products (which will be one from each participating publisher, I imagine). The booth program will probably consist of demoing, product presentation and customer chatting, the normal sort of things. Spiel doesn't feature separate gaming programming or anything of the sort, really, so the customer base is geared up for making purchases; it's hectic, truly a fair and not so much a gaming convention. The event lasts four days, plus wednesday for building and monday for packing (although we'll probably pack on Sunday after the halls close).
If we get a large enough staff for the project, then it's a distinct possibility that we might not be too tired for gaming after-hours. No promises, though - I and the Spiel have a history of exhaustion.The Deal
I'm thinking that Arkenstone covers the real costs and most of the logistics (booth furniture, that is) of the project, just because I already know what I'm doing in that regard and this way I don't have to wait on anybody. However, we're short on salespeople and long on booth space, so extra indie publishers who think their product values will match the Forge style are very welcome, especially the first couple or three. My accounting brother figures that 180 €
per publisher is a very reasonable cost of entry per extra publisher: that includes one person's ticket to the fair, and you get to work your ass off selling your stuff and everybody else's stuff; half a day of work per day will probably suffice, unless we end up with a supremely small crew. A degree of familiarity with the other people's product is recommended but not enforced - we'll coach each other in situ as necessary.
If you're totally green in indie publishing and nobody knows your game and you don't really know if you're going to sell even one copy, I'll cut you a deal at 120 €. The same if you know German well enough to use it with customers - I don't speak the language myself, and I'd like it if we had somebody at the booth who was fluent.
If you want to come and help out despite not having a real product yourself, you're welcome to do so - I'll pay entrance for monkeys if we don't get enough crew otherwise, and I feed monkeys now and then, too. You get to push your ashcans, free games or similar not-quite-real-products on the side, too.The Schedule
I'm going to reserve the booth soonish, but I'm not in that much of a hurry about other people's participation. Confirm and arrange payment before the end of June, and I expect I'll be happy. I don't expect massive over-bidding here, but in case we get more than 4-5 interested partners, we'll close off the reservations when the booth seems sufficiently well-staffed and full of product.Discussion
Anything else come to mind? Any questions? Anybody or any place in particular I should be notifying about this project to reach the interested people? Improvements on the arrangements?