By Eugene Shenderov
As an indie game designer and publisher, one of the most important things one can do is go to game conventions. These are the largest gatherings of people with shared interests that you will ever have access to, and it is important to maximize the effective use of your time at these high-impact events.
The first con I went to (Geekway) my main role there was to be a gamer, and show people the start of my game design work. At Origins, I have moved on to portraying myself as a designer and starting publisher. I published my first title, Most Glorious Comrade, on drivethrucards the day before Origins.
I learned some very valuable things. First of all, there are certain sections to the hall; the general gaming area and the vendor hall. People go into the vendor hall to shop around and try games that are being sold. People go into the general gaming hall to play games with their friends. As I was not a vendor, I didn’t have a location to sell from, and I knew better than to go up to people and try to push my game while they were playing with their buddies. (Also, MGC is a light filler game, so possibly not geared towards the demographic of convention goers at a fair like Origins. perhaps a BGG.CON would be better suited to this type of game.)
So my secondary publishing goals were cut at the root from the observations I made of the people and where it was ok or not ok to push your games. Armed with this knowledge, I focused much of my time on the second major part of designer/publisher relations: networking.
Over the course of four days, I talked to: Chris Kirkman of Dice Hate Me, who is coincidentally local to me, Seth Hiatt of Mayday Games, who came all the way from China for Origins, Uwe Eickert of Academy Games, Duncan Davis of Sherwood Games (also local!), and a fellow moderator of GCSF, Kiva Fecteau, at the Kosmos booth. All of them had great advice and unique perspectives on the board game industry. All of them shared something, however: a passion for games, and a desire to see their work improve the world in at least some small way.
Overall, great experience. Origins was a much bigger event than Geekway (15,000 people, if you believe GAMA), and the excitement was palpable. A special shout out to Jason Miller and his crew, who were very welcoming and my main gaming group throughout the event. I recommend coming out to some of the major conventions in the US for starting designers, publishers and gamers alike! There is something to be had for everyone.
Hi! I am Eugene Shenderov, and I am a game designer. You can find my website at www.thisandthatgames.com. We have now released our first title: Most Glorious Comrade! Check it out at: http://www.drivethrucards.com/product/147474/Most-Glorious-Comrade
Have a great day!