Learn To Play vs Demo
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Posted by troymaclellan

Hi everyone. I am a first-time attendee so please forgive me if the answer to my question is obvious.

Can you tell me the difference between a demo of a game and an event where you "learn to play" the game?

Thanks for the clarification.

Troy.

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Posted by selene314

I don't know if there's any official meaning. Hosts title their own events, so it's whatever the words mean to each of them.

Here is what I would expect for board games:

"Learn to Play" - a game that is widely available. Probably hosted by the game publisher. Host teaches the rules and is around to answer questions, but might be watching multiple tables at once. A 2-hour slot would let you play through an entire game and might cost up to $4; a 1-hour slot would be enough to play a significant chunk of the game (e.g. 2 out of 3 rounds) and would be free.

"Demo" - a new release or game that is not yet released. Definitely hosted by the publisher. Always a free event, usually 1 hour. Host's primary role is as a salesperson. They explain the rules briefly and then more directly talk you through playing.  You do not play through a full game (maybe 1 out of 3 rounds).

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Posted by troymaclellan selene314

selene314 wrote:
I don't know if there's any official meaning. Hosts title their own events, so it's whatever the words mean to each of them.
Here is what I would expect for board games:
"Learn to Play" - a game that is widely available. Probably hosted by the game publisher. Host teaches the rules and is around to answer questions, but might be watching multiple tables at once. A 2-hour slot would let you play through an entire game and might cost up to $4; a 1-hour slot would be enough to play a significant chunk of the game (e.g. 2 out of 3 rounds) and would be free.
"Demo" - a new release or game that is not yet released. Definitely hosted by the publisher. Always a free event, usually 1 hour. Host's primary role is as a salesperson. They explain the rules briefly and then more directly talk you through playing.  You do not play through a full game (maybe 1 out of 3 rounds).

Thank you, Selene.

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Posted by rong

Per the Event Host Policy (which you probably wouldn't read unless you are running an event):

Demos (free events to promote a game or product) may not be conducted outside of a company’s booth in the Exhibit Hall without prior Gen Con approval. If you want to hold an event that is free for attendees that would normally have a Gen Con base price, you must rent event space from Gen Con. All demo events must be free to attendees because they will not be playing a full game. See the Contracted Event Space section for more information on how to rent demo space. Introductory events (full-length ticketed events to promote a game or product) are submitted like any other event and follow standard Gen Con policies, including pricing and placement. See Submitting an Event for more information.
 

Learn to Play is generally a substitute for Introductory Event, though there is probably an exception out there somewhere. 

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Posted by derekguder

The differentiation that I use when reviewing events and inform event organizers about when talking through options is this:


  • Demo is a very short sample of a game. It's a brief overview and perhaps a sample turn or two, but it's usually really short (probably under 30 minutes at most) and focused, generally intended to show off a game quickly and then get a new batch of eyes in. Demos are also not permitted without the company renting space outright.

  • Learn to Play or Introductory event is actually sitting down to play a game, though it might be an abbreviated "intro scenario" or similar. This will probably be more than 30 minutes (usually 1-2 hours, actually) and is very much geared toward slowly teaching the game, even more than a usual "no experience required" event would.

Release date or availability is not a factor in the distinction between the two.

And I want to reiterate again that these are Gen Con's expectations. The hobby is large and fractured, with lots of different communities and expectations. We try to align them "properly" when we notice a discrepancy, but don't take this explanation here as iron-clad gospel. Someone can submit an event that deviates from this and we wouldn't know unless we happen to dig into it further or hear feedback from attendees.

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Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

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