First Time Hosting Event
Posted by jlafair

My name is Josh Lafair, I just graduated from high school, and my siblings and I launched a board game, Mapmaker: The Gerrymandering Game, on Kickstarter last summer. We had over 1400 backers and the game funded! Here's a link to the Kickstarter if you want to learn more. 

This is my first time going to Gen Con, and I was wondering if anybody had any tips on the best way to run an event. I've already read all of Gen Con's material as well as created several events, but I was curious to see if anybody has any extra advice. Thanks so much! 

Posted by buffythecatslayer

For anyone interested, here's the link for the events.

I have to say, looking at the KS, this looks excellently thought out & produced.  I've seen Kickstarters from gaming companies that didn't look that well done.

Key thing is to be on-time for the event, and be well-prepared.  Try to be at the table at least 15 minutes before, so you can have everything ready & set up when the players arrive.  Since you developed the game, knowing the material probably isn't an issue, since no one likes a GM that has to constantly check the rules, or is unsure of how routine situations are handled.

Just FYI, I would have left the fact that you're a high-schooler out of the event description.  If people don't click the KS link, and see how the game looks, they might just dismiss it as some kid trying out his slapped together game.

Good luck with it, and if you're getting this good a start at your age, we expect a long career of gaming development from you!

Posted by jlafair buffythecatslayer

buffythecatslayer wrote:
For anyone interested, here's the link for the events.
I have to say, looking at the KS, this looks excellently thought out & produced.  I've seen Kickstarters from gaming companies that didn't look that well done.
Key thing is to be on-time for the event, and be well-prepared.  Try to be at the table at least 15 minutes before, so you can have everything ready & set up when the players arrive.  Since you developed the game, knowing the material probably isn't an issue, since no one likes a GM that has to constantly check the rules, or is unsure of how routine situations are handled.
Just FYI, I would have left the fact that you're a high-schooler out of the event description.  If people don't click the KS link, and see how the game looks, they might just dismiss it as some kid trying out his slapped together game.
Good luck with it, and if you're getting this good a start at your age, we expect a long career of gaming development from you!
Thank you so much for taking a look at the Kickstarter and for all of the advice! I'll be sure to get there early to set everything up. 

I thought mentioning that I was a high schooler would interest some people, but I definitely see your point. I'll look into changing the description of the event.

Thanks for everything!

Posted by selene314 buffythecatslayer

buffythecatslayer wrote:
Just FYI, I would have left the fact that you're a high-schooler out of the event description.  If people don't click the KS link, and see how the game looks, they might just dismiss it as some kid trying out his slapped together game.

FWIW:
When I saw the event listing, I rolled my eyes at the idea that gaming companies were trying to cash in on the "trend" of political cynicism. I like it better knowing that it's made by gen-Z-ers who care enough about politics that this was their very first game idea. 

Posted by selene314

Put up a sign, or arrange the game box to be easily visible so that your players can find you in the crowd.

Explain the rules, then give a brief demo of how a typical turn might go, before having the players start.

If the rules are complicated, bring extra copies of the rulebook so that all your players can follow along. If there are 

Your event was added late enough that you probably won't get many players. Promote your game here and on the "Fans of GenCon" Facebook group. But be prepared to have only one or two attendees.

If you want people to support you on kickstarter etc., have something printed that you can give out. Do not expect to have internet access.

Posted by jlafair selene314

selene314 wrote:
Put up a sign, or arrange the game box to be easily visible so that your players can find you in the crowd.
Explain the rules, then give a brief demo of how a typical turn might go, before having the players start.
If the rules are complicated, bring extra copies of the rulebook so that all your players can follow along. If there are 
Your event was added late enough that you probably won't get many players. Promote your game here and on the "Fans of GenCon" Facebook group. But be prepared to have only one or two attendees.
If you want people to support you on kickstarter etc., have something printed that you can give out. Do not expect to have internet access.
Thank you so much for the advice! I wasn't sure I was going to be able to come to Gen Con, which is why all of these events were added so late. 

I'm definitely going to post something on the "Fans of GenCon" Facebook group. You mention that I should promote the game here. Do you mean in the Gen Con forums? 

Posted by buffythecatslayer

No, in the Fans of Gen Con FB Group.  It has about 16,000 people, most of whom, surprise! go to Gen Con. :-)

Posted by griffonicus

Hey Josh,

I just wanted to say I'm glad you mentioned you were a high school student...piqued my interest...and then when I saw your Kickstarter I was seriously impressed. I don't think I even knew what gerrymandering was when I was in high school! Anyway, just wanted to say awesome work and I hope you guys keep producing games!

Posted by jlafair griffonicus

griffonicus wrote:
Hey Josh,
I just wanted to say I'm glad you mentioned you were a high school student...piqued my interest...and then when I saw your Kickstarter I was seriously impressed. I don't think I even knew what gerrymandering was when I was in high school! Anyway, just wanted to say awesome work and I hope you guys keep producing games!
Thanks for the input, and thanks so much the support! I hope to maybe see you at Gen Con! 

Posted by squirecam

Saw this thread and made a purchase. I will introduce it to my group at Gencon. 

Posted by jlafair squirecam

squirecam wrote:
Saw this thread and made a purchase. I will introduce it to my group at Gencon. 
That's great! Hope you enjoy the game! 

Posted by kevinkrejca

I just wanted to check, are you going to have a booth or exhibiting at GenCon? The concept and design of your game is awesome! I concur with the sentiments above, if this is what you present while in High School, I look forward to following your game development in the future!

Posted by jlafair kevinkrejca

kevinkrejca wrote:
I just wanted to check, are you going to have a booth or exhibiting at GenCon? The concept and design of your game is awesome! I concur with the sentiments above, if this is what you present while in High School, I look forward to following your game development in the future!
Thank you so much! 

I will be at these three Mapmaker events. Please feel free to swing by even if not for the full session! 

Unfortunately, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to Gen Con until around two weeks ago, which is to late to sign up for a booth or exhibit. My publisher does happen to have a store a few blocks from Gen Con where they will have a bunch of copies. The address is 49 W Maryland St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, and the store is Go! Calendars, Toys, & Games.

Posted by buffythecatslayer

It wouldn't have mattered if you'd try to get a booth 10 months ago.  The waiting list is fairly long.  Also, I think the most basic booth goes for about $1500, so you'd have to consider the amount of sales it would generate.

Good luck with your events, and point anyone interested to the game store.

Posted by jlafair buffythecatslayer

buffythecatslayer wrote:
It wouldn't have mattered if you'd try to get a booth 10 months ago.  The waiting list is fairly long.  Also, I think the most basic booth goes for about $1500, so you'd have to consider the amount of sales it would generate.
Good luck with your events, and point anyone interested to the game store.
That's very true. I did sign up for the mailing list for next year, so my siblings and I may try for a booth then. 

I'll definitely point people to the store if their interested. Thank you so much for all of your help! 

Posted by voice_of_reason

@ Josh:  I'm glad you posted here.  I'm impressed.  My daughter & I will do our best to attend one of your events.  I wish you the very best with your game.

@ Buffy: Thanks for linking to the events.
 

Posted by jlafair voice_of_reason

voice_of_reason wrote:
@ Josh:  I'm glad you posted here.  I'm impressed.  My daughter & I will do our best to attend one of your events.  I wish you the very best with your game.
@ Buffy: Thanks for linking to the events.
 
That's great! Feel free to swing buy even if not for the full session. Hope to see you there! 

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