So, AHP just got back from Spiel 2016, the biggest board game convention in the world. We were selling WITCH: Fated Souls, but also two ashcans of our new games Afterlife and Familiars of Terra. It was amazing, tiring, and completely crazy. Here I am going to recap just a little bit of what happened.
Erik and I arrived in Essen. I wanted to get there a day earlier, because we had to pick up our boothmate Jim from the airport at 9am the next morning. It is only a 2.5 hour drive from our house to Essen, so it was no problem.
Erik and I wake up, get to Essen and drop our stuff off at the booth. Then Erik runs out to get Jim and brings him back.
We unload all of Jim’s stuff and Jim and I start organizing the booth, realize we have too little space, but then Tim Gunn it and make it work! Erik runs out (the poor man was our taxi the entire weekend) and gets Floor and Andries from the hotel, because they came by train. In the mean time I head down to Hall 1a to drop my new products off . If you’re new to the whole Spiel experience. The New Products Hall is a place where you can drop off the new games you have produced in the year, or maybe are releasing at Spiel. Press are allowed into this room on Wednesday and it is a great place to get noticed for your game.
By the time I get downstairs almost all the table are taken. Even though each person gets one, some business took 2-3. I end up finding the last open table, luckily, and throwing all our stuff on it… in a pretty manner (see above picture as proof :D). Then, I ran back upstairs and continued setting up our booth. When Floor, Andries, and Erik arrived Floor and I went back down to the new products hall to talk to any press who would come by our table.
This is when we came to a harsh realization (which we kind of already knew) Spiel is really a board game convention. There were definitely role play companies there, and role players who wanted to buy our games, but the main audience was board games. We got a literal few bloggers (three) who were interested in our game, but that was about it.
After the whole day was rounded up, the booth team went to an awesome American diner we found by our hotel and had some well deserved beers.
Thursday – Friday
Thursday. Was. Insane. While Spiel officially opens its doors at 10am, over the next four days this was never the case. Due to crowing outside they let people in starting at 9:30. A parking garage’s ticket machine was broken, which caused a huge traffic jam throughout Essen, so halfway through the drive to the fair Floor and I got out of the car and ran to the venue. We got there a few minutes before the doors open. There are a lot of unprofessional swearing from my side, and zen levelheadedness from Floor’s side.
After people started coming in everything is a blur. We had a lot of people at the stand and lots of them got our combo package which had the WITCH: Fated Souls book, Devil’s Deck, and GM Screen. By the end of the day the entire team was exhausted. The door closed at 7pm, we went for dinner, and went to bed.
On Friday we broke even for the booth and made a little bit of profit – yay! I wasn’t expecting that at all. Because Spiel is mainly a board game convention and we are a tiny role play publisher, I didn’t expect to get many customers. My hope was got to go Spiel and network , meet other publishers, and have a good time with my friends. Breaking even was a big plus point for me :D.
Saturday – Sunday
Saturday and Sunday were quieter than Thursday and Friday. There were a lot more families at the con and less customers at our stand. Luckily, anything we were making at that point was profit, so I was happy. By the time Sunday came around we were all shattered.
We drove home.
Kickstarter backers came to say hi! That was pretty awesome meeting you guys, thank you for coming around to say hello!
Getting new people into role play games. We had quite a few younger ladies around 16-25 years old stopping by our booth who had never played rpgs before, but were attracted to the art we had on the covers. Once we explained the games to them, they bought the books and said they were going to try role playing with their friends. Out of a lot of things I have done in my life, that has been one of the more rewarding. The thought that I might of gotten a few people into the best hobby in the world is really exciting.
Familiars of Terra and Afterlife were received well! People are really excited about our new games and that makes me excited. I can’t wait to get them on Kickstarter next year.
I hope you all enjoyed the recap!