Convention Games & Calling Cards

Here’s a thought for publishers out there of the small press stuff. For the past several years, I’ve flown around from convention to convention running indie games for people. Many of them try several games, like sampling a buffet. If I’m excited about a game, like I am right now about running Technoir tonight, I’d like to leave an physical impression on them as well as an experiential one, to maybe get them to check out the game.

So, publishers, how about this: make a one-page document that has fliers for your game on it. Make it so that one page will print out six, ideally 3×2 or 2×3, whichever. Make it easy to cut out after printing from a normal desktop printer, that doesn’t look weird because the outer margins are larger than the inner ones — take mandatory page margins into account. Put your game’s name/logo, your name/company name, website, and maybe one more line on it, and you’re done.

If you’re compelled to make a color version, also make a black & white version for those who don’t have color or are trying to avoid using whatever color you are because they’re out of that ink. Similarly, don’t make an ink-heavy version…or if you do, make an ink-non heavy version too (both to save the ink and to not have the end product have ripples from wet ink drying).

Here’s a text mockup:

Technoir Logo
high tech, hard-boiled roleplaying
by Jeremy Keller
Check out the free players guide at TechnoirRPG.com

Not that I’m a visual designer. That’s someone else’s job, like the wonderfully talented Jeremy Keller. Now, maybe no one will use it, but is there harm in throwing it out there and seeing what happens?

For those games that have related games, like the various in the GUMSHOE line, you could also use this as a space to direct to those games. (Edit: Kit adds a smart idea in the comments about tying this to a meeting/networking/friend-making element.)

By the way, you can totally check out Technoir’s free player’s guide at TechnoirRPG.com. :)

– Ryan

(I’m pretty sure I wrote about this idea years ago on my LiveJournal, but that was an eon ago in Internet time.)


8 Responses to Convention Games & Calling Cards

  1. Kit says:

    I’ve actually thought about doing this myself. I also considered “playtest cards”: a set to give to the people who try your game at a con, with basic info on it, like this, but also a set to get them to fill out if they want to get playtest credits and stay in touch—just name, email. But I only thought about this as something for me to print up, not release. I like that latter idea.

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      That’s damned neat! Yeah, you could totally offer a two-sided version of this, with one side being like I describe and the other being a place to put your contact info.

      Bonus points for it being a form-fillable PDF, and the fields to be linked together so you only fill it out on one box for all of them (which is stupid easy, simple & quick in Acrobat, but you have to have Pro to make a form*).

      – Ryan

      *Which I do

  2. This syncs nicely with an idea I sort of half-had for Always/Never/Now but with the added benefit of a handsome form-factor. Perhaps I shall steal it.

  3. Carl Rigney says:

    Interesting idea! Consider including a QR code (those funny digital boxes that take your cellphone direct to a URL). Also consider having a landing page that has some free giveaway, and so you can track who’s coming in via the handouts.

    And good point about doing them in a printer-friendly style.

    • Ryan Macklin says:



      As long as the QR code isn’t a replacement for the URL written out, I’m on board. And yeah, having the QR code go to a special page tracking it could be totally useful.

      I hear they’re starting to fade out, that they’re just a fad. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, and I wouldn’t necessarily say not to do them because of that, but I wouldn’t call them a necessity. (And in the case of Technoir, I think it totally fits the theme.)

      – Ryan

  4. Man, as soon as I get a break from all the other things I’m so totally doing right now, I’m so totally doing this. And I definitely need to start putting QR codes on all the Technoir stuff. Rock!

  5. Not really anything to add, just think this is an awesome idea.