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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.

This is a repost from 2011, and seems topical since Gen Con is coming up soon!

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. This could also be a neat networking tool or as a way to get non-immediate playtest feedback.

– Ryan

Maybe the comments on the original post are of interest to you.

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2 Responses to Convention Games & Calling Cards

  1. William says:

    How about simply business cards to direct potential players? Hand them out, or leave them in public.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      First, I’m not talking about a blind recruitment tool. Saying “or leave them in public” is an indicator that you’re talking about a different topic.

      Second, purely using business cards has a poor conversion rate in practice. You get so many business cards at a large convention that it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle with something of the same size, and at a con you won’t direct people to shit with a business card just left out in public. Maybe you’ll get someone to check out a game weeks or months later, but the conversion rate is pretty weak, and for me not worth the effort.

      Make something that stands out visually, and deliver it along with a personal experience. Or don’t spend your money and energy on it, because the “deliver a personal experience” part is what cements it.