Designer’s Guide to Essen Spiel – Part 3

designer tips, event, game design

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In Part 1 and Part 2 we talked about how to prepare if you want to pitch your games at Essen Spiel. In Part 3 we’ll cover handy tips for the event itself, and what you should do after it’s over.

2. AT ESSEN SPIEL
Cloakroom and lockers
You can find these right at the door and they seem really useful but keep in mind there will be massive queues when the event closes. Get there earlier and you could save up to a whole hour. 

The event itself gets pretty tropical, so my advice is simply do not bring a coat.

AEG bags
It’s likely you’ll be picking up games during the day and the room in a backpack runs out pretty quick. If you get a game at the AEG booth, whatever the size, they’ll hand it to you inside an enormous bag. Handy!

Wellbeing
You’ll be talking a lot so be sure to bring water and lemon drops. Also, learn where the bathrooms are!

 

MEETINGS
Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Don’t panic.

A. Get there early
You want to cause a good first impression so get to the booth a few minutes before the meeting.

B. Remember the names
If you’ve scheduled the meetings by e-mail, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to identify the person who you’ll be talking to. You’re going to have to ask someone so keep that name handy!

C. Start with the sellsheets
Setting up the game takes time and space, and good publishers will tell you right away when they won’t even consider it. Start by showing the sellsheet and only bring the game out if they ask for it or you want to show a particular detail.

D. Bring an extra prototype
If they really like your game they’ll want a copy to play with their team. If you’re meeting other publishers on the same day, bring more than one copy!

E. Take notes 
Did they ask for a digital prototype or the rules? Don’t leave that to the end of the day, especially if you’re having a lot of meetings. Write that down as soon as possible so you can free your mind and focus on the next one. 

 

3. POST-ESSEN
Follow-up
Read your notes from the meetings and send all the follow-up e-mails you said you would! Even if they can’t read them right away they’ll be right there for when they can.

Read the notes
If the publishers were interested in your games, they might have suggested some changes that they’d like to see in order to consider publishing it. Use these notes to guide your game’s next steps.

Take it with a grain of salt
Don’t worry if you’ve left Spiel without a signed contract. You’ve started conversations, sent out prototypes and soon you’ll get more feedback. You might have even heard some things about your games that you don’t agree with.

Taking criticism can be hard but hopefully now that you’ve had time to cool off a bit you’ll be able to see it from their point of view. The publishers know what they’re doing and there are a lot of different elements that can factor into their feedback. The biggest one seems to be their line of games and production. Even if your game is great, if it doesn’t fit their line, the fans will find it odd and likely off-putting. If it requires exotic components they’re not used to making, it ramps up the production costs so much that it might not be worth the risk.

Now you have an idea of what they’re looking for and you can use it to update your games and even take it into consideration when starting new ones. 

Good luck!

P.S: How did it go for me? Very well actually, and there’s a hint in this very post. Stay tuned!

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