Monday, October 25, 2010

A Few More Boxes Available

... at the LotFP Store, as well as quickly dwindling supplies at the vendors there on the left.

Essen was a learning experience. I've had strong sales in Germany so far, both direct and with the shop I work with there (Sphärenmeisters Spiele made 2 orders since the box came out, each selling out within days) so I thought I had a bit of momentum. It didn't translate into a strong showing at the convention.

This thing was huge. Several times larger than GenCon I'm told. Mattel, Lego, and Hasbro each had a large presence there. A real mainstream thing. But there were tons of boardgame companies (seemed to be the main thing), card game companies, lots of LARP costumers and tons of RPG publishers and all the assorted business that follow those sorts of things around.

And you know what I found out?

Just having a banner with the LotFP logo and a pretty picture doesn't tell anybody jack shit about what's in the booth. As in, "is this a role-playing game, card game, board game?" let alone what kind or what it's about. It seemed so bloody obvious the first day that I'd made a planning cock-up, but almost all of the planning that went into the convention was all about getting me and my stuff there and figuring out the layout of the booth. The content of the booth and the attempt to get the word out in the area that I'd be there (and who I was), that sort of was forgotten.

As I said, it was a learning experience. I was going to screw up the first big convention I wandered into, so it might as well have been this one. I'm still feeling my way around with all this stuff. The key is never to make the same mistake twice.

So most of my time was spent flagging down passers-by and explaining to them who I was, what the products were, etc from scratch. The Arkkikivi guys I shared the booth with (they were selling indie/Forge stuff) were most helpful with this. Eero was grabbing people and pushing them my way all for days.

Boxes (and other product) were sold, but not as much as I'd have liked/expected.

All in all, it wasn't a disaster, but it wasn't what I'd call a success either.

Dragonmeet is next month and I will be there. I expect England to be a bit better, as it's specifically RPG-focused, English is the assumed language, and England has the same D&D traditions that the US does.

I'll be making one or two more banners that are a bit more informative, have handouts ready at the table, and put in some work to let people know I'm coming.

Fun things at the convention:

Flying Buffalo was there so I chatted a bit with Rick Loomis. Traded him a box for a copy of Tunnels & Trolls, which I will admit I've never actually read before. I didn't realize he is President of GAMA until he gave me his card...!

Otherworld Miniatures was there and I'm sure I hung around there enough to be a pest. :)

Our booth neighbors were hawking their Legerdemain computer RPG. They were from Atlanta, so it was interesting hearing people talk about the old neighborhoods again (I lived in and around Atlanta for 12 years).

I also snagged VHS copies (Dutch subtitles!) of Re-Animator and Re-Animator II. I've never seen them, can you believe it?

Other news...

We're up to 23 members of the Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society. That's just about double my expectations. I'm trying to figure out who's more shocked, YDiS guy or my wife.

New reviews of the LotFP box set (here) and Grinding Gear (here) have been posted.

350 emails to get through... yeah, half of them are Viagra ads, but half of them aren't...


  1. England has the same D&D traditions that the US does
    It's interesting that you say that. You'd be right about the language barrier and the rpg focus, but I don't know about this bit. It may be just my perspective, but the D&D culture here -- and rpg culture in general -- seems to have a very different character to it than that of the US. The influence of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone -- via Fighting Fantasy, Games Workshop and the other WFRP -- looms large, and stuff like BADD and Mountain Dew seem a little bit alien.

    But that's all faff and theory for another day, and has no bearing on what you're talking about. I would imagine you're very right about Dragonmeet being more open and lucrative.

  2. You'd know better than I, but that means I really need to work the convention that much more rather than just showing up and expecting people to give a crap. :D

  3. I got the materials you sent in short order. Much appreciated. I've written two reviews, which you can find on my site.

  4. ...England has the same D&D traditions that the US does.

    Yeah, Kel' beat me to this one, but careful with that assumption Jim. 'Two countries divided by a common language' and all that...

    Advice on parting the canny, penny-pinching Engskr from their gelt: Us Brits do like our 'bloke with great idea and a shed' plucky underdogs, so hopefully you'll get a good reception at Dragonmeet. Just soft pedal the salesmanship, coz nothing turns a Brit off like the smell of 'small press desperation'.

    "Gamer first, salesman second" catchee monkey. ;)

  5. On the plus side, LotFP: WFRPG is grim and nihilistic, and we do like a bit of that in our rpgs over here.

    I'm sure you'll be fine.

  6. I would agree Chris' comments. Appeal to our geekery rather than flagging passersby down and attempting to extol the virtues of your game. I think that you will have plenty of interest from the attendees. The reason being that DragonMeet is a lot smaller than you think, so you will get plenty of interest.

    And the differences between Dungeons & Dragons here the UK and in the USA, can be best seen in the tone between U1, Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and any number of modules of a similar level from TSR.

  7. @kelvingreen - I thought you were referring to WFRP there for a sec ;)

    @JimLotFP - T&T you'll either love or hate... doesnt appear t be much middle

  8. Tenkar, to my mind LotFP: WFRPG is the D&D variant most suited to playing WFRP. ;)

  9. Oh, heck yeah. I'd love to run some WFRP 1e adventures using Weird Fantasy. Lethality should be about the same ;)

  10. The Spiel is the worlds biggest consumer open game fair. We germans are very much into board- and cardgames. Many of them even get translated into other languages e.g. Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne.
    But there were also quite a few RPG companies:
    Uhrwerk who sold the print version of "Dungeonslayers" (, they have a free to download english version). Or Ulisses Games selling the german translation of Barbarians of Lemuria. Or PC Games with their fun Space Pirates RPG. Or Mantikore with their Larm stuff for LL. And those are only a few of the old schoolish rpgs.
    I guess one of the reasons LotFP RPG did not sold as well as you thought it would/could is because of the language barrier. Even though most germans speak some english reasonably well, I know many gamers who would rather wait a few few years for the official translation of a game instead of trying to do it themselves.