Jack had to take the SATs this weekend, so the Hudson Valley Comic Con became the first event I worked alone. I also learned how different Comic Cons are from game conventions.
The difference is this: Gamers come to game conventions to play games, but not so much about buying. [Especially at colleges with starving students.] Attendees at Comic Cons don’t come to play games, but are ready to buy.
They both have a value. At game conventions, we may spend hours waiting for players while they go to other events, but when they do sit down, some will play dozens of games and give all sorts of feedback, criticism and ideas. Gamers enjoy complexity and working out the diverse possibilities. At the Comic Con, the visitors seem to be running a stop watch in their heads. They want to know quickly if they should move on before they miss something else because there is so much else to do.
So, it’s a game conventions that you work out any niggling issues with your mechanics or your pitch. It’s at the Comic Con that you find out whether your elevator pitch works. I actually had someone at the Hudson Valley Comic Con walk up and say, “Ok, give me your elevator pitch.”
They say in romantic movies that if she looks back after saying goodbye, she is interested. Convention tables seem to work the same way. People walk by. Some will not give the checkers, boards and dice a second look. But if they look again, I just say the hook, “It’s chess you can play with checkers.”
If that makes them stop, they will most likely listen to the basic rules. After that, about two-thirds will be willing to play a game. It is after the first game that I tell them about the Kangaroo Die, and then if they play with the Kangaroo, they are hooked.
I have been amazed at how popular the Kangaroo has become. I think it has become the feature that sells the game more than any other. Hudson Valley could only give me one table and two chairs, and this forced me to streamline the presentation.
But what I learned was – especially in this crowd – they didn’t need to see all the alternate layouts and special games. Just setting up with a standard chess layout and the Kangaroo Die was enough. Some bought the game before I could finish the first sentence.
I’m very encouraged by all of this, and if I can solve the issue of the game board, I think MetaCheckers can go far. But I want a board that fits the personality of MetaCheckers – unique, clever, simple and affordable. I’ve had some good suggestions recently and am working on prototypes, so hopefully I will have news to share about that soon.
Here’s some pictures from the event. I was very busy the whole time, and I didn’t get a chance to walk around and take in all the sights because I was chained to my table. So, I got a pinhole view of what looked like a very good first event for this group.