6 Tips for Demoing Your Game at Expo
Updated: Jun 9
Attending the UK Games Expo, one of the largest board gaming conventions in the UK and Europe, was an exhilarating experience for me. As I reflect on my preparations and the lessons learned, I want to share my personal insights with anyone who may be planning to showcase their games at expos in the future.
1. Prioritize a prime location: Securing a prime location, even if it means opting for a small stand, can significantly impact the foot traffic your game receives. The central part of the exhibition hall tends to attract more visitors, increasing the chances of people stumbling upon your stand. It's like being at the top of the funnel, setting the stage for everything that follows.
2. Stand out in the crowd: When you're surrounded by a sea of exhibitors, how can you make your game shine? Well, I learned the power of three layers of interest. First, consider banners and merchandise that catch the eye from 10-20 meters away, leaving curious onlookers intrigued. Second, create visuals and captivating details near the stand, allowing people to absorb information without interacting with you directly. And finally, focus on what you're showing and telling those who venture closer. But here's a tip: start working on these materials at least three weeks in advance. Trust me, you don't want to miss out on that backdrop banner print as I did! 3. Build bridges to the prospects: Once you've managed to pique someone's interest, provide ways for them to stay connected with your game beyond the expo. Flyers and business cards are useful, but consider adding QR codes to facilitate easy access to your website or newsletter signup. For a more proactive approach, you could offer a tablet or phone for visitors/playtesters to sign up for your newsletter right at the booth. However, exercise caution with this method, ensuring visitors feel comfortable with the process!
4. Make demos short and sweet: Ah, the art of demoing! It's a delicate balance between showcasing the full glory of your game and not overwhelming potential players. I discovered that sometimes a mere glimpse could ignite curiosity more effectively than a lengthy session. So, consider offering short demos—just a few rounds or simplified mechanics—that leave players hungry for more. After all, it's better to leave them wanting than make them feel hesitant about committing to a full session.
5. Nourish yourself and stay energized: Let's face it, demoing your game all day can be an exhilarating, albeit exhausting, exercise. So, remember to take care of yourself! Keep a water bottle and snacks handy to keep those energy levels up. And don't forget the mints!
Bonus tip: be aware of your relaxed facial expression if you are like me in this photo :D
6. Embrace the adventure of networking: As an indie game designer, connecting with like-minded publishers is a treasure trove of wisdom and inspiration. Although I'm a tad socially anxious myself, I must say that the board gaming community is a haven of positivity and friendliness. So, armed with my list of companies I wanted to approach, I seized the last day of the show to dive into networking mode. And you know what? I was welcomed with open arms, just like you will be!