Thoughts by Bez

I am a full-time designer/artist/self-publisher and I am available for freelance work. I go to cons as a trader and help run the all-day Friday playtest sessions in London. I left my last 'real' job in 2014. I was getting benefits for a few years. I'm currently writing sporadically, but getting back into the habit of daily posts. If you have any questions/topics you'd like me to address, send me a geekmail and I'll probably address the topic within a week.
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Tabletop Scotland 2019

Bez Shahriari
United Kingdom
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Tabletop Scotland is a convention in its 2nd year. It had big ambitions last year and it managed to meet these. You can read part 1 https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/80827/tabletop-scotland-2...
or part 2
https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/80849/tabletop-scotland-2...
of my overviews from last year if you want more details.

Much is the same. There were seminars. A 'Gateway' zone with suggested intro games. Lovely people. Gender-neutral toilet. Traders. Plenty of open gaming. Wide corridors. RPGs organised. Kid-friendly RPGS. Tournaments. Playtest zone all of Saturday. Seminars. The content was different, but seminars operated throughout the day every 90 minutes, with more going on than anyone could have time for.

What changed?

More people.

1585 unique
2339 turnstile
= approx 1170/day.*


Bigger.
It now uses 2 big rooms (and a bunch of smaller ones). Having expanded onto the ice rink (ice melted beforehand of course), there is literally nowhere else for the convention to grow. I think the convention could have another 50% visitors without running out of space but it's entirely possible that in a few years' time, the con may be sold out well before the doors open (as I understand happens for City of Games, many LARP events, and certain US cons). The convention continued to provide a great experience for everyone and again I read/heard lots of positivity and nothing negative. So I have no doubt that it will attract more people next year and continue to grow as long as all the organisers/volunteers do such a brilliant job.

Digital bring & buy. This was a cool idea. A ridiculous queue as always seems to be the case for any B&B at a con.

Nicer programme. Again, a clear map and set of timetables. Probably inspired by UKGE and other UK cons, they had articles. I've read more than half and they are all very well written and generally entertaining.

Other than that, it was basically the same. Immaculately run, with friendly volunteers/organisers and plenty going on without spreading itself too thin. Brilliant. Well done to everyone involved.

My personal notes:

I wandered around briefly for 5 minutes each day and watched a seminar about art in tabletop games. Really nice to be able to grab my first warm meal of the day (reasonably priced) and bring it in.

I didn't engage with much of the evening stuff as I was exhausted and wanted to catch up on sleep. So most of my info above is based on seeing others or asking the folk who came to my table what they'd enjoyed so far.

Of course, I was mainly focusing on my own stand/games.

Shout-out to my wonderful helper Lindz, who came along because she likes my games. She was clearly passionate about playing them and really enjoyed being part of the demos (which works well for this con) and was also great at grabbing people, telling them about my things on display, and making a few sales. I felt like we were an amazing team, debriefing each day, watching out for each other, and passing knowledge back and forth.

Shout-out to Matt Coward-Gibbs. On Friday, I was struggling to work out how to organise my table. I had 2 tables and my first instinct was to use a small portion of each for stock, with most of each table set aside to play on. Matt suggested dividing one table into 2 using coasters (which worked brilliantly - with 2 groups of 5 playing Kitty Cataclysm at 2pm Saturday) and then using the other table to showcase all my stuff (which also worked brilliantly). I think that going forwards, I'm going to basically always do this.

Things I was proud of:

The games.

Folk were enjoying everything. Kitty Cataclysm went down specially well. + was a hit with everyone who played. I got some unsolicited compliments for W++, Yogi, and AGWYB[...]. Categorickell is brilliant and is my new favourite game for the W++ deck. Honestly, I'm probably a bit biased because I've played my older things so many hundreds of times. I now have a reputation for consistently releasing good things and I am privileged to have people like Lindz be so willing to help me as a result.

The stock display.
It's almost baffling that it's taken me so long to get here. Before UKGE, I was only focused on providing demo space. Space for stock was an afterthought. Matt made a beautiful 3D arrangment, using boxes underneath tablecloths. Prices for everything visible. An open copy of everything, set up for easy explanations.

The long table divided into 2.

My games have a small footprint. This worked really well.

2pm events.

I run 2pm prize-events at every convention I go to. The organisers mentioned these in the programme and I told plenty of folk about them in the FB chat group. I also now have a big banner advertising this fact. I got 6 people on Saturday for the Wibbell++ triathlon and around 14 folk on Sunday for the Kitty Cataclysm event (though both were capped at 10, so some folk had to team up with their partners/children). Everyone who came along seemed to have a great time, so it worked from an emotional viewpoint. I think it's probably also reasonable from a business viewpoint, as it does generate buzz, expose folk t my games in a fun way, and sell copies. I just wish we had a 3rd persoon on Sunday as both Lindz and I were needed to judge the 2 groups and so curious passersby didn't have someone to explain the game/sell to them.

Things I'd like to change:

Book accommodation earlier.

Find another helper. Or 2. Or at least work harder to do so.

Have prices on top of the table rather than on the side.

Honestly, I can't think of anything else.

Overall:

It was great. I'm definitely going to go back.

I feel that TTS did a great job as a con, and I also did a generally good job as a trader. Well done us. :-p

sales/finances
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Spoiler (click to reveal)

sales (sat+sun=total):
W++ 1+2=3
W++ deluxe: 12+4=16
Yogi: 5+3=8
Kitty Cataclysm: 15+13=28 (also, 6 to retail)
KC Expansion: 2+4=6

Everything at RRP except W++ at £10. Notably, it still sold a lot less than the £17.50 deluxe edition.

Grossed around £640.

Costs:
£50 food
£25 travel
£95 accommodation (would book earlier next time)
£140 stand price
£14 tablecloth (wouldn't need to buy next time)
£250 Stock manufacturing

£70ish profit.


As you'll probably know if you've read a lot of my blog, making a profit is unusual for me and so this was a lovely surprise.



*attendance numbers edited in
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