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Belly dancing, even.

C2E2 is the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, a large convention in our city that up until this year was mostly geared to comics fans.  Lunar Giant spent all of last weekend showing off Delve Deeper and teasing the forthcoming Delve Deeper board game.

This was our first big convention, but we’ve done smaller (much smaller) ones in the past.  Still, the amount of goodwill and new fans we generated was simply astounding.  Here are some of the people I want to thank, first, and then a short post-mortem:

  • Larry Settembrini, of Reed Expo, for being absolutely great in handling our booth area and being the man with the plan.  Without Larry, Chicago games would’ve never made it to C2E2 this year.
  • Garrett Fuller, from MMORPG.com, for helping organizing the three panels that I helped bring to C2E2.  As with Larry, a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible without Garrett.
  • My brother, Dan Margalus, for being the biggest help ever at our booth.
  • Craig Stern, of Sinister Design (check him out!), for bringing us into the Indie Minibooth, as well as joining the Chicago games area and showing off his stuff.  Oh, that’s right, we were part of the very first Indie Minibooth (Megabooth affiliated).  Thanks, Craig!
  • The Men Who Wear Many Hats, for being such great booth space neighbors.  Ryan, Mike, and their girlfriends Jamie and Cynthia, were absolutely great to be next to.  I even stole a few ideas from Ryan for our booth, and talking with Mike (though it happens too infrequently) is always a pleasure.  Real smart guy.
  • Chris Cobb from Ragtag Studio for being an awesome dude as usual, as well as for speaking on our panel along with Rob Lach (probably one of the most thoughtful developers I’ve met) and Ryan from The Hats.
  • All of the rest of the folks who showed in the games space, including Experimental Gamer (makers of Boot Hill Heroes, a game I’m super excited about.), Trinket Studios, 2Bit [Entertainment], Iron Galaxy, and our great friends from Indianapolis Puca Studios and Rapture Games.
  • Our (somewhat legendary) panelists on the Future of Games panel, Chelsea Blasko, Denny Thorley, Eugene Jarvis, Dave Wolinsky, and Andrew Hayward.
  • I’d also specifically like to thank my friends Kevin Casper, Eric Shofe, and Jared Steffes for stepping up and helping out with the area in general.
  • Finally, thanks to all the local games press who came out to support us. Scott Nichols, Andy Groen, Andrew Hayward, Carter Dotson, Myke Prohaska, Cody Shults, and all of you other guys who I met.

Post-Mortem

What Went Right

It was really great to see people play our game in person, so just being at C2E2 was really energizing.  On top of that, we got all of the basics right: we got a boatload of email signups, and sold a bunch of copies of Delve Deeper.  Our booth was professional, always had people playing the game, and in general generated a nice amount of interest.  We also had one dedicated computer set up for showing a video of the game, which was a great way to draw folks in to play.

Once our handouts did come in (more about that later), people got a kick out of them and I’m noticing an uptick in direct traffic to our websites which I can only assume is due to the cards pointing to the site.  Other costs included a few refurbed laptops, some cheapo monitors, and cables and such.  I’m really proud with how much stuff we got just by bargain hunting, and I’d suggest to anyone who needs equipment for a con to start looking months in advance to get the best deals.

Finally, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be kind, courteous, and helpful to every single person who comes to your booth. I had several folks come by, not really interested in the game, but knowing that I also do a lot of organizing in the community around Chicago.  After talking with them and helping them, several of them turned out to be incredibly influential people in other sectors of the Chicago tech industry who I’m going to be meeting with hopefully over the next month!

Went Could’ve Gone Better

Never order anything from Office Depot again.  Our stuff came in late, and so we didn’t have any really great handouts for folks until the second day of the convention.  I’d also elevate the monitor displaying a video of our game next time to eye level, to help draw folks in more.

More staff. Having only 2 people watching a booth is hell, and while it was great experience, I’d recommend at least 4 folks if you really want to keep the energy and enthusiasm at your booth space up.  To add to that, get carpeting! Yikes, get carpeting for your booth, folks.  Standing on cement for 12 hours a day is not great for your joints, and it also kind of looks tacky.

Finally, I would’ve liked other things to hand out like buttons, stickers, etc.  While our materials were nice, they weren’t the (as Ryan from The Hats put his buttons) honey that draws the people in.

—–

Overall, the first C2E2 to really have a games presence was pretty nice.  I would’ve liked the con-goers to have been more primed for video games, but being the first year, I also understand you have to start somewhere.  This was a great opportunity for the Chicago games community to get together and show off our work as a collective body, and got me really excited for the conference that I’ll be helping throw later this summer.

Most importantly, it’s got all of us here at Lunar Giant ready to roll on some projects we’ve only casually been talking about until now.

More soon! And check out some of the press we’re getting from C2E2!