It has been a few weeks since we came home from Essen, and we have somewhat calmed down and managed to process our experiences.
Time for a little travel blog.
We left our part of Norway bright and early Monday, fully vaxxed, masked up and ready.
Little did we know that our trip would change us forever.
Arriving in the Rhine-Ruhr area, we spent the first evening fattening ourselves on a way too good dinner and planning the week ahead. We all know what happens to good plans.
Arriving at Messe Essen, our booth was ready for us. Somewhat.
After a while, we learned our colleagues and booth-mates were delayed, and we had a few hours to spend. We of course did the only thing we could do: borrow a few chairs from a neighbouring booth and playtest Evil:101!
After dinner on a Michelin Guide restaurant that apparently is closing their doors soon, and scoping out the halls and the competition, our colleagues from the Norwegian Tabletop Publishers arrived and we started work on setting up the booth. This only took two days, and we were finally ready to meet the audience.
Did I mention how little faith I have in the Norwegian postal service Posten? After FedEx left the package with our prototypes of Evil:101 in their care for us to pick up from them, they managed to send the package away from our city again. And despite our repeated reminders on where to reach us, they failed to do so. Then, after twice having the package in our city but failing to deliver, they sent it across half the country. So when we left for Germany, the package and prototypes we should have had a week prior were nowhere to be found.
However, Game Prototyper who made the prototypes for us, went above and beyond and sent new prototypes with friends in Demonic Games, for us to pick up at their booth. We are eternally in their debt for this.
With this, all was ready for a long weekend of SPIEL, and showing off our games. And looking at the response at the tables, people liked what they saw.
Even though this year saw far less visitors than previous years (at least according to what we were told), we had more or less a constant flow of people sitting down to play. As Evil:101 is a fairly short game at usually less than half an hour, it saw a lot of different people trying it out. Heroes of the Sealening saw a bit less visitors, but on the other hand many who were willing to spend two-three hours in the middle of the exhibition playing a half-finished game who were even missing one of its card decks (things were a bit hectic when we readied the demo copy before leaving).
At least two of us were constantly at the booth showing off the games or moderating a play-through, the last one either wandering the halls to gather intelligence or contacts, or helping out at our tables in more hectic times. At the end of the day we were usually exhausted, but also more than willing to do it again.
Because seeing how much the players got into the games, clearly enjoying themselves, with something we have made ourselves, was a wonderful feeling we won’t ever forget.
Saturday is normally the most busy day of the weekend. Seeing the amount of visitors we had this day being counted as a low visitor count day in previous years; anyone know of any good “how to survive SPIEL” books for next year? (-.-);;
With the end of Sunday came time to pack up and leave. Seeing the empty streets were full of people only hours earlier, brings a special kind of melancholy only a new visit next year can remediate.
After dismantling the stand and saying goodbye to our many new friends, we left for our hotel to relax and get ready for the flight back home, already planning for next year.
All told, for us as a company this was a very successful week. The feedback encouraged us on our hopes for the Evil:101 Kickstarter, but we also learnt a lot about running a Kickstarter, along with getting to know several people in the industry who may help us as we move forward. For you, this means the game and the Kickstarter will be even better!
At the time of writing this, we are hard at work preparing the campaign. Keep a lookout here and on our social media for when we go live!
I can also tell you we have a Discord server where you can join our (still small) community. We are still developing it, but do drop by and tell us how we do!
We are definitely coming back to Essen. Hopefully next time, we will have Evil:101 published and in shop.