In any case, you will likely not have the time or wherewithal to take notes yourself, so have someone do it for you. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of the convention, it was also our first time attending, the first time in Indianapolis let alone Indiana, the first time using an AirBnB, and of course the first time pitching our board game to real life publishers. While that is factual, my initial expectations were wildly inaccurate. I was super nervous. You cannot do much about the noise pollution, so speak up and do not be afraid to ask a publisher to repeat themselves or clarify what they have said. Leave them in the comments! Nothing with too much sweetener in it as it can increase unwanted mucus unless it is honey which helps soothe the throat. Additionally, do not drink it too to quickly as having to go to the restroom can cost you the opportunity to speak with three or more prospective publisher. The speed dating, while exhausting was a wealth of information as a budding professional board game designer. I found myself multiple times leaning in and even asking the publishers to repeat themselves so I did not miss anything they might have said.
For starters, the structure of the event had you pitching to a new publisher every six minutes, for two hours. Which brings me to the next tip: Instead of an exclusive room, we had a dedicated corner of the main free gaming hall. Got questions about pitching to publishers? This meant a lot more ambient noise than I had planned for, making speaking and listening to the publishers a little more challenging. I was super nervous. You could choose to use a voice or even video recorder, but you would more likely have to ask permission to do so. While that is factual, my initial expectations were wildly inaccurate. Go in with a plan and the tools to execute it, and you will do just fine. But then I spoke with my first publisher, lean guy with a dark red beard wearing a backpack a t-shirt and jeans. Almost every single publisher I met was kind, humble, thankful, and super eager to learn all about my game, whether or not it was something that would fit their catalog. Be sure they take down the name of each company, the names of the representatives that you speak with, their contact information if provided, and anything else noteworthy. Ultimately, there is nothing to be afraid of. That is essentially 20 publishers, so expect to be talking a lot. Not only was it the 50th anniversary of the convention, it was also our first time attending, the first time in Indianapolis let alone Indiana, the first time using an AirBnB, and of course the first time pitching our board game to real life publishers. This made it easy for the publishers to just move down the line to the next game, but it could have an impact on how you decide to display your game. I organized my components from left to right; starting with the box I gave an overview of the theme of the game, followed by the objective where I displayed the agenda cards, then the character cards, etc. Be sure to thank each of the publishers for their time during the event and in a follow-up email to keep you on their radar. People are fun and respectful, and your game does not need to be perfect, you just need to be clear and ready to answer any question they may ask. The speed dating, while exhausting was a wealth of information as a budding professional board game designer. Towering over me in their expensive suits, shaking their heads when they realized that the copy of my game was printed a little too dark. In any case, you will likely not have the time or wherewithal to take notes yourself, so have someone do it for you. I found myself multiple times leaning in and even asking the publishers to repeat themselves so I did not miss anything they might have said. Furthermore, with a two-hour duration, my voice quickly grew tired which leads me to my first tip: It did not appeal to most of the publishers, for one reason or another, but I am still in the running with a few of them and I am organizing a time to give personal demos to each.
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