Preparing for the Expo: 4 Weeks To Go

It's four weeks until the biggest event in the UK tabletop gaming calendar, UK Games Expo (1st to 3rd June), and again I am going for the full three days. Actually, I'm going up the day beforehand so I have an easier time on the Friday, and hopefully a bit of gaming the evening before the event starts for real. In the run-up there is a load of preparation I need to do.

The prototypes I'm planning on taking as they currently stand.
There may be some updates to come, but they'll look substantially like this.

So far, I have...

  • Written to a couple of publishers to see if I can arrange a meeting to discuss my games, particularly Invaded at the moment. I should probably contact at least a couple more, but we're getting to the point where it may be a bit late.  I'm keeping the number of pitches I am doing deliberately small at the moment, concentrating on people I think would be a decent fit for at least one of my games, as I want to just start learning how to do this sort of thing, and I am too cowardly to really jump in deep right away.  I have, however, heard back from the publishers I contacted so far, so fingers crossed.
  • Submitted a sell sheet (a 1-page document showing the key features and selling points for a game) for Invaded for consideration in the designer-publisher speed dating event. This allows designers to do 5-minute pitches to about a dozen publishers in close succession, but the designers invited to take part are selected by those publishers based on submitted sell sheets.  The application process is a little scary, but it does mean that, if you are selected, at least some of the publishers want to hear more about your game.  I decided to apply for this rather than for the "public pitch" session of the Wyvern's Lair as I think I would do better in this format.
  • Volunteered for a couple of shifts at the Playtest Zone (unless things change, I'll be there on Friday and Saturday mornings -- come and say hello!) and for one of the evening events. I've been doing this for the last couple of years, and found it very rewarding, being a great opportunity to meet loads of talented game designers and see a lot of awesome prototypes, even if I don't get to play many of them!
  • Booked my first playtesting slot for my own game: 15:00 to 16:30 on the Saturday, so please come by and play! The slot booking system opens early for volunteers, so we get first dibs on our first session, though there will be plenty more available for others when the bookings open up more generally in a few days. I have declared Scurvy Crew as the game I will be running, but I am starting to think about taking Drafty Valley now, as it has been developing well lately, and I would love to get some more feedback on it.
  • Booked accommodation (actually I did this several months ago), which is quite important!
  • Booked the necessary time off from work.

Things still to do include...

  • Check and update prototypes and rules for all the games I will be taking with me.
  • Create an up-to-date sell sheet for all the games I want people to know about.
  • If I'm going to try contacting any other publishers, I need to do it very soon indeed.
  • If I get selected for the speed dating, I'll really need to focus on that 5-minute pitch, and try not to panic. If I don't, then I still need to plan regular pitches.
  • Enter a couple of games into the "No Ship Maths Trade" that is going on. This is nothing to do with game design at all, but I have some games to get rid of and I have never tried maths trades before (briefly, they are a way to use a computer to set up trading rings so you can give a game to someone who wants it, and receive a game you want in return from someone entirely different), so I figure it's worth a go.
  • And, of course, pack all my necessary stuff and get up there.

I must be missing something, but I'm sure it'll all work out.

Let me know if you're going -- hopefully we'll be able to at least say hello some time.

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