First Time Exhibiting my Own Booth -- What do I need to know?

Rule of ThreeRule of Three Game DesignerRegistered User regular
Heya all!

I have not gotten any sort of packet or information about being on the other side of PAX. I've gone for years, even worked for other companies, but I am at my own booth this year (in the Indie Mega Booth). What should I be aware of? Is there a part of the site that has such information?



  • DanQDanQ Registered User regular
    Bring cough drops. People love free shit.

    robirexRule of Threeiltamiker525
  • Rule of ThreeRule of Three Game Designer Registered User regular
    Actually, that is a brilliant idea. I know the "no stickers" rule is haaaaaaarsh, but pins are so cliche :-p

  • VermillionDeVermillionDe Registered User regular
    Huh, you know I'm not an exhibitor but I am a frequent attendee and hope someday to bring a product to PAX. I'd love to see what advice other exhibitors have and maybe turn into something stickied for people who, like me, want have a booth in the future.

  • SatoruSatoru Registered User regular

    Rami of Vlambeer has some advice for how to make your booth successful

  • Rule of ThreeRule of Three Game Designer Registered User regular
    Thanks @Satoru !

    @VermillionDe, I agree! It is why I asked here... I assume I'm not the only one. I have no idea if there was an exhibitor's forum, guidelines, etc. This is partially as we only just found out!

  • jpkjpk Registered User regular
    You're exhibiting your card game Zero Sum? Most PAX East postmortems cover digital, but they could still be useful. A quick search brings up Jotun's Pax East Post-Mortem and A Tofu Tail’s PAX East 2016 Postmortem.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Satoru wrote: »

    Rami of Vlambeer has some advice for how to make your booth successful
    This is some good advice! Just make sure to not *actually* grab people! :)

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Heya all!

    I have not gotten any sort of packet or information about being on the other side of PAX. I've gone for years, even worked for other companies, but I am at my own booth this year (in the Indie Mega Booth). What should I be aware of? Is there a part of the site that has such information?

    The Indie Megabooth is run almost as a sublease, iirc. That likely means you get your information from whomever runs that, as opposed to PAX itself. Exhibitors directly registered with PAX do get a sales contact and access to other information I believe, but you likely won't get that directly.

    It is entirely possible that I am mis-remembering this, so don't take this as law.

  • jayh0vajayh0va Registered User regular
    Satoru wrote: »

    Rami of Vlambeer has some advice for how to make your booth successful

    Always have a card/flyer! The Expo floor is so insane that my stack of cards at the end of the con is the only way I keep track of everything I saw. This should be considered essential.

    Good Luck!

    klzLindsay LohanOnmitsu
  • iltailta Registered User regular
    having a sharpie and a pen handy is good, it's always nice to be able to write a reminder or contact info on a card, either for yourself or for an attendee. as an attendee who's always networking (voiceover work) i always carry these, but not everyone does.

  • Rule of ThreeRule of Three Game Designer Registered User regular
    This was an awesome summary of pointers.

    Thank you all! I'll be sure to follow it all! :biggrin:

  • sigma8sigma8 Registered User regular
    It goes for attendees, but quadruply so for exhibitors, IMO: hygiene. I'd bring some changes of clothes, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste (in addition to sugarfree mints or gum). Maybe mouthwash, too. I've chatted--only briefly--with some exhibitors who had BO or breath problems. When I find myself in such a situation, escape becomes my chief priority.

    Is there really a "no stickers" rule? I hadn't noticed that. I mean, I'm not an avid fan of stickers, but I don't mind them. If they are they banned, does anyone know why?

    Another idea: I like booths that have some kind of squishy, preferably memory-foam floor. I'm not sure if you're allowed to have such a thing as an indie megabooth exhibitor, but assuming there is no BO to avoid, I'll preferentially stand on memory foam if there's foam to stand on. Expo hall feet get sore pretty quickly.

    I don't know what the common wisdom is for this, but if you don't currently have visitors, I'd play your own game. I think it makes for a better "attract mode" than a somewhat desperate person sitting at a desk, people watching.. It's also better than watching exhibitors conversing amongst themselves (in the case of multiple exhibitors at a booth). The former seems too sad, and I don't want to get caught up in the tale of woe. The latter seems a bit like "hey, stay away, we're busy".

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    stickers are awful because people stick them /everywhere/ across the convention center. Then someone has to pay to clean them all up.

  • MrBroadstoneMrBroadstone Registered User regular
    I'm not sure how much can be publicly stated, but have you been informed of when you must have moved out by? If not, you really need to ask your indie mega booth contacts for that info ahead of time.

    Beyond that I hope you've got more than just yourself. 8 hours a day with no breaks just can't work for a human. You'll collapse or otherwise fail. Please don't forget to eat.

    Of note that I'm aware of: Typically you get like a table and like 2 chairs. That's it. Maybe not even power unless you bought it. Don't know how IMB works. You should ask them what comes in your booth. All the actual prices for stuff are on the BCEC website if you look around enough. Hint: It is very very expensive.

  • TemigTemig East [E] North Shore - MARegistered User regular
    Definitely pay attention to the above, especially with regards to the 2nd point. You want to have enough staffing to facilitate demos along with someone to just elevator pitch while demos are going and still have someone able to take a break. Of course, it's all going to boil down to what you're provided with or have available as part of the IMB and on that front you'll definitely want to reach out and see what info you can get from your contact(s).

    Be forewarned that your space will go QUICKLY. Try to make a floor plan beforehand, if possible. With a card game you'll want to make sure that you and booth visitors can get into and out of chairs for demoing without disrupting too much else within your booth and that you still have some space for the quicker inquiries and elevator pitches. You should have time to test your layout during setup, but if you have a solid plan going in you can just get it done and not have the added stress of figuring it all out on the spot. I don't know the exact dimensions of the IMB sections (hopefully you've at least been provided with that info), but they're not huge. When planning the space you should pretend that the space is enclosed with hard walls. Sure it won't actually be, but you're going to have other booths right up against you so they may as well be.

    One of the other pitfalls I've seen Exhibitors fall into is using all of their booth space for them and then expecting Attendees to stand in the aisles to talk/demo. Generally speaking, the aisles need to be kept moving to cut down on congestion and prevent fire hazards. The Fire Marshal patrols PAX to make sure things are up-to-code and, as such, Enforcers do so as well to prevent there being any serious issues and will ask crowds to either move into a booth or keep moving to clear traffic. No space within your booth means a very limited potential audience.

    Also, as cliche as pins are, there's a reason for that. People love their swag and pins are relatively cheap. They can also turn people into walking billboards for your booth/game and this can be especially effective with a really good design. If you're going to have limited quantities of swag (and perhaps even if you have not so limited quantities), you may want to reserve it for those who actually sit down and demo the game. Again, people love swag... they'll sit down and try out the game just to get it even if they normally wouldn't have stopped. On top of that, your walking billboard now has some knowledge they can pass along ("Oh, this pin? Yeah, it came from the booth over in the IMB demoing this awesome card game where you...." instead of "Oh, this pin? Yeah, it's from some booth over in the IMB.")

  • XomasXomas Registered User regular
    Cough drops is a great idea!

    I know this is going to sound horrible but something to make the area smell better. It gets hot and a little ripe in the hall at times. If you could remind us of some tropical weather or cookies... I'd never leave your booth lol.

    No joking aside, just be ready to talk to some folks like me for a good chunk of time. Bring lots of water as well.

  • CabadrinCabadrin Boston, MARegistered User regular
    Congrats! It's a fun ride. I remember my first exhibition booth at PAX, back in 2010 - we were stuck next to Rockstar and hadn't learned the lessons of extra padding on the carpet. My feet were screaming by the end :biggrin:

    So far I have done everything from a 10x20 to a 50x50 - last PAX booth was in 2015, when we did a 30x30 in the middle of the floor. Since then we've scaled down a bit to 20x20 at other shows.

    First thing is to care for your feet. You're going to be on your feet ALL DAY, so make sure you take care of them! You probably already know that from working other booths, but it's even more important for your own booth. You won't want to sit down because every minute sitting is a minute people aren't checking out your game. Which brings me to point two ...

    Stand up and grab people! You have a single job at the show: get as many people as possible to check out your game. To do that, you need to be:
    • Polite.
    • Excited and enthusiastic.
    • Able to tell them in 30s (or less!) why your game is awesome.

    After you get their attention (remember: look them in the eye! smile! act happy!) then you want to gauge how interested they are. Most will be just wandering through the show, so it's up to you to sell them that your booth is where they should sit down for a few. That's why you need to know what your hook is, and make it sound as appealing as possible.

    In 2015, when we were demoing our next game, we used our subject to hook people right away. "Are you a fan of [X]? Well, we have a BRAND NEW GAME built around your favorite stuff from [X]! Come check it out!" You want to act as if they're already interested in your game, not ask them if they might be interested. If you say, "Want to check out my new game?" then most will walk. If you say, "I built this AMAZING GAME about [X]! I brought it to PAX and I'd love you to play it for a few minutes. It's right over here ..." then you'll get a lot more people checking it out. Mirror neurons in people's brains actually cause us to mirror the emotions of others, so the happier and more enthusiastic you are, the happier and more enthusiastic people will be about what you're showing.

    And for point three, you'll be exhausted. All of the above will combine to make you a wreck after each day. Make sure you drink a ton of water, ask a friend or an Enforcer to grab food, and make sure you take regular breaks. Again, I'm sure you know it, but it goes double when it's your game that you're showing :) If you feel yourself becoming frustrated, tired, or snippy, then take a break immediately. Nothing is worse than snapping at an attendee, because bad press about you or your game flies farther and faster than any good press.

    Good luck. It's going to be great!

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