My Time at Gen Con 2021

  • October 18, 2021 1:22 PM

This year was my 3rd time attending Gen Con. Leading up to it, amid delays and uncertainties due to covid, I initially thought it might be a better convention to attend as a designer because there would be fewer attendees there so publishers might have more time, and after some of the larger publishers backed out I thought perhaps some of the smaller publishers who took their spots would be more open to meeting and taking pitches from relatively no-name designers like me.

In the 6 weeks prior, I went through the list of publishers scheduled to have a booth and emailed all of the ones I thought would be open to hearing about any of the games I was taking. As I was making my list of publishers to contact, I saw several who basically said "it's been a weird year and we're not in a position to take game submissions right now". Between that, the reduced number of publishers attending, and the mismatch of niches between my games and publishers, I had 1 scheduled pitch and a couple other publishers that I could swing by and briefly connect with if I caught them in a lull at their booth. That doesn't sound like much, and I didn't feel that it was, so I shifted my mindset to try to not focus solely on being there as a designer and primarily enjoy the show as a game enthusiast.

My scheduled pitch was fine, but the publisher was not interested. They suggested a different publisher I should try who was at the show. I didn't have a scheduled meeting with this second publisher but I tried an archaic tactic that ended up working out. I walked up to the booth and found a worker who was not currently busy and asked "Is there someone here this weekend taking game pitches?" and that got me connected with the right person. That actually was the most successful part of the whole show for me. I showed them all 3 games I brought (Galaxy Alpha Team, Poisoners' Soirée, and Tether) and they took a copy of Galaxy Alpha Team, then walked me over to their buddies at a different company to pitch Poisoners' Soirée, and they took a copy of that with them for further evaluation.

Then I spent the rest of the show checking out new games and being a geek, which I don't normally make time for at conventions, but I enjoyed.