Con-Quest 2012 – Good Business?

Two years ago, we ran a demonstration game of 6d6 RPG for the first time at Con-Quest. One year ago we had our first trade stall at Con-Quest. This year we were hoping to have our best sales figures ever as the entire 6d6 Crew descend on the event to run games and promote the products.

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Disappointment

With five full RPG games planned plus as many games of 6d6 Shootouts we could fit in and a good range of products, I was confident we would do well. That confidence started to fade as by 3pm we had only sold £21 worth of stock. With only three and a half hours of the con to go, we were miles away from the £144 we took at Con-Quest 2011 and on track for our worst con ever.

Then, unexpectedly, sales picked up and we sold a further £105 of stock, half of it in the last 20 minutes of the con. We were still down from last year but a complete disaster had been averted.

Reflection

Having spent a day worrying how little we were taking, I was disappointed with our performance at Con-quest but I had time in the evening to quietly reflect on the day. In the end, I came to the conclusion that 6d6 did well and there were a lot of positives to be taken from it.

Firstly, given the number of people at the con, we did well. There were noticeably less people at the convention than previous years and only half the number of traders. The number of games running in the main hall seemed consistent with previous years but there was little happening in the side rooms and bar areas. Most critically, there seemed fewer people who had come to just browse and shop rather than to game.

Secondly, I had spent most of my day thinking “Is this going to be a disaster?”. This carried over so when sales picked up I was still in a negative state of mind.

But the point is that we took £126.

That it took right until the final minute of the con is irrelevant. What matters is that when we walked away from the con we had sold £126 worth of stock. It might not be our best sales figures but given the numbers at the convention, we did pretty well.

Thirdly, whilst I was worrying about money, I wasn’t paying attention to the important things – the games.

We had planned to run five games during the day. Cybernetics, 6d6 Bots, Rebel Flesh, an unnamed vampire project and our old favourite Savage Island. When it started to look that the number of attendees were down, we pulled Savage Island and focused our efforts on filling the new games. This worked and we filled the tables for the other games. Player feedback from them was also good and everyone seemed to enjoy the new settings.

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Innovation

Of the £126 in sales, £100 came from one product, the 6d6 Library Card. This 1gb flash-drive contains the PDFs of all 6d6’s projects and we use it exclusively at conventions as a way of selling digital products in a physical environment. This has always been a successful product because it offers great value for money and it is probably our single highest earning product.

This year, we added a new incentive. Players in any of our demo games were given a discount card worth £15 off the £40 price of the Library Card but it was only redeemable on the day.

Of the £126 total sales, £100 came from the four Library Cards we sold to players in demo games. Another £5 came from additional sales to someone buying the card. Last year we sold three Library Cards at £30 each, this year, with less potential customers, we sold four. While not statically valid it looks like the play-the-game/get-a-discount approach works and something we will be expanding.

The Word

The final positive from the weekend is the number of people who were involved with 6d6 or knew us. Our core ‘crew’ of GMs and helpers was larger than last year, we had more ‘associates’ who were actively connected to us in one way or another, and more friendly faces, people who we recognise and chat to. The 6d6 network is growing, building deep roots and strong connections.

Ultimately, Con-Quest was a good con. Its low attendance a blip and I’m sure it will be back next year, stronger than ever and 6d6 will be there as well.

2 comments

  1. It was good to see 6d6 there in force. As I’ve mentioned on other forums and the presence and demo capacity of the company was an entirely Good Thing and reminded me of something we’ve lost since the days of GenCon Loughborough. With a couple more companies showing equal presence at various cons, it would increase the day vistitors and drop-ins to conventions that may well throw money that way.

    I’m unsure of how you could encourage other cottage industry game companies to follow your example, aside from by example itself, but its something I’m highly in favour of. Good work on adding value to the convention.

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