This blog wants to be a window opened on the game publishing world and to introduce you to the backstage of the life of a board games publisher. The best way to do it is by sharing our deepest and most intense feelings. In my case, these feelings are evoked by the Essen exhibition!
WHAT ESSEN MEANT TO ME: 2005-2019
For our company, Essen has always been the most important event of the year, because it was the event when we used to launch our new games. This always meant high levels of anxiety, as it was the moment in which the efforts of – at least – a whole year had to pay back. In particular:
- We know that games get old really fast, and people have little time to get to know them and fully appreciate them. The exhibition has always been our main showcase, fundamental to build hype around the products, with pictures, reports, and including them in the boardgamegeek list, etc.
- Equally important, of course, is the work carried out in the offices inside the stands, meaning the business to business meetings, where our suppliers can touch with their own hands our projects, to figure out together how to create them, and our customers get the chance to appreciate in person how beautiful they are. In fact, our most successful products have always gone through this fundamental channel.
- Finally, of course, direct sales are always important to generate some immediate liquidity, that goes to cover the exhibition investments, make ends meet… and eventually starting to earn something for ourselves.
Those four days have always been vital for me, on an objective level – for the reasons I just explained, and on a subjective level, because I live Essen fair as if it was a test to evaluate months of work. Fundamental detail: on this test depend the economic survival of the whole Post Scriptum team and mine, (I must admit that to get a stand we spend important amounts).
Going back to the feelings we talked about at the beginning, the days before the exhibition I am always very nervous, impossible to deal with, I can’t sleep, I only think about work, day and night. Which means that yes, game publishers are also human.
Here we are at the 2021 edition. When we decided to take part in the exhibition, things had already started taking an ugly turn, as we explained in a previous post, and we were all but sure that we could publish anything in time. Of course, the publication was supposed to be Shogun no Katana, for which we intended to set up a majestic stand, full of demo tables, with several demonstrators in different languages. But honestly the stakes were too high: the chances that the game wouldn’t arrive on time were too high (in fact, it did not arrive as we explained in this Kickstarter update) and on top of it, we didn’t know how we could do our demos: what interpersonal distance would be required? What other precautions and limitations? And what about the attendance? Would players come to the exhibition? We’ll be honest about it, we though it would be better not to invest between 10,000 and 20,000 euro for the stand. For such a small company like ours, those are big money, and we would rather spend them on the development of new games.
At the same time, we didn’t have any doubt about taking part in the exhibition for the following reasons:
- When we signed up, we had good chances to receive the vaccine in time, as a matter of fact, we have now all received the second shot.
- What we missed most during 2020 were the meetings, the business to business with suppliers, with reviewers, but most of all with possible clients. These meetings are the main distribution channel for our products all over the world. We missed them because, while on one hand we felt privileged that we could work from home, carrying out all our projects without any problems (the inventors of Tabletop Simulator deserve a monument!), on the other hand we couldn’t show in person our mock-ups to potential clients, and in a field in which the physical paper part is fundamental, this was a great problem.
- It is true that, as you all could see, we worked-stop to the Shogun no Katana Kickstarter campaign, but the reason of this blog is also to tell you what you can’t know, for example, that during the last year before the pandemic we had been working a lot on two new family games, for which we had foreseen a massive production, with the objective of replicating the excellent sales of Fun Farm and Brick Party. We had already taken them to Nuremberg fair and to Cannes 2020, receiving great feedback. Then we all know what happened and everything stopped, also because of the well-known production issues. However, we didn’t forget about our projects, so we are going to the exhibition hoping to show them to as many business clients as possible. At the same time, we have developed two more easy-going games, and we’ll also have them with us, they are easier to produce and more suitable to the current situation. We believe that the 4 games are all excellent, and we can’t wait to launch them!
- Finally, even though we won’t have demo tables, we really wanted to have a place where we could show our fans Shogun no Katana’s mock-up, because we really think it is a wonderful game! We also have a small shopping area where we will have some offers that you can’t miss…
And for our social fans (including you, readers of our blog) there’s an additional discount! Simply show to the desk the image at the bottom of this article to get the discount! Yes, we love you!
So… yes, also this year I’m living the pre-exhibition days with the usual anxiety, because the deals that we will get in Essen 2021 will be fundamental for Post Scriptum’s future, but I’m sure that as soon as I’ll breath the exhibition air I’ll think “finally!” and anxiety will turn thrill and enthusiasm.
My team and I will wait for you at the stand!