Ply Games at Essen Spiel '22

Ply Games took part in the Spiel 22 event for the first time as an exhibitor. In this post, I would like to share with you my thoughts and basically memories (a month has passed) from this trip.

Event

Unfortunately, this year it has not been possible to return to the number of participants from before the pandemic (209k), although the organizers could not complain about the lack of participants (147k).

Messe essen layout
This year, the exhibitors' stands were located in 6 halls

A showroom with new releases for 2022/23 was open on Thursday and Friday. There are basically two options to get there in 2023: the first is to get a journalistic accreditation, you can already start building your influencer channel. The second option is to join the Ply Games team as a game explainer or support ;).

Spiel'22 showroom
The showroom in short can be described as a paradise for players.
Exploration board game release
Exploration never had its official release. We can say that it was held at Spiel'22.

At the stand we had practically only a few breaks during which people were not playing with us, practically all the time during the fair someone was interested in the game. It is true that the quality of production, graphic design and miniatures encouraged people to play the game. It was the same with the mechanics, once someone knew the rules, he really wanted to play.

Ply Games at Spiel'22
Even though we were located at the very end of hall 6, we didn't complain about the lack of interest - thanks for that!

Despite the fact that we only showed a few character figures, the Six Sided Summoner enjoyed great popularity. We distributed a lot of flyers.


Meetings / Networking


Meetings are by far the greatest value of this type of event.

  • We managed to meet some of you who supported us on Kickstarter. Thanks for coming and for a short chat! It was an amazing feeling to meet our fans.

  • Exploration joins the BGG library! It means that you will be able to check it out at BGG conventions and events like: BGG.SPRING, BGG@SEA, and BGG.CON

  • You will be able to play Exploration in the largest bar of board games in Brazil. We had the opportunity to talk to the owner of Funtasy, for whom, due to the problematic customs office, this type of event is the only opportunity to buy new games for his bar.

  • You won't guess who else we met - Javier "Ink Golem" González. Javier is a graphic designer for games such as: Cooper Isalnd, Skymines, Autobahn, and ... Six Sided Summoner!!! Javier is an author of Scarecrow and other characters in Six Sided Summoner and he and was amazed at the quality of the miniature sculpt based on his illustrations.

Unfortunately, William (the designer) of the original version of the game was not present at Spiel'22
  • It was quite an unusual situation to meet Dave from MiniWarGaming. Okay, I must admit that I was completely unfamiliar with his activities when he approached our booth. For obvious reasons, he was very interested in the Six Sided summoner miniatures. We talked for about 30 minutes. He advised us on how to expand our social media, and in return we gave him some tips on creating games (yes, he is going to release his own miniature game!). After we finished talking, a crowd immediately gathered around him, asking for photos and autographs! I really felt dumb...

  • In addition, we met many YouTubers, freelancers and suppliers. We probably have specialists ready to prepare box arts for Six Sided Summoner miniatures, interestingly they are from Poland!

Distribution pitch


At this point, I would like to tell you about the most important meeting - distributor pitch. We have been preparing for this meeting for weeks and I perceive the very opportunity to talk as a success. However, the distributor representative was delighted with Exploration. He drew attention to 4 things:

  • A multitude of strategies leading to scoring,

  • ship customization,

  • the uniqueness of orbital movement,

  • but the greatest enthusiasm aroused in him the possibility of going off the board in order to Explore the outer space! He immediately linked this mechanic to the Voyager probes!

The conversation went perfectly, so we can start thinking about the Exploration reprint. Unfortunately, I cannot provide any information at this stage yet.


Preparation for this kind of event


This section is intended to serve more as a support for other contributors wondering how to organize a trip to Essen. At Spiel'22, we had a stand of the basic size of 10 sqm. The stand looked like in the picture below.



We had a store counter, some plastic shelves a game table, plus a few branding gadgets. We had a team of 4 to operate the stand. The most important advice here is that you should always have a game explainer that speaks German at your booth.


In terms of logistics, we traveled in a Citroen Jumpy. The road from our city of Wrocław to Essen took us 13.5 hours (it should have been 8 ... but we got stuck in traffic jams). Due to the late booking of the hotel, we did not stay in Essen itself. For a quarter of the price in Essen we stopped in the city of Dinslaken and traveled to the exhibition site about 30 minutes each day.


In conclusion, we can say that Spiel'22 can cost indie game developers between 3,000 and 4,000 EUR. If I were to spend a similar amount on advertising, participation in Spiel is definitely a better choice. On the other hand, if you want to go crazy, there is probably no upper limit you can spend on this event.See you there next year!


Summary


I was in Essen both as a visitor and exhibitor. Despite the pandemic problems (face masks still had to be worn), Spiel is a great event. It has a unique atmosphere. There you can "touch live" our passion and meet many wonderful people who create this world. Now we only need to visit Gen Con;).


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