INFORMATION FOR DEBUT DESIGNERS
Information and advice for attending the UKGE with your First Game or a Prototype Game
Are you a game designer that has a new game design in your head or even in physical form?
Thinking about attending UKGE but not sure how to proceed?
You have a few options now.
A) VISIT UKGE AND DO YOUR RESEARCH.
If your game idea is at a very basic stage and you are not sure how to proceed or if you are very new to the world of games and want to find out more about other games, about publishers etc then consider just coming as a visitor to UKGE. Try out game designs by the companies present, chat to designers. Use the visit as research.
To Follow Route A just buy an entrance ticket and turn up.
B) GET THE GAME INTO THE PLAYTEST ZONE
The cheapest approach is to book your game a slot in the Playtest Zone. Most places are free to use (you just need an entry ticket). You book a slot via the organisation, Playtest UK, who run the tables. (3 hours slots require a £12 donation to an Expo charity.)
You can read about it here:
Basically, you are allocated a playtesting table to set up your game. The Playtest Zone volunteers will invite Expo attendees to sit down and play your game. Many folk who attend UKGE are happy to try new designs and give helpful comments. This feedback is a great way to improve your game and this is a crucial stage for all designs. The playtesting sessions are allocated in 90 minutes or 3 hours slots.
You cannot use the Playtest Zone if you are selling the game.
To Follow Route B, read the Playtest Page and contact Playtest UK to book your slot. Then buy an entrance ticket and turn up.
C) HIRE A STARTER STAND
You hire a 2m x2m starter stand for £110+VAT. Add a table – say 4ft x 2ft and 4 chairs for an additional circa £20 (Or bring your own). If your have a slightly larger budget get the larger 3m x2m starter stands for £165+VAT and with a will you can accomodate two demo tables theirein. This way you get 3 whole days of potential playtest and feedback. With many games that could mean dozens of games get played and you could have lots of feedback. In addition you can sell games from Trade Stands. Note that Starter stands are placed at the discretion of the organisers in standard space (never in Superior).
D) HIRE A FULL SIZED STAND.
Finally you go the whole hog and take a full size Trade stand. These can be of almost any size, shape and configuration and cost from £45 per sqm. So lets say you had 5m x 4m that would cost £900+VAt. Clearly a stand of that size would allow you the space to fit in a number of demo tables, a sales area etc.
To follow Route C or D you must become an exhibitor. Read the Exhibitors Start Here Page to begin.
E)TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PUBLISHER-DESIGNER TRACK
The UKGE Publisher Designer Track is includes prototype testing tables, seminars and panels for games designers and publishers, networking events and opportunities for budding designers to pitch their ideas to publishers.
What is great news is that it is all free (you just need an exntrance ticket)
Find out More
How to make the most of UKGE as a New Exhibitor
The Trade Hall at UKGE can seem rather intimidating. There are 300+ exhibitors with stands from 4sqm up to 250 sqm. There are a great many amazing games out there. In order to make the most of UKGE you have to stand out and attract in the gamers to try your game.
1. Make the game as good as it can possibly look. Even in the case of a prototype a bit of extra effort can pay dividends. So pay a local printer to print the game board in high resolution. Consider higher quality components etc. many publishers will have special demo versions such as giant versions etc.
2. The whole stand is part of your display. Consider pull up banners, coming in costume etc. At the very least get some branded T Shirts to promote the games company.
3. Help the visitor find out more. Make sure you have flyers about the game, business cards to give out. Consider placing an advert in the UKGE programme.
4. Take along playtest feedback forms for people who play the game to fill in and give you feedback.
5. Don't forget the Press Preview.
6. Don't miss out on the Publisher Designer Track of events and acivities
7. Tell us your news and we will tell our customers
You might care to read a blog post I once wrote on the subject of designing and publishing a game: