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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Origins After-Action Report: 2009

STEVE COLE REPORTS: It was a good show. Attendance was clearly down (preliminary GAMA reports indicate about 10,000 people, down from the disappointing 13,000 last year). Lots of events were nearly empty all over the show, although the "pay $12 to play all day" room was full most of the time. The dealer room was a third smaller and had "spacious" aisles and many obviously unsold booth spots, but there were far more attractive women than usual. Sales were a bit MORE than last year, surprising due to the supposed bad economy and smaller crowd. GAMA team did a superb job. Trey actually asked me for any gripes since she knew I'd be the first person to speak up if there were, but there were none, at least, none about GAMA. (The idiots who run the convention center were trying to force us to pay $100 to park our van in the loading dock, but went away when we refused to be bullied. I don't know who owns the big carts, but they -- again -- would not allow exhibitors to use them, doubling the time needed to load and unload.) The convention food was much better. Grilled chicken sandwiches were healthier than most offerings and they got rid of those horrid "home-made potato chips" in favor of French fries. I got to go to North Market for the first time ever (and that will be the last time I ever go there as it is mostly trendy ethnic food that I'm allergic to or just won't eat. I refer to that stuff one staffer brings back from there as "dog vomit" and that's when I am being polite.) The GPA booth was well organized and very professional due to the delightful fashion model (Marcy) they hired to run it. The best part of the experience, as usual, was seeing so many old friends. We learned some lessons and made some notes to change things in the future. We will no longer bring 50 or 60 backlist SFB modules just in case someone buys one or two of them; we will just bring stuff printed in the last two years. (We may use the space to bring a better cart since the decorator won't let us use the big ones any more.) We will stop bringing so many of the miniatures and will just bring a representative sample of the ones more than a year old. We will have better signs to tell people that we have products in boxes we don't have room to display. (If GAMA offers the "second booth for half price" next year, I may take them up on it and bring all of my magazine racks, since I have two complete sets due to forgetting to take them one year and having to buy a second set at Office Depot.) Ken Burnside and I need to have each other's phone numbers in our cell phones instead of relying on faulty memory. We will continue to sell Ken's products and the Factory Second starships. I plan to put Jean in "full charge" of the booth so I can spent more time "floating" around the convention. I plan to gather up a team of SFU staffers with military service and demolish the TerrorWerks scenario (again). The tournament guys need to keep better records of who played in events (and who won them; I am tired of trying to figure out on Sunday morning who won which event). We need a sign in the booth telling people that demos are available (free!) if they just ask Jean where to find them. Event attendance was up for F&E and down for SFB and FC. We're not worried since that seems to reflect the economy and the overall attendance. The judges did a great job (so maybe next year Petrick and I can do TerrorWerks more often). Kudos to Chuck Strong, Tony Thomas, Mike Curtis, Lieutenant Grant, Snacko Knipfer, Mike Filsinger, Paul Franz, and Roger Rardain. Paul put the seminars on Talk Shoe. Next year, we plan to do more scenarios (unsure if we need a tournament for SFB or FC as players want scenarios).