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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preparing for AMA-Con

Jean Sexton writes:

Right now we are busy preparing for AMA-Con this weekend. Going to a new convention takes planning. Luckily we are located right here in town, so if we need more of something, we can go pick it up.

But our work on AMA-Con started over a year ago. Leanna and I thought it might be a convention that we could attend and support. So we started by checking out the convention, chatting with vendors and event organizers. We thought it might be a good fit for the company. So we reserved our vendor booth and told them we also wanted to demo games.

Later we met with organizers from the library, the sponsors of AMA-Con. We found out what we could and could not do in the way of promotions. They suggested something unique for us: Meet the Publisher. By mid-March 2016, we had a webpage page up for our participation at AMA-Con. We also began advertising steadily that we would be there.

AMA-Con seems to be a different mix of interests than what we would expect at Origins. Therefore our planning started taking that into account. We started out by deciding each of the games would be represented by its base game. We planned on demoing Federation Commander and Star Fleet Battle Force, so we needed to go more heavily into those games. We were told that lots of people there are RPGers, so we decided to make sure to take GURPS Prime Directive and Prime Directive PD20M. Everyone there reads, so our short story collection, For the Glory of the Empire, and our more RPG-aimed Away Team Log will be there. Captain's Log has a strong following, so we decided to take some of the more recent issues. We know a lot of people read on Kindle, so we had a sign and bookmark created with a smart code that leads folks straight to the book.

Now the big question is which miniatures will we take. We decided to take our "challenged" starships so people could get an inexpensive miniature. We're still sorting out which Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Tholian, and Gorn ships to take. Because our space is limited, we decided to open up the cart for those people who wanted to order ahead and pick up things we might not take.

Since we are doing demos, part of the planning was training the people giving the demos. Simone learned Star Fleet Battle Force and then practiced what she learned by teaching me. Michael is scheduled for a refresher course in SFBF. Petrick is brushing up on Federation Commander. Steve Cole has practiced answering questions from budding game designers. (He got questions about well-thought-out games as well as games that would be quite illegal were they to be developed.)

One of the things that happens at conventions is working with the people running the convention. That's been Leanna's responsibility. She's arranged for vendor badges, set-up lists, and meet-and-greet opportunities. She's also arranging for change, credit card apps, and a counterfeit pen. Also behind the scenes, Simone was creating signs for our events. These should give us a professional look as well as drawing interest from people who don't know about ADB.

So going to a convention is a lot of hard work before the first gamer walks through the door. We do hope that you will come and visit us at AMA-Con this year.

Steven Petrick prepares what he needs for AMA-Con.