Good chance that you saw at least one of those last weekend at the “FeenCon” in Bonn, Germany! And it was a good opportunity to meet some authors of fantasy books in person. The main bulk of visitors were obviously from German speaking countries, as most of the authors there published their books in German. To name just a few of them: Janina Robben, Hannah Böving, Lisa Dröttbom and Dirk Richter.
Also interesting were the works of various artists who were at the FeenCon. From Manga Art to medieval style and may drawings…for children and “old children”, everyone could find interesting stuff. Personally, I liked the project Lars Czekalla was presenting: A short movie about a child who tells her father “to grow up”, as he is playing fantasy role playing games with his friends all the time.
The weather was quite hot at the weekend – maybe this prevented the FeenCon from having far more visitors. On the other hand, this created a very relaxed atmosphere, as one could stroll freely through the location. Big thumbs up to the main organizer Tore Herr, who made the FeenCon 2016 come true!
No question – Korea Board Games sent out scouts to find promising prototypes of new board and card games! And they were quite excited – what surprises would this convention bring?
The city hall of the medieval German city of Göttingen was the place where Game designers from all over Europe came together to show the prototypes of their new games.
The scouts were amazed to see so many creative minds at one place. The prototypes themselves?
Certainly not all of them matched the expectations we have for a great board/card game. But a few were really “WOW”. So now is the time to playtest some of the most promising prototypes – and let´s see whether the best will make it into a new game at Korea Board Games.
2 weeks ago was the first day of Spiel fair 2014 in Essen, Germany.
And what a successful first day it was. We almost sold out in 4 of our 5 novelties and they were sold out at the end of the fair. Many people wanted to play a game of Abraca..What? and King’s Pouch and the tables were always full with people coming together and playing our games. It was a exciting time.
Each year, many games get released in these mad days in Essen. Each year there is a lot of excitement in the fair halls when the games for which you read everything you could gather and got excited for a long time finally gets avaiable for everybody. We had a lot of such encounters and met many great people who wanted to play our games.
Because this is really what Essen is about: meeting people. Meeting partners for possible distribution in other countries, meeting shop owners, board game artists and journalists, meeting board game designers and getting to know their interesting new designs and last but not least meeting fans who want to play our games. You all are the reasons why we love to make games.
Playing King’s Pouch with the designer Keewong Kim.
Marie Cardouat signing a copy of Abraca…what?
And the designer Gary Kim did so, too! 🙂
We had a very fun time this year in Essen and hope to see all of you again next year!
We’ll take a break from the KBG Design Contest News this time and tell you about another way to interact with authors. A fair!
Göttingen is the name of a town in northern Germany. For more than 30 years it has also been the location of a boardgame authors’ fair. Many of the big german publishers, like Amigo, Ravensburger, Kosmos, etc. are sending scouts to authors’ meetings like this and “Göttingen” is one of the oldest and most famous of them. The latest fair took place this past weekend (14th and 15th of June).
In the last few years KBG has also joined the meeting and we would like to tell you a little bit about our experiences…
For us as scouts, the fair in Göttingen always provides very mixed experiences and it was not different in this year.
This kind of work will always be taxing. Sometimes it is hard to judge games: Maybe it is fun but… is it -original? -marketable? -fitting your company lineup? Maybe it is not a lot of fun but you can see it could be?
Sometimes it is hard to communicate one’s (negative?) opinion to an enthusiastic author. Maybe you feel that the author is missing some elementary flaw in his game: Should you try to help out? The more experienced a boardgame editor you are, the more certain you can be about your own opinion. But we at KBG aren’t really industry veterans… boardgames haven’t even been sold in Korea for more than around 10-15 years! 🙂
Even if you are a veteran editor… you played this game only one time, while the author has worked on it for months or years! OK, maybe you are sitting in front of a rethemed version of “chutes and ladders”… but it is probably still better to hold back and respect the time and effort the guy on the other side of the table has put in. And anyways you don’t have time for any “small talk” because there are 199 other tables to go to!
Going through all those tables while keeping an open mind and listening to every explanation attentively all the time is nigh impossible, so in addition to all other problems, one has to be aware of these limitations and try to work around them.
All the “stress” of trying to do your job aside, there are also a lot of positives: you can find all kinds of different people at the tables there, ranging from experienced authors to total newcomers and from game agencies to authors’ collectives. Most of the people -even those who participate the first time- usually are well-prepared and know what helps the scouts to do their jobs (summary sheets for games, name cards with contact info, etc.). Everyone is generally friendly and the atmosphere is quite relaxed.
And of course it is great fun to see what sometimes incredibly complicated, sometimes stupidly funny, sometimes genuinely surpising and novel ideas all those people are showing. So we will definitely be there again in 2015.
At the G-Star Game Fair in Korea last weekend, we could witness two famous Starcraft players, Yellow and Boxer, try their hand at a game of coconuts:
We are really proud to see them play our game and happy that their match ended with such a typical Coconuts shot… 🙂
Korea Boardgames was present as a part of the Korean Pavilion in Hall 3. This year was very special for us, because for the first time we presented a few novelties that we published ourselves and we had hopes to find international partners for some of those, too. So we were very anxious to see the reaction of the visitors, as well as that of the publishers.
The first moment of pride we felt, was when we saw our very first game, Pharaoh Code being featured on the Amigo booth on Wednesday. That game was invented by one of our colleagues who used to work at the warehouse at the time.It is a kind of symbol for the development of our company. To see it arrive at one of the big German brands (and also at many other great publishers all over the world) was very exciting for us:
However, we of course already knew that this would be the case. We were much less secure about our new games for this year, namely Heroes of the Three Kingdoms (Light Card Game), Colorful Serengeti (Speed-Observation game for Kids) and of course Coconuts.
What we sadly couldn´t show at the fair yet was our novelty that stems from last years contest, “Boom: Runaway Bombs”. We have made some last minute changes that force us to delay that game by a bit.
We felt that each of our games has a special point that should make it interesting for some (or many!) people, but we were not confident enough to bring in large quantities, so we had a stock of less than 100 items for each. That sounds a little timid, but it is in line with what many other less known publishers from Asia can bring (and more than we used to bring in the past).
As it turns out, the reaction of the visitors, especially regarding Coconuts, was overwhelmingly positive….
Our fear that the coconuts would be too bouncy and parents would reject the game due to it being too “chaotic” were completely unfounded. Kids, parents, teens, adults, everyone seemed to enjoy our game.This went way beyond any expectations we could have had. Sadly it also meant that our conservatively estimated supply was woefully inadequate…
We sold out on the first day, the restock on the second day was sold out within one or two hours of opening the fair. The same thing happened on Saturday when we emptied our sample archive and provided a dozen or so additional copies.
At the end of the fair, people were even competing and bidding for our Demo copies. It might sound strange or arrogant to tell this story ourselves, but we were really dumbstruck by this response and it was really wonderful to see everyone enjoy our work like that, so it can´t be left out of this report.
Our other games were received a little more mixed. Heroes of the 3 Kingdoms was a little too shallow for some people, especially those who had expected a full-blown game about the topic. Colorful Serengeti is entering the market at a time where there are already quite a few “speed-observation” games, so it is also not so “special”.
Also, both of those games suffered a little from the fact that we brought pre-produced english copies that were made specifically for the fair, so the quality of the cards and boxes was a little lacking.
Nevertheless, we feel those games are great as well (Like every parent we can´t say bad things about our children) – and eventually we sold out all of them as well, leaving us with nothing to sell except for our line of licensed Doraemon games.
As the publishers’ response to our games was equally great, the fair was a complete success for us and we almost couldn´t be happier. We really would have loved to bring more Coconuts though, as we had to leave quite a few kids and even quite a few grown-ups disappointed.
This year, we will bring several games to Essen, including Coconuts (which was mentioned here before), Colorful Serengeti (a children´s game) and Heroes of the Three Kingdoms (a light card game).
There is a lot of work connected with attending a fair, especially if you are bringing new games. Many mundane logistical things have to be taken care of, promo material and posters have to be printed, etc.
And most of all you should finish your games in time… So we have been really busy to try and get all our games ready and also get them produced so we actually have something to sell in case some of you guys are interested.
So please excuse the small downtime and if you come by Essen be sure to check out our Booth at Hall 3 O-119 (Korean Pavilion), to check if our preparations lead to a good result! 🙂
Christian and HK’s entry, Cucumberpocalypse, is a light strategy game about building up your nation to deal with an impending invasion of space cucumbers.
Christian is working as an English teacher in a town south of Seoul, sometimes using boardgames in the classroom for educational purposes, HK is working for a market research company. As expected, gaming is the reason those two found each other: They are both active table-top gamers, occasionally straying into eurogames, too.
We found them both to be extemely friendly and likeable fellows even though the first news we had to give them, was actually that their game is not going to be among the top three of our contest. The structure of the game is solid and the theme is interesting,but we found the balance and variety of the game to be lacking a little.
They took the bad news in good humor and explained how they literally finished the game in the last second, so not enough time for playtesting remained. Hopefully they will continue to develop games with the same passion they showed when we met them: We are pretty sure that the world needs a great game about space cucumbers and they are in a great position to deliver that.