Göttingen Boardgame Authors’ Fair

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!

  Essen 2014

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.