The day before PAX was surprisingly quiet. I got in early on Thursday morning to help set up the booth for Weird Giraffe Games, where I will be demoing this weekend. #1606! Come say hello!
I've never demoed before, nor have I been to a convention bigger than Dice Tower Con. But I also never shy away from a challenge, and I think I'm going to have a great time this weekend. So far, so good!
Our first step of the day yesterday was booth setup, which was a really interesting process to see from 'the other side." Before now, I gotten to see finished booths and just have the experience of shopping around at them. I never really processed the fact that before the booths go up, you are basically inside of a huge, empty space. All of those table spaces, floors, display counters, shelves, what have you are actually transported and assembled by publishers the day before the convention starts. Our first act of the day was to haul boxes of stuff in from the loading docks to where the booth was located. We are a small outfit and used a dolly or two to transport everything. Later in the day, bigger publishers and companies were in there with forklifts. It was wild!
It's all the little things in a booth that you never think about. Or at least, that I never think about. Before assembling furniture or unboxing games for demo/sale, we started with the foundation—a floor for the booth! Not everyone bothers with a booth floor, but I think ours is pretty cool. It's also little stuff like this that reminds me why I appreciate Carla Kopp so much as a game designer and as a person in general. That level of attention to detail and general giving a damn never ceases to impress me. I especially dig the Okapi-shaped cutouts in some of the foam tiles. How cool is that?
After flooring comes furniture assembly, shelving, and generally trying to make the place look decent. Let's just say it was a good thing I wasn't in charge of this project—I would never have thought of stuff like nice coverings for the tables, enough banners to advertise games, a display shelf for smaller items. Now that I've seen this stuff in action, I know. But the learning curve for a high quality booth setup might be steeper than I realized! It was also really cool to look around and see other teams of people pouring their hearts into their own small patches of floor space. It was like watching a tiny city spring up overnight! And of course, our own little home patch got done eventually.
I also had time to do a bunch of other really cool stuff. I got to hang out and play games with friends all afternoon and evening—obviously the best part of any convention. And I got to meet and interview Keith Matejka! We had never met before, and it turns out that he is very nice and very fun to talk to about solo gaming. Keep an eye out on my channel for some snippets of our conversation!
Here's hoping that the first "real" day of PAXU is as enjoyable as Day 0.