Boston FIG 2018 Convention Report

Con Report

Boston Festival of Indie Games is a small game design showcase for video and tabletop games. It takes place in the Athletic Center on the campus of the MA Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. Welcome to anyone following me for the first time after meeting me there at the show!

It’s a one-day show, starting early and culminating in an awards ceremony for the designs entered into their Figgies contest. I ended up there because of an invite from one of the organizers who met us at PAX East.

The upshot: It was a great show! There were some minor organizational hiccups in the form of a lack of signage and a shortage of parking, but everyone I encountered was friendly and helpful, and now that I’ve been once, I’ll know what to do next year. (The first time at any show is always the hardest, because I don’t know the system, right? In this case the challenge was navigating the MIT campus at the height of rush hour.)

Sales were strong, very respectable numbers, and because I have friends in Somerville, I didn’t incur any hotel costs, just travel and meals. This was my first show done just out of my car, with a targeted ‘Top 50’ selection of titles in quantities of 4-6 or thereabouts for most of them, and a couple of bins of ‘Jim Likes Dice’.

It turns out that if you angle it just a little, a sheet of gridwall will just fit in the back of a 2012 Prius along with 2 plastic tubs of dice, a tub of tabelcloths, 10 boxes of digest RPGs and 4 boxes of oversized books. At the end of the show, I came back with 4 of those boxes emptied out, so that was great!

Traffic was steady all day, and it was my favorite kind of show: one with enthusiastic, curious gamers who were mostly new to story games. They asked lots of smart questions, and had a good idea of what they wanted. It’s been a joy and a privilege to watch the gender balance of the hobby (or at least my corner of it) march towards parity. The energy and curiosity these young women and nonbinary folks were approaching my with was so positive, and I’m really looking forward to coming back next year.

Numbers-wise, the usual patterns applied, which is to say I saw a wide range of titles I only sold 1 or 2 of; it’s breadth of selection, even when I tightly curate it, that makes the booth appealing. Dice are always the best sellers by QTY, and in this case by dollars as well.

Game-wise, the top sellers by units were, in order, the Quiet Year & Magical Fury (tie), The Skeletons, Dungeon World & Fiasco (tie), and then everything else, with most of what I brought selling at least 1 copy.  I was busy enough that I didn’t get to walk the floor, so I can’t speak to the quality of the game on offer, but my friend Jason who’s pretty well-versed in the board game scene went home with a couple of local designs he thought were pretty cool. Shout-out to Friend of Jim Stephen Dewey, who sold me the 5 copies of Ten Candles he had left after a successful day of us sending customers back and forth to each other.

October is mostly maintenance and business prep: buying a company van, setting up my new office, and getting ready for November, when things get crazy, with 3 shows that month: Metatopia 2018, Con on the Cob, and PAX UNPLUGGED! Hope to see you at the next show. If you were at Boston FIG and wanted to comment on the game, please do!

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