Last week, I observed an interesting phenomenon while showcasing Crop Cycle at the Spring Games Day in Winnipeg. After setting up my table with signs demanding that attendees play my farming game as a point of Prairie Pride, spreading out my cards, and stocking my candy jar with multi-colored Easter candies that could be seen from space, I found I was at a loss for players. The event’s gameplay schedule was right behind me, players were walking around looking for games and yet my booth was being avoided like Chernobyl.
What was different about my booth from everything else?
After a quick check to ensure I was fully-clothed and had not just walked out of the house without pants, I surveyed the other booths. A pattern became instantly apparent. The booths with more than one person at them and a game on display (regardless of the game) were attracting crowds. By contrast, those with only a single individual were struggling to gain interest.
The solution was simple enough. I grabbed an event organizer with a moment of downtime and we sat at my booth chatting about the event as I set up the game
Within minutes, people began to be interested and soon I had 3 more players, the event organizer left and the booth maintained steady traffic for several hours
The Bottom Line:
If you want to get people to come play your game, you need people to already be in the middle of the game. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but people are attracted to booths with games in progress. I am no psychologist, but this is clear crowd psychology at work. People take an interest in what others are interested in and if your table has the “buy-in” of gamers, others will have their curiosity piqued and come over to have a peak.
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