Giving Candy to Strangers

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Easter colored Candy Corn...tasty and more importantly, bright enough to be visible from space
Easter colored Candy Corn…tasty and more importantly, bright enough to be visible from space

I work for a university and during my lunch breaks, I make a point of leaving the office and going for a stroll through the campus. My walks end at the University Centre, a central hub for campus activity. Amongst the crowds of staff and students are tables with promoters for every group, cause, and event you can imagine. Law enforcement recruiters brush up against credit card sellers and Amnesty International representatives. What do all these groups vying for my attention have in common?

All have tables have some form of candy on them.

You remember the old adage “don’t take candy from strangers”. Forget that adage, it’s a stupid.

If you want a quick and easy way to attract wandering eyes to your booth, candy is the way to do it. Of course, nice signs, a promotional contest and a stellar game are great too, but there are times where you will find yourself at a convention with limited resources.

For this reason, as part of my convention bag I always bring a bowl and a bag of colorful candies. For example, when promoting Crop Cycle I use Candy Corn. Candy Corn fits the farming theme of the game and is bright enough to be seen from space.

Make sure the bowl is placed near the table edge that convention attendees will be on and don’t be stingy with sharing. I have seen people try to conserve candy by only offering it to those willing to play their game. In those situations I have to wonder how much the designer spent on those candies that they are willing to pass up potential interest and conversation with a passerby for a few candies. If your budget is being broken by your candy dish, buy cheaper candies!

If you haven’t guessed, my preference is to leave the candy dish open for convention attendees to help themselves. Aside from the occasional young child (or adult with the mind of small child) that will take candy and run away, most people won’t destroy your food stuffs without at least making small-talk. If you are unsure of what to do when someone asks what your booth is showcasing, a good place to start is to read my article on conversational hooks.

A food theme seems to be developing based on the last few articles. Coming up next though, I will be writing an article on convention preparation and developing a pre-convention checklist!

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Surviving the Convention Circuit Diet

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Convention Food will kill you!

You can rationalize that there is protein somewhere in the bacon and cheese bagel sandwich you just consumed; but that won’t undo the calories; or the effect this food will have on your body in the short term. An accurate recreation of your body’s general response to convention food can be found here.

This type of bodily response results in sub-optimal performance at conventions.

That is not being totally fair; sometimes conventions do offer healthy(ish) alternatives, but because healthy fruits and vegetables don’t have a great shelf life and take up lots of storage space, many conventions opt for pre-packaged/pre-cooked foods with shelf lives that rival my own life expectancy.

If a convention does make an effort to provide healthy foods; by all means give them your support. Convention and community centers are integral to our hobby and showing support by tossing a few dollars their way is always appreciated.

Just don’t make surviving off convention food plan A.

Beyond nutrition, food costs can add up and board game designers aren’t known for rolling in cash. Whenever possible, I bring along my own food to a convention along with a refillable water bottle. I do allot a certain amount of money for snacks to support the convention centre hosts, but the bulk of my food does not come from the convention.

If I am traveling or outside food is not allowed, I typically elect to dash out to a Subway and purchase the greatest quantity of vegetables possible to compress between two pieces of bread. If I am tied to my booth all day, I may buy in when I hear a fellow con-goer is going to venture out on a food run. I am a pretty trusting person though, so that may not work for everyone.

You’re not training for a Marathon or Bodybuilding competition, so you don’t need to maintain a pristine diet throughout a convention. By aiming to prepare your own healthy meals however, you ensure that both your digestive tract and bank account don’t take a nose dive and that you have a better overall convention experience.

Congrats! You made it to the end of the article; a feat few internet readers achieve. If you enjoyed the words above, SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER and stay informed of new Content, Events, and Games. Also, check out new blog posts here and on Twitter at #conventioncoach

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Convention Coach + Stories

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logo_bigger Welcome to my blog series on Convention Stories and Strategies.  I recommend checking it out if you are a gamer or a designer and have an interest in:

  1. Promoting a game
  2. Attracting attention to your booth
  3. Communicating with other humans
  4. Learning from my mistakes

I don’t pretend to be an expert on all things, but I have been to many conventions both as an attendee and a game designer showcasing Crop Cycle and Centaurus, entered speaking competitions, and enjoy talking to people as a general pastime.  Also, I have made plenty of mistakes and hope that you will learn from them.

Convention Coach: Strategies to help improve your results at game convetions

1. Surviving the Convention Circuit Diet

2. Sumo Fights Yoga Instructors…and other hooks to engage with

3. Move like Agent Smith: Make caffeine work for you

4. The Law of Gameplay Attraction

5. Giving Candy to Strangers

6. Combat Terrible Memory with a Checklist

7. The Third Wheel: Bringing new players into the Fold

8. Top 6 Reasons to Share a Table

9. Validating Players and Accepting Feedback

10. Simple Thoughts on Signs

Convention Stories: Humorous highlights from conventions.

1. Memories of Keycon: Drinking with a Dwarf

2. Rediscovering Childhood at PAX West

Please check back regularly as this list is updated regularly!

Congrats! You made it to the end of the article, a feat few have achieved! If you enjoyed the words above, SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER and stay informed of new Content, Events, and Games. Also, be sure to post on Twitter using @GamesCg