UK Games Expo For the first time, ProFantasy will be exhibiting at UK Games Expo in Birmingham this coming weekend.

The show has been constantly growing in recent years and we are excited to see how the gaming community comes together for this event. You will find us in hall 1 at booth 1-697 as show in the hall map below. If you are visiting UK Games Expo, please stop by to say hello, check out our software and just chat a little about mapping!

Hall Guide

Orc HutYou might be wondering what yours truly has been up to now that the first Token Treasury is out. Here’s a little update about what’s on my desk.

There is of course the Cities of (Mike) Schley you’ve all been wondering about. Progress has been a little slower than expected for a while, but we are now moving along nicely again, with Mike regularly submitting new house symbols – check out the gorgeous little orcish hut here. Of course the map (shading) files for all these houses need to be created, but we do have an expert on this now, don’t we?

CrocodileSecondly, after the Token Treasury is before the Token Treasury. We are very happy with the artwork that Rich Longmore has produced and our customers seem to agree. So we’ve commissioned him for a second set and the first pieces are rolling in. Check out the gorgeous Papa Croc (my nickname) on the left.

There are a few slots left on our monster list for issue two (the list of monsters for the first issue is here), so if you have any wishes, post the below!

Finally ProFantasy will be exhibiting at a new convention (new for us that is) this year. We’ll be at UK Games Expo in Birmingham, and that wants to be organized including travel, rooms, booth space and everything that goes along with that. I’m certainly looking forward to being in Birmingham for the first time!

Dragonmeet 18Dragonmeet, London’s friendliest gaming convention, is held again this year on the first weekend of December (December 1st) in London, at the Novotel in Hammersmith, like last year. ProFantasy will be there and you’re welcome to stop by to check our products, talk mapping or just say hello to yours truly (Ralf).

Look for us next to the Pelgrane booth. Final booth numbers have not been assigned, but the exhibitor’s hall should be small enough that we are easy to find. Look for the maps!


Der SchlendererThis week is Spiel time, i.e. the world’s biggest boardgame consumer fair takes place in Essen, Germany. ProFantasy has been exhibiting there since at least 2000 and it is always great fun, if also a busy and tiring time.

For this year, the organizer (Merz Verlag) has vastly improved the available documentation and guides. The “Spiel Guide” is an actually useful piece with the hall plans and all exhibitors listed alphabetically by hall. Hopefully that should make it easy to find our booth 6G113, which is smack in the middle of hall 6. If you are looking for board games, it also contains a list of all the new games announced for Spiel.

Yours truly (Ralf) will be there and I’ll be happy to demo you any of the software, give you a glimpse at the upcoming Token Treasure and Cities of Schley, or just chat about maps, map-making and gaming in general. Hope to see you there!
Spiel Halle 6

GenCon 2018 – the Best 4 Days in Gaming – is coming up next week, and of course ProFantasy will be at the show.

Stop by at booth #1317 (we are sharing the booth with Pelgrane Press) to check out the new Dioramas 3, get a glimpse of what we are working on, or just chat with Simon, Ralf or Doug. We are looking forward to seeing you there!
Exhibitors Hall

You know the summer is over and fall is coming in the Northern hemisphere, when we head over to Essen for the International Spieletage, or SPIEL for short. 4-days packed with board and role-playing games on the world’s largest consumer fair for board games – what’s not to like?

Come on over and check out the latest add-ons and updates for CC3+, have a chat with me (Ralf) about mapping, and wander the halls for the latest and greatest in boardgaming. What are you waiting for? See us in hall 2 at booth C-117.

Hall 2 plan

06_AboveCloudsThis is a bit of a personal look at this year’s travel to Indianapolis and my experience on the ProFantasy booth at GenCon. Read on if you enjoy this sort of thing.

I enjoy traveling very much, but a transatlantic flight is still a tiring thing. It takes me about 2 hours to get to Frankfurt airport from where I live, so it always means an early morning start for me. There are no direct flights to Indianapolis from Europe, so the first leg of the journey usually takes me to New York, Detroit or Chicago. Then there’s immigration, another security check and the domestic flight to Indy. All of this easily eats up 20 hours or more. As I can’t sleep on the plane, you can imagine the general state I’m in when I arrive in Indy on Tuesday evening. I have to to say though, that recent changes in the way the US handles the immigration/security checks has reduced waiting times immensely. Where I used to stand 30 minutes to 2 hours in line, I can now just walk up to an immigration terminal and get through the whole thing in 10 minutes. Great!

09_BoothArrivalWednesday is set aside for booth setup. I meet up with Doug and Tommy, who’ve driven over from Columbus the day before, and we usually start building the booth around 10am – if the booth material has arrived yet, as it had this year. Having done this for a few years, we are a practiced team and get it done pretty quickly. As we are sharing the booth with Pelgrane Press and they have a lot more to do with all the heavy books to shift, we usually manage to help them out a bit. Often there’s a problem to sort out: Electricity hasn’t been laid, tables are missing, we need more chairs, etc. which means a trip to convention services or asking around at other exhibitors. This year was fairly easy on that, but Mayfair Games were very helpful in storing some palettes we didn’t have space for. Doug is the champion in getting help – he just has a way with people.

20_ArmadaWednesday evening there’s usually a little time available where I can get in a game or two. Tommy usually brings along some good games, and this year we managed to try a session of Star Wars: Armada which neither of us has had a chance to play before. My Imperial fleet managed to decimate his rebel scum – taking on Star Destroyers in close combat is not such a promising tactic after all. Yay!

Gaming takes my mind away from the jet lag exhaustion at this point, helping to get into the 6-hours-delayed day and night rhythm. If I’d retire to the hotel room, I’d just fall asleep and later be awake most of the night. Still I start waking up at 4am and then sleep only in small bursts until it’s get time get up. By the time I’m acclimatized, it usually time to fly back home to Germany.

25_DemoRunningThursday is the big day – the actual convention starts. It’s early hours for us, since the first customers can enter the exhibitor’s hall at 9am (VIGs – very important customers – spend extra on their tickets for this privilege). Since there is usually some last minute setup to do, things to check, and the computer to boot up, I’m in the hall at 8am, the earliest time you can enter as exhibitor.

The real rush begins when the hall opens to the general public and it’s always fun to see the crowd hurrying towards the booth with limited product or special offers. Fortunately they’ve now managed to convince everyone that running though the aisles is NOT a good idea – even if it had to be through threats of removing ticket privileges. More customers start arriving at our booth around that time, and I get into my routine of explaining (“What are you selling here?”) and/or demoing CC3+ (“Can you show me how it works?”) or the add-ons (“How do I create a starship deckplan”)?

22_RedCarpetWe had the the just released Perspectives 3 installed, but unfortunately no discs or boxes yet. That always makes it a bit hard to generate interest, but I was able to demo the isometric map-making to quite a few people and they liked what they saw! It’s great to see familiar faces and get wonderful feedback from old-time customers, but the largest part of the booth work is getting new people interested in CC3+ – and that is very rewarding. We’ve added at least 60 new people to the fold of CC3+ users over the course of the show, and I am sure several of those will show up on the forum with their work or come back to the booth next year to chat about their experience.

Thursday afternoon and Friday tend to be quieter which gives us the chance to take turns to wander the halls and look around. There’s never enough time to play an actual demo game at one of the many tables, but at least you get to check out new releases, special offers and old friends at other booths.

34_EnnieThursday night is usually reserved for the ProFantasy dinner where we enjoy a good meal together with some freelance cartographers. Unfortunately Alyssa Faden couldn’t make it to GenCon this year, but Mike Schley was there. I can’t say much about it yet, but I’m happy to hint, that there’ll be some cool stuff coming up from further Schley/Profantasy cooperation.

Friday is gala night where the ENnie awards are given out in a big ceremony. ProFantasy wasn’t involved, but Pelgrane Piess always is and won an amazing number of ENnies this year. Congratulations to our booth compatriots!

43_BatmanSaturday is always the busiest day of the show and we do the bulk of our sales. Fortunately it doesn’t get rowdy, but some customers do seem to go to extremes. Thanks, Batman!

Saturday evening I reserved for gaming with friends and we got a nice playtest session in for an upcoming Tolkien-themed deduction game from Ares Games, where the Nazgûl are hunting for the hobbits on their way from Bag End to Rivendell. I got to play Frodo, but the pesky ringwraiths managed to thwart me and recovered the One Ring on the road east of Bree. So much for Middle-earth!

35_DismantlingThings start to slowly wind down on Sunday, with the exhibitor’s hall closing at 4pm. Dismantling the booth and storing everything for shipping went well this year (it can be a pain) and we waved Tommy and Doug goodbye as they headed home. For us long-distance-flyers the trip home is on Monday, giving us time to gather for the big Pelgrane dinner and some drinks in the hotel bar later. Another GenCon well done!

Somehow the trips back to Germany always prove troublesome for me. This year I ran smack into the big Delta Airlines mess up. I missed the connecting flight from Detroit to Frankfurt and had to spent the night and most of the next day in Detroit. At least on the way back it’s not so stressful, as I wisely never place any important appointments on the two days after my return from Indianapolis.

39_IndyAirport
Again it was a wonderful 4-days of gaming (well, mostly work actually, but still) and I’m looking forward to being back in Indianapolis next year!


GenCon16It is this time of year again, the ENnie awards are being voted on and GenCon is drawing close. This year the “Best 4 Days in Gaming” are from August 4th to 7th, and of course ProFantasy will be in attendance. You’ll find us sharing with Pelgrane Press at booth #419, right next to Chaosium and Goodman Games.

We will have Perspectives 3 at the show, so f you haven’t purchased it yet and want to have a demo first, drop by and let us show you!
GenCon Exhibitor Hall

This is my after-action report from this year’s Spiel convention in Essen – the biggest board game event around the world.

19_Mead“Spiel was very nice, though tiring this year. I’m pretty sure they’ll be announcing a new visitor record again, but there were some problems due to so many visitors and some train troubles (due to a fire in a big rail center). Friends reported 45 minutes wait times (and more) for shuttle services from parking to the halls. Each morning the center would announce they’d be opening the doors 15 minutes early due to crowding at the entrances.

We didn’t feel the crowds so much at the Profantasy booth. Our part of the hall was relatively quiet for most of the time, and I wasn’t too thrilled that were we wedged between several mead, wine and beer booths and the big UltraPro (card sleeves and folders) stand. I’d have much preferred a space adjacent to one of the smaller German RPG publishers like Prometheus, Uhrwerk or Mantikore. That’s not to say that those exhbitors weren’t very nice – they actually were very kind and a little mead-tasting is nothing to be sneered at. It’s just that I think we supplement the rpg publishers so well.

03_ExperiencedHelperSetup and all technical prep went without problems. Gordon helped with setup on Wednesday and Carsten arrived on Thursday morning (with a little delay due to the afore-mentioned shuttle service). Despite the crowds, Thursday and Friday were a bit slow, giving us time to have a look around the halls in turns and do some more leisurely demos at the PC. Traffic picked up heavily on Saturday, for one of busiest days (on our booth) in recent years. Sunday morning started extremely slow, but then came a big rush around 2pm with kept going for at least 90 minutes, where all three of us were constantly talking, demoing and selling stuff. That made Sunday a very good day too, bringing 2015 up to par with last year which was also a very good year (where the first three days were all similarly good and then saw a sharp drop off on Sunday).

06_BoothOverall we had a few more individual sales than last year, but less overall product sold. Prices were a little higher due to the weak Euro, which might have contributed to people buying smaller bundles.

I had the large 13th Age map in Mike Schley’s style on the table and that was a big draw. People love his style and were (as usual) very impressed of how quickly you can put together a good-looking map with his symbols. Feedback of existing users on CC3+ was also very good, with equal praise going to the new artwork and the improved performance.

The focus at Spiel continues to be on new customers. There’s about an equal number of people who’ve never heard of Campaign Cartographer and those who’ve seen it before and are interested. Existing customers are a few less, and they usually have bought everything they want via the web store already. Some turn up with questions or problems, or to check what’s upcoming, others
just to say hello. Only a subsection of these buys stuff at the booth.

Dear HelpersWe had good fun together, especially with Gordon’s daughter at the booth. Gordon and Nicole (his wife) always take great care of me. Together with Carten and Annue we went out for the Profantasy dinner on Saturday to our usual haunt and took Cat with us. We are all looking forward to next year.

The only bad thing I took home with me is a nasty cold which is coming out now. My voice is still gone and I’m sneezing quite a bit.”

A larger gallery of pictures from Spiel can be found on G+.

P.S.: That cold lasted the week after the show, but is (mostly) gone now!

Some quick impressions from this year’s GenCon:

GenCon01

Pelgrane and Profantasy’s booth space before setup

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