Diary #50 – What We Found on the Beach

Beachhead 2022: though battered by wind, waves and the pandemic this young convention was back at the Bournemouth International Centre over the weekend. It was organised by the team at Entoyment, a local “wargaming and hobby centre”, and on top of their usual miniatures games there were board games, nerd merchandise and cosplayers. I was only too happy to help them branch out into game prototypes and Kickstarters with a Playtest UK zone.

Entoyment has fostered a great gaming community, and my case of “come for the X Wing, stay for the board games” is typical. This personal touch was reflected in the exhibiters and competition organisers at Beachhead: everyone seemed to be connected to Entoyment somehow. Hanging out in the trade hall, and a hotel across the road in the evening, was actually quite relaxing.

Covid had reared its head again, this time preventing some of the designers who’d got in touch from attending. Fortunately I’d bumped into a local indie company a couple of weeks prior to the event and they were able to plug the gap. After setting up I realised it might be harder to run than the long-established UK Games Expo zone – Beachhead attendees wouldn’t necessarily know what we were about. My “welcome table” just looked like a scruffy stand in the trade hall; it didn’t help that I had forgotten my tablecloth. Then again being away from the trade hall would have made us invisible. I think the organisers’ decision to put us next to the hall’s other gaming tables was the right one.

We had a total of ten games represented at the stand and we worked together to draw attendees towards it. It was also a good chance to network and make the designer community more visible. We were a hit with families, perhaps because the miniatures games around us were a bit complex for children.

For me, however, the takeaway was the odd gems of information I gathered at the zone and around the convention:

“This game box is small enough to count as a ‘letter’ so I’ll save a fortune in postage.”

“The artist drew one character which I was able to split up, so I got artwork for several cards at a cost of 40 Euros.”

“Hexagons get distorted on cloth mats so we use neoprene.”

“I make the grass on my wargaming scenery stand up using static electricity.”

That’s it. We just did our Thing, and it was a lot of fun. I’ll throw some more photos in, but in the meantime I’d like thank the team from Entoyment (especially for putting up with my very specific email requests), Rob from Playtest UK (ditto) and all the designers, playtesters and volunteers who made this happen. I couldn’t have done this without you all, and I hope we’ll do it all again next year.

Let’s have some links:

Entoyment and Beachhead

Playtest UK

Skatterack

Silent Fox Games

Drags 2 Riches

Mayfly Games

Gingerbread Games

How it came together

Organising this sort of thing takes a small amount of effort spread over a long period of time. To keep on top of it I left myself notes, and I thought I’d include an edited copy here.

26.11 – emailed entoyment find out what they want for promotion … double whammy promotion
27.11 – drafted event page. Will finalise, but not announce, on Tuesday 30th November. Then message D.
30.11 – published event but didn’t announce, emailed D suggesting 16th January I come down. Need to email link to event to Entoyment – wait on confirmation from them. Ask L if he’s considered the shout out from ukge. Should message those two possible designers from Entoyment
8.12 – Investigate H’s links…. Not BB I think. Asked D to post, messaged GS. Posted in three groups, need to comment on the Birmingham one. Emailed link to event to entoyment
9.12 – interest from N, perhaps need to create spreadsheet. E replied saying he’d be busy but interested in what’s going on. Email D thanks and say will be in touch about the 16th. N may be based in Birmingham
19.12 – messaged W who wants to demo and could volunteer, he’d messaged on the 11th, the day D tweeted.
11.01 – confirm with D. Need specific event timings from L. Does he want to do one of his shout outs? Email from R via L. Ask L if designers can come for free. Messaged B. Made spreadsheet
12.01 – interest from C – ask for details. Get timings etc sorted next week. Don’t forget one additional small table. Name badges. Could print out a schedule.
14.01 – designer messages. W is a facebook message. Message to entoyment – announcement, schedule, seven designers. Sticky labels to number tables. Do designers come free?
17.01 – have entoyment posted here? I suppose it’s one free ticket per design table? Replied to all designers except B
21.01 – prompted B. Don’t forget to tag playtest UK in posts. Slots 10am to 1.30 1.30 to 5. Need table numbers
28.01- prompted B again. Drew rota max seven active tables. Need to discuss volunteering with W and K. Food and drink, covid tests!
04.02 – messaged all designers with schedule, asked W and K about volunteering. W mentioned hand gel – good to have some? Lend X Wing mat to J for competition.
5.02 – things I forgot to mention – saved draft.

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