With Gen-Con literally right around the corner, Brad Cummings caught up with Mayday games before they set off for the convention.
Mayday are famous for producing wooden tokens and card sleeves for all our favourite games. They also broke into the board game market last year with Space Junkyard. If, like me, you live in the Uk, you can get all your Mayday products through Board Game Extras, including their new Crokinole board.
Anyway, that’s enough babble from me, here is the interview from Brad.
Part 1: Pre Gen Con Info
[Interview with Seth Hiatt of Mayday Games]
I had the opportunity this week to sit down with Seth Hiatt from Mayday Games in Clearfield, UT. As we sat in his office, accompanied by assorted bits and a statue of Dobby the House Elf we were able to talk about many things. Much of the interview focused on the upcoming Gen Con Convention, which is one of the biggest gaming conventions in the United States. That is what will be presented in Part 1.
Brad: Do you like going to conventions?
Seth: Yeah it’s fun, I love it. It’s a blast.
Brad: So do you ship out your things for Gen Con?
Seth: We will ship most of it and sell what we can and ship back what we can’t sell. It’s always hard to say how much we will sell, how much to bring. We have only been to a couple of these so it is hard to gauge it. Last year we sold quite a bit and we only had 10 products, this year we have about 60 products. I am thinking we are going to sell a lot more.
Brad: Does it show an impact on your business?
Seth: Yeah it does. If I look at the search engine optimization on our website, which is how much traffic comes to our website. So when someone does an interview or talks to us, out of 30,000 people at Gen Con, some of those people are going to post about us and post it on a website. It’s kind of nebulous thing to know if it is really worth the money, but for us we are actually cash flow positive on this show. We actually sell enough to make worth our while even without that. So it is definitely worth it for us.
I really like going though, it’s a blast. We went to Gen Con last year and went to Origins this year and Gama Trade show in vegas. Basically the booths are open from 10 to 6, Thursday through Sunday. And in the evenings you have time to demo games or play games. For a board game company you also have to make games that you like, that you believe in. So I also take time to see other people’s demos and if I like it then we will produce it.
The way you really get your product out there is to have a booth and sell stuff, but there also like 20,000 events at Gen Con that you can sign up for on their website. Anything from Belly-dancing to how to make chain mail, writing to board game stuff or how to play a new game.
With a booth we can create events ourselves. And so then from 6 to midnight every night we will then demo some of our games and we will have like 20 people at a time every hour coming and playing our game. Which is awesome because they want to play a game and we want to teach them a game. And a lot of them end up buying the game. That is kind of how you market it at night.
Most retailers don’t order as many as they should, which is why I think we’re still going to conventions and letting people know about our products. There are still a lot of people who don’t know about it or who can’t find it. I had a retailer at origins come up to me after they finished, one of the major retailers in the industry. The owner of the company came up and said, look I sold all this money, I got all this cash, I want all the product you can give me. And he bought literally 1500 dollars worth of products from us, right there at the show.
Brad: What are you looking forward to most at Gen Con this year?
Seth: Ummm....I am excited to see how our sales are going to do. We have a couple new products that we are releasing. One is that big board over there, it is called Crokinole. Have your heard of it?
Brad: Well I listen to the Dice Tower and heard them talking about it. I think they might have even been talking to you.
Seth: Yeah the boards are actually totally done now. They have shipped and are en route from China. They will be here in about 3 weeks, so we will be shipping them out shortly. We have over 300 pre-orders on our website already. We will probably have sold out before we get our shipment in, and we haven’t even offered them distributors yet.
People are really excited about the game; no one has ever made a good US release version before, especially at a decent price.
Brad: Are there any products you will focus on at Gen Con? Is Crokinole your main focus?
Seth: We also have our card sleeves. The Dominion sleeves. Last year at this time we had the Euro Sleeve and the Mini Euro Sleeve size, and that was it. Now we have 7 sizes of sleeves, and we have a black backed version of the Euro Sleeve. And in everyone of those sizes we have a premium thickness. So we have like 18 different kinds of sleeves now compared to two last year when we went to Gen Con.
Now we’ve got Hagoth Builder of Ships, which just came out about 3 months ago. That’s doing really well. Crokinole’s coming out here now. We just got the rights to a game called Get Bit. It’s a shark game. It is in Tom Vasel’s top 100 games, it’s like 98. It’s a fun little game. I love the game, so we picked that one up. We’ll have that one at Gen Con and no one knows that, we’re just gonna show up with them and see how they go. We have another game we are just finishing that is called King’s Vineyard which is done by somebody here locally in Salt Lake, that I really like too. There are a couple other projects we have in the works that we haven’t finalized but may be done this year.
Brad: I know your wooden bits are very popular do you produce them yourself. Chris, the owner of this blog, actually has a copy of your Agricola token set. I know they are getting very popular.
Seth: We have probably sold several thousand of those. We have a new one coming out at Gen Con. It is going to be the farmer token set with the euro token set, which is all the little wood and brick and clay, and will also have the animals in it. It will be around 281 pieces all together and comes with a wooden box that fits into the Agricola box.
Brad: So it is a deluxe version.
Seth: Yep, it’s $10 cheaper than if you buy them all separately. We are also going to sell the box separately for anyone who has already bought the other pieces. I don’t have any here, they shipped them directly from the factory to our hotel at Indianapolis.
Brad: So when you arrive you will just have boxes and boxes waiting for you?
Seth: Well I have ten of the Crokinole boards being shipped there.
Brad: Are you selling any Crokinole boards or are those all for demo?
Seth: We have 10 of them. We are going to sell 2 of them to our volunteers, but we will have for sure 8 of them, that if people want them bad enough we will sell. I would rather sell them to people there, then having me have to carry them back, because they are huge.
Brad: I am sure you won’t have any trouble.
Seth: No, I don’t think so.
I hope you enjoyed this portion of my interview with Seth Hiatt. In future segments we will discuss how Mayday games came to be, and how they find new games to publish, as well as new accessories to produce.
Overall I got the impression that the guys at Mayday Games are really looking out for the needs of gamers.
You can find any of the games and accessories described above at www.maydaygames.com
My Two Cents
Hopefully we’ll see more of that interview soon. For anyone who doesn’t already know about Crokinole, why not check out Scott Nicholson’s video on “Flicking Games” I’ll be back next week with another Board Game Review, until then, have fun gaming.