Monday, November 12, 2012

Essen & Lucca - conclusions

During the past 30 days we have been to two major events in the gaming world, two of the largest fairs in Europe - Spiel '12 Essen in Germany and Lucca Comics & Games in Italy. We've already described what happened in pictures and shared our thoughts as the events were unfolding, now it's time to draw conclusions.

What best characterizes and is common to both fairs is the huge number of people that attended. There were more than a quarter million visitors all together in both shows and many of them passed by our booth and saw our games. The hard question is what did we learn and what did we gain from this.

Let's look at the good news first. in spite of a the bizarre (to say the least) positioning of the NSKN booth in Essen, in a hall designed largely for everything but board games, our impact in the social media was much larger than last year, the number of views, comments and shares exceeded our most optimistic expectations. We have the same positive feeling about our business meeting during the two fairs. We had the opportunity to meet many fellow publishers, distribution companies, reviewers and more. The overall awareness of NSKN in the hobby business has increased over the past 12 months from 'completely unknown' to 'small publisher'. Most of the businesses which are failing do so in their first year of existence. Surviving on a very competitive market and returning for a second year to Essen put us on the map of the board games world as a publisher who not only made it with their first game - Warriors & Traders - but managed to expand and bring two new, different games to the market. I am talking about Exodus and Wild Fun West, of course. 

In terms of direct sales, the fairs in the autumn of 2012 were somewhat less profitable that last year. I think the whole industry in breeding a little bit of crisis air. The people are more careful on what they're spending their money, everyone takes time to make decisions and spend an average of 40 euros per game, so people tend to go for already established games which made a big buzz on the market, a status gained only after a few years, and sometimes also with a tempting discount. But even these games have sold less than in past few years. After a private discussion with one of the major distributors in Europe I understood that the whole industry in rearranging and adapting to a new reality

Lucca Comics & Games is a 'special dish'. Although we expected to have Exodus as our headliner, Warriors & Traders made an amazing impression and sold out quickly. Exodus caught up slowly and ended up our best-selling game in Lucca, but the overall sales were below our artificially set expectations. For a country where almost everyone plays localized games, being in Italy without games in Italian is a great risk. Any international presence is an exotic one and although we had a great time, for the next years we have to either come prepared with Italian editions or to skip an otherwise great event. This is something to consider for the future because with the exception of a few countries where English is an unofficial second language, it is a leap into the unknown for small publishers to go without localized games.

Overall, the two fairs have been a unique experience. We still have a long road to becoming an established, recognized publishing house acknowledged as such by  a majority of people, we need to re-evaluate our strategy and keep bringing entertaining games to the world.

More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BGG |  ScoopIT Magazine | Blog
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Facebook |  BGG
Exodus: Proxima Centauri: website BGG
Wild Fun West: website | BGG
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad 


  1. Dear Andrei,
    you remind the Cultisti Anonimi group in Lucca ??? We hope so and we are glad to announce our first test match of warrior & Traders and we confirm our entusiastic commonts about the game.
    Very cool game ;-)

  2. Of course I remember, I am very happy you're enjoying the game.
    Thanks for your nice words, all the best!