We just returned from Berlin Boardgame Con, which made us think about the time since we started this endeavour of publishing our own games under the Tetrahedron Games Label, all the way back in 2016.
Little more than a year ago we were invited as exhibitors at Berlin Con 2018, but we decided to pass on that opportunity, as we couldn't be sure that we would even have a game to show at the time. With all the troubles we went through regarding the production of Valhal in the first half of 2018.
We attended as guests, and to be honest, we were a little disappointed and relieved, that we didn't attend as exhibitors, as we did not like the 2018 location at all. It all seemed cramped and torn apart at the same time – we actually only spent an hour or two at the convetion, meeting a couple of people and moved on to have a drink at the brewery around the corner.
Now, just one year later, a lot of things have changed. First of all the Berlin Con got a new location, way bigger and on just one level. As soon as we had learnt about this, we made sure to sign up for our booth this year. And instead of maybe or maybe not a game to show like in 2018, we were already pretty certain that we would be able to bring all of our three games to the Con this year.
Of course there is a lot of planning and preparation work going into attending any sort of exhibition event, but that is something to talk about on another day.
With the Con taking place from Friday the 19th until Sunday 22nd, we got on our way to Berlin on wednessday the 17th. Being located just outside of Nuremberg, getting to central Berlin is a car ride of about 5-6 hours. Berlin was actually the first event we attended without stoping by our warehouse on the way, as we had already stored some games in our office for this case, since we came back from Spiel Doch! earlier this year. Without that, we probably would have spent another 2 hours on the road, which is something we were trying to avoid in this case.
After getting our rental car and packing everything up, we got on the way at around 11am. For lunch we took a break in Bad Lobenstein near a lake called „Bleiloch“ (Hole of Lead, named after the mines that were here before the creation of the artificial lake). Actually a place where we went fishing a couple of years ago, so it was a little bit of a trip to the past along the way.
We arrived in Berlin somewhat around 6pm, checked into our hotel, maneuvered our car into the tiny, creepy, labyrinth of a underground parking lot of said hotel and got on our way to find something for dinner not long after. As the Berlin Con location was actually just next to the old location and so was our hotel, we were already quite familiar with the surroundings and decided to go to an italian restaurant which we had found back in 2018 right next to the hotel where we stayed at the time.
You remember when I was talking about the planning and preparation work for a trip like this? Well, there's one thing I overlooked when booking our accomodation for this years Con. While the official date for the Con was 19th-22nd, the 19th was not a full day, but only an evening. So I had planned with going to Berlin on the 17th, building our booth on the 18th and the Con starting in the morning of the 19th. Actually we were going to Berlin on the 17th, but not being able to even get into the event location before the 19th – so we had a day off in Berlin on the 18th.
We took the chance to go for a bit of a sightseeing in our capital. There is one thing you got to love about Berlin Con – it is in late July. Last year as well as this year the weather was awesome. Very different from all the crappy cold and wet weather we are usually encounting when attending Essen in late October or Spiel Doch in Duisburg in March of this year.
While it was already my 6th time visiting Berlin (just counted), I never made it into any of the museums on „museum island“. So we spent most of our day off in the Pergamon museum, as well as the new museum, covering things from the earliest days of civilization until the viking ages.
Dutiful we took some pictures of ancient dice and board games – this was a work trip, afterall!
For dinner we met up with a couple of friends of ours, who are currently living in Berlin and work in a familiar industry (Toys and stuff), so it's always super interesting and fun to hang out with them, hearing a bit of what they're up to at the moment, while we don't get to see them very often.
Day three of our trip we did a little excursion to find a nice place to have breakfast. The thing with conventions is that we usually have to be at the location around 9am, and will barely have any time to eat until the gates are closed somewhere around 7 or 8pm – so getting a good breakfast is key to survival, really.
After that we got to work. This time our booth was a bit of an experiment. First of all we brought a new floor, but we also had made the decision to try out a smaller setup. Just one table to present all the games and two additional small tables for people to play Dodoresque. In theory this should make building the booth rather easy, while in reality bringing just 2 small tables created one problem. We do own 3 of those foldable square tables, and when deconstructing our booth at Spiel Doch earlier this year, we were in a bit of a rush and didn't put all the table legs into the right packages. So feel free to guess how many legs we had brought for our 2 tables, an how many of them were in the third bag which we left at home.
Correct. We had 3 legs for 2 tables, while the other 9 were still in our cellar back in Nuremberg. So after setting up our big table as well as our floor and banners, we got on our way to look for 2 small foldable tables in Berlin that didn't cost a fortune. We decided to look for camping as well as hardware stores. On the way to the first big camping store we had made out, we saw a hardware store along the way, and spontaneously decided to give it a try. And how lucky we were, they actually had foldable tables, super light, super cheap, only downside was the form, as we would have prefered square tables as we had them before. But hey, you can't really be that picky when you quickly need 2 tables for Berlin Con, so we were fine with those and even found an amazing Indian restaurant right around the corner for our late lunch.
While I did point out the great weather we usually had when visiting Berlin Con – this friday wasn't all that great. Halfway through our lunch we already got hit by a couple of raindrops and in the later afternoon the weather really wasn't all that nice, so we spent a bit of time in our hotel room, before heading out for the opening ceremony of Berlin Con in the evening.
To be honest, the opening night wasn't overly exciting for us. We were barely able to understand any word of the awards ceremony, which was luckily handled rather quickly. We stayed for a snack of Currywurst and Fries, but looking ahead to two full convention days, we didn't do much more on that evening and tried heading to bed as soon as possible.
On Saturday morning we got up around 8am. That's actually nice for a convention weekend, as we luckily had our accomodation right next to the event location. After a good breakfast and a big mug of coffee at the turkish/french/berlin bakery around the corner we went straight to the station (the event location), where there wasn't much going on at that point. However, at this time we actually got to meet our neighbours at the con, as they hadn't arrived the day before at the time that we were building our booth. So at this point I just want to say „Hi“ to the guys at Hybr Games, who are making app supported games like „Soviet Kitchen“, which was funded on Kickstarter just last week, as well as to Florian whose „Materia Prime“ is still live on Kickstarter and seems to be going pretty well! It's always great getting in touch with other small publishers and having a chat.
At Berlin Con people get the chance to buy some sort of „VIP“ Ticket, that allows them into the hall half an hour early, so around 9:30 the first people got into the hall and just a few seconds later we started showing our games to the whole variety of people that attended Berlin Con.
The day passed by quickly, as usual people kept on flowin through the station and we barely found the time to even grab a bite to eat. The visitors were asked to leave around 7pm and shortly after we packed up our personal stuff and made our way to our hotel nearby. We didn't really feel like going out much, so we ordered some Burgers for delivery, which were at our place breathtakingly fast and were surprisingly good.
The second day went pretty similar to the first day, breakfast at the unusual turkish/french/berlin fusion place and off to the station. We got to meet so many great people, some writers, bloggers, retailers, but also a lot of people we had already met at other conventions or backers of our projects, who just came by to say „Hi“ and let us know that they liked our work, which is really the most awesome thing for us.
After two days of presenting, explaining and playing our games, meeting tons of new people and signing copies of our games – which is still such a strange thing to do for us – we quickly packed up our stuff after the visitors had left the station and went for a round of vodka shots with our booth neigbours of Hybr Games, who had brought just the right type of beverage for their Soviet Kitchen Game. And as you know, we value atmosphere and thematic accuracy here at Tetrahedron Games! We quickly deconstructed our booth and left everything there to pick up the next day. This is actually a nice way to get around all the stress on closing night, where it is next to impossible to drive into the event hall, it usually costs a lot of time and effort. So we usually just pack up everything and come by on the next morning with the car, quickly throw everything in and get on our way back home.
Which is exactly what we did. On our way back we visited the Bayreuth Hermitage, just as we did the last time when we visited Berlin Con, so it is kind of a tradition by now. It is always a fitting end to the trip down from Berlin, as we're coming from the biggest city in Germany. Bayreuth isn't very far from the Bavarian boarder (Franconian, to be precise), so here we're just back in our home state and take an hour or two to grab a good lunch, take a walk in the beautiful park and maybe grab a coffee afterwards.
In reality there is no maybe when it comes to coffee...
We had a great weekend in Berlin and want to thank all the great people who were part of this years Berlin Con. Starting with Hunter&Cron, the German YouTubers and initiators of the very first Berlin Con all the way back in 2014. The whole team and all the volunteers who helped building the playing area and organized the fleamarket. Andreas, the project manager, who was always helping us out, starting from our unusual boothsize to receiving our games we had sent ahead and even delivering them to our booth. And last but not least of course all of you who showed up at the Con to trade games, play or just come by for a chat!
For us it is now back to the office and getting our upcoming projects ready for the next big events in autumn, starting with the first boardgame convention in Hamburg in mid October!
We also plan on giving you a little more insight in what we do here at Tetrahedron Games in more Blogs like this one. So feel free to leave some feedback!