Going Behind-the-Scenes of Creating In-House Content at Board Game Conventions

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Buckle up: we’re about to get super meta! Ready to go behind-the-scenes of us going behind-the-scenes at Essen Spiel 2023?

CGE is somewhat unique in in the board game publishing space in that we have an in-house content creation team at most of the conventions we attend. Over the course of bigger cons, you’ll often see videos, live streams, lots of social posts, and (new to Spiel) blog articles about the shows coming out on our channels during the convention. This takes a lot of work and planning in addition to our regular con duties, but it’s rewarding to be able to share different facets of the convention experience with our community.

Each show often brings a slightly different approach and presents new opportunities to try out quirky ideas. One thing you’ll notice, however, is there’s a common thread across most of the content we put out: we try to have fun with it. Sure, we’re a company, we’re here to sell and promote our games, and cons are a ton of work. But why not to have a little fun along the way, too? We’re all board gamers at CGE. And we’re also more than a little goofy, once you get to know us.

So what does content creation at major convention look like from the other side of the camera/phone/laptop/etc?

Essen Spiel Shenanigans

Here’s a bit more of what we’ve been up to at Essen Spiel the last few days.

Armed with a 360 degree video camera on very long stick, Eleni shows off her best battle pose.

Eleni, who runs the CGE YouTube channel, usually kicks off most cons by gathering tons of video footage that encompasses as much of what the con is about and feel like as possible. It’s a hustle, since it requires her to run around and film all kinds of events and happenings during the first day or two of the show. Then, once she has enough footage, she’ll hunker down in her bunker to edit, and we won’t see her for many hours until the video is done.

Typically, we aim to shoot, edit, and release a polished video before the end of the show – usually the second or third day if possible. It’s a great way to share what we’re up to at conventions and also share the convention experience with people who may not have a chance to attend. Eleni will be wrapping up this year’s Essen Spiel video soon, which you can watch on our channel here when it goes live!

And that’s not all! For the last two years at Essen, we’ve done a livestream on our YouTube channel where we invite other publishers to bring over their hottest new games for a little show and tell on-stream. Eleni did over five hours of that on Thursday, which was intense! You can find the live replay here.

Jet lag schmet lag: the show must go on!

Speaking of streaming, we also have been integrating live Twitch content into shows, too. In the past, our good friend and former colleague Ray paved the way for how we stream at cons. We’ll be welcoming our new in-house Twitch streamer Megan very soon, but she wasn’t able to make it to Essen this year. Apparently, that requires a current passport or something…so I’ve heard. In the interim, we have Stephen holding down the fort with live streaming duties [cue exciting trumpet fanfare]. 

Stephen flew into the show a few days late, because he just attended Toy Fair in NYC. Busy guy! He got here late Wednesday, and then somehow managed to shake off jet lag long enough to stream for a bit the next day. What a trooper. For those who don’t know, Stephen also has his own Twitch channel (BoardGameHouse) and streams with Megan.

Zvonda and Angie vibing while keeping things rolling tech-wise with the Twitch stream.

And we can’t forget to mention Angie and Zvonda, who have been awesome with tech support for our Twitch streams this show. They’ve been monitoring the streams and helping to keep everything running smoothly from our secret office area tucked away inside the booth, while Stephen hits the show floor with a pared down version of Ray’s cyborg suit.

Double meta! I snap a photo of Paja snapping video of Stephen live-streaming from the Essen show floor.

Without socials, it’d be a lot trickier to get the word out when we have new content to share. Paja’s our wizardess of social media and is the person to go to anytime we’re releasing a new video, prepping to announce a stream, or posting a blog article. When she’s not monitoring our social media accounts and responding to comments, Paja spends a lot of time planning out the posting schedule, taking photos, shooting reels, and writing posts. She’s a boss when it comes to signal boosting our other content across CGE’s Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook channels.

And then there’s the CGE Blog. Though I do North American Marketing for CGE, I spent most of the last 18 years working as a journalist and freelance writer prior to joining the company in 2021. After a short break, it’s been nice to incorporate more writing in the work I’m doing in my role. This year, I ‘ve been writing a ton of content about our new games, from designer interviews to informative articles. With the recent refresh and re-launch of the CGE Blog, you can expect to see more of that, but I also aim to branch out to explore other types of written content. 

Tired and bashing out the words behind the walls of our CGE booth fortress.

With Essen, I’ve had an opportunity to try something different from what I normally do at cons. I kept a very light meeting schedule, so I could focus on experiencing the show more, while helping the Czech team with marketing activities. The upside of that, is it gave me the freedom to plan out some article content for the show. Each day I either have a set concept that I plan to write about, or I take time to explore the show during free moments in the earlier portion of the day to see if anything interesting presents itself. Like funky food trucks, interesting booth designs, and other random but interesting behind-the-scenes stuff.

Once I know what I’m writing about, I’ll usually gather photos and take notes, then spend a few hours in the afternoon hidden in the depths of our booth bashing out words on my laptop. It’s always a bit of a scramble, since I need to get each article written, edited, laid out with photos, and posted live on the blog. By the time the hall closes, or sometimes even later when we make it back to our accommodations, I’ll usually bug Paja about getting it posted on socials, too.

Paja and I covering the Europe Masters Starship Captains competition! (I’m going to bug her to post socials for this article in a few mins when it’s live).

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to behind-the-scenes this week! Tomorrow is the last day of Essen Spiel, and it’s been a great show so far. Expect more articles soon, then a short break as I catch my breath after the show.

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