Saturday, August 11, 2012


Game booths can be the most lucrative of businesses in a Faire, but ironically they are often the most poorly designed. This can happen when a booth is so very large, like an archery game, that themeing such an expanse can become cost prohibitive. Although I sympathize with your pain, I have to say that the ugliest booths often house games. I know there are exceptions, but before you catapult a bean bag at me or fire a dowel at my head, lets discuss opportunities game vendors have that are unique to their business.

Often the biggest challenge for any game vendor is getting visitors to actually participate in their game. This is a problem that midway games have struggled with ever since the invention of the county fair. What is unique about a Renaissance Faire is that your game can actually help transport your audience into the historical time the event is set in. Any opportunity you have of suggesting a little role playing with your game or activity will only encourage participation. Firing a bow is fun, but becoming a knight firing a bow, or wielding a sword, or winning the approving glance of a pretty booth maiden, brings your guests inside the story. If you are tossing coins, why not do it inside the mouth of a dragon (artfully painted on the canvas facade), or hurl bean bag peasants from a rampart overlooking a miniature village? Creating a large game booth can be very expensive, but it can also have the highest return for investment. Whenever possible try to stage your larger games in an environment that doesn’t overlook obvious anachronistic elements (cars, modern buildings), back your booth against a tree lined hillside if possible. If that is not possible, do the best you can to attractively block the view of un-Faire-like vistas, it will help your sales to offer an attractive experience.

Another opportunity is to elevate your barkers above the heads of the passing crowd. Building a short tower, or rigging that allows your booth people to do a better job of drawing attention to your game will succeed in letting them know how fun it will be to play your game, and add interest and energy to your corner of the Faire.

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