FIJ Cannes 2023:
Sharing Our Exhibition Experience
FIJ Cannes 2023: Sharing Our Exhibition Experience
The Cannes Board Game Expo in France has always been a major event in the board game industry. According to official statistics (https://twitter.com/fijcannes), this year saw approximately 80,000 attendees and over 300 exhibition booths. Due to the impact of the pandemic, there was a significant decrease in the number of visitors (previous years reportedly had at least a hundred thousand attendees). Nevertheless, we’re still excited! After all, being in Cannes for an expo sounds quite romantic, doesn’t it? (Although work might reduce my romanticism a bit.😜) We’re here to share our preparations for this exhibition, the experiences we’ve encountered, providing some reference material for those who might consider attending in the future.
Festival International des Jeux: https://www.festivaldesjeux-cannes.com/en/
Special Exhibition Notes - Unexpected Challenges in Preparation
The preparations for this event posed unexpected challenges! There were many regulations unique to this venue, things we’ve never encountered before. What kind of situations have you encountered?
- Fireproof tablecloths and backboards required
- Exhibitors must acquire their own insurance(Exhibitors are required to arrange their own insurance as France does not accept it for various reasons.)
- Umbrellas or collapsible tents not permitted at booths
- Prohibition of transparent tape usage
- Exhibitors need both self-printed photo badges and on-site exhibition wristbands for entry
Safety shoes mandatory during setup; rentals available on-site
We’ve never encountered requirements where even tablecloths need fireproof materials. We initially planned to save costs by printing our own backboards in Taiwan, but it’s been challenging to find suitable ones, and even if found, they’re not inexpensive. Moreover, there’s a difference between where you’re allowed to place your backboard and the exhibition’s defined area. It’s crucial to thoroughly confirm with international exhibitions beforehand about the positioning and the provided structures behind your booth. Our experience was awkward as the visible part of our booth lacked the backboard, while the provided space obstructed most directions for potential customers, affecting foot traffic.
During the exhibition, whether in Taiwan or elsewhere, having insurance is a must. However, we found obtaining insurance to be unexpectedly challenging. We spent a considerable amount of money making international calls, only to be frequently hung up on or redirected (with the person on the other end claiming it wasn’t their responsibility). After some navigating, we discovered that the French organizers did not provide information or services in this part. The advice for overseas participants was to secure insurance in their respective local countries. Consequently, we sought insurance from a Taiwanese company, covering both overseas staff and venue insurance. Quite an interesting experience, isn’t it? 😂 Booth insurance was non-negotiable, as per stringent regulations from the French organizers, prioritizing everyone’s safety. It’s a cost that must be accounted for!
The Off Night Event is a super cool evening activity where designers showcase their prototypes or games seeking crowdfunding. It’s where many major publishers come to explore games. It’s a lot like Taiwan’s Board Game Testing Convention. Fortunately, our French friends warned us in advance that it would be crowded. The event is split into two time slots, the first starting at 9:00 PM and the second at 9:30 PM. And these slots are only for showcasing games to others.
For those without reservations, it officially opens at 10:00 PM. You must find an available table to display your game. Once inside, it’s packed with players and testing tables, with about 99% of games being prototypes. Just waiting to get in takes at least 30 minutes because of the overwhelming number of people!
🔺Pro tip: It’s advisable to book slots for all four days in advance and cancel if needed (although even this doesn’t guarantee a spot).
🥂What's the Off Night Event that we only found out about upon arrival?
🪐 From our observations, how do the gamers differ between here and Taiwan?
The gaming scene here is all about diving into games—everyone, regardless of age, is eager to sit down and play. Elderly individuals show great interest in learning and engaging with various board games. There’s a diverse selection of board games perfect for kids. Surprisingly, our games don’t lose their charm, even with toys, planes, cars, or Rubik’s cubes competing for attention.
The acceptance and openness towards games are extensive here. It’s not about rejecting family or party games just because they don’t match personal preferences. As long as a game shows potential, has a good dynamic, and is fun, everyone is enthusiastic to give it a try!
One of the most heartwarming scenes we often witness is the elderly and children playing together. Moreover, about 90% of everyone here is incredibly patient and genuinely here for shared enjoyment.
Now, back in Taiwan, it’s a bit different. Elders tend to stick with classics like mahjong or poker. Getting them to warm up to new games takes time. It’s not every day you see grandparents diving into board games with the little ones. Part of it might be the cultural vibe; board games haven’t become as much of a household thing in Taiwan as they are here in France.
🥂 Super Affordable Beer and Recycling Cups!
An eco-friendly recycling system for beer cups has popped up! 🍻 During the event, they’re selling beer for you to enjoy while playing (how cool is that?). The cups are just 1 unit of currency, and the leftover beer costs only 2-3 units – unbelievably cheap! They also offer some soft drinks. Plus, when you return the cup, you get that initial unit back! Otherwise, you can keep it as a souvenir (^・ω・^)
- As d’Or-Jeu de l’Année ‘All Public’ category: Akropolis (image below)
- As d’Or-Jeu de l’Année ‘Child’ category: Flashback: Zombie Kidz
- As d’Or – Jeu de l’Année ‘Initiated’ category: Challengers!
- As d’Or – Jeu de l’Année ‘Expert’ category: Ark Nova”
Exhibition Ticket Prices
For those under 16 years old, entry remains free, but you still need to visit the counter for ticket reservation (no charge). Access passes are mandatory.