The Amtgard Demo Handbook
by Baron Squire Rabbitt Wallcrusher & Marquis Squire Kayden Bonesteel MacGregor
Chapter 3: Opening the Demo
The day has arrived and it is time to go in at your agreed time to set up and recruit future members for the game you love to play. Prior to the demo you contacted the site and found out, if necessary, who to speak to before setting up. Locate this person and make sure to shake hands and introduce yourself. Remember to be respectable and kind as a first impression goes a long way. If you are not required to meet with anyone, scout out the path from your vehicle to the location of the demo. Note any obstacles (people, terrain issues, or inanimate objects) along the way so there are no surprises as you unload demo materials.
As you unload your materials from vehicles to the location, make sure to not annoy the environment around you; this includes foliage, mundanes, and other inanimate objects. The fewer trips you make the better, however do not overload yourself as to injure yourself, demo materials, or your surroundings. It is best to either secure a cart at the location or to have enough volunteers for this task. Move all Demo Materials into the location before any display set up commences. This will allow you to allocate your space to its fullest extent.
Setting up the display is one of the hardest parts, but also a very important part of the demo. You want to
intrigue people with the display but not overwhelm them with too much stuff. If the display is too crowded they
won’t see everything, however, on the flip side, if the display is too sparse it will not draw them to you. The
layout of the display will depend entirely on the surroundings of your environment. Hopefully you were allowed
to visit the site before hand to plan your display. If this is not the case, you will need to use your
creativity to make the best adhoc display possible. Make sure that you place the items that can be touched or
tried on more accessible than the items that patrons are not allowed to touch. The following are things to
consider while setting up and planning your display:
1) Armor – Leather and Chain Mail, are big attention grabbers. If possible display these on mannequins (you can make one out of PVC) or backs of chairs in front of your tables. Also have Chain Mail available to place on patrons, as most seem to get a kick out of trying it on.
2) Banners – Banners should be placed in elevated locations so they can be seen from a distance. They are usually flashy, which draws the eyes of patrons as they pass. If an elevated location is not available, place in front of tables, along railings or wherever space is available. If you have a banner that displays your group’s name, i.e. Amtgard of Colorado, make it clearly visible to anyone visiting your display.
3) Garb – If possible display on mannequins or hanging on walls or railings to allow a full view with minimal touching. This not only protects the Garb, but is also another eye grabber for passersby.
4) General A&S – This includes but is not limited to jewelry, artwork, garb accessories, etc... Place these items flat on a table surface. If you are not allowing patrons to touch make sure to either have out of reach, or with a sign that states “Please do not touch”.
5) Weapons and Equipment –
- Bow and Arrows – have these decoratively displayed on a table out of reach of patrons or use the “Please do not touch” sign. This will alleviate any inclination of a visitor to attempt to dry fire the bow or actually fire an arrow.
- Shields – These can be displayed either in front of tables or out in the open to allow patrons hold and even equip the shield, if allowed.
- Melee and Throwing Weapons – These should be displayed out in the open, but not accessible to passersby. If a patron wants to handle a sword, depending on the demo regulations, allow them to hold it but make it very clear they are not allowed to strike anyone. It is also a good idea to have an “in Progress” sword to demonstrate how it is constructed and what the inside of a weapon looks like.
- Spell Balls – Although these can be very appealing they take up space. As all spell balls are basically the same construction, and since you never want to overwhelm the patrons only have a couple well made and displayed in the open. You can explain to the passersby that this is a small example and that different colors do different things.