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06 Nov 2008

Lucca Comics and Games 2008

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After a successful covert operation at Essen Toy Fair in Germany we sped down to Italy in our trusty ambulance. Along the way, we took in a bit of Bavarian history, a winding detour through the Austrian alps and an overnight stay in Verona, arriving relatively refreshed in Lucca but with just a couple of hours to spare for set-up. Luckily, a couple of hours is all we need these days, seasoned pros that we are.

The medieval and beautiful, walled city of Lucca has hosted an ambitious, large-scale comics and games fair for the past 17 years. This year they had a record 135,000 people show up - maybe somebody told them we were coming? They did apparently place us on their homepage as 'honoured guests'. Awwww...

Super heroes, bizarre comic book creations, lots of Manga orientated costumes and a healthy smattering of school girls The word "fair" however doesn't even remotely do it justice. It's more like a carnival. Imagine getting a hundred thousand extroverts, locking them away from public view for ten years and then unleashing them all at once on a dressing-up box the size of France. The result is Lucca town centre for four days solid. Imagine walking through winding, cobbled medieval streets and bumping into not one, but three Little Red Riding Hoods. Picture, if you will, a gaggle of Corpse Brides sheltering from the rain. Or more disturbing, try and visualize, under heavy skies, running into a group of 12 identical-looking blank-eyed girls dressed up as half the class from Battle Royale, carrying assorted weapons from frying pans to a ball-and-chain. It's nothing short of otherworldly.

But not everything was quite as fantastic as it sounds. Things got off to a slow start thanks in part to torrential rain that didn't show any signs of letting up until Saturday. We had real worries that the Italians maybe weren't as ready for playing an English game as the Germans were after we sold just five games on the first, wet and quiet day.

The sun came out for the for the weekend though and that's when the place really burst into life. More people descended on Lucca on Saturday than in the previous two days put together. Everyone looked amazing: super heroes we knew and some we didn't, bizarre comic book creations, lots of Manga orientated costumes and a healthy smattering of school girls for no other reason than it's an easy costume to make (not that we're complaining). We even had photo requests and shouts of "Terrorist!" while out and about in our orange jumpsuits.

Interest picked up dramatically and suddenly the 10 hour days were rushing by in a blur of demonstrations, signings, stilted Italian and frantic hand gestures. Somehow it all came good in the end and the entire hall soon recognised our megaphone siren that we let off after every sale. We even managed to achieve our goal of getting some Italian shops and distributors to take on the game. In fact, during a meeting with one of the larger distributors, Andy T and Andy S were trying to ally the manager's fears that WoT simply wouldn't sell in Italy since Italians don't buy games in foreign languages. As if on cue, a distant siren cut through the air from Tom racking up another sale back on our stall.

We ended our five days in Lucca far too soon. Happy with the result, but sad to be leaving. A long, non-stop, caffeine-fuelled drive back home through the night awaited us.

We'd like to sincerely thank all the Lucca staff who supported us so kindly. We'd also like to thank the generous and selfless store owners who helped us sell and explain the game in Italian for absolutely zero personal gain. And finally, all the people who put up with Andy T and Tom grunting, 'Do you speak English?' in pigeon Italian. Saying that, Andy T came up with the most ingenious way to communicate with the locals, hurdling international language barriers with nothing more than some pieces of card and a Sharpie. We think it might revolutionize the way the world communicates with each other. But we've said too much already - maybe one day this 'revolution' will need its own blog, or perhaps even its own website.

After such a mind blowing trip we are now following up some generous offers of rule translations, so hopefully at some point in the not too distant future we will be posting our rules in Italian. Bellissimo!

Posted by TerrorBull Games on 6 November 2008 - 2 comments

Comments so far:

  1. Hi guys, thanks to you for coming to Lucca Games. I hope to meet you again in future. BTW: your report on Essen in great! Ciao 'BrizioFabrizio from Lucca - 19 November 2008
  2. Hi! I'm the winner!! The one who has found the hidden card!! Thx for the fun!!! See you next time in lucca!!!Giacomo from Italy - 30 November 2008

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