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Having a great time at Protospiel South 2010!

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InvisibleJon
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(I suppose I could have put this in the Playtesting forum, but...)

Protospiel South 2010 is going very well!

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spyderella/sets/72157624036248577/

Things of note:
* 65 registered attendees! I was worried that we'd over-fill the room, but it's comfortable and no-one has complained.
* I was worried that there'd be very few women here, but 10% of the attendees are female. That's not splendid, but I'm happy it's not lower.
* A stereo playing very quiet music is very nice.
* Great vibe! Lots of people playing their games and playing other people's games.
* Gave out little gifts to each playtester attendee. Worked well, felt great!
* Had an anonymous donor provide six tickets to the Alamo Drafthouse (Thanks, anonymous donor!), which we gave out in three two-ticket blocks. That worked nicely.
* Food worked just fine. I was worried I'd get too much or too little, and I'm just on the edge of the "too much" side, so we're in good shape.

Improvements for the future:
* Need a bigger location for next year. I think I'll try to get a room that'll seat 100.
* Provide soda and snacks (free or at a reasonable price).
* Form an LLC or some such to limit liability from accidents (None yet!).
* Get badge names as people register!

More later. Very pleased!

Dralius
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WOW!! Let me say that

WOW!!

Let me say that again.

WOW!

That is the largest Protospiel event ever. Good work. And 10% female is also a new record. Best we did before was more like 5% and that an anomaly.

Hopefully you have kept track of all the attendee information. I would like to see your designer to tester ratio.

Seriously write me when the dust clears.

SiddGames
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Grats

Sounds like a great turn-out and event. Hope I can make one some time.

InvisibleJon
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Thanks for letting us use the Protospiel name...

Howdy Dralius,

I'm very grateful to you for letting us use the Protospiel name. We strove to make a convention experience that would live up to Protospiel's reputation. It sounds like we did, and that makes me happy.

We had approximately 67 attendees. Of those, approximately 20 to 25 attended solely to play games. When possible, we recognized them with tiny special gifts.

If you have any more questions about how Protospiel South 2010 went, I'm happy to answer them publicly. If you prefer to ask privately, feel free to. In the interest of helping other people understand how to prepare for and run conventions, I'm being fairly open about how we organized and ran Protospiel South 2010.

InvisibleJon
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We look forward to seeing you!

SiddGames wrote:
Sounds like a great turn-out and event. Hope I can make one some time.
It was, and we'd enjoy having you here!

Dralius
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One thing I am interested in

One thing I am interested in is how you promoted it.

We Announce through multiple design forums, BGG and Board Game News and have never had that level of participation.

InvisibleJon
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Protospiel South promotion venues and thoughts...

Internet:
* I announced it through the Invisible City Productions Game of the Month email listserv.
* I announced it on Invisible City, and my Facebook page.
* I announced it on BGDF, and the Designer's Forum at BGG.
* Steve Jackson Games announced it on the Daily Illuminator because they were a sponsor.
* One of the organizers of (the currently defunct) ProtoCon emailed an announcement to former participants in their game design contest.

Conventions:
* I talked it up a bit at Board Game Geek Con, and got tentative agreement from several people to attend.

Social:
* I encouraged members of local gaming and game design groups to attend.
* I talked about it with my local gaming friends.

Newspapers:
* I submitted a write-up for Protospiel South to the local ad-supported "what's happening in town" weekly tabloid: The Austin Chronicle. Happily, submissions for their calendar section are free.

---
Thoughts on promotion:
I'm not entirely sure how the word got out... Thinking about many of the attendees who didn't know me, or only know me in an "acquaintance" sort of way, I think that being featured in The Daily Illuminator brought them in. I suspect that the posts on BGG and the BGDF also brought more than a few people in. The write up in the Austin Chronicle was nifty, but (only) brought in one designer, a dad and son, and a family of four; note that I'm really glad that each of these clusters attended – I'm just saying that it didn't bring in a ton of people. I strongly suspect that a few of the attendees found out about it through the Invisible City site, but I also suspect that's not too many of them. I've spent a lot of time and energy establishing a presence in the internet and local board game communities, and I think that helped get the word out. I know that a few people came simply because I talked to them in person, or contacted them directly by email.

I sincerely wish I'd asked during registration, or at the door.

However, I don't think that promotion is the real reason we had 65+ attendees. The real reason is also the reason that drove me to organize Protospiel South in the first place: Central Texas has a lot of amateur, semi-professional, and professional game designers. It's not hard to find board game play groups, and each group typically has one or more designers in it. On top of that, there are many board game and computer game companies in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and surrounding areas.

Even though we had a bundle of attendees, I know of many more local and semi-local designers who weren't there, but I've seen at past ProtoCon events. I believe Protospiel South 2011 could have 80 or more attendees.

To summarize:
Central Texas seems to have a higher than average concentration of board game designers and fans. I used an array of game-focused contacts, resources, and forums that I've banked good karma in for several years. I used the local free city newspaper. Everything fell in line and it all worked out.

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