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Playtesting in Northern California ( April 7th - April 9th )

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JohnBrieger
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If you have seen any of my posts, you know I'm a testing fanatic! So this is just a quick heads up that the West Coast's largest prototype game event, Protospiel San Jose, is next weekend (April 7-9) at Game Castle Mountain View.

If any of you are attending I'd love to meet up! And of course, I will be out on the tables playing and giving feedback to other designers about half of each day, so if you have a table let me know and I'll try to prioritize testing your game.

If you aren't already attending, it should be a pretty wonderful opportunity to play a ton of games by great designers and publishers.

So if you are in reasonable driving distance, come by and meet other designers and people in the industry! Playing other designer's prototypes is actually really helpful as part of design process. Gives you lots of exposure to ideas and processes + can just talk shop with other people who've had similar issues that you have during your game's development. Free to attend as a player + you get entered into fun raffles for playtesting.

Not associated with the event in any way, just I'm attending as a designer and figured it would be of interest to people here! I'll be there with a bunch of games through the whole three days.

Link to Protospiel SJ site

Mosker
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Great event.

Was there last year. Attending again. Bringing Rolling for Bunnies, Waxing the Barbarian and Rabbit Match (two casual and one slightly heavier games)

You learn so much from testing all of the other designs and watching how people test, and playtest said works.

HobbyHorseGames
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Wow thanks for posting this!

Wow thanks for posting this! I hadn't heard of the event before despite living in the Bay Area for a few years. I just moved... but I may be able to make it this weekend if I shuffle a few things around. We'll see. My game is a card-based RPG called Firelight and it's in an early prototype state, FYI, just in case I end up going.

ssm
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I went. I wasn't able to

I went. I wasn't able to spend the amount of time as I wanted. I briefly met the second poster here. I got to check out a lot of games and played a few.
I got to learn a lot about what not to do, and can say how shocked I was how many paid to have a table and didn't seem to do any testing beforehand.

My favorite game played was Art Camp.

JohnBrieger
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You may have seen me too

I actually ended up just across the aisle from Mosker, and was able to play Rolling for Bunnies during the course of the weekend. Was great just meeting lots of other designers. + I got a whole normal months worth of testing (15 tests) in a single weekend.

@Mosker - great meeting you and testing for you this weekend. I think Lynn liked your game enough she brought her friend back to play it!

@SSM you may have seen me too as I was just across the row. I had out:

"Mission Control"
Players are rival scientists at the International Space Agency, sharing control of a single rover on a distant planet in this action programming and deckbuilding game.

and

"Relaximus Maximus"
Players are cute dogs throwing the most legendary party in ancient Rome: the Barkannal! Whoever throws the most relaxing party will win the respect of their fellow doggos and be crowned empawrer!

I did a lot of playing and giving feedback for other designers as well.

Standout Favorite was "Storyteller"
Asymmetric storytelling game in which players were soothsayers. One player heard voices, another read tarot cards, one saw dreams, and one cast the bones for information. Really interesting take on the storytelling genre.

ssm
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I did see both of those. The

I did see both of those. The mission one looked interesting. I saw people playing the relax one (I think) and they looked like they were having fun.

I'll put this somewhere else as well- If anyone is in the area, you can get playtesting on Tuesday nights at that Game Kastle. Tuesday is Open Game night & there are usually a few stragglers around, plus I try to be there for an hour or more in the evening.

Did you feel that a number of the games seemed 'padded' for time or to have something to 'hook' players? Like gold coins for no reason.

JohnBrieger
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Thanks for the Game Kastle rec

Thanks for the Game Kastle recommendation! I just moved to the area from the UK so I'm still feeling my way around the local design community (London has the fabulous Playtest UK organization)

Did you feel that a number of the games seemed 'padded' for time or to have something to 'hook' players? Like gold coins for no reason.

On padding – I think it's an overall issue for the industry. Boxes that say 60m but are really 90min - 2 hour games. I notice it a lot on prototypes for medium weight strategy games where gameplay doesn't flow as smoothly. Seemed like many designers were listing their "box time" rather than "actual time it takes to play a prototype". I didn't play any games this weekend that were CRAZY longer than the designer said, but played a few 20-30 minute games that lasted 45minutes to an hour.

Hooks seems like good business sense. Even at Protospiel where the focus is on prototypes of which almost none have art, I felt like you were more likely to get people to your table if you have a cool component or sign. Something for me to note for myself next time I attend one. I think many people wanted to play Relaximus Maximus just because I had a cute pug on my table sign.

ssm
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I played 2 different games

I played 2 different games where scores were kept in 2-3 places, and both awarded a gold coin for something. The gold coin became another score keeper. So at the end you added up various scores, but could have just added up all at the end.

I hope to see you at GK sometime. Last time I went on Tues, I ended up babysitting a 4 year old whose mom didn't want her there...but she was able to learn my game:)

Be sure to check out the 'free stuff' table in gaming side, and the scratch/dent/clearance section has some great deals, especially for games you can use for prototype.

Mosker
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Re: Hooks (with fur)[...]

Tyralis wrote:

Hooks seems like good business sense. Even at Protospiel where the focus is on prototypes of which almost none have art, I felt like you were more likely to get people to your table if you have a cool component or sign. Something for me to note for myself next time I attend one. I think many people wanted to play Relaximus Maximus just because I had a cute pug on my table sign.

Absolutely. I've found it especially difficult to create effective catalog text for my rabbit games--especially the heavier rescue simulation--but I usually bring a few stuffed rabbits with me and display them prominently. People will stop to look, and then I can pitch for players.

ssm
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Oh, that kind of hook... Not

Oh, that kind of hook... Not those, that is a great thing to do.
I am talking about something put into a game just to try to hook players. Like 2 games I tried awarded gold coins for one action (when done, 2 gold coins had been dispensed). When I asked why, they replied "People like to get gold coins". That was it, nothing more for it to be there, except to add another score to add at the end. At the end I asked if they thought it made it kind of confusing to award a coin for only 1 thing in the game (that is factored at the end), and got similar to- "No, people get excited when they get a gold coin".

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