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Subject: Design Meetups - Tell me about yours rss

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Jeremy Stoltzfus
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Lancaster
Pennsylvania
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Just curious. I know there's a lot of these out there. I'm starting one up in Lancaster, PA, and I was wondering what the format of yours were. Do you just playtest each others' games? Is it more collaborative? I'd love to hear about it and get some ideas!
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Daniel Newman
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At the one I attend in NYC, people write their name on a white board with the name of the game, number of players needed, and approximate play time of the game. Games are tested in roughly the order you walk in the door. The designer usually states what it is they're hoping to get out of the session so the testers can focus their feedback accordingly during play and after the game is done (or whatever portion of the game needs to be played in order to test what needs testing).
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Adam Porter
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Our design group (in Cardiff, UK) is relatively close-knit. We have around 10-12 people who attend, but only 5-6 who attend regularly (most weeks). We meet every Wednesday evening in a pub. There is no structure or format: we just update each other on our progress throughout the week and play anything which people have ready to test. Sometimes we split into two groups to ensure that everything gets played.

I write a weekly blog about the group and what we get up to.

https://boardgamegeek.com/blog/4631

We are also part of a wider network of playtest groups around the UK (Playtest UK). This has no real practical application at the moment (we have talked in the past about sending prototypes between different locations for blind-testing, but this has never happened yet) but it is nice to know other designers from all round the country and we usually meet up a couple of times a year at various gatherings, not least the UK Games Expo.
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Bill Paterno
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Coatesville
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jerdude wrote:
I'm starting one up in Lancaster, PA

Nice. I am out in Coatesville. Can you message me with the details to your meet up?
 
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maf man
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endeavor
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try clicking around on this: http://www.protospiel.org/
I went to the one in milwaukee as a play-tester and it was a bunch of people playing game and talking about it, very open. Everyone seemed to be at a different level of design but everyone seemed very into it. One guy had a game nearly perfect, another had his on sticky notes. Some people wanted more ideas thrown at them others just wanted to see their game played and if it had any more holes. I mean to say format will end up being dictated what a person/game needs, I don't think its worth planning more control.
Best of luck with yours!
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Burke Drew
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Holly Springs
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Our game design group, Game Designers of North Carolina, meets 3 times a month. We usually have between 10 and 20 members showing up at our meetings.

We start off going around the table and talking about our progress since the last time we were at a meeting. It helps keep us motivated and gives us an opportunity to bring up specific stumbling blocks we are encountering with our designs/process. After that we sometimes discuss a topic of interest to the group.

Then we break out into groups to test designs. The order of testing depends on a lot of factors: player count, game length, type of testing needed, etc. Basically whatever makes the most sense.

After the meeting is over, we encourage our members to go to our forum and write up a quick recap of their play test session. This keeps members not involved in the play test in the loop and provides a place for additional feedback to be recorded.

Our design guild has been doing this for ~2 years now and it seems to be working.

--Burke
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Jack Poon
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petrix wrote:
At the one I attend in NYC, people write their name on a white board with the name of the game, number of players needed, and approximate play time of the game. Games are tested in roughly the order you walk in the door. The designer usually states what it is they're hoping to get out of the session so the testers can focus their feedback accordingly during play and after the game is done (or whatever portion of the game needs to be played in order to test what needs testing).

I've also been to the same one as petrix. It works really well. Designers will state what kind of game they're testing today (strategy, party, card, etc.) and other game designers and players will volunteer. It's great playing with both players and other game designers as I got lots of great idea from both sides and I'd get ideas just from playing and listening to what other games around me do and the feedback they get.
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David J. Mortimer
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Melksham
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I've just set up a group in Bath, UK the guild page is here:

Bath Playtest UK Meetup group

Like Adam mentioned above we are also part of the Playtest UK Meetup group. With nearly 1,000 members on the Meetup site we see people droppingin from other groups when their travels bring them our way. Their guild page is:

Playtest UK Meetup group

Regarding collaborations. I've had a couple come from meet ups where we ended up creating a game together but that wasn't the initial intent. Adam wrote a nice blog post about the blurry line between playtesting & collaboration at regular meet ups.
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