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Subject: Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2010 rss

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Gil Hova
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For the third straight year, I will be running Proto Alley, an unofficial event at BGG.CON that allows designers to playtest raw, early-stage designs with other designers.

This year, Proto Alley will run between 10 am and 6 pm in a to-be-specified room.

Here are the rules of Proto Alley that we've adopted from previous years...

Quote:

1) Proto Alley is intended for raw, early-stage designs. These are games that haven't gotten much table time yet, and are problably closer to broken than publishable. Polished games can (and should) get played out in the main areas, exposed to the regular BGG.CON crowd, celebrities, and publishers. Proto Alley is for games that are too untested for the average BGG.CON attendee.

2) Only one prototype per designer, until everyone gets at least one game on the table. If you get a second game on the table before someone else gets his first game on the table, that's just plain unfair. Please be considerate and make sure every designer benefits from Proto Alley.

Now, there might be exceptions, and common sense applies here. If you have a few 15-minute trick-taking games, then it's no big deal spending 90 minutes running through a few of them. But if you have several 60- to 90-minute designs, expect to test only one of them at Proto Alley.

3) Please don't disappear immediately after you get your game tested. Proto Alley can only work if there are playtesters. If you don't stick around after your prototype is played, it becomes harder for folks who haven't had their proto played yet to test.

Again, there are going to be exceptions. You might have plans with someone, you might need to head to an event, emergencies come up, and so on. But if enough people stick with the spirit of the room and make sure they play as much as they can, it'll make the whole thing work.

---------------------------

Here are some general playtesting guidelines...

* Expect your playtest to run long. If you have a 30-minute game, count on it running 45-60 minutes. If you have a 90-minute game, count on it running 120 minutes. That's because in addition to the regular table talk, playtesters will discuss the game's design and offer suggestions. This will make the game run a little longer than you may expect.

* Don't be afraid to end the game early. If your game hasn't been playtested a lot yet, you might find yourself in a position where any further play won't get you additional data, and will be a grind for the playtesters. It's very common to end these tests prematurely, go over what went wrong with the playtesters and possible fixes, and get someone else's game out. It's not a sign that your game is "bad" at all. There is no game in your collection that worked right on its first try!

* Playtesters: be honest but polite. On one hand, the worst feedback you can give a designer is a lazy, "it was okay, I liked it." On the other hand, telling the designer that his game "sucks" is a great way to get his defenses up and tune you out.

Always start your feedback with something about the game you liked, no matter how small. Then tell the designer about what didn't work for you. If you didn't find the game fun, it's something he should know, even if it's unpleasant to discuss.

But if you're too blunt with your criticism, you lose credibility. Be polite. If you see the designer is starting to wince, pull back.

Also, try to hold your criticism back until the designer is done explaining the rules. Sometimes, something that seems like it won't work in theory works a lot better in practice. Also, it's polite.

* Designers: prepare to listen to what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Personally, I would love it if all my playtests wound up with feedback like, "Gil, you've done it again. I don't want to do anything but play this game for the rest of my life." But it's more likely I'll hear, "Hmmm, this isn't working for me. Something's missing."

Be strong. Don't defend your ideas. Write down your playtesters' feedback. Chew on it.

Of course, you shouldn't implement all your feedback. Your game will be a mess if you do! But if you keep hearing the same criticism over and over again, it's probably because it's true.
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Gil Hova
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If you have a prototype you're thinking of bringing to Proto Alley, add it to this here geeklist! http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/58459/bgg-con-2010-wha...
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David Short
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I'm stoked for this. Can we add more than 1 game to the geeklist (fully knowing only 1 game might be played of ours)?

Thanks for putting this together Gil!
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Gil Hova
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Sure, just put a disclaimer saying that you may not get to all those games. Maybe even put it to a vote!
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Michael Mindes
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IngredientX wrote:
For the third straight year, I will be running Proto Alley, an unofficial event at BGG.CON that allows designers to playtest raw, early-stage designs with other designers.

This year, Proto Alley will run between 10 am and 6 pm in a to-be-specified room.


I would like to point out that Gil is AKA "Intergalatic President McAwesome-Ville" AKA "Incredibly nice guy" AKA "Designer-of-Cool-Games (tm) like Prolix"

So don't be shy about Proto Alley. Gil thanks for stepping up and replacing whoever was running Proto Alley prior to you.

Also, anybody that is participating if you get excited about somebody else's game please let me know.

I like good games regardless of where they come from.

P.S. - Gil, how is Pax Robitica coming along?
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Gil Hova
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Thanks Mike! Pax is a much more American game than when you last played it. Battles are now bot-vs-bot, and handled with dice.

It's at an interesting stage right now where it feels close to done, but it needs one last tweak to get it to awesome.
 
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Michael Mindes
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IngredientX wrote:
Thanks Mike! Pax is a much more American game than when you last played it. Battles are now bot-vs-bot, and handled with dice.

It's at an interesting stage right now where it feels close to done, but it needs one last tweak to get it to awesome.


Sweet... I look forward to checking it out
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