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Subject: Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2011 rss

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Gil Hova
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For the fourth straight year, BGG.CON will feature Proto Alley. Once again, this will be an event where designers can playtest early-stage designs with other designers, and any BGG.CON attendees who enjoy playtesting or are curious about the design process.

We will be in Dogwood on Friday, 10am-6pm.

Here are the rules of Proto Alley that we've adopted from previous years. Note that we run on the honor system, so please don't abuse them!

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.


(Edited to add official time and place of the event.)
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Robert Wesley
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Shall these 'ferret' out doubt and keep UP their 'chinchilla' during the entire process, or 'weasel' away from under any's 'scrutiny'? whistle
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Gil Hova
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GROGnads wrote:
Shall these 'ferret' out doubt and keep UP their 'chinchilla' during the entire process, or 'weasel' away from under any's 'scrutiny'? whistle


I keep doing it. Because I mustelid.
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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I think he is badgering the witness
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Tom Anderson
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Count me in for the fun (again).
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R. Eric Reuss
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I'll definitely be participating again! The game I brought last year (Fealty) definitely benefited from the feedback I got, and has been picked up by Asmadi.

I don't know just what I'll be bringing yet, as I've been stuck in the middle of a move for several months (!) and most of my prototypes are packed, so I'm not sure what I'll be working on then.
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Trey Chambers
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I can't wait to participate again after such a great experience last year with my "Forged Victory" prototype.

I'll be bringing a brand new prototype I'm dying to have tested tentatively called "President of the United States" which is a card-based strategy game based on the 2012 election and plays 2-4 players with up to 2 players playing third-party candidates.

See you folks there!
 
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Matthew Sittel
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Is this for professional designers only? As a budding, amateur designer for 30+ years, and attending my first BGG, I was wondering how this worked and if I needed a portfolio or publishing credentials to participate.

Thanks!
 
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Bryan Cooper
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IngredientX wrote:
The actual time of the event is officially TBA, but I'm aiming for Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.


This may have been covered in a different forum, but have we set a time and place for Proto alley yet?

And if I wanted to sign up to be a play tester so I can see how proto-alley works this year is there a forum for that?
 
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Gil Hova
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mcsittel wrote:
Is this for professional designers only? As a budding, amateur designer for 30+ years, and attending my first BGG, I was wondering how this worked and if I needed a portfolio or publishing credentials to participate.

Thanks!


No credentials needed. All you need is a prototype!
 
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Gil Hova
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bcooperok wrote:
IngredientX wrote:
The actual time of the event is officially TBA, but I'm aiming for Friday from 10 am to 6 pm.


This may have been covered in a different forum, but have we set a time and place for Proto alley yet?

And if I wanted to sign up to be a play tester so I can see how proto-alley works this year is there a forum for that?


We haven't announced a time yet.

There's no formal signup for designers or playtesters. Just show up!
 
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Gil Hova
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If you're bringing a game to Proto Alley, feel free to add it here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/72438/bgg-con-2011-what-ar...
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Mike Waleke
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I was really mad at myself last year for not stopping in and playing a couple of prototypes I will have to set an alarm on my phone or something so I don't forget.
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Gil Hova
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Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2011 will be in Dogwood on Friday, 10am-6pm.
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CW Karstens
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Last year I had brought an early version of Dragon Valley and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, it is being printed as we speak. Delivery expected first quarter 2012.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/87200/dragon-valley

Now, which of my rough prototypes to bring this year ...
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This Guy
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Looking forward to playing some prototypes and getting v9 of Ogre to the table.
 
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