It's cheaper! We'll also set priorities for games during the playtest sessions based
on registration. More information on this process is in the next question. And, of
course, pre-registration is safe. In the unlikely event that we do not receive sufficient
pre-registrations to hold the conference, we will return all pre-registration payments.
is the event organized?
Every day there will be open playtesting. You gather players, run your test, and
then find someone that needs help testing their game. Trying to give as much time
as you use.
In addition we will have scheduled slots on Saturday. You’ll be given the opportunity
to sign up for these slots after you have registered. Sign up to test these games
will take place at the event itself.
What should I expect from a playtest session?
Game designers generally love to playtest games. They also give insightful feedback.
are a few things to remember when testing your game:
Mention your design goals from the start. It helps playtesters to keep things in
perspective and have accurate expectations.
Be respectful of everyone's time. Anything you can do ahead of time to sort components,
have summary cards available or even plan out how you'll teach the game will be greatly
We will have "playtest sheets" available. They have room for notes and signatures
If it's clear a game is not working well, or that additional play isn't going to
reveal much additional information, the best thing to do is stop early. You'll still
get plenty of feedback and playtesters will appreciate your consideration.
After a playtest session, fellow designers will share their thoughts about the game.
Be open to their feedback, but make it clear what you're looking for. For example,
do you want suggestions for rule changes or are you just looking for their thoughts
on card distributions?
If you're participating as a playtester:
Be aware of what the designer is looking for from the session. Don't offer suggestions
on graphic design, for example, if it's clear the mechanics are his or her main concern.
Take notes about the things you'd like to address while you're playing. Most of the
time these comments should wait until the game is over.
Does everyone who attends Protospiel have to have a game to playtest?
No. We understand completely that some designers won't have time to get their latest
prototype ready for the event. They'll still find much to enjoy during the three
days of playtesting, discussion and sessions.
However, we do want to make it clear
that attendees should have some experience with designing and testing of games. Protospiel
is a special event, where many designers devote a lot of their time and money to
make the trip. They do this because Protospiel is meant to offer a different experience
beyond what is normally accomplished in a playtest session. We want each attendee
to enjoy the benefits of playtesting their game with like-minded people who have
worked through the design process and can give the type of feedback that results
from that experience. Because of this we are allowing designers to bring trusted
people with them that can assist with this process.
How many games should I bring?
Bring as many as you feel comfortable hauling around! However, you'll be lucky to
get two or three games playtested during the scheduled hours of the event. We make
every effort to ensure everyone gets to play their first game before we start trying
to fit in everyone's second game. Likewise with a third.
Personally, I expect one
or two of my games to hit the table in during the Protospiel hours. While, at first
consideration, this may not seem like much time, keep in mind designers offer great
information making it far more helpful than many other playtest sessions. Also, I
learn a lot from presenters and from discussing the games of other designers while
I help playtest them.
What stage of development should my games be in?
It's suggested that you bring games that have already been tested to some degree.
Also, only bring a prototype that you're interested in improving. As you can imagine,
there isn't time to play a game you've already completed or that has been in it's
current state for years, but you're just dying to show everyone anyway!
When it comes
to the components of your game, the quality of the prototype is not nearly as important
as its functionality. However, be aware that some designers have very attractive
prototypes! Don't be intimidated by really good looking prototypes. We are all in
this because we like the range of creative challenges that game design offers - each
person favors and expresses those challenges differently. What types of games are
In the past, most of the games fall in the "eurogame" category. Stephen Glenn often
used the term "sophisticated board and card games", which I think sums it up very
Light card games and party games have been represented as well. To a lesser
degree, we've had some abstract strategy games, war games, & party games.
that have not been represented are role-playing games and war games. While we have
never restricted any genre of games, keep in mind the other designers at the event
are the playtesters! It's hard to give excellent feedback on a game you're not used
to playing. Please keep this in mind when you register and if you've got any questions
about a style of game, don't hesitate to contact one of the organizers to ask specifically
Have any designers who have attended Protospiel in the past had their games published?
Yes! In fact, we used to list several accomplished designers along with their games
here in this FAQ. Much to our satisfaction, though, the list has grown considerably
in the past year few years! This can be attributed to new titles that were recently
released, those that will be released soon and the good number of new attendees since
the 2006 event.
Stephen Glenn's Balloon Cup, which has been published by companies
and sold worldwide, and Dominic Crapuchette's party games Cluzzle and Wits& Wagers,
both of which earned several awards and honors, made their appearances in prototype
form at Protospiel. Companies such as Rio Grande, Pin International, Minion Games
and SimplyFun have picked up games designed by Protospiel alumni. Several attendees
have successfully self-published their own great games such as Pair-of-Dice Games,
Pyromyth Games, Blue Panther Games and Dogtown Games, just to name a few.
It is safe
to say fun, creative games of many types have been playtested (and in at least one
case, even created) at Protospiel. From there, as a whole, they have gone on to entertain
many thousands of players the world over.