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Subject: Yes, there will be a Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2012! rss

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Gil Hova
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I've gotten a bunch of requests for it, and I'm sorry for the late notice (I've found myself much busier than I was at this time last year.)

Anyway, there will be a Proto Alley this year.

One unfortunate note: I originally wanted to find a way to feature late-stage protos at the event, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen. It'll still be raw, early-stage protos.

More detail soon!
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David Short
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Awesome! I'll be there with my Mars game, and hopefully a couple of my other designs.
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Andrew Tullsen
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I'll be there as well, I'll try to dirty up my later stage protos to get them in.
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Matthew Sittel
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So something you could use playtesters for is not welcome since it is later-stage? And how does anyone really know a game is late-stage until you're done and are looking back on the development timeline? It seems rather subjective to decide what's early and what's late.

I'll be there with *something*... I could use some clarification though on what's allowed.
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Andrew Tullsen
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mcsittel wrote:
So something you could use playtesters for is not welcome since it is later-stage? And how does anyone really know a game is late-stage until you're done and are looking back on the development timeline? It seems rather subjective to decide what's early and what's late.

I'll be there with *something*... I could use some clarification though on what's allowed.


I brought a game to last BGG CON that I figured was "late stage". I'm still working on it today, and it's gone through a LOT of phases since then. Now I think it is late stage...
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Trent Hamm
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What does one have to do to bring a prototype to Proto Alley? Do you just show up with your prototype? What are the rules?

I might bring my MOBA card game, but it's still very, very early.
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R. Eric Reuss
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mcsittel wrote:
It seems rather subjective to decide what's early and what's late.

I think one (rough) guideline that's been given in the past is "closer to broken than finished".

Another might be: "If you could demo a game in the main hall and get feedback for it there, you don't really need Proto Alley for that game."

(Admittedly, one might not realize it's smooth enough to demo until getting the feedback from Proto Alley, but AFAIK that's fine. Gil's an eminently reasonable guy.)
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Gil Hova
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mcsittel wrote:
So something you could use playtesters for is not welcome since it is later-stage? And how does anyone really know a game is late-stage until you're done and are looking back on the development timeline? It seems rather subjective to decide what's early and what's late.

I'll be there with *something*... I could use some clarification though on what's allowed.


Like I said, I'll post more detail soon, but here's the basic idea...

The whole idea behind Proto Alley is to give designers a safe place to get feedback on raw, early-stage designs. Many people at BGG.CON do not want to play such things; they would prefer to spend their time on finished games!

There's no hard-and-fast rule here. If your game is all done except for artwork or a card tweak here and there, then I'd hold off from showing the game at Proto Alley (and it sounds like you're better off showing your game to regular attendees at that point anyway!).

I'll post more details when I have a room and time.
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Matthew Sittel
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IngredientX wrote:

There's no hard-and-fast rule here. If your game is all done except for artwork or a card tweak here and there, then I'd hold off from showing the game at Proto Alley (and it sounds like you're better off showing your game to regular attendees at that point anyway!).


Is there a separate room for 'unpublished, late-stage' games? I'm simply an amateur designer eager to show off my creations and get some feedback on whether or not the games themselves are entertaining to anyone else but me.

My take on this was "if I have a captive audience, why waste it on a half-baked idea that may never work?" Their feedback on more developed games would be more useful.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood the purpose of Proto Alley, but given that there was interest in seeing late-stage designs (as evidenced by the survey results), it would be great to give them a chance to show off the fruits of their labors too if possible.
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Mischa D. Krilov
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trenttsd wrote:
What does one have to do to bring a prototype to Proto Alley? Do you just show up with your prototype? What are the rules?

I might bring my MOBA card game, but it's still very, very early.


Trent, last year it was a just-show-up affair. I advise against merely walking in, testing yours, and walking out. It's good form to budget a larger chunk of time to help out more people.

Here's last year's thread so you can see last year's rules: Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2011 I suspect they haven't radically changed, but I'm not Gil.
 
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Mischa D. Krilov
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mcsittel wrote:
My take on this was "if I have a captive audience, why waste it on a half-baked idea that may never work?"


Because you may not know if it's a half-baked idea.

Perhaps you only have a nugget of a mechanic and you want to get feedback... but I've seen a lot of "middle stage" games in Proto Alley. Think of it this way: Is your game done? Like actually, totally, really for reals DONE DONE? If so, then show it to publishers. If not, PROTO ALLEY!
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Trent Hamm
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rossum wrote:
trenttsd wrote:
What does one have to do to bring a prototype to Proto Alley? Do you just show up with your prototype? What are the rules?

I might bring my MOBA card game, but it's still very, very early.


Trent, last year it was a just-show-up affair. I advise against merely walking in, testing yours, and walking out. It's good form to budget a larger chunk of time to help out more people.

Here's last year's thread so you can see last year's rules: Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2011 I suspect they haven't radically changed, but I'm not Gil.


I plan on going in there regardless, at least for a while. I rather enjoy testing early prototypes and offering suggestions.

I'd say it's a 20% chance at best that I bring my MOBA game anyway.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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Sounds like its time to make a game about evaluating the quantity-of-bakedness of various prototypes.
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R. Eric Reuss
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Quote:
I'm simply an amateur designer eager to show off my creations and get some feedback on whether or not the games themselves are entertaining to anyone else but me.

If a game's never been bounced off of anyone but yourself (or even yourself and your friends), I'd think that qualifies as 'rough' regardless of how much work has been done on it - as you say, "does anyone else enjoy it?" is a significant hurdle, and can sometimes mean scrapping / overhauling huge chunks of a game, or abandoning an idea altogether and using the worthwhile ideas in other designs down the road.

I encourage you to come, both to get your designs tested and to help test other peoples'!
 
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Travis Worthington
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I'll be there - looking for prototypes that are ready for publication. if you have a game that fits the games I have published (2-5 players (or more, 45 minute playing time, thematic - hybrid Euro/Ameritrash), please contact me after Essen (early November).

I'll want to review rules ahead of setting up time at BGG con to try your game out.

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Chris Darden
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Glad to hear this is going to be happening. I may have a game or two and would enjoy playing other protos.
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Martin DeOlden
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I have one I have about finished and should have it ready so I hope to get it playtested as well.
 
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Gil Hova
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mcsittel wrote:
Is there a separate room for 'unpublished, late-stage' games? I'm simply an amateur designer eager to show off my creations and get some feedback on whether or not the games themselves are entertaining to anyone else but me.

My take on this was "if I have a captive audience, why waste it on a half-baked idea that may never work?" Their feedback on more developed games would be more useful.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood the purpose of Proto Alley, but given that there was interest in seeing late-stage designs (as evidenced by the survey results), it would be great to give them a chance to show off the fruits of their labors too if possible.


It's relatively easy to get con-goers to play late-stage prototypes. If all that's left is to finish up the art and maybe tweak a card here and there, you should be able to spook up a "captive audience" no matter where you are.

I started Proto Alley because it's very difficult to get con-goers to play raw, early-stage prototypes. This kind of time is absolute gold to me. There's no way I can get a game to a late stage without getting it in front of other designers and seeing what goes wrong. But that's not an experience that many con-goers want to participate in, which is why this is a separate event.
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Gil Hova
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rossum wrote:
Here's last year's thread so you can see last year's rules: Proto Alley at BGG.CON 2011 I suspect they haven't radically changed, but I'm not Gil.


Thanks for posting the link, Mischa. You're correct in that the rules haven't really changed.

I was hoping to get together some sort of place for late-stage prototypes, but unfortunately, I won't be able to make that happen this year.
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Jesse McGatha
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IngredientX wrote:
It's relatively easy to get con-goers to play late-stage prototypes.


That's never been my experience. Overwhelmingly people want to play things that come out of a box with a publisher label on it. Personally, I like playing (and having people play) late stage prototypes. The people who enjoy playing prototypes are in high concentration at such a gathering and you never know when you'll get that suggestion to push something from "almost publishable" to "I'll take it" from a publisher. I'd rather get that feedback before taking a publisher's time. He/she may never want to look at it a second time.
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James Mathe
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I have a couple games I'd like to run there and yet I'm an Exibitor / Publisher so I'll be at the vendor hall from 10am-6pm daily. Can't the time for this be moved so publishers can actually attend which is what most of the people attending would love to see happen?

Anyway, I'd like to show off 2 of my creations:

DEATHTRAP DUNGEONS
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/833491/wip-deathtrap-nea...

CRUSADERS
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/833106/wip-crusaders-nea...

And a near complete game we're going to publish: Hegemonic

And one more that isn't listed anywhere that's light (Carcassonne like).

James
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James Mathe
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I guess I do see what you're seeking here... I to find it very hard to put raw games in front of people at an event that has published games. But I still think there is need for a late-stage group.

Maybe we need some sort of event or room that Travis and I and maybe some other small publishers sponsor?

Minion Games has published 4 games found at protospeil and 1 game from BGG so far. We have 3 more from protospiel in the works. So I obviously value getting together with designers late stage.

At the very least maybe we can meetup in the big hall in the evenings?

James
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Gil Hova
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As I've already said, it's not that I don't see the value in a later-stage event. It's just that I couldn't get it to work this year. I know there's demand for it.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that a late-stage prototype event could pull vendor money away from the con. Having an event sponsored by a group of publishers would probably help a lot in this respect!

It's probably too late for this year, but I'd like to help make this happen for next year.
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Trey Chambers
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I shall be there with something new. Even my early prototypes LOOK pretty (I'm big about aesthetics), but I promise, by the time I get it there it will only have been played once or twice previously. I'm really trying hard to get it ready.
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Michael Dew
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RPGShop wrote:
But I still think there is need for a late-stage group.


This is the primary reason I'm not participating in Proto Alley this year: the only 2 designs that I have in any semblance of playability are both late-stage, fairly well-developed designs that just need a few more burrs polished off (I think!).

I also agree with the sentiment that it's not as easy to get con goers to playtest a late-stage prototype, but maybe I should shower more than once and try again?

Seriously, though, I'm all in favor of a (to coin the term) "Designer's Showcase" where designs that have graduated from Proto Alley can get some final refinement, possibly to include feedback from publishers. I envision this as being complementary to PA. Perhaps we can organize a "prototype" Designer's Showcase for this year (to be held where there is space available) and have a more organized, official one for next year?
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