Join the improv game design contest!


10 days until #ProtospielSJ

1. Game Design Improv Contest
2. Sponsor: Steve Samson - Secret Formula Games
3. Tag Table assignments coming Thursday
4. VIP Player Badge limit increased

Game Design Improv Contest


The annual Protospiel San Jose Improv Game Design Contest returns for its fourth installment! Whether you are a game player looking to express your creative ideas, or an experienced designer looking for a focused challenge, all are welcome to compete in this awesome event!

When: Sunday, April 9th at 11 AM

What: Designing games is difficult, but also great fun and immensely satisfying! A blank canvas can be overwhelming, so for this year's design contest we've come up with some interesting constraints to focus your creativity. Assemble your team of up to 4 designers (or even just yourself) and show us what you can come up with in only 1 hour! You'll be provided with a set of components and other game-making materials, so all you need is your creativity and competitive spirit. When time's up, you and your team will have 5 minutes to pitch your new game idea to our panel of judges. Players will be judged on adherence to the theme, innovation, mechanics, and marketability.

Anyone is welcome to participate, but you must sign up in advance (at the welcome table), as kits are limited. The best game will be awarded a certificate of success and eternal glory!

Thanks to Sarah Graybill and John Shulters for organizing the improv contest this year. I asked them for a teaser image for the contest theme, and they sent this...

Sponsor: Steve Samson of Secret Formula Games

Steve Samson wears a lot of hats these days: He's a presentation coach and communication consultant during the week, the Trade Show Manager for Bézier Games on many weekends, a proud new dad in the middle of the night (and all the time, really), and now the President and Lead Designer of his brand new game publishing company, Secret Formula Games. Steve believes that board games are a perfect way for people to connect with each other, and he wants to create games that are more accessible and more appealing to casual gamers, families, and even non-gamers—as he puts it, he wants to create games with “half the rules and twice the fun.”

Steve will be launching his first Kickstarter campaign this summer for a game he is developing with his friend Candy Weber: a fast-paced, grid-movement, tile-collection game called Orbots. For more information, you can follow Steve and Secret Formula Games on twitter @sfgfun, or visit their Facebook page at

Tag Table Assignments Coming Thursday

Baring any unforeseen snags, table assignments with a map should post this Thursday. That means you have until Wednesday night to send in any tag table pairing requests. 

VIP Player Badge Limit Increased

Chris Rowlands of One Thousand XP was kind enough to send Protospiel San Jose 20 copies of his game Under My Bed. Under My Bed is one of the best micro games I've ever played. Its similar to Spyfall, with higher replay value.

That means we have enough micro games for up to 50 VIP player badges. The badge limit was sold out, and has now been increased if you want to jump on the VIP player level.

VIP players will get to choose from one of the following games. Please note that we have limited quantities of each of these games so not every choice may be available to all VIP players.
"Under My Bed", "Cheeseburger", "Who Stole the Cookie", "Hocus" and "Sun, Moon and Stars".



Raffle, Tag Table Requests


 #ProtospielSJ is now just 16 days away.

1. How the raffle works

2. Tag Table Requests

3. Industry Guests: Floyd Lu, Roger Hicks


How the Raffle Works

Please fill out a raffle slip at the welcome table as you come in. 

We drop the slips in a bucket and choose winners every hour throughout the weekend. If you win, we tape your slip to the edge of the raffle table. Simply, grab your slip and bring it to the welcome table to redeem it for a prize. Your slip then goes back in the bucket and you can win the next day. 

You only need to fill out one raffle slip, and please don't throw it away. At the end of the weekend we need to count all the raffle slips to figure out what our total attendance was. 

Tag Table Requests

Please understand that we can not coordinate tag table schedules for 70+ designers. Its up to each individual to work out a schedule to share your table with your tag table partner. We suggest alternating the table between designers every three hours. However, you are free to share the table any way you wish.

Tag table assignments will post next week. If you would like to request to share your table with a particular designer, that can be arranged. 
To request to be paired with a particular designer, please do the following:

I. Send an email to
II. Use the subject: Tag Table Partners
III. CC the designer you wish to share with.
IV. Include both of your names in the body of the email.

For Example.

Subject: Tag Table Partners


Request from myself and KellenSnook, please put us at the same table. Thanks! Ting Chow


Industry Guest: Floyd Lu from B&B Games

B&B Games Studio is a publisher built by gamers, and is in spirit a guild of gamers. When selecting games to publish B&B looks for more than just a great game, they look for unique mechanics, versatility, and a game that is not like any other games on the market. B&B also considers a great game if the designer has a unique speciality and is interested in helping grow the company. B&B understands that your games, are B&B’s future, and they want people who care about the direction of the company and not just numbers. Floyd will be at Protospeil looking for great games to play.



Industry Guest: Roger Hicks

Roger Hicks is the publisher of Today in Board Games - a thrice weekly newsletter with links to all the latest important information in board games. Roger also runs which provides a variety of tools for gamers and those in the gaming industry such as a searchable, filterable database of Kickstarter projects. He lives in Colorado with his wife and ten kids.

Roger is one of the nicest guys I know in the board game world and I'm honored he is joining us at the event this year.




PDF Flyer, Games to get signed, Thanks to David Sanhueza


#ProtospielSJ is now only 31 days away.

  1. Flyer in PDF form. 
  2. Do you have a published game?
  3. Get your game signed. Part 1.
  4. Sponsor: David Sanhueza


I got some requests to have the printable flyer from the last update in PDF form. Please use the flyer to help local gamers find out about Protospiel San Jose.


Do you have a published game?

I would like to compile a public list of all the available games from designers who are attending. That will allow players to bring or buy games to get signed by the designers in attendance. Please send a list of your available in print games and I will get your games on the public list.


Games you can get signed at Protospiel San Jose. Part 1


Teale Fristoe: Birds of a Feather, Shadow Throne, Corporate America

Brandon Raasch: Dubious Alliance

Grant Rodiek: Farmageddon, Hocus, Cry Havok

Eduardo Baraf: GemPacked, Lift Off!, The Siblings Trouble

Seth Johnson: Golem Arcana, DC HeroClix: Batman

Peter Vaughan: What the Food?!

Brian Henk: New Salem, Good Cop Bad Cop, Exposed, Leaders of Euphoria


Thank You to sponsor David Sanhueza

David Sanhueza is a veteran of the computer games industry, having worked as a professional animator, art director, and designer since the late 90’s. He is the creator of the critically-acclaimed family game Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, the soon-to-be-released strategy game Immortal, and several new prototype games which he will be bringing with him to Protospiel SJ. David's specialty is developing games that draw players in with stunning artwork, and then entertain them with gameplay that really makes them think. In addition to making games and art, David enjoys finding ways to give back to his community... wherever that may be at the time. An American citizen, he has had the honor of living, studying, volunteering, and teaching in several other countries, including Chile, Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan. He currently resides in Las Vegas, where he runs his independent game development and publishing studio, Game-O-Gami (, and organizes the local game design meetup. 

Thank you David for helping make Protospiel San Jose free for players!



I need your help. More VIP badges. Breaking Games


#ProtospielSJ is now just five weeks away.

In this update:

  1. I need your help to spread the word.

  2. VIP Player Badges

  3. Thank you to Breaking Games.

I need your help.

Please help spread the word about #ProtospielSJ. The more players we can get, the better for everyone involved. Attached is a printable flyer. Please take one to your local game night, or post one up at work, or forward this email to a friend. 

This is our fourth year. Every year tons of people contact me after the event sorry they missed it because they didn't hear about it in time. The world of board games is very insulated into small groups. Please help me reach your group so nobody misses out. Thank you!



VIP Player Badge Limit Increased

VIP Player badges were sold out. We picked up two more sponsors who are providing small games specifically for the VIP Player badge to increase the supply. Thanks to Grant Rodiek of Hyperbole Games for helping sponsor the VIP Player badge with copies of Hocus. Each VIP player gets one micro or small game. We will have 3-5 different games to choose from this year. If you want a VIP player badge, there are now a few more available.


Thank you to Breaking Games for sponsoring Protospiel

Peter Vaughan of Breaking Games is attending Protospiel San Jose as an industry guest and a sponsor. Look for him at the Breaking Games table.

Peter Vaughan has been messing with game rules ever since family game nights included moveable bombs in Stratego and one allowable lie in Clue. He is the designer of What the Food?!, and developer of SJ protospiel tested Letter Tycoon and Boomtown Bandits. He is Director of Development for Breaking Games, as well as founder of Squirmy Beast Games and editor of the League of Gamemakers blog.

Breaking Games, founded by Shari Spiro, is a publisher of strategy, family and party games that believes in putting designers first, and is at the core about getting indie games made and played! Breaking Games is associated with Print & Play Productions, both part of parent company AdMagic



Registration is live.

Designer and VIP Player badge registration is here:

PLAYERS: Player badges will be FREE onsite or online. Please sign up for a free Player badge if you intend to come as that helps us plan seating, snacks and raffle prizes.

DESIGNERS: To test games at the event you must sign up for a Designer badge. The cost is $50 for the weekend.

Everyone on the mailing list from the past three years got at least one email announcing and linking to registration back in January. My apologies if you got multiples, it was the safest way to make sure nobody was left out.