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Protospiel 2017 Recap and Budget

Each year I post the final attendance numbers and budget for Protospiel San Jose.


In terms of 2017 attendance we had:

80+ Designers

600+ Players (Uniques, not turnstile)


Honestly, that is as big as I want to get. I was at Unpub 7 this year, which is much larger. Unpub was a great event, but it didn’t have the same feel at that size. To maintain the community feeling, I want to stay about the size we were at in 2017. If needed, I can expand to two events per year instead of doing a single larger event.


Protospiel San Jose 30 Second Video Recap



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What I plan to do different next time:


1. Book the back room for media and panel(s). 

We didn’t do a panel this year as the noise level from last year made hearing difficult. The back roomat Game Kastle MV is now set up with lights an some sound. Next year we can try some panels again. Also I want to carve out time and space to encourage podcasting and interviews from the back room.


2. Try Adding Basic Sandwiches to the snacks

Year one and year two I tried offering full meals. Meals proved too expensive and time consuming. Year three and year four we had just snacks, which worked much better. I had a volunteer that did ALL of the food this year and did a fantastic job. Next year I plan to add basic sandwiches (Bread, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Cheese and small amounts of cold cuts) to the food budget.


3. Offer More VIP Player badges.

I planned a very limited quantity of VIP player badges this year. They quickly sold out much faster than in past years. Next year, I’ll aim to offer 50 VIP player badges.


4. Diversify Raffle Prizes

In 2017 I bought raffle prizes from three sources. The quantity was not as high as it was in 2016, but the variety was greater. Next year I plan to do something similar and expand to several sources of raffle prizes. 


Finally, here is our final budget for 2017. Drop me a line if you have any questions at (boardgamebuilders@gmail.com).

Protospiel San Jose 2017 Budget

Protospiel San Jose 2017 Budget

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Parking Tips, Quick Updates, Thanks to Card Lords


1. Where to Park
2. Quick Updates
3. Sponsor: Card Lords

Where to Park

Good gamers play nice with others. In that spirit we are asking all attendees of Protospiel San Jose to park behind Game Kastle or off to the right side (green checks in photo below). Please DO NOT park in front of the store (red x below). Leave that parking for the people who need access to Trader Joes. If you park in back, there is a sidewalk that takes you right up to the Game Kastle entrance. Thank you!

Quick Updates

Documentary Filming On Site
There will be a documentary on board games and board game designers filming on site. If your game is secret, please remember to provide signage on your table that it should not be photographed.

Correction: Designer dinner is Friday the 7th.
The day of the week and time in the previous updates is correct. An attentive designer pointed out the date listed was a typo. The Designer Dinner is this Friday night.

Industry Guest: Steve Jones of Blue Panther
Blue Panther LLC is a publisher and manufacturer of board and card games, game accessories such as dice towers and dice trays, and custom components in a variety of materials, including dice.

Thanks to our final sponsor: Card Lords

CardLords is a game design and publishing company with an emphasis on player interaction and high quality artwork.  The owner, Tucker, started CardLords by publishing token cards used in the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game.  BattleGoats was his first design and the first full game published by CardLords, which funded in under 24 hours on Kickstarter in 2016.  They have two new games coming out (Take the Gold this month and The Pirate's Flag in early 2018), as well as an expansion for BattleGoats that will launch at GenCon 50 later this year.  Tucker and the CardLords team will be at Protospiel San Jose testing their upcoming games and looking for new 10-15 minute family oriented games to publish.

Thank you to Card Lords for making Protospiel San Jose free for players.



Why 6 PM Friday? Industry Guest: Scott Gaeta of Renegade Games


Just 5 days until #ProtospielSJ

1. Why does the event end at 6 PM Friday?

2. Industry Guest: Scott Gaeta of Renegade Games


Why does the event end at 6 PM Friday?

I've been asked why the event only runs from 10 AM to 6 PM on Friday. The answer is simple: Friday Night Magic. Magic keeps game stores open and pays the bills. Game Kastle is a wonderful host and is giving us a great rental price. As part of that deal, we have to make space for Friday Night Magic. 

Provided we give back all tables needed for Magic after 6 PM you are welcome to stay and keep playing games until closing on the remaining tables. All tables need to be shared from 6 pm to 10 pm Friday. Assigned tables resume Saturday morning.

I would urge designers to attend the designer dinner after 6 PM on Friday.


Armadillo Willy's
1031 N San Antonio Rd Los Altos, CA 94022

Friday April 7, 6:30 PM to ?

Please RSVP via this link: https://goo.gl/forms/AExRAtIYSaC1WXrQ2


Industry Guest: Scott Gaeta of Renegade Games

During Scott's 20 years in gaming he's published games based on some of the biggest pop culture brands in the world. In less than 3 years Renegade has become one of the leading Indy publishers in the industry with such hits as Gravwell, Lotus, Lanterns, Fuse, and Clank! Scott’s vision for Renegade is to expand the audience for games by shaking things up and not be bound by old school thinking. 

Scott will be attending Protospiel on Sunday looking for innovative new designs that Renegade can develop.




Designer Dinner, Free Shipping from PnP


  1. Designer Dinner
  2. Volunteers Needed
  3. Free shipping offer from Print and Play.
  4. Sponsor: Brian Henk, Overworld Games


Designer Dinner and Mixer (Optional)

Friday night hang out with designers over dinner and talk some shop.

Armadillo Willy's - (Across the street from Game Kastle)

1031 N San Antonio Rd Los Altos, CA 94022

Friday April 16, 6:30 PM to ?


Counter-serve barbecue, bar, some vegetarian options. Seating is limited to the first 25 people to RSVP. You will need to pay your own check. Armadillo Willy's is within walking distance of Game Castle. If you need a ride, you can ask for a ride share as part of your RSVP.

Please RSVP via this link: https://goo.gl/forms/AExRAtIYSaC1WXrQ2



Call for Volunteers - Your Help Is Needed

Protospiel San Jose is not for profit. Each year the budget is posted publicly on the website. How well the event turns out due to the efforts our awesome volunteers and contributors. Once again, we need your help to staff the welcome table/registration desk. 

If you are willing to help staff the welcome table please reach out to our volunteer coordinator Jonathan Grothe at GameKrackers@gmail.com Thank you!



Industry Guest & Free Shipping Offer

Andrew Tullsen will once again be joining us as an industry guest this year.

Starting the company Print and Play Productions at age 16 from his bedroom, Andrew Tullsen is now the regional manager of the Print and Play Division owned by AdMagic. 

Print & Play is know for their custom work in board game prototyping. They offer boards, boxes, bits and more. Cards come in standard and custom sizes. Their support team works closely with customers to ensure satisfactory products. Print and Play strives for quality, consistency, and fast delivery with every order. 

Since Andrew is coming to the event, he is offering free shipping for any order headed to Protospiel San Jose. Andrew will bring your order with him. Head over to https://www.printplaygames.com to take advantage of this great service. Use coupon code "local17" for free shipping, make sure to mention it's going to Protospiel San Jose in the order notes! 



Thanks to Sponsor Overworld Games

A hearty thanks to Brian for helping make Protospiel free for players.

Brian is the President of Overworld Games, creators of 7 successful Kickstarter campaigns and publishers of easy-to-learn and quick-to-play games with heavy social interaction. Brian is the co-designer of games like Good Cop Bad Cop, Exposed, New Salem, and Leaders of Euphoria. He is also one of the co-hosts on the Board Game Business Podcast where he discusses the business side of the tabletop game industry.


Brian Henk of Overworld Games

Brian Henk of Overworld Games



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 www.facebook.com/secretformulagames

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".