Last updated 02/13/18
WHAT IS PROTOSPIEL SAN JOSE?
Protospiel San Jose is three days of family friendly board game play testing. Game designers come from all over with their in-development board games to get feedback from fellow game designers and players. This is a fantastic opportunity to play games, learn from other designers, get new ideas, and network. Protospiel San Jose is FREE for players. Designers and Sponsors pay to cover the venue rental and event costs. Protospiel San Jose is a not for profit event.
In 2017, the event's 4th year, we had 80+ designers and 600+ unique players.
HOW DO I ATTEND?
Everyone attending the event must REGISTER to get a badge. Designers that want to bring their prototype games for play testing must purchase a Designer Tag Table badge and register online in advance. Player badges are free and may be registered online in advance or on-site during the event. When you first visit the event anytime during the three days, head to the welcome/check-in table to pick up your badge. Every badge is valid for the entire duration of the event over the three days. Once you have your badge, you can go in and out as you please.
HOW DO DESIGNER TAG TABLE BADGES WORK?
To run games at the event you must register online and purchase a Designer Tag Table badge. Within a couple weeks of the event, look for more information on how to partner with an available designer to share a table with, if desired. Those that are not partnered with a designer will be randomly partnered with another available designer.
A Designer Tag Table badge grants you a dedicated table to be shared with one other game designer (who must purchase their own badge). You form a “Tag Team” with the other designer, switching off running the table between the two of you as you see fit. Please be respectful to your table partner and their time. It is suggested to switch off use of the table every 2-3 hours. Each designer is also expected to player other designers’ games during the event. Neither designer is required to be at their table, and may come and go as they see fit.
A Designer Tag Table badge entitles a game designer and ONLY that game designer to run games. If you have an assistant/buddy who is going to run games in your absence or in addition to you, you need TWO Designer Tag Table badges. If someone is covering you for a few minutes for a bathroom break, helping setup/take down/cleanup, or just joining you as a player/playtester that is fine and they do not need a Designer Tag Table Badge.
If you have a co-designer, here are some options:
1. Just use your badge. Only you should be running your games at a table. Your partner can help you with your games as a player, cover bathroom breaks, and play other designers’ games to build up karma so those designers come play your games.
2. Each of you buys a badge. You can then share a tag table and have a designated table to yourselves for the weekend.
3. Each of you buy a badge and ask to be placed at a separate tag table. You could then conceptually be both running games at the same time.
IS THERE ANY LIMIT ON THE TYPES/KINDS OF GAMES I CAN BRING?
You are free to bring RPGs, dice games, party games, dexterity games, big long 3 hour epic games, zombie games, horror themed games, euro or Ameritrash games, and pretty much anything else. You can bring as many games as you’d like, and even different versions of the same game. If you have a gory zombie game or a horror game with graphic artwork, we may need to position you at a table the back away from children.
There are two categories of games that are NOT allowed.
1. Finished/Production games should not take up table space.
Please don’t bring a finished game that is on sale/Kickstarter just because you wish to promote it. You will be taking away play testers from prototype games that need those testers. Bring flyers, sell sheets or a sample instead. I’m asking that finished games not consume table space and play testers at the event. That isn't fair to the designers who have paid to attend and develop their games.
If you have an expansion you wish to test for your published game, that is acceptable. If you are still making changes/tweaks to your near finished game, that is also acceptable. The event is focused on play testing unpublished games.
2. Cards Against Humanity style games are NOT allowed.
I have a lot of families attending the event. Many of the publishers and designers are focused on making games for children and families. Volunteers are bringing their kids. We need to maintain a family friendly environment.
If your game uses curse words, scatological humor, sexual terminology and/or nudity, it is not a good fit for this event.
If you cannot abide by these two restrictions, I would be happy to issue you a refund if you have already purchased a badge.
DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY GAMES?
Designers are encouraged to REGISTER GAMES they plan to bring, though they are not required to or committed to running those games. This gives attendees a preview of what might be available, might encourage them to track you down, and make it easier to follow up or leave feedback for you afterwards. You may bring as many games as you want.
CAN I BRING A SIGN OR STAND?
You are free to bring any signage that can sit free standing on your tag table. In fact, you are encouraged to make a sign that describes your game and display it on your tag table (it is suggested you buy a plastic sign holder for this). A good sign includes the name of your game, play time, number of players and complexity. Click for a Table Sign Printout (Power Point, Keynote) you can use. Custom signs are best if you can find the time to make them.
Signage that does not fit on a table, such as large wall banners or pop-up banners require a sponsor level badge.
DO I HAVE TO STAY FOR THE ENTIRE EVENT?
You are free to come and go as you please. Tables are not required to be attended by any of their designers.
HOW ARE PLAY SESSIONS ORGANIZED?
The event is open play, and not organized or scheduled into time slots. Players are free to choose whichever games they are interested in. Designers are expected to play test other designers’ games while at the event as well.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR PLAY SESSIONS?
There is no time limit for a play session, and it can be as long as you’d like (considering it is within event hours and okay with your designer tag team partner schedule). Some people are coming specifically because they enjoy playing longer/deeper games. That being said, there will also be a lot of casual players. Please be clear up front how long your game is projected to take. If your prototype drags on, you may need to thank the testers and end the game at some point.
HOW SHOULD I RECORD GAME FEEDBACK?
You should bring your own notebook and feedback forms. It may be a good idea to use a voice recorder app on your smart phone to record audio feedback. Here is a FEEDBACK FORM PRINTOUT you can use.
BESIDES PLAY TESTING WHAT ELSE IS AT THE EVENT?
Play testing is the focus of Protospiel San Jose and continues constantly throughout the day, everything else is a side event. Side events include:
- Check out the Game Kastle store to buy some games!
- Free snacks – Help yourself throughout the day
- Free raffles
- Designer Dinner (off-site Friday March 9)
- Gaming With Edo Video Pitches (Saturday March 10)
- Improv Game Design Contest (Sunday March 11)
HOW DO RAFFLES WORK?
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.
HOW DOES THE DESIGNER DINNER WORK? (OPTIONAL)
Friday, March 9, 6:30-8pm
It is suggested that you come a bit early to order your food.
1031 N San Antonio Rd
Los Altos, CA 94022
(Across the street from Game Kastle)
Hang out with other designers over dinner and talk some shop. Counter-serve barbecue, a bar, and vegetarian options are available. You will need to pay your own check. Seating is limited to the first 25 people to RSVP. After all the designers have RSVP'd, if there is space for +1s, we will send another email to everyone who has filled out this form.
PLEASE RSVP FOR THE DESIGNER DINNER HERE
The designer dinner is optional and play testing will continue during the dinner for those who do not to attend.
HOW DO THE GAMING WITH EDO GAME VIDEO PITCHES WORK?
Saturday, March 10
10:30am-9:00pm (sign up for a 30min time slot)
Please be on time or early, as the video recording must be finished within the 30min time slot.
Ed Baraf is a huge fan of indie development and protospiels. This year he is going to set up shop at the back of the event to film 3-5 minute elevator pitch / preview videos for your game! These videos will appear on the Gaming with Edo channel and as links available to you to share with publishers, backers, others as needed. Ed has actually never done this before, but it seems like a neat idea so he has graciously agreed to give it a shot!
HOW DOES THE IMPROV GAME DESIGN CONTEST WORK?
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!
Sunday, March 11th at 11 AM (subject to change)
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 on-site at the welcome table, as kits are limited. The best game will be awarded a certificate of success and eternal glory!
Thanks to Johnny Pac for organizing the improv contest this year.
WHERE DO I GET FOOD?
Protospiel San Jose is providing snacks and outside food is allowed (just keep things clean and respectful).
There are many nearby restaurants including: Chili's Grill & Bar, La Salsa, Lucky Chinese Food, McDonalds, Pizza Studio, Starbucks, Subway, Sushi 88 and Ramen, The Counter, and Veggie Grill.
Also nearby is Target, Trader Joe's, Safeway, Sprouts, and Walmart.