Is there any limit on the number of games I can bring?
There is no limit on the number of prototype games you can bring. I highly suggest you pace yourself and focus on just two each day, but you are free to bring several.
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. My goal will be to put the loud party games in the smaller room and the longer deep euro style games in the larger room.
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 launches on Kickstarter next month 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 The event is focused on play testing unpublished games.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 lots of families attending the event. Many of the publishers and designers attending 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 can not abide by these two restrictions, I would be happy to issue you a refund if you have already purchased a badge.
Will attendees be playing full games or just demos of the game? Is there a time limit? What if I have a two hour game?
Playtesters will be playing full games. There is no time limit. 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.
Do patrons simply choose which games they wish to play, or is there some kind of rotation? Do designers typically bring signs with their game's name on it to display at the event?
Players choose which game they wish to play. There are no plans for organized play. If we have enough volunteers, we may try sign up sheets. However, I currently don’t have enough volunteer labor to make that happen.
Plan on playing other game designers games to explore new ideas/mechanics and help them out. Other designers will also be playing your game for your benefit.
It is highly recommended that you make a sheet or box cover that sums up your game that includes:
Number of players.
Suggested minimum age and/or difficulty level.
Amount of luck.
Style of game.
A short description of the theme and gameplay.
I will have some examples of summary sheets and box covers in the near future.
Are feedback forms provided or should I plan on bringing my own?
We are currently planning to have a super minimal feedback form that serves as the raffle entry. If you are looking for specific feedback, you should bring your own feedback form.
Unpub.net has a great feedback form available in both online and PDF format. Find it here:
You could for example use the unpub form on an iPad to gather already typed feedback.
Do you have an estimate of how many people will attend this event?
No. This is the first event of its kind in this area. It is at a popular game store that sees significant foot traffic on weekends. Numerous gaming groups have been invited. I have been trying to visit every game group I can find in the Bay Area at least once to pass out flyers and tell them about the event. More than 40 publishers have been personally contacted and invited to the event and I continue to reach out to more publishers every week.
Here is what I can tell you, as of 4/13 we have:
25 Paid Designers
6 Industry Guests that are NOT also attending as designers.
Is it allowed to have a friend with me at the table to help run the game? If so, will he need any kind of badge to get in? Can I buy a designer badge and have my four buddies all share my table for their prototype games?
A game designer badge entails that 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 run a second game while you run another game, you need TWO designer badges.
My game designer partner bought his own badge. Even though the games he will be play testing are designed by both of us, he still bought his own designer badge with his own money. We have several other partnerships and couples coming as designers and they bought multiple badges.
If you need to go to the bathroom and have somebody cover for a few minutes that is fine. People helping you set up/take down/clean up or helping you reach a minimal number of players are fine.
In general, only a person wearing a designer badge should be running games.
Player/Playtester badges are FREE at the door. Any of your buddies that wish to come and support you are free to do so. I just ask that they not be running games. That is not fair to other designers.
Is the format open like at your monthly local prototype night or will there be sign up sheets for each prototype?
Do I have a table that I can have people test at?
Currently the format is open and informal. No assigned tables.
I am open to the idea of sign up sheets and a more structured process. It will depend on how much volunteer labor I have.
Let me provide some examples from 2013-14 events.
Open format - No assigned tables or times.
Staff: 1 guy (Jonathan) with a couple of other people pitching in.
Protospiel (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Open format - No assigned tables or times.
Dave did have a few optional sign up sheets with fixed times. However, there wasn’t enough staff to make the sheets 100% effective.
Staff: As far I could observe, just Dave and his wife with a few people pitching in.
First Exposure Playtest Hall by Double Exposure
Fixed times, assigned tables.
For my $250 I got four 2 hour blocks assigned to me over three days. I had some input on the times (I opted out of 8 AM blocks) but the times were mostly assigned by Double Exposure. I wound up getting a fifth 2 hour block that nobody wanted. So my cost wound up being about $25 a hour to test my games.
Staff: Double Exposure had at least 8 people on staff that I saw. They used all of that staff to make the assigned tables/times happen.
From what I understand Unpub’s preferred system is to sell each table to one designer. The designer owns that table for the weekend. To my knowledge there is no sign up sheets or fixed times. Would anybody who went to Unpub4 care to chime in?
Staff: From what I can see, Unpub had several volunteer staff.
Cost: $60.00 for designers and $20.00 for playtesters.
Open Format - No assigned tables or times.
Staff: 1 guy (Kevin G. Nunn) with a few friends pitching in here and there.
Kevin utilized guest speakers at his event that I appreciated and found to be valuable. I intend to replicate that at Protospiel San Jose.
Are signage or banners ok?
Banners advertising your game company/publisher are allowed as long as you meet one criterion:
Your company website only sells your games, not the games of other companies.
For example, a Banner for Days of Wonder is fine, as Days of Wonder only sells their own games online.
A banner for Amazon.com would NOT be allowed as they are a general retailer and thus a competitor of Game Kastle.
If you are not sure if you meet this criteria or not, let me know and I can work with you to clear you with Game Kastle.
Will "like" prototypes be grouped together (e.g. louder "party" games be together and quieter strategy games be elsewhere; or perhaps by weight - easy, medium, hard)?
This sounds good to me. I would like to have the louder games near the entrance and the longer/quieter games in the back. My ability to do this will depend on two things:
I. Your co-operation
II. How much help I have.
How big is the location?
The main room we are using can hold 20-25 single tables with 4-6 chairs per table. Tables can be doubled up to hold more chairs for larger games. We also get the use of an adjacent smaller room with 7-8 single tables.
Will there be a "speed dating" session for designers to pitch to publishers?
I would like to do a speed dating event. However, I don’t yet have enough committed publishers to justify such an event. Some publishers are only planning on attending for 1 day. Plan on this being a no.
For the Q&A session(s), will any be a panel format so that similar topics can be discussed by a collection of different perspectives vs individual sessions from 1 perspective?
What topics were you considering for the Q&A session(s)?
I have no preference here. I would like to hear what people would prefer. Leave a comment, or shoot me an email.
Panel format? Topics or anything goes Q and A?
I have several industry folks willing to do a Q and A so far. I will be announcing them here on the Blog as “Industry Guests” over the next few weeks.
When would we be able to start informing folks about the event (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Meetups, etc.)?
Do that now. Feel free to use the flyers/cards here on the blog, or make your own. Contact me if you need anything.
I have a volunteer maintaining a Facebook group here (I don’t use FaceBook):
You can @ me on Twitter via @JeremyNorCal
Are there any Hotels within walking distance? Do I need a car to get to/from the event?
My goal is to use local volunteers to shuttle out of town people to/from the venue from a local hotel or two. So far, I’m planning on bringing people over from the Candlewood Suites which is very close.
Candlewood Suites Silicon Valley/San Jose
481 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050
Book online or call: 1 800 972 3165
From $99 per night.