ProtospielA Protospiel is a game testing salon. Designers (anyone who has purchased a membership or been awarded a complimentary membership, from seasoned designers to rookies) bring in game prototypes in need of refinement. They might be at the very earliest stage of development, or they might be fairly polished, but what you can expect to see are games that need testing. So any convention member can come in and help play-test any game. This allows the designers to find problems, see what works well, get players' sense of what's fun and what isn't, and see what sort of strategies players use based on the present state of the rules.
What do the play testers get out of it? You can just drop in and play in any game that has space at any time; you get to have input at the earliest stages of a game's development; and you have the gratitude of the very folks who want to create new games for your favorite genres. No sign-ups, no need for game registration, maybe even no waiting for the next game to start, because a new game might be starting at any moment. If that game has a rule you really don't like, for once you can say so, and maybe it'll get changed! Or maybe it was just unclear, and the designer will be happy to know, so she or he can fix it. Of course, because you are playing a game, you also are probably going to have a fun time doing all this.
There is no fixed schedule for prototypes to be run. If there is open space, simply set up and start playing as soon as you have enough players. When your game is done and you've collected players' critiques, please clear your game for the next designer.
All designers are also expected to spend time testing other folks' games. This is a way of paying back and paying forward for the help you will be getting.
The Protospiel will be open in a dedicated room in the main convention area beginning at Noon on Friday and continuing around the clock until the end of the convention at 5 PM on Monday. Additional space may also be made available in the adjacent lobby if demand requires it. Contact our Protospiel coordinator; we will establish a tentative roster of designers and publicize prototype games to generate interest from play-testers. If we hear from potential play-testers, we can encourage the designers by letting them know you're out there and looking forward to the protospiel.
For regular updates, check out the DunDraCon Protospiel Facebook group.