ProtospielDunDraCon 40 is introducing a new feature: a Protospiel (game testing salon). Designers (and that can be any convention member, from established game designers to rookies) bring in game prototypes, but these are games 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 playersí sense of whatís fun and what isnít, 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 gameís 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 donít like, for once you can say so, and maybe itíll 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.
All designers are also expected to spend time testing other folksí 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 9 AM on Saturday 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 us at firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 youíre out there and looking forward to the protospiel.
For regular updates, check out the DunDraCon Protospiel Facebook group.