Come along to a Good Games design session at Cancon 2016. Saturday January 23, from 6.00pm until midnight. Play upcoming Australian games, make them better, demo your game, get feedback from other designers and players & yes... eat free pizza. 

This is a collaborative design and problem solving workshop for game designers with unfinished prototypes. You will be able to get helpful, insightful feedback from other designers and playtesters. It's about analysing problems with prototypes and helping each other work out those kinks. Participants will be able to run a game session for their game at least once, and expected to participate in other designer's playtests.

This event not really for designers looking to demo relatively finished new games, you can do that all weekend in the games library, space permitting :)

Good Games Publishing staff will be there to play your games and talk about the process of getting published. If you want us to consider your game for publication you can pitch it to us separately at the con and we may be able to play your game in full at this event or at another time over the weekend.

The session will run from 6pm till 12pm on Saturday night, January 23 in the Games Library at Cancon 2016 and you simply need to be a paid user of the Cancon 2016 games library on Saturday ($10) to participate. The event will be catered.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know what you plan to bring and include the following details:

  • Your name
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Game Name
  • Short game description
  • Age range
  • Time
  • Number of players

Things to bring

  • your game (and a spare copy if you have one)
  • an open mind
  • a short teaching script
  • a simple design goals document
  • quick play rules
  • full rules
  • a sell sheet

Tips for designers

  • Hone your "elevator pitch"  – the short verbal introduction that you will use to introduce the players to your game. Think of it as the blurb on the back of the box. If you had any design goals when coming up with the game concept, you can outline these here as well.
  • Make a sell sheet for your game. This should include the pitch, the main mechanisms, number of players, age range, expected play time, and (most importantly) your contact details. If a playtester wants to get in touch with you after the event, they'll be able to associate you with the game they played.
  • Your game will probably be designed with a target audience in mind. Let your players know what this is before playing.
  • Let play testers know what kind of feedback you're looking for at this stage of the design process. Example: "I'm seeing a lot of downtime between turns, and I need to fix that."
  • Have your components packaged and ready to setup quickly. The faster you get into your game, the more time you'll have for play and feedback after.
  • It might be useful if you can have a pre-defined script of a game turn to help explain to your players. Run through this, then reset and start the game again.
  • Know your own rules and be able to explain them. This might sound obvious, but it's one thing to know your rules, and another to be able to explain them to other people. Summary cards are helpful here. Make sure you have a complete written rules document with you.
  • Be consistent with your ruleset. Rather than change a rule midway through a game, play it through to a point where you feel comforable stopping play. If there's time, describe the rule change, and reset the game. If you need to make up an on-the-fly rule, take note of it and keep it in place for that session.
  • If (or perhaps when) the game completely breaks due to something unforseen, don't be afraid to stop play and discuss the possiblities then. If there's time, you can always get back into it again.
  • Bring pen and paper. Take plenty of notes. Discuss more things after gameplay than during it.

Tips for playtesters

Eric Jome wrote a list of 10 Playtest Principles over on BoardGameGeek. It's well worth a read. Here are some more things to add to that list:

  • Bring pen and paper. Take plenty of notes. Discuss more things after gameplay than during it. Sound familiar?
  • Take a look at any provided feedback form, and keep the questions in mind while playing.
  • The graphic design of a game is one of the last things to be added in to the mix, and often isn't done by the game designer. If you're playing an early prototype, try to keep your feedback limited to the mechanisms of play. If playing a more developed prototype feel free to feedback on the graphic design usability and theme etc
  • If the designer has asked for help to fix a particular problem, keep that issue in mind when playing.
  • If you are able to give your notes to the designer at the end of the session, they might find them useful.