I Have A Board Game Idea, Now What? Part 11 : Lessons learned from PrairieCon XXXVII

Playing a game of World's Fair 1893
Over the weekend, I attended PrairieCon XXXVII in Brandon. It was a great weekend full of meeting new people and playing games, including a number of playtest sessions for The Hackers Guild. While I had a great time, and got some invaluable feedback, there are a few things that I would definitely do different at the next con I attend.

1. Be better prepared for game sessions

While preparing for the con, I came across a great article from Galvanized Studios that lays out five tips for making the most of your playtest sessions. While this article gave me a place to start, there were a few more things I wish I’d done and will do next time:

  • Better business cards that include links to my social media profiles and the playtest session report
  • Ensure I have any supplies I may need to make between session changes to the game components
  • Make sure to get enough sleep both leading up to the con and during the con
  • Setup the game completely, including pre-selecting the player mat and colour combinations to help get into the game quicker
  • Have a better rehearsed and consistent introduction to the rules of the game
  • Be clearer about needing an end table

2. Do a better job of being a salesman

I had a couple sessions where either no one signed up to play The Hackers Guild, or where those who signed up didn’t come. Rather than just sitting there, like I did this weekend, I could have made more of an effort to find replacement players.

I also could have done a better job of talking with people and handing out my business cards and talking about The Hackers Guild.

3. Let people know ahead of time what feedback I am looking for

One of the people who played my game mentioned that she would have taken notes as we played had she known that she would need to submit a feedback survey. Letting people know ahead of time what I was looking for will help ensure I get the feedback I’m looking for.

4. Let the players play the game

While reminding players of the rules is important, I could have done a better job of not talking strategy or making suggestions on what actions the player might want to make. The last game of the weekend was especially bad.

I really enjoyed my time at PrairieCon this weekend and I’m looking forward to the next con I get a chance to attend. I’m also looking forward to getting more out attending that con by learning from the lessons I learned this weekend in Brandon.

How do you prepare for and make the most out of your attendance at cons and public playtests? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below or by sharing on social media

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