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How willing are you to play prototypes at SHUX?

So I have a prototype I am working on and I contacted SHUX about how to go about play testing it at the con. They gave me two options: I can bring some prototypes and just sit down and invite people to play if they want to check it out and play test (knowing its a prototype) or I can rent a booth on Indie Ave for $100 for a day during the con and have a table dedicated to my game. Both are good options and its cool that SHUX has a dedicated area for prototyping, etc but I’m not really at the level yet to be “marketing” my game so I’m curious how willing people would be to playing a prototype on the regular floor? For context, my game is a deck building style game that plays in about 30-60 minutes with the theme of each player operating a used car dealership and auto garage. You’re buying used cars for cheap and paying for employees/equipment to help you fix and sell these cars faster than your opponents can for as high a profit as you can get.

Have you played prototypes at cons before? What was your experience? How far along were the prototypes? How do you think your experience could have been better?

Looking forward to seeing everyone there, super stoked!

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I’m interested in the replies to this because my friend is going to be doing the same soon.

Personally (and I’ve never been to a big con) I want to play new stuff - although at RulesCon in Cardiff I had a list in my head of what I wanted to try if I could.

I think I’d be very interested in play testing something new if it was on offer at a con. The problem you may have on the general floor is how and when to approach strangers. Are you outgoing enough to walk up to a group and ask of they want to play your game? The other potential issue on the floor is you may get an interested group, but who are halfway through a different game - you’d have to have a strategy to get those people to your table later in the day. I reckon if you could generate some pre buzz (probably on here) and get a couple of gaming groups booked in then you’ll be sorted either way. $100 for a booth for a day doesn’t sound bad at all (especially if you can start directing people there), but if there are 300 other indie designers looking for play testers it may be a tricky experience.

Good luck - bring it to Cardiff and I’ll play it!

I’m also going to bring a prototype and plan to just sit down in the LFG area and see who wants to play/provide feedback. Casual <30 minute thematic game.
I’d love to meet up with others that have prototypes to provide mutual feedback, share tips, experiences, etc.

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I found it hard last year to get casual players in the common area for prototypes, especially if you’re an unknown designer. Would highly recommend considering a table in the proto-alley if you can do it. That area was always busy last year and you’ll get more interest I think that way.

Last year Indie Ave was the first thing you had to walk through to get to the rest of the con. Every time I walked through, I thought it was super amazing that the SHUX team elevated that kind of thing in the way they did.

I sat down at a couple of the tables. Sometimes because I realised I was into doing some prototyping while I walked through. Other times I walked over seeking it out. It was excellent to know that I could always go over to that area and try a prototype.

I think you’ll get a lot of value for your $100 if you set up there.

I’ve gone the past two years, and can give you a bit of info. First and foremost, I’m typically NOT interested in playing prototypes. With that said, Indie Avenue definitely roped me into some. I should stress, though, that the ones that did typically had marketing materials — imagery and signs and maybe even brochures that described the game in some sort of detail. That was important to pulling me in because I was able to see if something about the theme or mechanics interested me.

If you don’t have that stuff (and it sounds like you’re not far enough along), I think Indie Avenue wouldn’t be a great return on your investment. You wouldn’t stand out and would have to do a lot of outreach still, just like you’d have to do in the open play area.

Those who went that route typically either approached gamers, or used the “Looking for Players” sign to attract people. While I didn’t play these games, I found that they usually had players. Obviously I have no idea how busy they were throughout the day.

Hope that is somewhat helpful!