Here are my playtest notes from Protospiel Chelsea 2019 (sorry, about the lack of photos)
Game: Hot Air Aviators
Designer: Todd Robinsion
Playtesters: Todd R. Andy M.
Hot Air Aviators captured the triumph and frustration of navigating a hot air balloon. Players can control their altitude, but they are at the whim of the wind’s speed and direction. A few special ability cards come into play, but use them with prudence. Overall the game has a great concept and it’s fun to play. A few tweaks to the weather prediction mechanism will make it even better.
Game: I Couldn’t Possibly
Designer: Andy Juell
Playtesters: Andy J, Kevin Nunn, David Whitcher, Andy M.
A clever abstract strategy game by Andy in which players try to force their opponents to use all of their pieces. Kevin suggested adding board tiles as each tile filled up. It added new strategic challenges and made it even more dynamic.
Designer: Andy Malone
Playtesters: Rod Currie, Todd R., Andy J, Francois Valentyne, Andy M., Sylvain Plante, Joe Slack, Shane Pruyne, David Whitcher
This is a fast paced dice rolling game incorporating dexterity, spelling and worker placement mechanics. I received a lot of great feedback for removing pieces from the board. Big thanks to Andy Juell for compiling a list of the most common 4 letter words (so I can replace five of my problematic Scrabble words). The design took a leap forward, and might be ready for prime time the next time around.
Game: Turn of Phrase
Designer: Eric and Cecilia Hyland
Playtesters: Eric Hyland, Gray Detrick, Carl Klutzke, Andy M.
Turn of Phrase is an enjoyable word game in which each player creates a Hangman style puzzle and attempts to solve their opponent’s puzzles. Other than some minor design changes to the board, the rules are pretty solid. Bonus points for the back story (Turn of Phrase was invented to announce Cecilia’s pregnancy)
Game: My First Rodeo
Designers: Jonathan Chaffer, Rod Currie, Gray Detrick, Lauren Woolsey, Andy M.
Playtesters: Jonathan Chaffer, Rod Currie, Gray Detrick, Lauren Woolsey, Andy M.
My First Rodeo was a game developed from scratch in an hour for Kevin Nunn’s speed design/pitch contest. It is comprised of 3 mini dexterity games utilizing Game Crafter components on hand. The biggest innovation from My First Rodeo is the dice rolling timer (in my opinion.) The exercise was a lot of fun and it was great to see all of the different interpretations from the other teams (this one came in third.) Hopefully this will be a annual tradition in Chelsea!
Game: Swear Jar
Designer: Andy Malone
Playtesters: Shane Pruyne, Joe Slack, Sylvain Plante, Gray Detrick, Heather Newton, Will Newton, Alex Jackson, Andy M.
Swear Jar is a dice rolling dexterity game in which you race to match “grawlix” symbols on cards. I received some very good advice for balancing the cards and some great feedback for how to tweak the “curses” and “pity prizes.” I am excited to develop the next evolution.
Game: Code of The West
Designer: Francois Valentyne
Playtesters: Lauren Woolsey, Gabby Wilson, Ryan Wilson, Eric Jome, Andy M.
Code of The West uses Poker as a framing device for inspired Wild West missions. In keeping with the morally nuanced nature of the source material, players can advance on a virtuous track and a villainous track. There were some interesting ideas from the playtesters for making the end condition a little more dynamic, but Francois’ game was very successful overall and the cooperative aspect was compelling.
Game: Bounce Ball
Designer: Martin Malone
Playtesters: Andy Juell, Lauren Woolsey, Andy M., Marin M.
Bounce Ball is a dexterity game in which you must navigate your ball through obstacles in the play area. A light touch is rewarded because ricochets are worth more points than toppling obstacles. The rules need some refining, but it is a great effort from a ten year old (who designed the game 15 minutes before the first playtest.)
Game: Second Babel *
Designer: Eric Jome
Playtesters: Martin Malone, Lauren Woolsey, Andy M..
Second Babel is a deceptively simple cooperative block stacking game. Players are not allowed to talk to each other so they must find non-verbal ways influence their collaborators. This game was a lot of fun and impossible to play only once (plus it was a favorite of my son Martin.)
* Eric, please let me know if this title is correct
Game: Doodle Castle
Designer: Gray Detrick
Playtesters: Lauren Woolsey, Jake Roberson, Tamara Detrick, Gabby Wilson, Andy M.
In phase one of Doodle Castle, each player draws a plan for an spooky castle (complete with baddies and loot.) In phase two the tables are turned, as the players must navigate one of their opponent’s castles. This is ingeniously simple game with universal components that could be used for multiple themes. I love the pencil and paper aspect. The best feedback was to simplify the scoring by adding icons to the sheets. A good time was had by all!
Game: Secret Services
Designer: Sylvain Plante
Playtesters: Joe Slack, Josh V., Andy J., Andy M.
Secret Services is a social deduction game in which players try to determine the identities of their opponents (and figure out which one is the mole.) This was a very satisfying game in which all players received information on each turn. It was determined that the Mole possibly had an advantage over the other agents because they had more info at the beginning of the game. Sylvain was going to try a version with two moles, which could be interesting (plus the sunglasses were pretty awesome.)
Game: “Herman” (working title)
Designer: Andy Juell
Playtesters: Andy J., Andy M., Alex Jackson
“Herman” is yet another brilliant abstract strategy game by Andy Juell. Players place pieces for both themselves and their opponents on each turn. Points are scored by creating the longest contiguous line without like colors touching. This was an enjoyable game even in it’s infancy, plus “playing both sides” created some agonizing strategic decisions (in a good way.)
Designer: JT Smith
Playtesters: Rod Currie, Nicole Fende, Andy M.
Gravesend is a legacy RPG in which you and your companions try to survive a monstrous version of NYC. The amount of detail that is included in each encounter, location, character and action is very impressive! “Used” cards are ripped which means that future players will not be able to experience the same story element and nothing is reset between games. After only playing one scenario, I had a vested interest in the outcome of the story. I think a large part of this was due JT acting as a Gamemaster. I would be interested in playing the tutorial missions to experience the story from the beginning.
Overall it was a pretty incredible Protospiel! Thanks to everyone who shared their games and to those who playtested mine (and to David W. and the team who put the event together)