I've had interest from a Boston area designer, and the Fairfield CT group. I thought I'd toss this in your direction to see if the Unity Games community had enough interest in hosting a finalist slot.
Community Marketing Director, Chicago Toy and Game Fair
The Chicago Toy and Game Fair ( www.chitag.com) is hosting a design competition for Rio Grande Games. Jay Tummelson, owner of Rio Grande Games, will be sitting down privately with each finalist selected and reviewing their prototypes at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
Jay has committed to publishing at least one of the games presented to him. Jay will also provide each designer with his advice and expertise on improving their designs for publication. Last year, Jay selected *four* of the finalists for publication, very exciting!
A Call for Hosting Communities
We can accept finalists from at least 10 communities outside of Chicago. These locations must be hosted by a group entity (ie. Yahoo group, Meetup.com group) with a web page, verifiable membership, and accessibilty to the general public. We received many more interested sites last year than we had available slots, but we'll try to accomodate as many as possible. A hosting site does not need to be in the USA provided their winner would be able to travel to Chicago.
Group organizers interested in hosting a game design competition to select a finalist for the contest are encouraged to Email contest@...
with a link to their group's web page and any additional information (such as number of interested designers).
There is no cost for submitting an entry. The individual event organizers may charge a small fee to participants (no greater than $5) to help cover costs of securing a venue and organizing the event.
Semi-final events may be run at each location in the event of a high volume of entries.
The game's creators may be present at the playtesting event and explain the rules to their game if the organizer permits it. While working off rule sheets provides a more pure environment for scoring a game, it can be more timely to have the organizer explain things in their own words.
Our guidelines for scoring games:
Players evaluating the prototypes will be required to play all prototypes and submit a vote sheet at the end ranking each of the games (1, 2, 3, etc). Incomplete scoring sheets will not be counted.
Prototypes will be scored using a sheet developed by Keith Meyers of GameDesignCentral.net. There are 10 criteria:
- Decision Driven (How much is the winner determined based on their decisions, as opposed to luck factors?)
- Wait Time (How much time do you spend without interacting with the game/other players?)
- Unpredictability (How often is the outcome of a turn/round known before it ends?)
- Broad Appeal (Would you teach this to someone who is not a serious game player?)
- Replayable (Do you want to play it again soon?)
- Interactive (Do the player decisions impact other players?)
- Equal Opportunity (Does every player have an equal chance of winning regardless of turn order/role?)
- Simple to Learn (the rules were clearly stated and communicated)
Scale for each criterion is set at 1-5. For each criterion that does not positively or negatively impact the game (or simply doesn't apply), the criterion is scored at 3. If a criterion does impact the game, the score is adjusted positively or negatively and a note/comment is made to explain the decision.
Each game's total scoring will be added up to determine who claims the finalist position.
The authority for selecting a finalist remains completely at the local level. Local organizers have all necessary power and authority to resolve ties and disputes. They are free to contact us if they want an opinion, but we prefer to give local organizers enough control to keep things running smoothly.
Each finalist will receive free admission to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair and a 30 minute time slot with Jay Tummelson to present and discuss their prototype. As a practice, Jay does not play with the prototypes during these presentations. An award dinner for all the finalists will be held on Saturday night.
Prototypes cannot be submitted by proxy or by absentee with written/video/voice description; the designer must be present to explain their designs.
Travel and other expenses are not included.
1. How "professional" does my prototype have to be?
Your prototype doesn't need to be pretty at all, though attention to detail can certainly help "sell" people on the experience. Remember, the goal is to get people to play and enjoy the game. You do not know who will be playing the game, and you might not want to plan around your ideal audience.
2. Do I have to show my prototype to the event organizer in person?
No, some digital photos will do. We mostly want to seperate the "have something to play" from "don't have anything to play, but think I'll have it ready by the event" people. Since the organizer will be trying to round up people to play and judge your game and making space arrangements, they need to know exactly what they're working with. You can still make adjustments to your prototype up until the event, but you should be able to bring something to the table if you're going to register. However, if you are selected to come to ChiTag and present to Jay, you will need to come and bring your prototype with you.
3. Can I submit multiple designs?
This will be at the discretion of the local organizer, and largely dependent on how many other designs need to be reviewed. Plan on submitting just one.
4. Can I submit a game that I previously submitted?
Games evolve the more we play with them. Designs previously submitted are certainly welcome for a second chance.
5. Should I bring an NDA to make sure nobody steals my designs?
Whether or not you get someone to sign one at your local event, we can say for certain that Jay will not sign an NDA. Most game manufacturers will not, as an NDA creates legal complications for them if they publish another game with similarities. The same goes for copyrights and patents; if you've gotten them issued on your designs, expect to be refused. There are numerous discussions on this topic, but it is pretty much accepted practice in the industry.
6. Will this be an annual event?
The odds of this contest recurring increase with the success of each event. The factors that make up success:
a. Strong Community Involvement.
b. Fair conduct at the events.
c. Support for the organizers, who make this all possible.
7. What is being done to prevent the local events from turning into "popularity contests", with friends just voting up designs?
There's not much point to voting up a poor design, as Jay will be the final arbiter. A design without merit will fail of its own accord.
Locally, the organizers have authority over their events. They are all very good at what they do. They will do whatever they see as necessary to keep things running smoothly and fairly.
If you have any questions regarding the contest, please submit them to contest@...
. We'll respond with collected answers on this post.
Please do not contact Rio Grande Games with questions, as they will not be addressed. Individual contest event organizers have been instructed to forward questions that are not specific to their group on to contest@...
We hope that you enjoy this contest event and that you will help develop your local gaming communities.
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