Last weekend was the Protospiel main event, organized by all-around spiffy guy David E. Whitcher. It’s a great opportunity to see some creative folks in action, to have them dissect my work, and to get a sense of the general trends in design.
Courtesy toward other designers’ work forbids discussing most of the games in detail, but I’ll share will all of you what I can.
Mayfair has a license to create a series of Star Trek games and Protospiel organizer David is also the author of Star Trek: Five-Year Missions. He kindly gave us all a full playthrough.
The Crew of the USS Protospiel
Star Trek: Five-Year Missions is a fully cooperative game. The eponymous missions are events and players roll dice to satisfy them. This is definitely a family game–think of it as a notch or two up in complexity from Catan and should therefore be a solid addition to the Mayfair line.
Francois Valentyne brought an excellent design which contained a tile-laying element, a pick up and deliver mechanism, and an economic element. It’s a testament to Francois’ flair as a designer that all of these mechanisms fit into something that still qualifies a a family game.
The majority of other games at Protospiel were instead in the “gamer’s game” category–Kennerspiel candidates if you will. Magic and magic users were a recurrent theme. Some were abstract, as a eurogame might be. Others were quite literal, like a magician’s duel.
Racing games were rare, although Michael Brandl brought one of which I am quite enamored.
Two of my own prototypes also hit the table this year.
The Grand Sorcery drafting game (described last column) was tested with three different groups. Their feedback was overall positive. Everyone agreed that the game needs more development but the flow of the game interested several players as did the multiple ways in which each card could be used. One publisher even made an unsolicited request to see it!
Grand Sorcerers hard at play
The other game was Muster & Battle–the working title–a civilization game in the spirit of Manifest Destiny. I’ve been developing this one for about three years and Protospiel has been a consistent touchstone throughout. When it was little more than an alpha, it was the Protospiel crew that dissected the underlying engine. When it was one year older, it was again the Protospiel crew which gave the critical outside opinion and helped keep it on track. Now in late beta, the Protospiel crew again stepped up to analyze its moving parts. I cannot imagine M&B would be half the game it is were it not for all of their assistance.
Muster & Battle shown here at its first Protospiel
Have you attended a Protospiel event? How was it? What did you learned from the experience? Share with your fellow readers in the comments below. And if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, create an account with WordPress and follow this blog. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.