Last weekend I was at Metatopia in Morristown , NJ. It is a game designer focused convention with scheduled play testing and a lot of panels. This was my second year attending.
This year I managed to get a room in the convention hotel, so that made the entire convention much more convenient. I drove down with my friend Tim. We split the driving and left at the right time. So the drive down was only 4.5 hours and pretty easy.
Last year I booked myself for almost every hour of the convention with a talk or a play test. That didn’t go well, and I ended up missing most of the panels I signed up for. So this year my schedule going in was just my 4 play tests and 1 other play test they signed me up for.
Once I was there I looked at the schedule and signed up for a few more tests. I only ended up getting to half of one panel. Partially because I scheduled tests during the panels I wanted to see. So my schedule was more relaxed this year which meant a lot more time hanging out in the lobby and meeting new people. I already knew a bunch of people there, either from last year or from the internet. So I was starting with a bigger group, but there are always more people to meet.
The lobby is the place to be for impromptu play tests, party games, podcast recording, and family dinner. I did a lot of all of that. I recorded about 2.5 hours of podcasts with a lot of guests thanks to Ben pulling in every person he knew who walked by, which is most of the people that walked by. So those will be on The Board Game Workshop over the next couple of months.
I brought Plutocracy and Comic Auction for testing. I couldn’t get Vanilla together in time. My first scheduled test was for Comic Auction. It went well and got a lot of feedback. Mainly that the randomness is too high. We played with 5 players which stretched the game a bit too much. 4 is probably the limit unless the deck gets larger.
Plutocracy was next and had a great 4 player test. I’m definitely on the right track with this latest revision. Later that same day, my second Plutocracy test had no players signed up. Eventually one player did show up and we had a 2 player game that was really useful. I don’t get many 2 player tests in. It changes the game a lot and probably needs some specific tweaks to make it work.
Not having any players signed up turned out to be a more widespread issue. No one signed up for my second Comic Auction test on Sunday either. When you don’t have players the organizers try their best to get players to fill your seats. But Sunday is already a tough day with people leaving early. I noticed 8 games had no one signed up. So I decided not to fight for players and cancelled my test.
It does seem like there were more issues of not having enough players this year. Even on the more active days. It might be that there are more designers coming in and not as many play test only attendees. That’s only a theory though.
Overall this year was even better than last year. More relaxed and a lot more socializing. I met a lot of new people and was able to promote the podcast and design contest a bit. I look forward to next year.