Design Contest Post Mortem

The Board Game Workshop Design Contest 2018 is over. From the announcement of the contest to the announcement of the winner was 146 days. Which was only 5 days longer than the original schedule. And I managed to get it finished in 2018.

In round one, 63 judges gave 1,160 pieces of written feedback for 87 games.

In round two, 37 judges gave 250 pieces of written feedback for 29 games.

In round three 5 judges gave 25 pieces of written feedback for 5 games and 129 audience members (some of which were judges that couldn’t be in person for play testing) filled out 145 judge forms, 62 with written feedback.

That’s a total of 1497 pieces of written feedback. One of my main goals with the contest was getting a lot of feedback to the contestants. So I’m pretty proud of that number.

I think the contest went very well, especially considering it was the first year and I started it on a whim. I certainly made some mistakes along the way. Mostly in doing things in a less efficient way. But I learned a lot through the process and received a lot of feedback from contestants and judges on ways to improve the contest for this year.

Goals for the 2019 Design Contest

Clearer expectations for the designers and the judges on what submissions should include and criteria for judging. This was the most common piece of feedback from both designers and judges.

Improved website for the contest. I changed the podcast’s hosting during round 3 and now have a lot more options to work with. I just have to learn how to use them.

Less (or no) prizes. People overwhelmingly didn’t enter for the prizes. Organizing the prizes and sending them out took a lot of time. Some prizes were generously donated by the sponsors, but the cash prizes and boxes of games took all of the entry fees. I’m not doing this to make a profit, but it would be nice to cover the costs of the contest from the entry fees.

If people didn’t enter for the prizes, why did they enter? The top two reasons were feedback and getting their game in front of the judges. So I hope to get more judges this year.

More entries. There were a lot of entrants sharing their games with each other on social media and I’d like to continue to grow that community. I started a discord for the podcast late into the contest. Hopefully having that running from the beginning will give people an easy way to interact with judges and contestants.

A better schedule. We ran into some conflicts with holidays and conventions which made things difficult for some entrants and judges. I’d really like to get it early enough that round three judging coincides with Metatopia. So I can have a larger pool of in person judges.

I was worried about two main things with last year’s contest. Not getting enough entries to make it worth the trouble and getting too many entries that I couldn’t handle the workload. With the great response this contest had I’m not worried about the former anymore and I’ve improved my process of dealing with submissions, judging, and sending out feedback so I’m not worried about the latter.

2019 will mostly be about focusing on the improvements but I have some fun ideas I’d like to add in if I can.

Thank you to all the entrants, judges, and wonderful people who helped make this contest a reality. It has been a lot of fun and I’m eagerly anticipating the next one.

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