Thursday, 17 April 2008

reading about prototypes

I usually don't bother to read about prototypes. Sometimes I'd rather people don't write about them too, because usually they are not allowed by the publishers / designers / etc to say much about them anyway. So, often the people who do write about prototypes end up saying how great it was, how much fun they had play-testing it, and sorry they can't say more. I feel rather left out when I read these.

I prefer not to read about prototypes also because there is (usually) no theme, title, picture or story that I can relate to and anchor on. In my mind a prototype feels like a busy whiteboard with lots of diagrams and small writings in different colours all over it, and also different coloured magnets and Post-it notes on it. Not very attractive. I guess theme is important for me, "pasted-on" or otherwise. It gives me something to look forward to, something that can trigger my imagination. Something I can be eager and excited about.

The other "problem" with prototypes is they may not get published at all, or it may take a long time for them to be published. I would rather not spend time reading about a game that I may never have the chance to play. Living so far away from places where big boardgame conventions are held, there is very little chance that I will ever be able to attend such events, to be able to play the prototypes of popular game designers, to be "at the forefront" of the boardgame industry. So, I'd rather be reading about games that are accessible to me, even though "accessible" means I need to slowly build my buylist to six or seven games, and then order "in bulk" from an online boardgame store on the other side of the earth, which I do maybe twice or three times a year. Many prototypes do eventually become real published games, at least those that get talked about in the online boardgames community. But for me they are just too distant. I'd just wait until those graphic designs start coming out, or rules get posted onto the net, or previews get released.


Aik Yong said...

The thing about prototype is, it creates excitement about what's to come out in the future. Most of them don't actually get descriptions due to the non-disclosure agreements. The ones that do get descriptions are probably the ones closest to print.

I felt that the recent round of prototype mentions are probably due to the lack of games that are coming out at the moment. Perhaps as Essen rolls around again, more descriptions of games that are published will be available.

Hiew Chok Sien said...

I think prototypes are mentioned a lot lately because of the recent less formal / more private boardgaming events, in particular the Gathering of Friends, because lots of prototypes get played in these events. For other more formal / public events like Essen / Nuremburg there would be more new published games played than prototypes.