Last Saturday I went to BGDevCon 3 organised by Bez and Andy.
I was interested in going because despite the odd Playtest UK event I don’t get to talk to many designers face to face. I liked the inclusivity of the event, those with published games would be treated the same as those who hadn’t designed anything. It’s easy to feel like an imposter when giving advice online to other designers because although I theoretically know a lot about Kickstarter and game design, until I put those ideas into practice by releasing something successfully, I always feel like that advice isn’t coming from a place of experience and is worthless.
The day started with everyone giving short intro icebreaker talks. This served as a good way to get a glimpse into what everyone was up to and saved us all from a lot of smalltalk throughout the day. Plus it allowed you to make mental notes of people who are working on similar stuff or just sound generally interesting.
After that we had longer talks by those that wanted to give them. These were recorded and should be uploaded shortly. They covered a decent range of topics like, using programming to design games and help with playtesting, how to make games aimed at families and how to use a 3D printer for prototyping.
Listening to people talk in depth about their design process or pointing out things to consider in games design was really helpful. It was hard remembering to pay attention and keep listening over constantly attempting to apply every bit of advice to my own designs.
The rest of the day was split between group discussions in the main room and organised ‘Speed Designing’, where you could go through the process of co-designing a game for just 15 minutes with a stranger. The idea wasn’t to try and have a game ready to playtest after 15 minutes but just to talk game ideas through with someone and begin thinking about how the game might work. It was an interesting exercise in how simple it is to start a game idea, and I overheard some people commit to continued development of the idea they came up with.
I found I was a bit too brain fried from socialising and paying attention to the talks to be very useful to my partner, and towards the end of our session realised we were well on our way to designing a dice version of Leaving Earth, so not something I saw much value in.
Group discussions finished off the day, with everyone sat in a circle and giving their opinions on topics like self-publishing, pitching and mental health in Boardgames.
Overall the 2 designers I travelled up with and I had an enjoyable and informative day. The convention was really well run and provided something that is hard to find, an event to network with other designers where playtesting was forbidden, even though that really just moved it all to the days before and after the convention.
I’m already looking forward to BGDevCon 4!