Energized. That’s how I feel when I leave writer’s events, especially the Writers Coffeehouse meetings in Willow Grove, PA. And that’s also how I feel when I leave game-community events.

I attended the inauguration of a convention called Prototype Con, in Kissimmee, FL, from February 19 through 21, 2016. It was like déjà vu all over again.

I attended to promote my two new game prototypes, … And the Bartender Said, and Who Said That? I also attended as a game editor, hoping to educate game designers on the importance of clear and complete rules, and to encourage them to polish their rules before putting the games on the market.

Approximately 175 designers, play-testers, game editors and game publishers spent three days playing board and card games, and refining their designs, often during the playtest. The majority of the designers were newbies, eager to learn about the business of gaming, and eager to hear feedback about their concepts from strangers—people other than friends and family. Several times during the convention I felt like I was at a Coffeehouse meeting. The same issues that plague new authors plague new game designers.

I heard a lot of people talking about how to get published, whether to approach a publisher directly, hoping to be licensed, whether to conduct a Kickstarter campaign if self-publishing, and how to market the game(s). Like I said, déjà vu.

At Coffeehouse meetings, writers often ask how to find agents for their manuscripts. In the gaming world, game designers pitch directly to publishers. Several months ago at a Coffeehouse meeting, Philly Liar Keith Strunk graciously listened to some elevator speeches and provided critiques. At the game convention I had five whole minutes with each of seven publishers to pitch one design. Keith’s guidance, as well as help from some game designers (thanks Kiva Fecteau!), enabled me to (I hope) coherently relay my game’s concept, its fun quotient, and its excellent playability (and re-playability) to those publishers. I didn’t see any glazed eyes, so I believe I succeeded. And, even better, two publishers expressed interest!

I have a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks, so I can send … And the Bartender Said to the interested publishers. Keep your fingers crossed for me!