In partnership with Maxine and Randy Ekl of Clever Playing Cards, Protospiel Bingo is now a part of Protospiel Online!
Protospiel Bingo was first launched at Protospiel Chicago 2019. The attendees had a lot of fun with it — and gave some good feedback for the next iteration. In March of 2020, Maxine and Randy partnered with Protospiel Denver to run it for the second time at an in-person Protospiel.
This very meta metagame was a huge hit with Protospiel Denver attendees. It generated a lot of fun conversation and gave our attendees an incentive to playtest as many games as possible. After seeing how much our in-person attendees enjoyed the experience, we wanted to find a way to bring it to our Online attendees — with a few adjustments.
The Protospiel Bingo You Know and Love
As we did with the in-person version, each attendee will get a Bingo card with a unique combo of prototype aspects to look for. They’ll use the same card for all 3 days of Protospiel weekend.
At the end of each playtest, the players can find a square on their card that matches the game and ask the game’s designer if they agree that the square describes their prototype — or, in some cases, if the square describes the designer themselves.
Players can only fill in a square if they playtest another designer’s game, so all attendees will have a little extra incentive to share the playtesting love.
The things that might match a prototype are attributes of the game’s designer (first letter of first name, where they live, things they’ve done in the tabletop industry, etc) or attributes of the game (mechanic, genre, format, and components).
Here’s an example Bingo card to give you a better idea.
To make this metagame extra fun, when you submit a PDF or image file of your completed card, you’ll earn entries to our random drawing giveaways — 1 entry for every 2 squares filled in on your submitted Bingo card and 6 entries for every winning Bingo pattern . See our Discord #giveaways channel for full details.
Bringing Protospiel Bingo Online
To make remote play possible, we found an existing online Bingo card builder and customized it to create Bingo cards full of prototype aspects.
Based on the way this tool works, we set each of the 5 types of prototype characteristics to show up in a specific column on the Bingo card. If you find an item you don’t understand, you can check out our list of Bingo square definitions to learn more.
One cool perk of using an online Bingo system is that players can refresh their starting Bingo card until they see a mix of prototype aspects they are excited to play. We ask that players only refresh the mix on their Bingo cards before they record any playtests so that all their recorded playtests will be on one card. Players can only turn in one Bingo card for giveaway entries, and only the card they’ve created last will stay in the list of active cards.
When we play Protospiel Bingo in person, playtesters ask the designer of the prototype they’re recording to initial the applicable square on their printed Bingo card. For Protospiel Online Bingo, we have to operate on the honor system. As with in-person Bingo, players are expected to mark one square per playtest and give the designer hosting that playtest final say on which squares match the prototype. However, players will have to mark their Bingo cards themselves rather than asking others to initial for them.
Since this Bingo game is on the honor system, we’ve made sure everyone has an equal chance to win a prize, no matter how quickly they get their winning Bingo pattern. All prize drawings happen during a livestream after the event.
The Protospiel Bingo cards we used in person had random locations for the “Any Prototype” free space. For the online version, all the cards have their free space in the center. We know playtests often take longer to get through on virtual tabletops than they do in person, so we’re hoping the free center square will increase the chances players can get a winning Bingo pattern.
Lastly, instead of visiting the registration desk and walking away with a prize, players must use our online submission form to send us their Bingo card before the end of the Wednesday after the convention. (Wednesday at midnight Eastern Time, US) to claim their giveaway entries.
Players do not need to log on to the giveaway livestream in person to win prizes off of their earned giveaway entries, but we do give a seperate set of prizes away through games we play with our live viewers. 🙂