Protospiel Online July 2020 was our first open-to-the-public event. This brand new online format for playtesting conventions gave us the chance to try several new ideas. We aimed to create an event that would bring the Protospiel community together while reaching out to a wider audience. In this article, we’ll take a look behind the scenes at how we planned the convention and see how each of our ideas worked out.
A New Way to Protospiel
One of our favorite things about Protospiel is its low barrier to entry. Prototypes with any level of polish are welcome. There are always plenty of seasoned designers ready to playtest for others and offer advice. It’s common to hear someone ask “What game did you bring? Can we play it?” All of these things add up to make Protospiel a great place for new designers to take their first steps in the tabletop industry.
We’ll be the first to admit that online conventions can’t completely replace in-person playtesting. We can’t observe players’ body language or feel the satisfaction of looking around the room to find ourselves surrounded by like-minded people. At the same time, the online format can be a powerful way to bring Protospiel to a wider and more diverse audience.
For those who want to see more diversity and representation in tabletop gaming, supporting diversity among designers is an important piece of the puzzle. In recent years, we as a Protospiel community have tried with limited success to increase diversity at our in-person events. We believe this shift to online events could be the perfect opportunity to broaden our horizons — as long as we’re willing to lean in and accept the challenge.
Protospiel Online July 2020 Charity Fundraiser
For our test event in April 2020, we ran a fundraiser for Tabletop.Events (TTE), the online registration platform many Protospiels use to manage their ticket sales. By the time we were ready to open ticket sales for Protospiel Online July 2020, TTE had successfully raised funds to keep running through the end of the year. Shortly after that, they sold the business to Board Game Geek to ensure more long-term financial stability. Since TTE no longer needed help raising funds, we decided to turn our attention to a different cause that more urgently needed support.
Taking a Stand for Equality
After listening to stories and perspectives of our BIPOC friends in the tabletop games industry, we decided to put our money where our mouth is in our commitment to be better allies in their fight for equality and representation — within the tabletop industry and beyond. Special thanks to Eric Slauson for his referrals to the following established organizations fighting for equality in the United States:
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- American Civil Liberties Union
- The Equal Justice Initiative
- The Innocence Project
- The National Police Accountability Project
You can read more about each of these organizations on our charities page.
We gave each attendee the opportunity to give 10% of their badge cost to one organization, an equal split to all five, or none. We also offered all badge holders the option to donate an extra $5, $10, $20, or $50 to one organization or an equal split to all five (less TTE transaction fees).
We are pleased to announce that the Protospiel Online July 2020 crew raised a total of $479.70 for these five charities! Here’s how the giving broke out: