Gearing Up for March


  • Convention Season
  • Prototype Creation
  • Gear Cards!

March is almost upon us, and it will mark the 13th month of existence for Koalatie Games. Thirteen is a lucky number for me. By the end of March I will have attended three major conventions far from my local area. I will also have finished my latest prototypes. Hopefully, I’ll even procure some illustrators and graphic artists for my games.


First up is San Jose Protospiel. I went to this event last year and it was extremely helpful. Not only did I solidify the base mechanics of my first game, Icon, but I got the inspiration for creating a board for the game after players kept mentioning it should have one.

Immediately after Protospiel is the GTS Trade Show. This will be my third year in a row in attendance. Usually I go solely as a representative of the retail store I am associated with. However, this year I will be attending many manufacturer and publisher workshops.

After a short week at home, I will travel across the country to Baltimore for the 8th installment of the largest playtesting convention, Unpub. I went to Unpub Midwest in November, which was helpful but smaller than Protospiel San Jose. Supposedly, this Unpub is expected to have a few thousand people in attendance, all willing and eager to try games that aren’t quite ready for prime-time.

Prototype Creation

Every time there is a new major playtesting event that I am going to, I try to have the latest prototypes of my game ready to go. I want to make sure that not only is the game pleasant to look at, but more importantly, is as clear as it can be in terms of play-ability.

For Center Stage I feel I am nearing the final dimensions for the game components. And for some reason I’m really excited about the linen paper that I’ve used for some of the components. Linen paper costs 1 cent more than glossy paper, and like 12 cents more than regular paper. Well worth it.

Icon, on the other hand, is still a monster of a project. I’m still trying to figure out the dimensions of the game board to maintain both a legitimate look as a DJ setup while also making it fully functional. Compromises will be made along the way on both ends.

Some people say you don’t need a great prototype. I beg to differ, especially if you’re considering going the independent Kickstarter route. You gotta look good because you are also marketing from the get go. We all still gotta watch my budget, though. And I gotta watch my perfectionist tendencies when it comes to creative art. While satisfying, it can become time consuming.

Gear Cards!

Gearing up for March wouldn’t be complete without Gear Cards! Thanks to my wife, I have been testing a new deck of cards for Icon. While it adds more components to the game and therefore cost, it certainly streamlines the setup for the game, cuts down fiddliness between rounds, and adds that surprise factor when you play a card that your opponents did not expect you to have. I’m extremely excited to see how this goes out in the wild. So far, it’s been a great success both with those who have previously played Icon and those that have just learned the game.

As one playtester/fellow game designer/new friend put it, “I think Gear card moments were the strongest emotional moments of the game.” I knew he was telling the truth because when he used the Microphone on me during the last round, he laughed and turned red because he knew he screwed me over big time. Hey. It’s part of the game. Superstars do what they gotta do to get on top, ya know?


Well, I’ve got about 9 days to put together these prototypes. That’s a lot of cutting and gluing. Anyone out there down to help?


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