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My Experience at Dragonflight 40

It’s fitting that Dragonwatt Games’s first convention would be the appropriately named Dragonflight GameCon. Where there be nerds and game enthusiasts, there be dragons. Fantasy puns aside, the event was a rousing success and it allowed Dragonwatt Games to put its best foot forward on this exciting journey through the world of game design and publication.

Of course, as a single-owner run and self-funded small business, that presence was only as big as one person. But there’s the silver lining: It allowed me to have intimate conversations with playtesters and fellow designers who were interested in Rise of the Gods. And that, I think, proved not only to them, but also to myself that I am incredibly enthusiastic about the game and about the community at large, and I’m here to stay. I’m willing to put in 8 – 10 hour shifts at a convention not only to demo my prototype, but also to help fellow designers demo theirs and to talk to people who live and love the games we designers aspire to create.

Now, none of this would have happened without PlaytestNW’s support, or at least none of it would have happened at this caliber. The camaraderie I’ve experienced since joining the organization late last year has been beyond my wildest dreams. PlaytestNW, and in particular Nicole Jekich, has provided me with an opportunity to become part of this community. The value is immeasurable, the encouragement undeniable. I’m truly grateful for everything Nicole and the organization have done for me and I intend to repay them with my time and solidarity for the years to come.

With all that said, now I should mention the other people I had the chance to meet and hang with at the con.

David Gerrard of Junk Spirit Games was there to demo a new game, SlipStrike, which I’d actually already played at Mox Bellevue a few months back. It was nice that he remembered me and we had a few moments together talking about development as a whole and what it’s like to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign. I always appreciate his little kernels of knowledge on that front.

I was able to meet Alice Davis (Thieves Den, among others) and chat with her for a few days while we co-hosted on behalf of PlaytestNW. She taught me how to play Songbirds, which we both lost to another designer, Brandon Neal, who was there to test Build-Em-Up. I also met Matt Jacobs (co-designer with Alice Davis on Kitten Klash), who was demoing a new game called Community Council. I didn’t get to play it, but I watched a little. As a fan of city management games, it looks like something I’d be into. Those three designers all drove up from Oregon to attend Dragonflight, but I hope I can see them again at another event soon. They made for some great company!

Some local designers I either met for the first time or got to know better were Beau Johnson (Very Best Friend Games w/ Gem Cataclysm), Jake Wible (Raining Diamonds w/ Tactical Tech), Doug Beyers (For All Mankind and its brand spanking new laser-cut game board!), Martin Wolt Jr. (Darkwana Games w/ Duelists of Darkwana), and Marlon Fussel (Mega Mint Games w/ TimeWarp Warriors). There were many other designers in attendance, but with only so many hours in the day I didn’t get to meet them all.

And lastly, I can’t thank enough the many playtesters who stopped by my table and learned how to play Rise. Their feedback and suggestions have given me a solid direction to steer toward over the next few months. However, there was one playtester who really stood out. Not only was he the first to play, he also bolted midway through our second game because he was so distracted that he missed the start time for another game he’d signed up for that day. I hope he made it. But best of all, the following day he returned with a friend to play Rise again! Unfortunately, I was hosting for PlaytestNW then so I didn’t get to sit down with them. Instead, I handed over the game and let them play on their own across the room while I wore a giant grin on my face the whole time.

Whew! Well that covers most of my experience at Dragonflight. For the next few weeks, I’ll be assembling the makings of a (monthly? quarterly?) newsletter and tweaking a few design elements in Rise. I don’t expect anything to be changed for PAX West, but afterward I should be ready for another round of prototyping before jumping back into the local game store meetups hosted by PlaytestNW. Hope to see you around!

Featured photo is © PlaytestNW. Used with permission.