Metatopia 2016

by Gil Hova

Metatopia is a game designer convention in Morristown, NJ. The only games on offer are prototypes. Because of that, it’s one of my favorite events of the year. Every year, more big-name designers attend, and it’s becoming a must-attend show for designers and publishers around the country.

I’ll be testing the forthcoming expansion to The Networks. Look for event B261 on Friday at 4 pm, B371 on Friday at 10 pm.

I’ll also be running a blind test of Wordsy, which means I hand you the rulebook and watch you try to figure out the game. That is event B813 on Sunday at 3 pm, although we’re going to try for an impromptu event on Sunday at 5 pm as well.

Here’s the full board game schedule. There are also schedules for RPGs and LARPs.

Finally, if you’re an aspiring game designer, I suggest checking out the incredible schedule of panels and seminars. These are always illuminating, informative, and very honest. I usually make a point to present several panels, so here are my offerings for this year.

D015: “Life After Kickstarter” presented by Gil Hova, Nick Sauer, Diane Sauer. Your Kickstarter funded; hooray! You shipped all your product, hooray! Now what? If you’re like a lot of board game self-publishers, you’ve got some stock left over. What channels can you use to sell it off? How can you market it? How do you get a distributor’s attention? If you can’t get ahold of any distributors, what are the alternatives? And when should you press that reprint button? Friday, 12:00PM – 1:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D059: “Theme: What is it Good For?” presented by Gil Hova, Tim Rodriguez, Geoffrey Engelstein, Sarah Judd. Most board games have a theme, but we’ve all played those games whose theme didn’t work for the game. Maybe the theme was really boring. Or it was really exciting, but the mechanisms didn’t match up. Or it left everyone confused and angry. It’s a subject worth studying. Why is theme so important to some board games? Why is it so unimportant to others? What can we as board game designers do to make sure our themes are working as well as possible? This panel will dive into the subject, exploring it from as many perspectives as possible. Saturday, 1:00PM – 2:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D063: “Con Booth Survival Guide” presented by Gil Hova, Stephen Buonocore, Curt Covert. Getting a booth at a large convention is intimidating for a new publisher. It’s expensive, and requires many hours of labor from many volunteers. There’s also cash to handle, signage to bring, and inventory to sell. Join publishers Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games), Curt Covert (Smirk & Dagger Games), and Gil Hova (Formal Ferret Games) as they discuss best practices for keeping your convention customers and volunteers happy. Saturday, 2:00PM – 3:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

D072: “Ten Mistakes New Board Game Designers Make” presented by Gil Hova. Do you have a new board game? Or even just an idea for a new board game? Board game designer Gil Hova has played a lot of board game prototypes, and knows the kinds of traps new designers are likely to fall into (and has fallen into most of them himself). Join him as he discusses ways around the most common pitfalls in board game design! Saturday, 5:00PM – 6:00PM; Serious, All Ages.

See you there!