The FallCon Gaming Society started the Canadian Game Design of the Year Contest in 2010, with a mission to "highlight and eventually foster homegrown Canadian talent in game design". Since then, over a hundred games have been designed, playtested, and submitted to the contest for consideration. Four have been crowned winners, and a fifth will join them this year. Many of these games - and not just the winners - are now or will soon be on store shelves, in personal collections, and in the FallCon library. They wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the motivation, feedback, and exposure that the contest provides.
So… what comes next?
FallCon has for the last few years set aside a Prototype Pavilion for designers to network and share their designs with each other. The feedback received from last year's attendees, is that what people want the most is access to game publishers. This is a challenge to arrange given the current boutique nature of the convention, but we're working on it.
There are a number of things we can do to make Calgary a more attractive destination for publishers seeking new designs. FallCon has already taken the first step (for all of Canada) by nurturing and recognizing excellence in the games we create.
The second is to try to establish and grow the area and this event as a community and destination for designers. FallCon has agreed to experiment with giving us game designers a track for ourselves, which we've scheduled a couple of events in, but will mostly use for playtesting YOUR games. Any designer is welcome to this! You don't have to have credentials or experience, and your prototype can be handwritten on Magic cards. However, you are expected to return the favour and help test for other designers. Members of the Game Artisans of Canada will be part of this process, to offer our own experience, encouragement, and help.
Thirdly is an industry panel, "Design & Publication", where we'll attempt to answer your questions about the best way to make your game publishable and then to get it sold. Members are still pending but we plan to include published CGDA winners, a CGDA judge, successful self-publishers (both with and without Kickstarter), and a local game publisher. This panel will be podcasted to the internet, to help put FallCon, the CGDA, and our local design community on the map. This panel will take place on Saturday from 1:30pm to 3pm.
After that, any who want individual help with sell sheets, elevator pitches, or game videos to submit to publishers or the CGDA will be able to get individual advice. There'll be time and room for casual playtesting as well, and a library of 'bits' for anyone looking to put that idea that's been in the back of their head for all these years together for a shakedown run.
This is an exciting vision, and I hope you'll join me in making it a reality.