Hilko Drude on Spieleautorenzunft - a German Game Designer Convention

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This report comes courtesy of Hilko Drude. 

On the first weekend of June, the Game Designer Convention in Göttingen, Germany was held for the 32nd time. Board and card game designers from more than a dozen countries presented their prototypes at over 150 tables, ranging from newcomers to former Spiel des Jahres winners. Editors from all larger and many smaller German publishers, plus several from other countries, walked the halls in search of the next big thing.

Besides trying to find a publisher for their games, designers had ample opportunity to discuss their ideas with their colleagues, try out each other's prototypes and give and receive feedback. On Saturday evening, many participants went out for dinner together after the event, and the exchange continued.

This year's convention was dominated by the struggle of game designers to be acknowledged as originator's of their games. More than 80 designers, among them many of the most successful ones, signed a declaration not to accept contracts which don't explicitly acknowledge them as originators of their games. Many also burned their names into a large wooden beer keg to further strengthen this stance, a reminiscence of the successful beer coaster declaration of 1988.

During the event, three prizes are awarded. The Göttinger Inno-Spatz is an award from the city of Göttingen for outstanding achievements in the gaming field. The Hippodice Design Competition awards are also handed out, and finally, the jury Spiel des Jahres awards a grant to an unpublished designer who is then doing internships at a large publisher, a small publisher, a game store and a Game Design studio. This award has been in existence since 1995, and most winners are now published designers, in some cases very successful ones.

While Saturday is for registered participants only, the halls are open to the interested public on Sunday morning. With this, the visibility of designers is strengthened further.

The event is co-hosted by the Department of Culture of the city of Göttingen, by veteran game designer Reinhold Wittig, and Hilko Drude. If you would like to be on the invitation list for the 2014 Göttingen Game Designer Convention, which will be held on June 14th/15th, 2014, please contact Annegret Henne at a.henne@goettingen.de. Registration will start around March.