Design day

Stonemaier Design Day 2016
Austin Bennett - 09/29/2016

This post is an excerpt from the 4th project update during our Kickstarter campaign for The End is Nigh.


The 3rd annual Stonemaier Design Day was held this past weekend in St. Louis, Missouri. It's a really great event that's hosted by Jamey and Alan of Stonemaier games. I'm going to mostly talk about my experiences, but if you want to learn more about the event I highly recommend reading Jamey's blog post on it here.

It was a long weekend. I went to the pre-party on Friday night. Then the event itself from 9am-10pm. Then an afterparty. The pre-party and afterparty were great. I met a lot of great people and I feel like we definitely became friends by the end of the night.

At the pre-party I learned how to play Captain Sonar. I love Space Cadets: Dice Duel, so I was really looking forward to this. I was the captain of our team, and unfortunately we lost, though it was very close! We then played at least two games of my copy of Secret Hitler (which I may have proudly mentioned to you in a message). I've never played a bad game of this, and I think everyone enjoyed it quite a bit. We ended the night in possibly the best way: by playing Telestrations.

The next morning I attended the design event itself. First up I playtested a worker placement called Anytown. I enjoy worker placement games quite a bit, and enjoyed this one as well (which I don't believe was impacted by my having won our playtest). It had some unique mechanics to it, and the designers were very nice and put a lot of thought and care into the game.

Next up, the game I was supposed to test was a no-show, so I playtested a game by a local designer who I know, which was a pleasure. It was called Teotl, and was a team game played across three separate mini-games. It's a very interesting concept and is seeming very promising. Unfortunately we had to end early in a tie due to the time slot ending. I'm sure I might see it again at another local design event and would like to give it another go.

It was then my turn to teach a published game, and I opted to teach Secret Hitler. I've already gushed about this game enough, so I won't do more so here. Especially because my playtest sessions were up next.

I did two playtests of what is likely to be our next game, Space Gypsies [working title]. It went great! The people who were kind enough to playtest my our game seemed to enjoy themselves. When it came time to ask for feedback, I had three questions prepared. If you're doing any design work, I highly suggest that you come up with some good open-ended questions to ask after playtests. Here's what I asked:

  1. What would you change?
  2. What would you definitely not change?
  3. What was the least fun part of the game?

I got some great feedback, and can't wait to start working on implementing them after this campaign is over.

After my playtests I was taught how to play Champions of Midgard and The Manhattan Project. I really enjoyed getting to know the people I played with, and appreciate people taking the time to teach me how to play.

After the event, I went to an afterparty where we played Dead Last and more Secret Hitler, and then passed out for a number of hours.

The event was amazing, and I was so excited to see the next day that our game, Space Gypsies, had placed in the top 5 designs, just like The End is Nigh did last year! I could not have been more excited, especially when I saw it was ranked #2! It's a huge honor.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and that I didn't ramble too much! Thanks for everything you've done to help us get to this point. We're excited to see what's in store.


The End is Nigh is LIVE on Kickstarter!