Last year I attended my first big UnPub event at the Baltimore Convention Center and had a really good time despite making a few rookie mistakes. I enjoyed it so much in fact, that when they announced the dates for UnPub 7 to the designers & VIP playtesters, I immediately purchased my 2017 badge there and then. Now playtesters can always get in for free, but I had decided to buy the VIP playtester badge as a way to support the event; the fact that it gives me access to the Friday programming is really just a bonus, especially given that for at least part of that day, I’ll be making my way there from North Carolina.
I’ll be driving by myself out of choice, despite the significant number of attendees from NC who’ll be at UnPub. When attending cons, I prefer to have space for myself to escape and actually enjoy traveling alone to decompress from the highly social interactions involved in attending these types of events. You may think it’s odd, but making a long-distance trip alone with just my music and podcasts is something I value.
Most of the NC folks who’ll be in attendance are attached to the Game Designers of North Carolina – if you attended UnPub 6, you may recall their signature blue jerseys that made it extremely clear just how many of them were testing prototypes during the weekend. If you’re local and interested in game design, the group meets regularly at a few Triangle-area game stores, and if you’re not local, they also put out a podcast discussing a number of topics pertinent to both new and experienced game designers. I’m sure I’ll be spending the evenings hanging out with a number of them, likely playing both published & unpublished titles.
It’s impossible to plan your day at UnPub; I spent a lot of time wandering struggling to get into playtests last year if I got off-schedule, and there were a few games I really wanted to try that were either full or not being tested each time I went to the table. But there’s a ton of interesting prototypes out there, so I still got to play some good games. Look out early next week for a post detailing the games I hope to try out at the event once I get a chance to really look through the listings. I don’t expect the list to be anything more than a rough guide of things to look out for, but it’s nice to have something of a plan when faced will a room stuffed full of designers and their prototypes.