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Game designers fine-tune their creations at play-testing event in Noblesville

Creators test each others games at Protospiel Indy
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Posted at 6:20 PM, May 28, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — The idea for the family-friendly game "Dicey Ventures" came to Alex Gorski in a dream.

"I was staying overnight at my friend's house and we were playing games with her kids all weekend and I had a dream and then the next day we stayed up for 36 hours designing this game," said Gorski, an office assistant who lives Plainfield.

Gorski and her friend Lisa Craft are the creators of "Dicey Ventures," but you can't buy it or any of the dozens of other games that were being played last weekend at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Noblesville.

Alex Gorski attended Protospiel Indy in Noblesville to play test "Dicey Ventures."

Eighty-one designers and players attended last weekend's Protospiel Indy, an annual three-day event where creators get together to test unpublished and unreleased games.

"We got a bunch of people who have brought in prototypes of their games," Protospiel Indy organizer Carl Klutzke said. "It's mostly designers, but there's a few people who just come here because they really like games... and they are play testing each others games."

Protospiel Indy lets game creators get feedback on games as they fine tune their ideas. Klutzke said the event is like getting a peer review on their games.

A Loot Deck from "Dicey Ventures," an unpublished game being tested at Protospiel Indy in Noblesville.

"If you're designing a game, you definitely want to play test it," Klutzke said. "That's how you find out how to make it better."

Klutzke also runs the Indy Tabletop Game Creators club, which has a Facebook page and meets to play test once a month at the north side Game Preserve in the Fashion Mall Commons, 8487 Union Chapel Road.

Games played at Protospiel Indy featured dice, cards and strategy. There were wizards, bunnies and even pizza.

Designers told WRTV they hope to see their games published some day.

And some big games have come out of these Protospiel events, Klutzke said.

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Carl Klutzke

The biggest, "Return to Dark Tower," was tested five years ago at the first Protospiel Indy and went on to raise more than $4 million on Kickstarter.

Many of the creators are regulars at Gen Con, the huge tabletop and role playing game convention held annually in Indianapolis.

Gorski said she will be play testing "Dicey Ventures" at Gen Con, and if she's lucky it might catch the eye of a game publisher.

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Game creator Alex Gorski attended Protospiel Indy in Noblesville to play test "Dicey Ventures."

Philip Mendola of Columbus, Ohio, started developing his "Dragon Quest" game four years ago. It has a board with a full-color map and interesting and elaborate game pieces, including dragons and a miniature castle.

"There is so much isolation to coming up with a game," Mendola said. "Like, you're in your own head and then to suddenly be in a room full of people where everyone has been doing the same thing feels so unifying and amazing."

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The castle is part of "Dragon Quest," a prototype game being developed by Ohio game creator Philip Mendola.

He said he hopes to use the feedback to fine tune his game and get it ready for a publisher or to launch on Kickstarter.

"If it could end up in other people's living rooms, it would fill me with so much joy," Mendola said.

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at or on X/Twitter: @vicryc.