Last night I went to SLC to my first meeting with the Board Game Designers Guild of Utah. It was pretty much a blast! All us new guys (that's right, there wasn't a female in the room) introduced ourselves. There were 6 or so of us who were there for the first time. Overall, about 35 or so attended the meeting.
I played Dave Bailey's creation Igor. Players compete to build a monster and score points by doing so. It was a fantastic game. Dave said he had been working on it since about April, and that after deciding to join the group to play games and not design them. Only after members of the group convinced him to design one did he put together Igor. And now he's even been invited to send his game to FRED for play-testing and possible publication. There are a number of members of the Guild who have been published and who will soon be published.
One thing I very much liked about Igor was a mechanic for determining who gets what resource. There are 3 locations in the game where players go to collect resources. To do this there are a total of 5 tokens for each location. The tokens are numbered 1 through 5. Therefore, the town has 5 tokens that correspond to it, numbered 1 to 5. These are mixed up so that each player gets 1 token for each location. At the beginning of a round players decided, based on the cards showing in that location, among other strategies that can be used, which location they would like to visit. They choose that token from their 3 and place it face down in front of them. Once everyone has done this, all players turn their tokens over, revealing where they will visit. If 2 or more players choose the same location, they are able to pick their resource card based on the number on their token. So the player with the number 1 picks first, number 2 second, and so forth. Once that has happened, players then trade tokens using the following pattern: the player who picked first at their location trades with the player who picked last; the player who picked second trades with the player who picked second-to-last; and so on. It adds a lot to the strategy in trying to get the resources you need. Plus, once you've picked first, you have to give up that token. Very ingenious!
Overall, I felt completely comfortable meeting and playing. Those there seemed very enthused to play games and provide the designers with feedback. The designers who decide to bring their games need to be ready for both positive feedback as well as criticism as other members will be honest in sharing what they think are ways of improving the game. I don't have a whole lot of experience designing games, so I don't know that I'll be able to provide too much feedback, but I'm definitely going to join in and try to contribute as much as I can. It will be a great learning experience!