Game Design Contest – Rules

Game Design Award

CinCityCon: Game Design Contest

REGIONAL Dates at The Rook OTR
Times to be announced.

Limit of 5 participants at each regional round
(Additional locations in Cincinnati, Lexington, or Charleston may be announced based on entries.)

FINALS Date Friday, October 12, 2018
At CinCityCon starting at 6:00 pm

Introduction The purpose of this contest is to attract game designers and publishers to the convention. (The design competition will be held in conjunction with a play test / demo area open during the convention, see below.) The main benefit for designers will be the opportunity for focused testing and feedback on their pitch for the game and on the game itself.  Designers will also receive exposure and interaction with publishers as well as promotion of their games on our social media. Publishers will benefit from seeing a number of the best new unpublished games at the convention. Pitch is a key component of the contest. It is not our intention to play an entire game in either judging round.

Play Testing Separate from the contest, Game Designers are also able to purchase a demo table for $40 and a weekend CinCityCon Badge. If they are interested in a demo table where they can sell their own games, this is $55. The table is good for the weekend to demo and play test their game with convention attendees and, if purchased, sell any games they have designed, . Attendees will be encouraged to participate and complete feedback sheets by hosting a drawing for any completed feedback sheets that are turned in to our Play to Win area.

Entry in to Contest To enter the contest, designers must submit a sell sheet for each game and pay a $20 fee by August 25th. Designers can submit up to two games. Games entered in the contest must be unpublished, not under contract with a publisher, and not engaged in a crowdfunding campaign. Games available at a print-on-demand website are eligible to enter. CinCityCon reserves the right to use images of your game for promotional purposes; all other rights are retained by the designer.

Regional Rounds Games will need to be evaluated and narrowed down to the top 7 games, which will then proceed to the contest Friday night Oct. 12th, starting at 6:00 pm at CinCityCon. The initial judging will be performed by CinCityCon staff, gaming sponsors, and / or social media personalities. These games will be selected based on quality of the Pitch, Innovation, Presentation, and Fun. (These are described below). If there is a tie based on these criteria, then the first-round judges will use closest to being publishable as a tie breaker. Submission date for this is by Aug. 25th. Initial evaluations of games will be held at The Rook over 3 to 6 sessions based on entries. If there is an interest, there will also be an evaluation event in Lexington, KY and Charleston, WV, at least 2 participants needed for these to proceed.

CinCityCon Final Round The contest will be held Friday night of the convention, where each of the selected finalists from the regional rounds are allowed 10 minutes to present their games to publishers. After each presentation, 5 minutes will be given to answer questions from the publishers. (This may change based on the number of entrants and publishers that participate in the event). Publishers are free to follow up with games where they have an interest (this will be encouraged). It is our intention to get publishers to the convention, but we have no control over their interest or schedules. We will update this as we get commitments, closer to the convention.

Game Evaluation Categories

Pitch – Ability to clearly state basic game theme, mechanics, and play in a short period of time.
Innovation – The mechanics are fresh and innovative; they are well-suited to the game’s experience.
Presentation – The game’s theme and experience is compelling; iconography is clear and useful. Extensive art is not necessary, but can be helpful in relating the theme.
Fun – The game works as a whole package; it is appropriate for the intended audience; it incorporates an appropriate balance of luck and skill; the experience is memorable.

Awards There will be at least one overall CinCityCon Best Game Award and awards for games that excel in additional categories (the trophies will state something to the effect of CinCityCon Game Design Award Winner),

NOTE: We will offer additional awards in specific categories based on the entries in the regionals.  This is done so that, as an example, if only one person is doing a “family game”, that person does not automatically win the category just by being the only entrant, while 20 other people are having to compete for best “strategy game”.

Disclaimer It is our intention to have a good contest. Things may change, as they often do at gaming conventions. By allowing ourselves some flexibility in making changes as needed (such as due to increased interest by publishers or interest in specific games) we can host the best event we can.


Chris, Philip, Travis, and Greg

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