"[The testers] usually show up to help look at the new games, play test, and give feedback to the designers," said AAG owner Ken Somerville. "The designers sometimes are our local customers, [and] sometimes they just hear about it and they've been working on a game for a few weeks or a few years, and they come in to demo the game and look for feedback different from family and friends."
Somerville said he expects plenty of regulars from the store's weekly game nights (Tuesdays, 5-11 p.m.) to show up as testers, but added that the prototype nights are open to the public and usually draw in a diverse crowd. On average, each event brings about 30 people to the store to test six or seven new games dreamed up by a mix of individuals and local game companies like Ninja Division and Dark Yeti Games. A few designers have even taken their games to greater heights, traveling to trade shows and lobbying publishers after getting a good Prototype Night response.
"There have been card games, board games, miniature games, there's been quite a variety," said Somerville, later adding large group party games to the list. "In fact, there's even been a metal puzzle that [testers] had to solve."
As for which games will be up for testing on Saturday, Somerville is as in the dark as his customers.
"It's always a surprise," he said.