What is ProtoTO?

ProtoTO is Toronto’s tabletop game design convention. This annual, weekend-long event offers new and established designers of card, board and role-playing games a chance to playtest their designs at an accelerated pace. At ProtoTO, the design iteration process (Design>Test>Feedback> Repeat) is expedited as designers gain valuable feedback from many playtesters over the course of a weekend.

Started by Pam Walls in 2016, ProtoTO provides designers with another opportunity to test their games in Toronto in addition to monthly designer meetups at Snakes & Lattes, 401 Games and Board Game Bliss, among others.

In addition to helping designers improve their games, this convention is also about creating community. Gamers of all stripes (those who enjoy social games and/or those who like 4 hour long miniature wargames) are encouraged to attend ProtoTO as a playtester. Playtesters are incredibly important and provide designers with valuable insight that help make games better. Playtester tickets give access to all 3 days of ProtoTO which includes two nights of open gaming, talks by industry insiders, a free raffle ticket and the chance to play many games created by local designers.

Questions? Most can be answered here on the FAQ page or you can email Pam at info@protoTO.ca.

Stay connected by joining the ProtoTO Facebook group, subscribing to the ProtoTO Youtube channel, following ProtoTO on Twitter and using the hashtag #ProtoTO.




Pam Walls
Founder, ProtoTO
Designer, Party Hat Games


Does ProtoTO only happen once a year?

Yes, ProtoTO is an annual convention, however we also have dedicated playtesting tables at Breakout Con every March, provided by our partners at Breakout.

There are many other playtesting events in Toronto throughout the year including monthly designer meet ups at Snakes & Lattes, 401 Games and Board Game Bliss.



Where can I buy tickets for ProtoTO?

Tickets for ProtoTO 2018 can be purchased on the Tickets page or on the ProtoTO Eventbrite page. Subscribe to the ProtoTO email list for announcements.

What is included with the Designer ticket?

Designers can buy tickets for as many 3 hour long playtesting sessions as they like.

All designers (regardless of how many sessions they sign up for) will receive:

-1 extra ticket for all 3 days of ProtoTO (for a co-designer, friend, helper, whoever!)
-1 free raffle ticket
-Access to all 3 days of ProtoTO (talk and workshop on Friday night, play games during all playtesting sessions, open gaming and after parties)
-Access to BoardAgain’s game library during Open Gaming

What if I have a co-designer or design team?

Designers who buy a ticket for 1 or more playtesting sessions will get 1 free additional ticket to ProtoTO, which can be given to a co-designer, friend, helper, whoever!

If you have more design team members, they can buy Playtester tickets, or can register for more playtesting sessions as a Designer.

What is included with the Playtester ticket?

A playtester ticket includes:

-Access to all 3 days of ProtoTO (talk and workshop on Friday night, play games during all playtesting sessions, open gaming and after parties)
-1 free raffle ticket
-Access to BoardAgain’s game library during Open Gaming

Can I buy a ticket at the door?

Playtester tickets will be available at the door throughout the weekend. Designers who did not register for a Designer ticket before sales ended/tickets sold out can still purchase a Playtester ticket and test their prototypes during Open Gaming.

Designer tickets will not be available at the door.

How do I get to ProtoTO?

ProtoTO will take place at the Ramada Plaza Toronto Downtown, 300 Jarvis Street.

The College subway station is a short walk away, as well as streetcar stops at Jarvis and Carlton streets.

Where can I park near ProtoTO?

There is underground parking at the Ramada. It is $16 per day and $10 per night.

What accommodations are available?

The Ramada Plaza is offering a discounted room rate of $209 + tax/night for ProtoTO attendees (usually $314 + tax in September). To reserve your room:

  • Go to Ramada’s online booking system and select your dates
  • Click on the Special Rates drop down menu
  • Select Group Code and enter code: PROTOG
  • Click Update
  • The room rate should now be displayed as $209/night + tax

Email Pam at info@protoTO.ca if you have any issues applying the discount code.

Is the venue wheelchair accessible?

The venue for ProtoTO is not 100% wheelchair accessible. The event is on the 2nd floor and there is an elevator, however there is a bridge to the convention area and there are a few steps on either side of the bridge. There are mechanical wheelchair ramps on both sets of stairs that hotel staff can operate. ProtoTO volunteers will be at the registration table near the bridge to help any attendees who need to use the ramps.

One of the rooms has stairs leading up to a small, elevated area. These stairs do not have a ramp or lift. Attendees who need assistance going up these stairs are asked to notify a ProtoTO volunteer.

Please contact us at info@protoTO.ca if you have any questions or accommodation requirements.

Will there be food and drinks at ProtoTO? Is outside food allowed?

Beer and pop will be sold on Friday and Saturday evenings and can be brought into all rooms.

There will be a water station available for attendees throughout the weekend. It is recommended attendees bring a water bottle that they can refill.

The hotel has an on-site restaurant and many great restaurants are within walking distance of the convention.

Please note that outside food and drinks are not permitted in the convention area.

Is there wifi?

Yes! Login info will be provided at the event.


Will there be publishers at ProtoTO?

Yes! Check out the Publishers section of the website for more details.

Publishers will have an opportunity to see all prototypes at the Games Showcase on Friday evening. They are also welcome to attend the playtesting sessions on Saturday and Sunday.

I am a publisher and am interested in attending ProtoTO. How do I get a ticket?

Fantastic! Please email info@protoTO.ca.

I am a member of the media and am interested in attending ProtoTO. How do I get a ticket?

Great! Please email info@protoTO.ca.


What stage of development should my game be at?

ProtoTO is about designers testing out their prototypes, and not demoing final products. Please only present games for which you want feedback.

I would like to test my role-playing game (RPG), is that okay?

Absolutely! ProtoTO is about testing any and all tabletop games including card, board and role-playing games.

Will I get a dedicated Designer table for the duration of the convention?

Designers sign up for specific playtesting sessions, and will not have a dedicated table for the entire weekend.

Will there be any opportunities to learn about the industry and board game design?

All attendees will have access to talks by industry insiders at ProtoTO. View the full schedule for more details.

Check out the ProtoTO Youtube channel for videos of past talks.

Publishers, established designers and other special guests will be at ProtoTO, so don’t be shy to approach them to ask any questions you may have. View all Publishers in attendance.

What games will be playtested during the convention?

The convention will kick off on Friday evening with the Games Showcases, where designers will set up the games they plan on testing that weekend. Playtesters will be able to sign up for the games that interest them and publishers will get an overview of all of the games that will be presented throughout the convention.

Prototypes will not be listed prior to the convention to allow designers the flexibility to decide which games they would like to present.

Will there be materials and space for designers to work on their prototypes?

Yes! There will be a prototyping area where designers can work on their games. ProtoTO will provide paper cutters, corner punches, cutting mats, Xacto knives, glue and scissors, among other supplies.

What games will be available during Open Gaming?

BoardAgain will provide access to their extensive game library during Open Gaming (see the Schedule for times).



Was your question not answered here? Email Pam at info@protoTO.ca