All About the Donut

May 6, 2022

IMPORTANT! The information in this article is out of date. Please see The Donut for the most up-to-date information about Go Play NW's pitch circle.


If you’ve never been to Go Play NW before, perhaps you’ve been wondering about all this talk about donuts. Here’s all the details!

What’s the Donut?

The donut is a pitch circle, a method of getting people together into games on the spot without scheduling in advance. When done in person, it’s typically a large circle of prospective players ringed around a small group of volunteer game facilitators, much like a donut shape, hence the name.

Why do we have the Donut at Go Play NW?

One of our goals for Go Play NW is no player left behind—we want all our attendees to be able to get into a game every session. We found that not everyone is prepared to sign up for a scheduled game in advance, and often there aren’t enough games proposed in advance to accommodate all the attendees. That’s partly because some people prefer the spontaneity of pitching a game on the spot, or waiting to see what games are pitched on the spot and jumping into whatever strikes their interest and has open spots. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends!

How many Donuts are there?

Both Saturday and Sunday of our 2022 June event have two main sessions: a morning/midday one and an afternoon/evening one. If you're joining us for both days, you’ll have the opportunity to get into four donuts (and so four games).

We can manage up to about 35 people in a donut group, so if we have more than that, we’ll split each session into two groups; at most, we can host 80 players each day, in two different donut groups each session.

How do attendees sign up for a Donut?

Four our 2022 June event, when our scheduling page here on the website is ready, registered attendees will be able to see a donut listed for each session and can choose to sign up to participate. It’ll help us manage the donuts better if you sign up in advance, but don’t worry if you haven’t made a decision before the event starts; we’ll get you into the donut.

How does the Donut work?

Each session (or donut group, if we’re doubling up) we’ll start by gathering everyone in one audio channel called a stage, where our donut moderator will explain the full donut process. In brief, the moderator will ask for volunteers to pitch games, and those volunteers will each have a turn to talk briefly about the game they want to facilitate and how many players they can have. Once we have enough volunteers and games to take all the available players, we’ll post summaries of the available games in the chat for players to read, get the individual game channels set up, and open sign-ups for the players. As games fill up, you’ll go play!

How can attendees help make the Donut a success?

Although the donut is spontaneous in concept, it definitely helps if you consider in advance whether you know a game that you can facilitate effectively online.

  1. Consider running a Donut game! _For the donut to work, we need folks to step up and volunteer to facilitate a game. We’re putting together a list of games that are freely available, require minimal preparation, and work great for online play; we’ll have that list available before Go Play NW 2022 starts so you can look it over for inspiration.

  2. Play a game pitched in the donut! Games don’t work without players; even if you don’t feel up to facilitating a game, come with enthusiasm and openness to meet new people and try new games!

  3. Join us for Lobby Con The “lobby con” social time on Friday evening from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (or later) Pacific Time is open to all attendees—in addition to letting you meet up with old friends or make new ones, it gives us an opportunity to go through the event check-in process with everyone, so that on Saturday and Sunday we can jump quickly into the donuts and get games going!

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