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Game PT Rating Sheet

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Pastor_Mora
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I'm blind playtesting my game of Roman Emperors (http://www.bgdf.com/node/3157) and find that writing a review of the game may not be simple for some playtesters. Some are not English native speakers, and some (as I) have a hard time writing a decent review. Still, one objective of blind playtesting is getting reviews you can show to potential publishers. So I've engineered a rating sheet that includes some common cathegories used in design contests. Numerical rating should be much more accessible for everyone and it's results easier to read and clearer to interpret. Hope you find it usefull for your own PT processes. You are welcome to comment and advice on it.

Roman Emperors review sheet
Please rate from 1 (worst) to 4 (best)

Luck Factor
Unpredictability
Downtime
Complexity
Depth
Consistency
Originality
Broad Appeal
Simple to learn
Balance
Replayability
Fun
Rules
Components
Mechanics

• Luck Factor: How much are actions determined by luck (as opposed to player decisions)?
• Unpredictability: How often is the outcome of a turn/round/game known before it ends?
• Downtime: How much time do you spend without interacting with the game/other players?
• Complexity: How much calculating and weighting of different elements is required?
• Depth: How much is the background/challenge depicted in detail?
• Consistency: How much do the mechanics make sense theme-wise and among each other?
• Originality: Does the game include new twists or unique combinations?
• Broad Appeal: Would you teach this to someone who is not a serious game player?
• Simple to Learn: Were the rules easy to explain? Is in-game reference to them required?
• Balance: Does every player have an equal chance of winning?
• Replayability: Do you want to play it again soon?
• Fun: Did you / the group enjoy the experience?
• Rules: What is the overall functionality of the rules?
• Components: What is the overall functionality of the components?
• Mechanics: What is the overall functionality of the mechanics?

Personal comments are also welcome.
Thanks for testing Roman Emperors!

innuendo
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Joined: 05/25/2010
That's a lot of categories in

That's a lot of categories in my opinion. For the first round of testing narrow that down to 3 or 4 categories you are really looking for feedback in.

For example, as a designer you'll be able to pretty well tell how much downtime there is between actions without blind testing, don't waste a testers time getting answers to questions you already know the answer to. Instead focus on the stuff you can't find out testing yourself, or stuff that it's important to get outside input on (ease of learning, balance, and fun stand out as big ones from your list).

And I would also include a "What did you like the most" and "what did you like the least" comment section at the bottom. Even non English speakers can give you good feedback with those two questions, and they are great for identifying trends.

Hope the testing goes well!

Pastor_Mora
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Point taken. New approach

So apparently everyone I talked to didn't like the first version of the review sheet (not even my own gaming group). So I tried a new approach: trimmed cathegories from 15 to 11, simplified the questions, and changed 1-4 ratings for YES/NO answers. The result is a new poll-type sheet (see below).

The thing is I don't need these answers just to my own information. I intend to present the results to the publisher to support my candidacy as their next title. I'm thinking it could be usefull for the editor to know the right questions were made and positive answers were retrieved (hopefully) from most (if not all) playtesters involved.

Thanks innuendo, and hulken especially, for your interesting feedback. Hope this time works better. Be my guests.

Roman Emperors Playtesters Poll
(Review sheet version 02 simplified)

Please answer YES or NO

You may take a guess if you “don’t know”; first impressions and intuitions are also very valuable

Luck Factor: Do you think the game was too determined by lucky rolls or card draws?
Unpredictability: Was the winner of the game easily identifiable too early before the end?
Downtime: Did the waiting felt too long when you were not the active player (Emperor)?
Complexity: Did in-game calculations felt too “brain burning”?
Depth: Would you say the game requires more historical flavor / details?
Originality: Did you played (know of) games that are too similar to this one?
Broad Appeal: Would you teach this game to someone who is not a regular gamer?
Simple to Learn: Were the rules easy to grasp at first? Were them easy to explain to others?
Balance: Did you feel a certain player had an advantage because of the turn order?
Replayability: Do you think the game could get too repetitive too fast?
Fun: Did you / the group enjoy the experience?

Aside this, “what you liked the most / least” or other personal comments are also always welcome.
Thanks for testing Roman Emperors!

Pastor_Mora

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
Fist make your game awesome

Fist make your game awesome through rigorous iterative playtesting. Then sell it to a publisher.

I'd ditch the headings ("Complexity" "Balance" etc) and go right to the questions. Putting the headings in there starts respondents down a certain road in their mind. For instance, your "balance" question might make them think about the various costs of different units in the game, or the benefits of different actions. If you're really only concerned with first-turn bonus, then ask them that all by itself. Or, if you're really concerned about general balance, ask an open-ended question like "did the game feel balanced to you? if not, what element felt the least balanced?"

I think you also need to get away from exclusively yes/no answers and go with at least a few very general, open ended ones. You'll be surprised by what your players talk about if given free reign. For instance, "what worked really well for you about this game" and "what were you disappointed by or unsatisfied with?"

At the very least you can go back to a five-point scale -- strongly disagree / somewhat disagree / no opinion / somewhat agree / strongly agree -- which should provide you with more nuanced opinions. It's not significantly harder to answer one of those than it is to answer yes/no, but the data will be much more valuable.

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008
ambigious

I think several of the options are too ambigious. When the instructions says you should rate from "worst to best" but then some questions ask "how much", depending on if you think "much" equals "best" or not I'd say it will be about 50 % chance that any tester will read the question the way you think. Also "how much luck factor" (just as an example) sounds a lot less helpful than to ask if players think that there is "too much" or "too little" luck factor in the game (even if you rephrase the question so that it is perfectly clear what "best" and "worse" mean in that context).

Pastor_Mora
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Other examples

I adjusted (rip-off) the first version form the Rio Grande ChiTAG contest review form. Apparently it works for them, but I also recognize it was too ambigious, thus my tweaking. Still, I'm not satisfied with the versions I've managed to build so far. Does anyone have a good example of a rating/review sheet? Thanks

lindseth
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Joined: 09/08/2010
I don't think 15 categories

I don't think 15 categories is to much. When you’re crafting a new game you need a feedback that will help. All the categories you have written are easy to give a response to. I've written a lot of reviews before and tested a lot of games. Board games and video games. Every firm I have taken a test for ask a lot of times even more than 15 categories.

Pastor_Mora
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Uff... thanks!

Yep, I didn't thought 15 questions would be too much. But I think I missed on how I formulated them.

The second poll-type version has had a much more welcoming reception among actual testers, some of which are not game designers or hard core gamers.

I'll stick with it until I come up with a resonable way to put a more complex sheet for advanced reviewers.

Thanks for your comments. Keep thinking!

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