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Initial Playtesting

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ErnstFourie
ErnstFourie's picture
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Joined: 06/18/2014

As the subject might imply, I started design of a game which is very nearly getting to the playtesting stage.

I have played around with many game designs before, but this is the first time I've come far enough with a game to get to this stage.

From what I've read here and on other forums, the first step is a kind of internal playtesting.

The game can be played with two players, so I'll start with me and my wife.

But thatsthat's not the reason I'm posting.

WhatI'd like to know is, what should I be looking out for? What should I shake up and test? What questions should I be asking myself after a few games? How many games should I play before deciding on a major change?

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I think...

This will depend on the nature of your game. Some basic things to consider would be things like "playtime". Is the game supposed to be a filler, if so you should be able to play the game within a half an hour or so. So play time is one aspect to nail down.

Are there any aspects of the game that "feel" incorrect? Do you have a combat mechanic? If yes, does it seem to be balanced and are the odds what you expect them to be?

Are there mechanics that sounded like a "good idea" but when put to practice seem incorrect or unplayable? I find a lot of ideas sound good - but when you implement them, they aren't as good as you initially had hoped they would be...

These are usually aspects that I look at when initially playtesting the game. The next step is to "observe" playtesters play the game - obviously with coaching - but it's important because then you have people who can tell you what they like/dislike about your game.

The Professor
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Joined: 10/25/2014
some thoughts...

Ernst,

I've been fortunate to have play-tested over 50 games in the past five years, and have coordinated play-tests for nearly two years. Along the way, I've read a significant amount of information on-line from other developers.

I would recommend, sticking to the ABCs of all play-test efforts. Is it Approachable? Can someone access the rules with little difficulty? Can someone sit down and ascertain the goal of the game along with a reasonable number of plausible strategies. Is it Balanced? Now, even some games on the market are not perfectly balanced...that's acceptable, provided your game doesn't fall apart due to some peculiar twist of your main mechanic. Finally, is it Captivating? From the thematic components to the back-story, does your game allow one to immerse themselves within it. Now, a non-thematic game may not inherently possess this component, but I offer it for consideration. Ultimately, "playability" is the aggregate of the aforementioned items.

If you're interested in a copy of the analysis sheet I use, PM me with your address.

Cheers,
Joe

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