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Play test is a hard at times at best...

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tridagam
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Joined: 03/23/2009

Play test is a hard at times at best..
.
These are the ways I do it...

game comes into the shop...we play it, see if we like it.

We move onto friends and family...We play it with persons without an invested interest in the game.
1)Do they get it?
2)They read the rules...work around the problems the rule generate. Puerto Rico gives many people a run in frustration (one of my many favorites)
3) Do they want to play again.

Dinner Game party...We try to have a game party once per month with a couple we just meet that month. (After we make a very sweet proto. not to be confused with the potatoes.)we play the game with them...they think it is off the shelf...they do the rules.

Then the coffee house...free coffee if they play and give Q&A.
But most of it seems to be Gut feeling...do you feel the game means something...Do you turn away and walk.
Do you believe the people who tested?

Well that seem to be the best we can do with what we have.

Redcap
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Joined: 07/26/2008
You are right on several

You are right on several different accounts. Something I find hard is when someone plays a game and says I didn't like it because of the theme. Change the theme and I would have liked it more. Because then you are left wondering, how good of a game could it be if what was making or beaking it was the theme? That kind of feedback is generally the scariest in my book.

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008
theme

Redcap wrote:
Something I find hard is when someone plays a game and says I didn't like it because of the theme. Change the theme and I would have liked it more. Because then you are left wondering, how good of a game could it be if what was making or beaking it was the theme? That kind of feedback is generally the scariest in my book.

Theme is very important to many of us. Just ask around in the BGG sub-sites for Thematic Games or War Games or Children's Games.

ReneWiersma
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Joined: 08/08/2008
Distilling the useful

Distilling the useful comments out of a playtest session is a challenge, I agree. Usually, a lot of comments are about the balance of the game. This unit is too expensive, that ability is too strong, the scoring is unbalanced. Those type of things are typically easy to recognize and easy to fix. I call that tweaking the numbers.

The hard part is recognizing when people think the game just isn't fun, and the comments they have about the balance of the game is just masking the fact that they simply didn't enjoy it much. I have prototypes of games where I spent a lot of time tweaking the numbers, but the reception was still lackluster despite the game finally being balanced. Then you have to find out why people don't enjoy it, and then you come to the crux of game design, how to put the fun factor into a game. There's no magic formula for that, of course, otherwise everyone could make the next Puerto Rico.

I usually don't get much comments about the theme of the game. Perhaps because my pool of playtesters is used to playign eurogames where the theme takes a backseat. But I do recognize that what people say after a playtest isn't usually what they actually mean. Like I said, understanding what they actually mean is the hardest part. The best indication whether a game went over well is when playtesters start a postgame discussion about the strategy of the game, rather than about the balance, theme, mechanics of the game.

rcjames14
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Joined: 09/17/2010
The Signs

ReneWiersma wrote:
The best indication whether a game went over well is when playtesters start a postgame discussion about the strategy of the game, rather than about the balance, theme, mechanics of the game.

The desire to play again is probably the most important feedback you crave from a playtest session. When players are discussing strategy, that means they already envision themselves playing again. And, of course, if you can get people to actually ask to play a game again... you're sitting pretty. I also like to see emotions. Laughter, elation, anger and even frustration are all good things to see. When people don't like a game they usually don't feel anything.

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