Skip to Content

Should I be trying to please all my platesters??

3 replies [Last post]
omni989
Offline
Joined: 04/30/2011

I have been conducting playtests on a 2 player miniatures skirmish game I have designed. There are 4 players in my playtest group.

The problem - one player constistently fails to see ways to turn the game around if he is losing or ways for his opponent to come back to beat him if he is winning. He then immediately, without considering options, states halfway into the game that it's effectively over and as such the game is flawed. I then find myself defending the game by highlighting the various options open to him that he has neglected to consider. The other players typically dont have this problem although one can be swayed sometimes by the negative comments.

So my questions are:

- Is the game flawed because even though the options are there the game is not presenting them clearly enough for every player of every level to see?

- this player does not represent my target market but two of the other players do and they have no problem with it. Should I ignore the complaints of this 4th player and accept that the game is not for everyone?

- should I tailor my group more towards my target market and remove players that dont fit it or is it important to have a wider view?

Any advice would be much appreciated

JaffetC
JaffetC's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/19/2011
how knowledgeable of your

how knowledgeable of your game is this 4th player? I've noticed with my play testers that the ones that complain about "broken" blah blah blah are the ones that dont know the rules of the game and have not gone through the set to build a good balanced build that could let them win the game.

usually when i start hearing, "oh this is broken" and the rest of the group then states 5 other cards that deal with it, they flip and say, "its still broken" so we just ignore them.

HandwrittenAnthony
HandwrittenAnthony's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/01/2011
Playtesting!

This is a tough cookie to crack! It takes a good amount of fortitude to take criticism of your game, regardless of whether they are right or wrong in their assertions.

To have an effective playtest session, you should know what kinds of players you have playing your game, so that you can validate their feedback against their expectations of the game. As an example: a player that prefers mastery over strategy is going to have a hard time with chance-based games, and will most likely feel 'cheated' by dice rolls or pure luck. Does this make their opinion invalid? No!, but you can temper their feedback - which will still be useful - with the knowledge that your mechanics aren't favourable to that player's style of play.

Some of my reactions to your questions:

omni989 wrote:
- Is the game flawed because even though the options are there the game is not presenting them clearly enough for every player of every level to see?

This sounds like a question for the players who don't question the balance of the game. These players may find it easier to comprehend the system, but that doesn't mean there aren't flaws in your information layout that are aggravating your fourth player.

Perhaps ask your two positive players if the information presented to them in the game coincides with their understanding of the game's strategy and systems, or if their understanding comes from their experiences with similar games.

omni989 wrote:
- this player does not represent my target market but two of the other players do and they have no problem with it. Should I ignore the complaints of this 4th player and accept that the game is not for everyone?

No! Everyone who plays your game will have valid feedback, even if they're not your "target market". It's a matter of asking that person the right questions so you can glean the good constructive feedback beyond their initial motivations for playing the game. Maybe your gut instinct about your information flow could be correct. Or maybe this fourth player is trying to tell you there's a pacing issue. Or perhaps something else you haven't considered yet!

The point is the players don't know your game as well as you do, and therefore they won't have the same vocabulary and knowledge of your systems as you do. If someone complains about balance, that is just a symptom - the reason for your playtest is to find out the cause, and feedback from all of the players can give you the answer your looking for. Maybe it really is a balance issue, but if they can't put their finger exactly on what is making your game unbalanced, then the problem could be somewhere else in the game that they don't realise.

omni989 wrote:
- should I tailor my group more towards my target market and remove players that dont fit it or is it important to have a wider view?

There's a danger here to create a playtest group that can easily overlook flaws and dominant strategies because they "understand" what you're trying to do. Getting constructive criticism can be hard - see the note up the top about fortitude! - but it is all necessary to make a better game. (Adding more playtesters may not be a bad thing to do as well!)

Having said this, it's important to understand what YOU want out of your game. As I mentioned previously, you will understand your game's vocabulary and systems better than anyone else, and you will know what your overall design goals are. Your sovereignty over your game should be what drives you, and let the feedback of your playtests pull you up when something gets in the way of achieving your design goals.

(As an aside, I did a presentation on this very subject last year. The slides might be useful if you are interested.)

Good luck!

omni989
Offline
Joined: 04/30/2011
Thanks

Thanks for your comments, they were very helpful.

In reply the player in question does not know the rules well and tends to forget crucial rules.
Although i believe that he is warping the results of the playtests it is clear that there is a problem with the game it may be that he is just magnifying it. I wont make wholesale changes but I will modify some things and see how that goes.

Thanks again for the advice.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut