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prototype for playtesting: just how proto should it be?

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pelpo
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Joined: 05/26/2009

Hello to all,
First of all: I'm a great fan of this site. Wow, such a treasure of information. Thumbs up!
OK, now my first question: I'm currently designing a board game based on the crazy inventions made by the famous inventor Tesla. My rules are written out, pfooh, that was hard (it took me about half a year).

I think I'm ready for playtesting now. I only need a working prototype. My plan is to do playtesting in 3 phases:
1. playtest with some friends, family,...
2. playtest in a local board game club, I'm around to answer questions
3. playtest by another local board game club, this time without me.

Wikipedia learned me that 'prototype' comes from the Greek word prototypon, where 'proto' = first and 'typon' = impression

My question: just how 'proto' should this prototype be? I can predict that I will have to make some changes after the first playtests, so I think I shouldn't put too much work in the first prototype. But what kind of prototype is suited for playtesting in the 2nd and 3rd phase, thus by people I don't know personally.

And later, (in a far future) when the game is ready to present it to a publisher, what kind of prototype should it be then? Should I spend money on artwork (when they will probably redesign the whole artwork themselves)?

So, basically I could say my question is: how proto should prototype be? Thank you in advance.
Pelpo

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
pelpo wrote: My question:

pelpo wrote:
My question: just how 'proto' should this prototype be? I can predict that I will have to make some changes after the first playtests, so I think I shouldn't put too much work in the first prototype.

Correct. It is likely that you will need to make changes, possibly sweeping ones. You only need to make the prototype functional.

pelpo wrote:
But what kind of prototype is suited for playtesting in the 2nd and 3rd phase, thus by people I don't know personally.

Don't test the prettiness of the game unless the game is about prettiness. Just use clipart that gets the idea across.

pelpo wrote:
And later, (in a far future) when the game is ready to present it to a publisher, what kind of prototype should it be then? Should I spend money on artwork (when they will probably redesign the whole artwork themselves)?

There will dissenting opinions when I say this but a publisher will look through the wrapper and see what’s in the package. If they accept it they most likely will change the art, layout, & maybe even the rules. What you want is a super functional game with clear rules, player aids, maps that can be understood, etc..

adamw
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Joined: 12/10/2008
I like to go a bit further

I like to go a bit further than functional when making a prototype. The first few (and you will be making more if the game deserves it) can be rough - but keep in mind testing involves the *components* as well as your rules and mechanics. Where things are placed, how many there are, the color used, what visual aids are there on the board - all of this is part of play testing. You want to get a close approximation of the entire game - and for me, that also means a close approximation of the board and components. Not high tech nor expensive artwork, but *close* art. If you're doing sci-fi, have sci-fi styles, etc.

pelpo
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Joined: 05/26/2009
thanks

Thank you for your answers, I find them very helpful.

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