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Game Smiths Play Testing

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Tyson
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Hi everybody,

I just wanted to let you all know of a service that myself and a few others have started. It is called Game Smiths and we play test games for people and provide feedback through a video. We will play test games on camera (learn rules, play through, and debrief) and then you can correct us if we made any mistakes. If the mistakes were big enough that they would have changed the experience we will do it all again with the corrections. If you're interested in using this service please check out our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GamesSmithsPlaytesting/

We don't yet have our website up, but we are working on it. Let me know if you have any questions!

Tyson

joebergmann
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Expect something from me!

This looks great! I like your Facebook page and look forward to the website. I have a couple of games I would love to have you test. I'll be in touch soon!

Joe

Tyson
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Thanks Joe! We look forward

Thanks Joe! We look forward to checking out your games!

Tyson

WinsmithGames
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Hey Tyson, I'd like to know

Hey Tyson, I'd like to know more about pricing structures and services offered.

What kind of time frames do you all need?
What kind of games do you playtest? And at what phases of development?

Thanks for sharing!

Tyson
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Hi, As of right now we do not

Hi,

As of right now we do not charge for the service, that may change if demand becomes higher than we can manage as a means to prioritize we would start charging a nominal fee. With that being said, however, we do give priority to prototypes over PnP games. Once we have played all of the prototypes we have on hand we move on to the PnP games, so it may take a much longer time to get a PnP game tested than a prototype.

Currently we meet on a weekly basis playing a new game most weeks (except in the instances where we need to revisit another game we may have messed up). We usually have a 1 week turn around from when we played it to when it is fully edited and sent back to the designer. Getting to a game however can depend on how much of a backlog we currently have. We currently have about 3-4 prototypes that are waiting to be tested, so right now it may take a month or a little more to get to the game.

As for what types of games we play test, we do all kinds. We have an eclectic group who enjoy all types of games, so while some of us may not enjoy one type of game at least one of us usually does. Even when we play games we do not all agree are our favorite types of games we still do our best to provide the most professional feedback we can offer. We don't discriminate as to the stage of development, because we are designers as well we understand how valuable play testing is at all stages, so if you are looking to flesh out your game as it is stuck in development, or if you are just looking to finish up the last mechanic or two we are willing to help!

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Tyson

WinsmithGames
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Geeze, what more can someone

Geeze, what more can someone ask for. Sounds like a fantastic service.

I'm in the process of making revisions to two games, but I'd love to send you one in the next month or so.

Are you all on Twitter, too?

questccg
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Competitor "Coalition Games"

Tyson wrote:
Hi,

As of right now we do not charge for the service, that may change if demand becomes higher than we can manage as a means to prioritize we would start charging a nominal fee...

There is another "service" which charges for playtesting services. It's called "Coalition Games": http://www.coalitiongames.com/

On the average I believe with that service $100-$150 per game playtested. But remember they offer "play sessions" (eg. more than one playthrough).

So you can check out their "rates" ... and determine if you want to offer FREE "playtesting" (which nobody can compete with) or ask for some money based on the services required (which is what Coalition Games does)...

But "nice" of you guys to offer the service FREE (At the moment).

Tyson
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Thanks, we really are trying

Thanks, we really are trying to provide the best possible service we can. Yeah, whenever you are ready send us an e-mail!

I'm in charge of our social media presence and I've been slowly working through the different social media out there. I am not yet on twitter, but I plan to be.

Tyson
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Coalition Games

Yeah, I am familiar with Coalition Games. They offer a really great service! We think ours is definitely different from there's as they almost work towards more development and our focus is blind play tests as if the designer were there in person. Though we definitely have (and will continue) to do multiple plays of games as is necessary, our goal is just to be able to help as many designers as we can, and if we focus on one design several times we aren't able to get to another design as easily. If we charge we will probably be able to do more of that.

We will try to keep it free while we can!

Tyson

questccg
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Business model

Tyson wrote:
...Though we definitely have (and will continue) to do multiple plays of games as is necessary, our goal is just to be able to help as many designers as we can, and if we focus on one design several times we aren't able to get to another design as easily...

I'm just trying to say that nobody contacts "Coalition Games" unless they are serious about their game. Paying for a "service" with reasonable pricing structure is something "serious" designers do.

I would feel bad if only "poor" prototypes or "less exciting" games might land up in your "queue" only because the designers know that your playtesting is FREE. It's not like I am advocating "Coalition Games" business model (as compared to yours). I am just saying that sometimes it is worthwhile to "invest" into something.

Free for a few people to play once and say: "This is crap." Or "This will never make it." Isn't a service that would interest me... I'm just worried people may "abuse" the generous offer of your team's time with games that are less than at par (whatever that means).

One "technical" question: "Do you mail back the games you test?"

And if you do, don't you take a loss when shipping back games??? Just wondering -- this was a bit unclear. While PNP productions take effort and time to construct, again they are at your "cost" (Paper and cutting time, etc.) Don't you take a "loss" playtesting these games!?

questccg
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I'm suggesting some kind of FEE structure.

Like $10 USD per PNP printed and cut page (5 Pages = $50 USD to test).

Or like $25 return shipping fee (for all the people who want their games back).

Just so that "Game Smiths" don't take a LOSS each time they playtest a PNP or a prototype or a game further in development, etc.

Tyson
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Thanks so much for looking

Thanks so much for looking out for us! It's really great to know that people want to make sure others get what they deserve! I agree with you, and hadn't really thought about it in quite that way, that the quality will increase with a price tag.

We are still building up our service to be the quality that we ask. We are looking to make the service accessible to people who need it and may not be able to afford it. However, with that being said we intend to start charging at a certain point, but we also want to make sure people feel that we can offer a good service. Because of this we are building up a portfolio so that people can see what we offer. Once we have worked out or kinks we will adjust the model.

We do not mail games back, while we are happy to provide a free service for now, we are not interested in paying money to help people. If somebody sends us a game and they expect it back then it will be up to them to pay for it. However, we will expect money to ship something back as it takes our time and effort to do so. I am currently looking into setting up a Patreon account so that those who appreciate our service can compensate us if they want (though I recognize that's still not the same thing).

Have you had a chance to see our service on the Facebook page? If you were to use it, as it stands now, what would you be willing to pay for it? Or would you be willing to pay? Note that the videos there are only half of the service, we provide detailed commentary to the designers on our experiences and impressions (and usually some suggestions). Thanks again for your perspective, it has been very helpful and I think something that will be discussed with the rest of the guys this week to see how we can proceed.

Tyson
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Paid Service

Hi,

I just wanted to provide an update. After discussing the things in this thread with my partner, we decided that charging may be the best decision for where we want to head with this service. However, with that said we still think there are things we need to do to start charging. Some of that is get the website up, solidify our method, and expedite the editing process. In order to improve all of this while still offering a valuable service to designers we have decide to launch the full Game Smiths service in January. This means that there are limited slots available (about 5 left) for us to play test games for free. We will continue to play test games for those who request them up until we have booked every Tuesday (minus the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas) through the rest of the year.

Additionally, we have created a Patreon account (https://www.patreon.com/GameSmithsPlaytesting) in the meantime if people feel like contributing to our service. I just wanted to thank QuestCCG for the advice given and we are looking forward to continue improving our service!

Tyson

questccg
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My Publisher and I are...

We're looking for another set of "eyes" on the NEXT "prototype". We'll have to wait until January 2018 to get a better understand of your offer. We will of course playtest the game in November - December, and see what people think of this LATEST "incarnation" of the game.

The game has been totally "re-vamped" for it's production release which should occur some time in Q2 2018 and delivered by Q3 2018. Maybe a little earlier (we hope).

Your services could be "invaluable" to us - since this prototype would be next going to the manufacturer for production...

One of the point mentioned was "Shipping Back" games. I would of course be willing to pay to have this Prototype returned. This is something some people who use your service may want too.

But first it needs my playtesting and hopefully some LOCAL "playtesting" too ... See if I can maybe get some other people involved at the local level.

I'll PITCH your service to the good people of "Outer Limit Games" and see if they are okay once I get more details concerning your service. It's got to be SOON ... because we want to go into production SOON TOO!

Will get back to you on our schedule, once I get a confirmation.

Cheers!

Tyson
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This sounds exciting! And of

This sounds exciting! And of course we would be willing to ship prototypes back. One of the things we are working out is pricing and deciding how to determine what price levels we will offer (including price to return prototypes).

Of course we will be happy to discuss all of this further as things develop on both our end and yours. Let me know if there are any questions specifically that I can address for you now though.

Tyson

joebergmann
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City Park should be there today!

I was fortunate enough to get in on the FREE offer!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say. I'm really hoping I'm not wasting your time. This is the first game I have sent out for reviews. I've had a lot of playtesting at Protospiels and GenCon and blind tests and with a playtesting group. I still worry if it was enough... :)

Look forward to your review and please, don't go easy on me!

Joe

Tyson
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Looking forward to it!

Sounds like you've put a lot more effort into refining it than some of the early submissions we received. We are glad that we get to work with you on it! We hope we can offer you some unique resources in the video and hopefully ways to look at your game in a new light. Thanks again for using our service!

Tyson

questccg
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Half way there...

Tyson wrote:
This sounds exciting!

We're very excited too! I just got a confirmation e-mail from our Developer Joseph Pilkus (@The Professor) and he thinks the idea of a third-party blind playtest is a good idea.

Tyson wrote:
And of course we would be willing to ship prototypes back. One of the things we are working out is pricing and deciding how to determine what price levels we will offer (including price to return prototypes).

Totally understandable. I'd like to mention one single point: Our game is "scenario" based and features a couple expansions ALREADY! As such I would be interested in trying three (3) different playthroughs... Because how the game is designed, these will offer totally DIFFERENT game experiences to the players. While the "core" is similar and as players become more familiar with the "core", the game tends to speed up with more familiarity. The specifics change in how the game progresses and also how more complicated the game is.

Tyson wrote:
Let me know if there are any questions specifically that I can address for you now though.

I'm just waiting for a response from OLG (our Publisher) and see what the timeline and schedule looks like. They will be the ones to decide if we give your service a try. Like I said already our Developer thinks it's a good idea... So we'll need to wait until Mike & Stan respond.

And I'm hoping your pricing structure is reasonable too... We're all for giving you guys some early business. But at the same time, it needs to be affordable too.

If you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to PM me.

Cheers.

questccg
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Good news!

Mike and Stan (@OLG) have said January could be a "third-party playtest month". Obviously they want to understand what your fee structure will be... and as I have already said, we would like three (3) different playtests...

Like I said familiarity with the game makes the turns go faster, so as you and your team become more "familiar" with the "core", it should take less time to play the game.

But the end-goals are different and so are the "unlocking" rules. I'd also like for the "Planetary Expansion" to have a couple tries too... I haven't yet had the chance to playtest this expansion (other than very early in the game's design cycle).

The test would be:

  • "core" game only ("Tradewars" scenario). Familiarity with the original game engine and overall game experience.
  • "core" with alternate scenario ("Rise of the Monarch" scenario). Another scenario with different end-goals and achievements along the way.
  • "core" + Planetary Expansion. "core" should be okay and the Planetary Expansion adds more complexity to the "base" game. This would of course be playing the "Spacewars" scenario (last man standing).
  • "core" + Planetary Expansion + Rise of the Monarch. Experimental play using the alternate scenario. Should be relatively simple based on the experience playing the other game.

We'll maybe kick-out that fourth (4th) playtest ... Depending on what Joe (@The Professor) says from his playtests (in November/December).

But just a heads up... We can fully discuss this once you've established your fee structure and our needs. Like I said I will be discussing this with Joe and we'll see what playtests will occur with his teams.

Cheers!

questccg
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I'm just trying to ALIGN our tests

We'll see what Joe's groups think... For now let's say 3 playtests and ignore the experimental one (#4). It's experimental because I have never tried both the Planetary Expansion with the alternate scenarios. Those alternate scenarios have been playtested - but the COMBO has not.

Right now the plan is for Joe's groups to handle it...

We should be okay with only the 3 playtests and you'd experience about 75% of the game in those 3 games. There's still another scenario (Battle Front) and another expansion (Roles Compendium) ... but we'll rely on Joe's teams to handle those playtests.

We want you to get "your feet wet"... and not "drown you in the sea" so to speak! LOL For $39 USD, backers are getting a fantastic deal. The game is packed with all kind of scenarios, expansions, and all around amazing artwork.

So let's stick to 3 playthroughs...

questccg
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The "core" has been playtested to "death"!

We're all waiting for the NEXT "prototype" which we had hoped would have ALL the artwork done ... but this is not the case... More artwork to be done in November/December. Our artist is very busy and he is working on finishing up as much and as early as possible.

Joe's team have blind playtested the "core" too.

We're all excited and anxious to have them test the EXTRAS that were added with the KS campaign. Although everything has been playtested, the newer extras have not be "blind" playtested - yet.

That's going to change with Joe's teams in November/December.

A lot of the extras were part of the original game - but we had to remove them (for cost reasons). With the KS and how people backed the project, we have been able to restore the "original" game with an extra scenario.

Anyways I think I've written enough... I'll get back in touch with you guys, once I get my hands on the prototype and see what needs fixing (if anything) and then we can plan to discuss in December for January...

Cheers again.

Tyson
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This all sounds really

This all sounds really exciting. I'll let you know when the pricing structure is up and the website is up. We think that we would be able to accommodate all of your needs! Keep us updated with what goes on with your publisher. Once you have more information please send us an e-mail at GameSmithsPlaytesting@gmail.com

Tyson

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