Skip to Content

BGDL 25 -Mike Mihealsick: Lessons Learned from Blind Playtesting

Mike Mihealsick, from Coalition Games, discusses all the lessons and insights he’s learned after facilitating hundreds of blind playtests. Blind playtesting is the purifying fire in which we truly get to find out what our games are made of, and Mike offers a ton of advice on how to navigate the process well.

Check out the episode here:


Sweet. I'll definitely listen

Sweet. I'll definitely listen to this.

When it's done...

Great discussions in this podcast - one thing that came up was a part about determining when to consider a game "finished". That topic has come up in other recent BGDL podcasts and I've been thinking about it a lot, as I'm trying hard to get to that point in my design! (For me, it's a lack of regular play testing).

I think there's a fine line out there - one the one hand, yes you can spend decades trying to perfect a game and never end up publishing it. But on the other hand, you could put a game out too soon, neglecting to put in the extra effort to find what's broken and fix it first.

One thing I've experienced is that if there is something in my game design that works ok, but still kind of bugs me, it's worth looking for either a replacement mechanic, or a tweak, or something. Eventually, you'll probably come up with a better way to deal with that part of your design.

I'm also thinking that I should keep in mind that most (if not all) games out there have had players think of tweaks that they like better, whether it's a little house rule for one specific thing, or a full on variant. If a game we're perfect, it wouldn't need anything​ like that to make it better, right? But check out any game on BGG - you're guaranteed to find forum threads about house rules and variants no matter what game you pick!

If my game gets published one day, someone is going to come up with house rules and variants that they like better. So I don't think I need to try to make a game that can't be improved - I just need to feel like the game plays the way I like it to play, and that it others who try it enjoy it too.

In addition, of course, any broken rules need to be found and fixed. But there are already a couple little things in my current design that I could see being altered a bit and still working - house rules waiting to be tried. And I can try them, but in the end, I'll settle on the rules that I like best, and leave it open to others to alter things later if they want.

Anyway, I think having those things in mind will help me to decide when I'm ready to stop and call a game "done".

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content

blog | by Dr. Radut