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Blind Play Testing Comprehension

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/30/2012

I've bind play tested my game a couple of times. I watch them play it, but offer no feedback until after they've played a game or two. In the last blind play test they grasped about 80% of the rules correctly on their first play through. Do you guys typically shoot for 100% rule comprehension before you're satisfied with your rules, or do you accept that on the first play through most people don't get all the rules?

Joined: 10/13/2011
Goal of 100%

Hi Draklorx,

For what its worth, I am willing to concede that the playtesters may not grasp the rules 100%, however I take this as a sign that the rules need to be improved. When you submit your design to publishers, they won't contact you with rules questions and their decision to publish/not publish may hinge on their understanding of the game. As such, I always try to hit 100% clarity in the rules.

If I am around to observe, I will note the rules issue and how the players played through the situation. If I am not around, I ask that the playtesters write down the question and how they answered it to continue playing. When this happens I usually end up adjusting the rules, clarifying the rules or offering a game play example to illustrate what should be happening.

Good luck with your design!

Joined: 08/27/2012
people make mistakes

My question is did they get the other 20% after a second play through? In my experience playing games, I almost always mess at least one rule up the first time that I play because there are so many things going on. When I go through a second time and know most of what's going on, I refer back to the rules when something comes up and I'm confused and I can figure out what I did wrong. I agree with the other comment that you want your rules to be as clear as possible and have lots of examples, but I don't think you can ever expect the average person to get it all 100% right the first time.

Now there are ways to help minimize this and Orangebeard mentioned clarifying the rules and adding examples, 2 important ones. Depending on exactly what the problem is, there are some other tricks that you as a designer can use such as incorporating rule reminders in the game. A game that I'm working on has an action that can only be used during certain circumstances, but the players kept forgetting and using that action when it wasn't legal, even though the restrictions were stated on the action card. Based on some feedback, I incorporated a reminder for the restriction on the player mat and on the card that was flipped over at the start of the turn, and now it is almost never a problem. Depending on what the players are missing, something like that might help clarify the rules during gameplay.
Good luck.

Awaclus's picture
Joined: 07/17/2012
According to Mark Rosewater,

According to Mark Rosewater, it doesn't matter at all if a player grasps the rules or not. What's important is that they will want to play the game again.

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