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At What Point Do You Go From Prototype to Play testing

7 replies [Last post]
LoveInPaintCreations's picture
Joined: 06/04/2018

A simple question for most, I'm sure, but I really can't find the answer. I have finished my first prototype and successfully playtested it this past weekend. I'm now moving on the fixing the hiccups found and creating my second prototype. So what I'm asking is, when do I bring my prototype to non-local playtesters?

Thanks for any and all in putting!


polyobsessive's picture
Joined: 12/11/2015

By non-local playtesters, do you mean sending the game away for people to play when you are not present? Or do you mean playing with people outside your family and close friends?

Personally, I generally iterate over a design for a long time before I consider sending it to people to play remotely. For an example, "Invaded", the game that I have been working on most over the last year or so, was on prototype version 16 before I sent it to anyone to play remotely.

I took the same game to be played with a group of game designers at a meetup that I attend most months, on its 2nd iteration, and took it for more open testing at a convention on version 8.

Other games get treated on a case by case basis. Basically I tend to do as much testing with me in the room as I can and iterate a lot, gradually improving the game. Occasionally I share print & play files online, and sometimes I get copies from that, but mostly I concentrate on the local work until I feel we're just about done.

Good luck with your game.


Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Yeah, the answer is "not

Yeah, the answer is "not yet", I think.

You should be pretty happy with the design before you send it to strangers, because while their feedback is very valuable, it's harder to extract. At least you should have a version where you don't think there are any more hiccups to be fixed (and then of course be prepared for new hiccups)

Just my $0.02.

Lowenhigh's picture
Joined: 03/20/2018
Test it 100 times with local

Test it 100 times with local play testers first. I highly recommend the folloowing articles for the subject of play testing:

And also in particular, this article answers your question about what is called "Blind Play Testing":

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Sounds like "Blind" Playtesting to me

Generally speaking, you should find yourself a "good" Developer. A "Developer" takes a prototype and presents the game to multiple groups. Your relationship with your Developer should help smooth-out the process because he/she usually handles all the details concerning the playtests and what the feedback from his/her groups was.

Or you can use a service such as Coalition Games Studio:

They offer very reasonable rates for playtest session. Somewhere from $100 to $300 depending on the volume of tests asked for.

That might be less expensive than hiring a Developer... Usually people want something in return for helping with a game. Be it sharing in profitability or being paid upfront, etc.

Coalition Games is a worthwhile experience if you don't want to go with a private Developer.

Just bringing in a different perspective on the question. Cheers!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Developers aka Independent Consultants

Here is a non-exhaustive list of Game Consultants that you can hire (not sure about the pricing structure ... but it's a start).

Many of those people are Developers or Playtesters. Take "Tyson Mertlich" (aka Game Smiths)... They are a group of playtesters that you can submit your game to and they'll do a few runs of your game. There is a minor fee and if you want your "prototype" back that'll cost you extra (the price for return mailing the prototype).

There are a bunch of people on that list that consider themselves "Developers"... So I would go through that list and pick out a few and send them e-mails. And ask questions about their Development experience too.

Again another "resource" to help you maybe find what you might be looking for. Cheers!

Joined: 03/27/2014
As soon as the first draft is

As soon as the first draft is in a playable, semi-balanced state. I seriously get every new iteration in front of a group asap. You can usually identify balance issues or broken elements within just a few plays, so I tend to fix them through solo play and then get it to others asap.

Joined: 12/22/2015
local group vs expanded group

When your local group no longer provides any meaningful feedback leading to changes is a sure sign to expand your playtest group (unless you think you are ready to try and publish / get published without further testing...............

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