54: Playtesting

54: Playtesting

What part of your playtesting process do you think you do differently from the majority of other designers? Why does it work for you?

 

 

Many people advise against changing more than 1 thing at a time between tests, so you can isolate changes and really see their impact.

I don’t know about other designers, but I don’t have time for that! So I tend to make multiple changes at a time. Sure, this means sometimes I have to put some extra thought into analyzing the playtest to figure out which changes contributed to which effects, but to be frank, I have more time for analysis than I do for playtesting!

I find this is a much more efficient way to make progress, even if once in a while there’s a crash and burn test and I can’t figure out exactly what caused it. That’s by far the minority case, so I’ll continue making multiple changes between tests so I can actually get to the end of some projects.

Seth Jaffee

I can’t say that my approach to playtesting differs to all designers, but I tend to have the game in a fairly aesthetically-pleasing state before sharing it beyond the initial litmus test of very close friends. This approach seems to be successful in that it avoids lots of comments such as “The bits of paper in transparent card sleeves looked rubbish”…

Sam Illingworth

I blind playtest WAY earlier and more often than most people.

As well as that, if there’s a small hiccup in the flow of my game, I will completely redesign around it. I once reworked an almost-complete game because there was a tiny rule that people forgot every two or three turns.

Peter C. Hayward

Many people advise against changing more than 1 thing at a time between tests, so you can isolate changes and really see their impact, but I don’t have time for that! So I tend to make multiple changes at a time. — Seth Jaffee

I never do “blind” playtesting, meaning giving a prototype to other players, letting them deal with rules, and looking at them without intervening. I always play, and try to win, as I do when playing a published game. And I don’t take notes. I think the reason it works for me is that I’m good at writing rules, so there’s usually no need to playtest the clarity of my rules. the only thank that needs to be playtested is the game itself, and it’s better if I take part in the playtest. Also, it allows me to stop the game if I see it really doesn’t work, something players often don’t dare to do if the designer is not playing with them. I try to playtest my prototypes exactly as I would play any other designer’s published game.

Bruno Faidutti

I take very few notes. Like many people with ADHD, I can’t pay attention and take notes at the same time. At best I can jot down a major idea or observation. Instead after a playtest, usually while driving home, I’ll say aloud what I learned. Then I’ll come home and put notes into Slack. Vocalising really helps with both recall and specificity.

Isaac Shalev

I spend a lot of time laying out graphics and artwork (placeholder art) from an early stage. This helps me to get into the world of the game; helps me to love the game; and makes me feel less guilty about presenting it to kind play testers who are giving up their time. I personally struggle to engage with other designers’ unattractive prototypes, so I don’t want to make the task arduous for any of my own playtesters.

Adam Porter

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