Peter Gousis
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http://mvpboardgames.blogspot.com/2014/07/dtow-12-last-10.ht...
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sunday silence
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useless...
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Peter Gousis
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Sorry you feel this way. Obviously this is just an overview of the subject. I will be covering it in more detail in later blog posts. If you have any questions about the subject, since you seem interested in it, please feel free to ask here or in the blog.
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the summation of the entry is: Playtest. That and to ask other game designers what they think of your game. isnt that obvious?

I mean everyone knows this, and games still come out half baked. Do you really think that perfecting a game is just about playtesting and asking people what they think?

one of the subtitles is "How do you know your at this point?" Then it has a bunch of questions: Maybe it takes too long? Etc. Just a series of questions. But how do you KNOW? It doesnt answer the very question it raises. And it is a good question. Left unanswered.

And how do playtesters help exactly? They are good at finding loopholes in rules, how long the game takes, what sort of strategies. But how are playtesters supposed to get that "last 10%" really? Is that what they do? How do you get that out of them?
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Peter Gousis
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Those are all great questions. And of course this is just one persons experience. I think playtest, playtest, playtest is obvious, but how many games come out where you can tell they haven't play tested enough? While easy to say, I think it is harder to do. Because it isn't the fun part of design. I have a whole other blog post on playtesting.

As far as knowing when your game is ready, for us so far we have just known. We have 2 games being published by different publishers either later this year, or early next year, and before we showed them off we knew where they were. Partially because we had playtested each over 100 times. We had a goal in mind when we started the design of each game (playtime, interaction level, feeling we wanted out of the game) and when we were hitting those goals, and having fun while doing it we knew we had something.

Another thing that helped was bringing the games to UnPub conventions. This is because of the feedback we got from other designers, not just the playtesters there. We were asking about those goals we had in mind, and how people felt about those things specifically. The other designers also helped us see some things about our games that we didn't see ourselves as we were too close to it. The last big benefit we got was making contacts that we followed up with at other conventions, increasing our playtesting outside of normal UnPub events.

When the game is firing on all cylinders that is when we showed it off to publishers. We knew because we had played it collectively over 200 times and knew our goals for the game. Did that make them great? We thought so, but when the publishers got their hands on them more changes were made. Some were better and some were worse. After working though more playtests we weeded out the best stuff and made the games that much stronger. Is there more work to be done? Probably. But the games are very good as is and adding any more would increase the complexity past where we want it for a base game. Any more additions we have in our mind will be good for expansions. There isn't much more tweaking we can do with the base system that wouldn't increase complexity.

We have fans (mostly from convention playtests) that never knew us before playing our games. All of these are good signs that your game is ready.

But as simple as it sounds, playtesting is the key. How do we know there isn't a better "threat system" for Salvation Road? Because we playtested 20 different systems. We're these all full game playtests? Of course not, but enough to get a feel for the system. Bottom line, if you don't know if your game is ready, it probably isn't.

Thanks for your response and questions. It is more fun to have a two way dialogue than to type into a blank screen. Hope you don't mind, but it may take your question and my response and post it to the blog. I think it is a good and useful conversation to have.
 
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this kind of stuff is only useful if you can get into the specifics. What sort of threat systems did you work with? Why did you reject them? what games inspired you? what feelings were you trying to create in the players? what mechanics from other games are related? what kind of thinking did you want to stimulate? linear? probability? intuition? bluffing?

you are just talking about general ideas. Everyone knows that and it wont help them get their game up the last 10%. What specifically were you blocked with? what mechanics solved that? what was something specifically said to you that helped you?
 
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Filip W.
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Quote:
We have recently started working with a publisher who found the thing we have been looking for the last few months.


Probably one of the key pieces of advice for new designers: get your design out there. Show it to designers, publishers, marketeers and get their input.

You don't need to follow their input (that's why it's input, not law) but do think about it and experiment with it.

In fact, I think that chewing a design over with other designers is more important than playtesting. Other designers will be able to zero in on the flaws faster, think of solutions and clarify the problems in a way that regular gamers won't (since they're not thinking in terms of design but in terms of game play).
 
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