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Subject: How far to go before asking for more playtesters? rss

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Mikael Modin
Sweden
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Hi,

I'm working on a boardgame, sort of Neuroshima Hex with a nordic folk lore theme, variable terrain and actions that are static, not drawn.

Things are shaping up slowly but surely and some time in the hopefully not too distant future I'm considering asking for help here on BGG.

What do people want to see when others ask for playtesters? A decent rulebook is a given, but otherwise what makes you want or not want to playtest a game?

EDIT:
I am playtesting solitaire and with friends but then I can always just explain anything unclear straight away (The rulebook is mainly in my head and a bunch of notes so far), but I'm wondering how polished it should be when asking for testing here on BGG.
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Pete Belli
United States
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Welcome to BGG!

Playtsesting is hard work, so it certainly helps if the subject matter is interesting to the people evaluating the prototype.

Good Luck with your project.
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Glenn McMaster
Canada
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Playtesting generally sucks because it's more work than fun. If you're a good tester, you're basically fixing someone else's game while getting no design or development credit for your efforts. You are the Mick Ronson of the gaming world.

You are ready to ask for playtesters when that is no longer the case. You've played it, and refined it solitaire, so many times that you don't need anyone to fix it. It's already fixed. Your playtesters are the fine tweaking; providing the deeper insight into the interaction of your core systems that you couldn't detect from solitaire testing, detecting problems and suggesting solutions that you just can't get on your own.

Think of them as test pilots. Their job is to fly the plane and tell you how it does. Your job is to give them a plane to test that doesn't smear them all over the runway.
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
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GLENN239 wrote:
Think of them as test pilots. Their job is to fly the plane and tell you how it does. Your job is to give them a plane to test that doesn't smear them all over the runway.

Sadly, quite a few of them did. gulp
 
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Brian Perry

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Great use of the great Mick Ronson
 
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Burke Drew
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Holly Springs
North Carolina
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My advice is to start play testing and iterating your design as soon as possible. The more quickly you can identify problems and fix them the better the game will be in the long run.

I'd start with in person play testing where you can participate or watch the action and answer questions. Ideally you would find a local group of like minded designers in your area and set up or join a meet up. I'm lucky that we have a really active group near where I live that meets on a regular basis. Depending on where you live this might not be practical, but I highly recommend you trying to find out. You FLGS might be a good place to start.

You can also check to see if there is a protospiel (http://protospiel.org/) or Unpub (http://unpub.net/) event going on in your area in the near future. These are great ways that you can tap into the designer community and get some really good feedback on your game.

I hope this helps.
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Jack Poon
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I agree with Burke. I had some ideas for where I wanted my game to go but I tested it as soon as I had the barebones of the game. I didn't even have a rule book. I explained what I thought the rules would be. My first four playtests ran that way. The playtests went along very bumpily, I had to correct myself several times, I had to interrupt the game to clarify and there were several times my play testers stumped me with questions about my own game. But the information I got from early testing was invaluable and saved me a lot of time. I had to redesign my game but it was well worth it. By my 3rd generation prototype, my original play testers said it was much more fun and better and felt like a solid board game rather than the first one they played.
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Mikael Modin
Sweden
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Alright, thanks for the tips so far. UnPub and Protospiel seems like great things, but so far constrained to the US(I added swedish flag to my profile reduce further similar mistakes).

I am playtesting the game, solitaire and with friends. But playtesting in person when I can explain rules directly is a different beast than blind PnP-testing here on BGG. I'll update the original post.
 
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4 HOGS
Croatia
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Hi and welcome to BGG!

I agree that play testing is hard work and in most cases its not really fun. When we designed Vaults, the four of us play tested the game and after approximately 6 months of internal play testing we searched for play testers locally. We had 2 groups of testers (experienced players and newbies) and after that phase we wrote the rule book and organised a blind test with couple of game designers. And finally we made PnP version and placed it here on BGG.

In conclusion its a drag but the best results are given by blind test. If you pass that you know the game is done. Ask for more play testers gradually. At least that worked for us.

Hope this was helpful.

Best of luck!
 
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Greg
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Ideally your playtesters for this game are your playtesters for next game too. Before introducting a game to any group of players I try to get it to the best state it can be first, so that they enjoy the experience in so far as it can be enjoyed. You can catch most of the glaring errors by playing the game by yourself and swapping seats a lot.

Test early and often is good advice - but test to death with yourself before showing people who are sympathetic and test to death with them before asking epople to skip an established game on what might be their one game event this month to play your prototype.
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