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Subject: Question about Printable Prototype for Playtesting rss

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Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
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Hey guys,
my team is in the process of putting together an alpha stage card game we have designed. This alpha will include rule book, all the cards with proper wording typed out and artwork in form of line art. We will also have a simple questionnaire for the playtesters to fill out.

Now the question i had was regarding the printable version of the game.
1. What is the best digital format that you would prefer? Right now we are thinking of making it a PDF package that you can download or print straight from the web
2. Our game has a certain reliance on colors. There are cards that need to be red, blue, green and black. Considering that not everybody would be able to print in color in their homes, would you say it is okay to change the card layout for now to reflect the colors with just a box on each with a word for the color?
3. How would you suggest we deal with double sided printing? We have 3 decks of cards which will need to be differentiated as they will go in separate piles. How do I approach and make the process of printing double sided easier for the play testers?

Thanks in advance!!
 
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L S
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I would assume that most of that is a matter of personal preferences, so I'm only speaking for myself here:

1. PDF is fine - I'd even say it's ideal if you can provide a version in letter/legal and another in A4 format.
2. That probably depends on the number of cards/pages that need to be printed. For small-medium PnPs, I'd prefer colored cards because I would print them at home; I take larger ones to a copyshop, and they charge an obscene amount for colored prints.
3. I've seen two options that work equally well. Either align the cards in a way that the backsides can be printed directly on the other side of the page; or use a layout that presents every card with its back side by side, so that the front and back can be folded in the middle and glued together. The former method is less work, but I also like the latter because you get thicker cards even if you use standard paper.
 
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Jeff Warrender
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This isn't quite what you were asking, but just to clarify. When you say "alpha testing", usually that means the game has just made the leap from idea to prototype. Maybe it's been solo tested a couple of times but it hasn't seen much or any live testing, the rules are still pretty rough, and probably a lot if things will change.

Is that the stage your game is in? Because if it is, it's way too early in the process for you to be sending it out to external groups to test. You are extremely unlikely to get actionable feedback, and it's not really a good use of playtesters' time. Save blind playtesting for the late beta phase, when everything clicks and you just want to see if the rulebook makes sense and everything flows and is intuitive.

To answer the actual question, PDFs are probably fine but your chances of a group actually playing the game increase dramatically if you send them a physical copy to test.

Good luck with your game.
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Dimitri Sirenko
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ahh sorry, my terminology of alpha and beta comes a bit more from mobile game development. The design is pretty much polished at this point based on numerous internal playtesting within our group as well as friends and family. I was just calling it alpha because in my experience in game development we used beta for pretty much close to final product that can technically be put out on the market. And since our game is not near that in terms of art, we decided to call it alpha internally.

I guess to clarify it, the game design is in beta and the visual development is in alpha at this point.

Sorry for confusion
 
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Dimitri Sirenko
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jwarrend wrote:
This isn't quite what you were asking, but just to clarify. When you say "alpha testing", usually that means the game has just made the leap from idea to prototype. Maybe it's been solo tested a couple of times but it hasn't seen much or any live testing, the rules are still pretty rough, and probably a lot if things will change.

Is that the stage your game is in? Because if it is, it's way too early in the process for you to be sending it out to external groups to test. You are extremely unlikely to get actionable feedback, and it's not really a good use of playtesters' time. Save blind playtesting for the late beta phase, when everything clicks and you just want to see if the rulebook makes sense and everything flows and is intuitive.

To answer the actual question, PDFs are probably fine but your chances of a group actually playing the game increase dramatically if you send them a physical copy to test.

Good luck with your game.


ohh and thanks for the suggestion in terms of sending a copy. That does require a bit of monetary investment but that is definitely within my teams budget and I can definitely see how that can be a lot more attractive to external play testers and yield better feedback results.
 
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Craig Stockwell
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3CreativeMinds wrote:
How would you suggest we deal with double sided printing? We have 3 decks of cards which will need to be differentiated as they will go in separate piles. How do I approach and make the process of printing double sided easier for the play testers?

If your testers are accustomed to PnP piles, there's a fair chance they have three different colors of card sleeves ... which may solve the problem -- unless your three different card backs have subsets of special designs or something.
 
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Dimitri Sirenko
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toon_ace wrote:
3CreativeMinds wrote:
How would you suggest we deal with double sided printing? We have 3 decks of cards which will need to be differentiated as they will go in separate piles. How do I approach and make the process of printing double sided easier for the play testers?

If your testers are accustomed to PnP piles, there's a fair chance they have three different colors of card sleeves ... which may solve the problem -- unless your three different card backs have subsets of special designs or something.


ahh that makes sense too. I guess its more seasoned play testers that would have that haha. The card backings do not have any functional design to them other than differentiating the type of card. We have 3 types, treasures/items, action cards, and missions.

I guess this also brings another question. Where do I start in terms of getting the game into the right play testing hands? I obviously want to post a link here on the forums in the seeking play testers section. But if I was to send already printed packages through mail would I just ask people to pm me their postal details? Are there any other forums or resources on the web that can give me higher response rate?
 
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