$60.00
$20.00
Eric Pietrocupo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
This is something I have realized recently. I am been excited to work on some game design ideas lately and made cool prototypes and when I am ready to playtest, I look at it and say Meh! I lack of motivation to actually play the game. It's like if the work was done and I did not want to go further.

Now that is very weird, because when designing video games or Mods it's actually the opposite. I am very excited to know if it's going to work. Sometimes too much and I have to force myself to stop playing to continue development. While for board game, it feels long, annoying, boring and gives me headache.

I talked with my GF about it and we tried to find the source of the problem. First of all, video game testing has 2 steps, there is first the debugging (does the game behave as it should) and the design (is the game fun and balanced) while for board games, you do not have debugging: Pawns will always move they way you want them to move. Unless you are testing special components like cube towers, stackable objects, etc.

So maybe the excitement comes from debugging testing, and when that would be done, I would still get bored at the design testing phase. Another elements is that board games are much more tight, so their design needs to be tested as whole and more rigorously. While video games would require much less game design testing.

Else board games could have longer setup time, mechanic resolution and packing at the end. In multiplayer games you will have to play all players. These are other factors that could make playtesting more annoying.

So this is the reason why I tried to focus on 4S games (Simple, Short, Small, Social) because not only it's easier to find playtesters, but it's also less painful and unmotivating to playtest.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Now we have pushed the reflection further and tried to compare it with board games I do not design. For example, why do I play board games, or what attract me in board games. The following answers came out:

1. Immersion: Being put in another person's situation and try to manage it (Secret Agent, company manager, Army leader, etc)

2. Strategy: Being able to make interesting strategic decision, but it must be closely linked to the theme to make sure it does not feel like a puzzle. The strategic decision must somewhat make sense with reality.

3. Social: I put some though on the abstract game Lumis and what makes this game very interesting is the partnership with the other players. In that case, the abstraction does not matter and social aspect takes the lead. 1812 is also an awesome game with a strong social aspect.

Now when playing board games as solitaire, it seems I have the same motivation problem then when testing games as solitaire. It's less worst because the game is actually complete and working. But for example, I would rather much play elder sign on my tablet than with my board game even if I have the expansion and can change the rules (stuff I cannot do with the digital version)

Now it's possible that I assume that board games needs to be played with other people, and when it's not happening, it feels odd. As a comparative example, I cannot watch a movie alone, I thinks I can count the number of times it happened in my life with my hands. Maybe it's because I was used to see movies with my farther, so for me it became the standard. So it could be the same with board games. I assume it must be played with people. Still I am not sure if training myself to play solo games could actually overcome the problem.

Else for video games, even when playing games where you don't have a direct opponent, you always feels that you are not playing alone. So video games create the illusion of additional players, it brings much more surprises as the player are not controlling the book keeping and AI mechanics.

The game is also much faster to play and sometimes it becomes much more simpler. For example, I played the digital version of Small World to realize this this game is somewhat very simple and I would even say dumb. It's just that when you play the board game version, the component manipulation and social relations gives you "Work" that makes the game look less dumb.

------------------------------------------------------------

So I don't know if many of you had that situation before. Do you have suggestion on how to overcome this problem? Does doing more solo gaming would actually solve the problem?

Now I understand why people play solo, mostly to be away from electronic screen and to manipulate pieces. But for me it looks more tedious and I feel exhausted just by looking at it.

Thanks for any insight.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
August Larson
United States
Sandy
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I, too, struggle with getting the desire to playtest the games I've designed. I think you've already offered some great insight as to why it is difficult to do.

I rarely get time enough to play real published games, that it's hard for me to be motivated to play games that may not even play to completion.

I think you hit the nail on the head with why video game testing can be more enjoyable - debugging. More specifically, the actual programming of a video game (or any computer program, really) is a puzzle in itself. Trying to make sure your code is correct and in the right places and right order. And then constantly running that program bit by bit can be a lot of fun. Board games don't have to be debugged, necessarily, so you just focus on the gameplay and the mechanics. Keep working on it, though, because a working board game is really satisfying!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Qwerty
Canada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe you are so used to instant playtest gratification with testing video games that testing board games is too boring for you.

I have trouble solo playtesting board games too. But for me it's because there is something more interesting on the internet at the time.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henry
United States
Fremont
California
flag msg tools
mb
Since you bring up that you code your own games also, why not code a digital version of your board game? I'm doing that myself currently and if it really is the debugging process that you enjoy, then you'll get some of that?

As a side benefit, when you do get around to testing it, there's next to zero setup, resolution, and packing time at the end that you bought up.

Also it's cheaper (but slower). Don't have to print out any cards or make any dice or other physical components, but does get tedious when you have to spend a few hours to code/debug a mechanism that you can replicate with physical bits and cards in about 5 minutes.

It's also easier to distribute for playtesting. Just put it on a dropbox or some other file hosting site and then give out the link to anyone willing to playtest. (Which is about what I'm going to do in a few days, hopefully)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex S
United States
Missouri
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Personally I find it hard because the human interaction is intertwined with everything I love about boardgames. If I'm playing a video game, I'm experiencing a story that's been set out for me. If I'm playing a boardgame I'm creating a story with the people I'm sharing the table with. Solo playtesting is literally taking out my favorite element in games and the one I'm striving to enhance in the games I make, so I find it very unappealing.

Personally I'm lucky enough to have a wife who loves games and is interested in game design as well, so we manage to playtest together about once a week.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
echo78 wrote:
Since you bring up that you code your own games also, why not code a digital version of your board game? I'm doing that myself currently and if it really is the debugging process that you enjoy, then you'll get some of that?

As a side benefit, when you do get around to testing it, there's next to zero setup, resolution, and packing time at the end that you bought up.

Also it's cheaper (but slower). Don't have to print out any cards or make any dice or other physical components, but does get tedious when you have to spend a few hours to code/debug a mechanism that you can replicate with physical bits and cards in about 5 minutes.



This was my experience comparing by-hand cards vs. Nandeck!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Pietrocupo
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Since you bring up that you code your own games also, why not code a digital version of your board game?


Partly working on that. Still many times, video game designer makes board game proto to test their game. At least some of their mechanics. Sure testing individual mechanics is not as tedious as testing a game as whole.

Thanks again for the feed back, it seems I am not alone with this problem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lee Benson
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
...and I'm back in the game!
mbmbmbmbmb
Personally, I don't have any trouble playtesting solo and I do it fairly often when I am thinking of making a big change and want to make sure it still works. That said, I know that it can feel a little strange to do that on your own. Here are some recommendations for various problems:

1. I will often pick a different strategy for each "player" when I playtest alone. Bob is going to always buy the most expensive card; Carol is going to focus on yellow; Ted is going to do whatever he can to mess up the other players. I feel like this makes it easier to play through (as I don't have to make as many decisions for three invisible people). It also helps me learn what strategies there are for the game.

2. Think of the end result. After playtesting solo, you're going to have the opportunity to play it with other people because you've built a game that actually works to some extent.

3. Try to push past any personal stigma that it might have. If you feel silly about playtesting your game, ask yourself if other people feel silly when pursuing their hobby (be it painting, automotive repair, gardening) along. The answer is that they typically don't.

Those are just some things that I do and think about to help me with testing my own games. I hope that helps.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.