Travis Talaric
msg tools
Poll: What is the most frustrating or time consuming area from game design to taking your game to market?
Hi all,

I was wondering if we can collectively vent/ examine what are some of the most frustrating points for a game designer from initial design to getting a game to the market. I know not all of us try to get our games to the point where they can be sold, but I still feel this poll can be applicable to all types of game designers regardless of ambition. I'm sure that there will be plenty of areas that I don't cover in my poll, so feel free to comment on areas that I miss that you want to point out.
1. Select all areas that you find most frustrating as a game designer:
Idea generation
Getting your ideas into a functional format
Creating an "alpha" prototype
Initial playtesting
Creating a more refined prototype
Mass playtesting
Rule writing
Contacting/ getting a deal with a publisher
Self publishing through KickStarter
Self publishing via other means
Manufacturing for self publishing
Marketing for self publishing
Distribution for self publishing
Creating a company to sell the game (i.e. not a sole proprietorship)
Creating a website or establishing a social media presence
Continued sales after initial print run/ Kickstarter
2. Select all areas that you need the most help with as a game designer:
Idea generation
Getting your ideas into a functional format
Creating an "alpha" prototype
Initial playtesting
Creating a more refined prototype
Mass playtesting
Rule writing
Contacting/ getting a deal with a publisher
Self publishing through KickStarter
Self publishing via other means
Manufacturing for self publishing
Marketing for self publishing
Distribution for self publishing
Creating a company to sell the game (i.e. not a sole proprietorship)
Creating a website or establishing a social media presence
Continued sales after initial print run/ Kickstarter
      71 answers
Poll created by Tsquared025
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not that surprised to see mass playtesting getting a lot of votes. It encompasses the bulk of the job in designing the game so there's the most room for frustration and needing help.

I notice that so far one person wants help with idea generation. I imagine someone sitting around with hundreds of playtesters and publishers constantly bugging them to give them something to publish while they think to themselves "Damn, I wish I had an idea." If that's you - please get in touch
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geordie Young
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
x_equals_speed wrote:
I'm not that surprised to see mass playtesting getting a lot of votes. It encompasses the bulk of the job in designing the game so there's the most room for frustration and needing help.

I notice that so far one person wants help with idea generation. I imagine someone sitting around with hundreds of playtesters and publishers constantly bugging them to give them something to publish while they think to themselves "Damn, I wish I had an idea." If that's you - please get in touch


My thoughts exactly. I would think the majority of would-be game designers have 100 different ideas bouncing around their heads, but no direction on how to bring a game from conception to reality (e.g. every single other option).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Mass playtesting" by definition requires a large number of people, so of course you "need help" (can't do it alone).

The poll is also biased to the extent that the top items are required for all games but the lower items each only apply to some games, so the top items will tend to get more votes even if an equal percentage of people find them problematic. For instance, "getting a deal with a publisher", "self-publishing via Kickstarter", and "self-publishing via other means" are all (at the time of this post) lower than "mass playtesting", but they're also mutually exclusive, and if you add them up they are collectively equal or greater. (And even combining those is probably biased against them, because games that don't make it through mass playtesting don't have an opportunity to become stuck at the later phases in the first place.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
As a new self-publisher the biggest headache for me personally is not mentioned in the survey and that is PACKAGING. I don't
understand what mass playtesting means...giving 10 free games to family and friends or selling your first 100 games online ?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Usually you go through a step of "blind" playtesting with strangers (they don't know you and need to learn the game entirely from the rulebook) before you proceed to sell the game. Otherwise there's a significant risk of a positive bias in your playtesting that makes the game appear ready when it's actually not.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
We are putting 100 game boxes together and will 'blind play-test' by selling them online at a loss. Producing 100 copies of a simple game is not as expensive as most people seem to think. If it tanks no harm done and if it sells we will improve from feedback.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Lewis
United States
Cumming
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
JP49 wrote:
We are putting 100 game boxes together and will 'blind play-test' by selling them online at a loss. Producing 100 copies of a simple game is not as expensive as most people seem to think. If it tanks no harm done and if it sells we will improve from feedback.


This has the potential to work against you. If people buy the game and don't like it, word of mouth and reviews might keep others from giving your game a chance even after you improve it. Plus, you might not get enough feedback from the people who purchase it. You'd be better off putting your game through the appropriate levels of testing.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
you may well be right... and if people don't like it that will be the end of that. As my Grandfather would say "If you burn your ass you gotta lie on the blisters" On the other hand if it is play-tested by total strangers and the game is good there is strong possibility that the workings of it will be copied before it even gets released. Anyway, we just like to try something different.

I don't wish to hijack this thread by going off-tangent any further from the objective of the survey
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken Lewis
United States
Cumming
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
JP49 wrote:
you may well be right... and if people don't like it that will be the end of that. As my Grandfather would say "If you burn your ass you gotta lie on the blisters" On the other hand if it is play-tested by total strangers and the game is good there is strong possibility that the workings of it will be copied before it even gets released. Anyway, we just like to try something different.

I don't wish to hijack this thread by going off-tangent any further from the objective of the survey


The possibility isn't as strong as you think it is.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Talaric
msg tools
So if Mass Play Testing is one of the biggest hurdles for game designers, what are some of the best ways to approach this?

I hadn't heard of individuals actually producing 100 copies of the game and selling them, prior to mass testing, so please relay back on these forums how that turns out.

How do you all get groups of playtesters willing to "blindly" test your game and then provide constructive feedback? Local game shops? Conventions? Is there a website that helps matching game designers with willing play testers?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Ok, so playtesting seems to be the main frustration according to the survey but WHAT exactly...is mass playtesting ? If components of a game are not suitable for Print-and-Play how can it be 'mass playtested'?. In USA, Germany and maybe to some extent in the UK designers have access to a large pool of playtest groups. Even in those countries it may be difficult to get access to quality experienced game playtesters, which is what you really need. In my location, especially for a multi-player game, I am grateful to have just one small circle of enthusiastic playtesters. Consequently, putting 100 games out on the big bad market for 'mass playtesting' seems the easiest, most logical and economical way for us to try it out. The cost of producing small quantity of a simple game has been reduced dramatically with print technology in recent years and I can't accept that Kick-starters and publishing deals are the only options.

If you think idea is stupid feel welcome to flame it and wish me crash and burn !....but in response to my Granda's advice "If you burn your ass you have to lie on the blisters" ...my response is that the blisters here will be small compared to the joy of the journey ok
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek H
South Africa
Pretoria
Gauteng
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JP49 wrote:
The cost of producing small quantity of a simple game has been reduced dramatically with print technology in recent years and I can't accept that Kick-starters and publishing deals are the only options.

Sure. But how about the cost of shipping. I can self-make copies for a reasonable cost (local materials) but who pays to ship overseas (for me, that means shipping thousands of miles to US or Europe)?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
If you really believe in your game..YOU pay the cost of shipping.. that is the whole point of my reply ...that loss is your investment risk. If and when you can sell a successful game then thousands of miles means nothing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Talaric
msg tools
JP49 wrote:
Ok, so playtesting seems to be the main frustration according to the survey but WHAT exactly...is mass playtesting ? If components of a game are not suitable for Print-and-Play how can it be 'mass playtested'?. In USA, Germany and maybe to some extent in the UK designers have access to a large pool of playtest groups. Even in those countries it may be difficult to get access to quality experienced game playtesters, which is what you really need. In my location, especially for a multi-player game, I am grateful to have just one small circle of enthusiastic playtesters. Consequently, putting 100 games out on the big bad market for 'mass playtesting' seems the easiest, most logical and economical way for us to try it out. The cost of producing small quantity of a simple game has been reduced dramatically with print technology in recent years and I can't accept that Kick-starters and publishing deals are the only options.

If you think idea is stupid feel welcome to flame it and wish me crash and burn !....but in response to my Granda's advice "If you burn your ass you have to lie on the blisters" ...my response is that the blisters here will be small compared to the joy of the journey ok


JP49, sorry I didn't mean to sound skeptical, just honestly curious as this could perhaps be a solution to this roadblock of getting people to test your game. Out of curiosity, how much is your cost per game for this initial production run? And how are you marketing these 100 copies (i.e. word of mouth only, paid advertising, etc.)?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JP Ginley
Ireland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Travis, I don't mean to sound skeptical either, but can you at least let us know honestly which country roadblock you are referring to before replying to your query ?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derek H
South Africa
Pretoria
Gauteng
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
JP49 wrote:
If you really believe in your game..YOU pay the cost of shipping.. that is the whole point of my reply ...that loss is your investment risk. If and when you can sell a successful game then thousands of miles means nothing.

Yes, easy to say when you live in Europe or USA.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Pinchback
United States
Leonard
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Going to as many conventions as possible is a great way to get playtests in. Every convention I've ever been to has a nice community of designers who hang out, often after hours, to play each other's games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MLeis
Estonia
Tallinn
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
JP49 wrote:
if people don't like it that will be the end of that.
Testing, in game design, is the iterative process of finding the problems (there are always some), and trying out the solutions for them. If you intend to give up after one round of blind testing, then you are not really testing. You are just selling people a partially tested game for under the production price. This looks like a loss-loss situation.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Lee
United States
East Meadow
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
if you aren't confident enough in your game to properly blind playtest it, you don't deserve money for it.
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.