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Subject: Playtesting a Legacy Game rss

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Brian Fouts
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I'm about 75% of the way through designing a Legacy game. I've already been through a 100+ games of internal playtesting, and I've played a dozen games with strangers where we teach the rules. I've still got to finish up the rule book (stickers and all), but then I will be ready for blind playtesting... which makes me nervous.

For reference, the game takes 60-75 minutes per game. It's 2-5 players. There are new components for 8 games in the box, and it ends as a fully re-playable game.

Does anyone have any experience with blind playtesting a Legacy game? I'd love to hear what has worked well and what hasn't. I don't have the time to watch a dozen groups play 8 games, so I won't be there for all of it.

I can already see a few problems:
-How do I get a group to commit to finish the whole thing? And in a timely manner. (Heck, I'm still in November of Pandemic:Legacy myself)
-How do I catch mistakes made in game 1 or 2 that will mess up the rest of the experience?
-I will need to test at various player counts, along with testing the rules for adding and dropping players.

Also, if you are interested in playtesting 8 games, private message me, and I will tell you a little more about the game.

-Brian
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Lluluien
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If I were you, I would see I could find some folks that will commit to playing all 8 games on a Saturday. That would solve the committed + timely thing. Find a group that likes to play Twilight Imperium on the weekend and they'll be used to making a 10 hour run

For mistakes made in the early games, are you talking about mistakes you made in the design that need to change, or mistakes the players have made that could be corrected? In the case of the former, I might argue you need the whole longitudinal test for those problems to be properly revealed anyway. In the case of the latter, maybe you should run a separate test before your set of longitudinal ones to see what mistakes are common, and then make a FAQ/Guide/Checklist to give to your longitudinal test group either before they start or after the first 1-2 games that say "Make sure you're not making these mistakes before you go on".
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Jeremy Lennert
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Bgfouts wrote:
Also, if you are interested in playtesting 8 games, private message me, and I will tell you a little more about the game.

Are you expecting people to be interested without knowing anything other than the fact that it's a legacy game?
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Brian Fouts
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I don't know anyone that plays Twilight Imprerium, or board games for 8+ hours in a row for that matter.

lluluien wrote:
For mistakes made in the early games, are you talking about mistakes you made in the design that need to change, or mistakes the players have made that could be corrected?


Either I guess. Mistakes in the rules or in their interpretation.

I like the checklist idea.
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Brian Fouts
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Antistone wrote:
Are you expecting people to be interested without knowing anything other than the fact that it's a legacy game?

I'm really hoping to find people with experience with playtesting a Legacy game. (As players or designers.)

Since there are so few Legacy games out there, I figured people might be... but maybe not, we shall see.
 
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Rob Harper
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To be a bit flippant, I think that the best way to get people to playtest a legacy game is to be Rob Daviau.

Or possibly Jamie Stegmaier.

I imagine that if Vlaada Chvatil tried making a legacy game he might be able to get playtesters.

I think that you have identified one of the biggest problems with legacy as a genre: getting adequate playtesting is hard for any game, but for legacy games it is orders of magnitude tougher, what with trying to find people to commit to several plays, plus the fact that each play is potentially spoiling an entire table of players. It has to be a nightmare even if you are a superstar designer.

Sorry to not be able to contribute anything helpful. Good luck with this, it looks like a tough road ahead of you, but if it works out it could be awesome!
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Mike Smith
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A couple thoughts for you, and take them with a grain of salt as I have never designed a game. Play tested here and there, but never a legacy system.

First thought would be to have them complete a short Google form after each play. Make it short and simple with open ended questions like, "Did the changes from Round 1 to Round 2 impact game play in a positive or negative way, and why do you feel that way?"

Second thought would be to offer a free copy of the game, once and if it gets produced, to any play testers who complete the game in its entirety, while providing the requested feedback. There are likely some who would love to not only have their name on the credits, but also receive a final production copy for free. If you track the information in a Google form it would be fairly easy to track who has actually completed all the surveys.

Third thought would be to have play testers simply try out the different scenarios as a result of the legacy system to see if any situations make the game unbreakable or too watered down.

Also what would be great to see is to have a legacy system that allows for other players to join in the interim. Granted I have not played Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle or Mechs vs. Minions yet, but both allow for anyone to jump in to any year without it being overly awkward to do so. Plus since there are no turn cards, blacked out rules, etc. you can play it over and over again if you like. Granted these are both more like scenarios than a true legacy system.
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Michael Brettell
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Committing to 8 games is a big ask.

Isn't just getting people to blind play-test one or two games enough to start with? The game should be good without the legacy elements - I shouldn't need to wait until the 3rd game to start enjoying it.

If this is your first blind play-test, I'd recommend just being content with whomever you can get. If it's a good game, and there's some hint of the excitement from the legacy elements, they'll hopefully be happy to come back for more.
 
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Randy Thomas
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Bgfouts wrote:
I'm about 75% of the way through designing a Legacy game. I've already been through a 100+ games of internal playtesting, and I've played a dozen games with strangers where we teach the rules. I've still got to finish up the rule book (stickers and all), but then I will be ready for blind playtesting... which makes me nervous.

For reference, the game takes 60-75 minutes per game. It's 2-5 players. There are new components for 8 games in the box, and it ends as a fully re-playable game.

Does anyone have any experience with blind playtesting a Legacy game? I'd love to hear what has worked well and what hasn't. I don't have the time to watch a dozen groups play 8 games, so I won't be there for all of it.


Possible to have them commit to record or periscope the play sessions? most people have a phone or camera...

Bgfouts wrote:

I can already see a few problems:
-How do I get a group to commit to finish the whole thing? And in a timely manner. (Heck, I'm still in November of Pandemic:Legacy myself)

your game length is friendly..if the game is good committment to finish shouldn't be an issue right?

Bgfouts wrote:

-How do I catch mistakes made in game 1 or 2 that will mess up the rest of the experience?

This is the most interesting question...and difficult...this is why I suggested recording sessions...alternatively have them check in after each game session to ask questions/give feedback/etc...

Bgfouts wrote:

-I will need to test at various player counts, along with testing the rules for adding and dropping players.

Great idea...big difference can be had between 2 and 5

Bgfouts wrote:

Also, if you are interested in playtesting 8 games, private message me, and I will tell you a little more about the game.

-Brian


If the game is only at 75% complete is it completely playable? Are rules written or will you have digital game on something like tabletopia? how would you go about teaching it?
 
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Brian Fouts
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brettellmd wrote:

Isn't just getting people to blind play-test one or two games enough to start with? The game should be good without the legacy elements - I shouldn't need to wait until the 3rd game to start enjoying it.


Maybe I should just ask for a two game commitment first, and if they are interested in finishing all 8, get that commitment once they have a feel for the game.

brettellmd wrote:

If this is your first blind play-test, I'd recommend just being content with whomever you can get. If it's a good game, and there's some hint of the excitement from the legacy elements, they'll hopefully be happy to come back for more.


This is my third game (two successful Kickstarter games already under my belt). I'm no stranger to blind playtesting, but at some point I do have to run my first blind playtest, which I haven't done for this new game yet.
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Brian Fouts
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irishroar wrote:

If the game is only at 75% complete is it completely playable? Are rules written or will you have digital game on something like tabletopia? how would you go about teaching it?


The game is completely playable, and has been for a long time. I mean that I feel I am 75% of the way through the whole design life cycle: Idea through Final Rules.

I have rough rules in outline format, but I still need to write out a full rule book with graphics for setup, common game pieces, and example turns before I start blind playtesting. (I view blind playtesting as a test of the rule book, more than a test of the game... that should be done already.)

For blind playtests, I expect to ship the game to someone and have them read the rules for themselves. Then provide feedback either via a video or a feedback form (survey monkey, google surveys, etc.)
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