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Subject: External Playtesting Question rss

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Dimitri Sirenko
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hey guys so im in a bit of a confused state (some of you will notice this post relates to my previous post about trackers for scoring system in order to shorten the gameplay)

So far every time my game gets tested, the play time ends up being around an hour which is a bit too long for my type of game. So i am trying to introduce all these new changes to try to make the game shorter. But then i start asking myself if this is happening just because most of the play testing feedback have been based on playing the game once or twice at most. I know from my own experience playtesting it with my team that when you are familiar with my game it can be done in under 30-40 mins. So obviously just like any other game the learning curve makes the first few games quite a bit longer than intended. So the question i keep trying to ask is, am i just overthinking it? Is it supposed to be this way where the first game is always considerably longer? What if I don't have the opportunity to keep testing with the same people to really check if my game truly can be played in 30 mins if everyone knows what they are doing. Should i aim for a design where regardless of whether the game is being played for the first time or not, it will still take around 30 mins to complete? I just cant help but be bugged by the fact that half of the playtesters feel that the game does get a bit lengthy and exhausting towards the end even though this is their first time playing the game.

Basically i need some of you with similar past experiences or knowledge to share their thoughts on this as i am kind of running out of ideas as to what to do. Of course the most obvious answer would be to keep testing the game with the same group many times but time does not always allow for that, and also im just afraid that if people that purchase the game play it for the first time and the length of the game turns them off completely they will never experience the true potential of this game which requires people to know how to play it well.
 
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maf man
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Just some off the cuff thoughts:
Typically when there are complaints of a game being too long its mostly due to a period of game time that predictable things happen and this could possibly lead to portions of the game you could streamline if you think this is a problem.

Have your tried testing the game with a group that all but one player knows the game well? If the collective experience can augment the slow effect that one new player has on the game then I think its good.
 
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Dimitri Sirenko
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mafman6 wrote:
Just some off the cuff thoughts:
Typically when there are complaints of a game being too long its mostly due to a period of game time that predictable things happen and this could possibly lead to portions of the game you could streamline if you think this is a problem.

Have your tried testing the game with a group that all but one player knows the game well? If the collective experience can augment the slow effect that one new player has on the game then I think its good.


yep i have tried a few games where 3 players knew how to play and a forth did not. I also tried a 3 player game where myself and my partner obviously knew it in and out and the third person was completely new to it. It ended up playing for 40-45 mins which is not too bad. The issue is mostly evident when playing with more than 4 players (the game is up to 6 players) and when im the only person who knows how to play it. And i am really concerned about that because i actually explain the rules instead of getting them to figure it out by themselves. This means that if i left it up to them to figure the game out it could potentially take even longer than an hour
 
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Dimitri Sirenko
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mafman6 wrote:
Just some off the cuff thoughts:
Typically when there are complaints of a game being too long its mostly due to a period of game time that predictable things happen and this could possibly lead to portions of the game you could streamline if you think this is a problem.

Have your tried testing the game with a group that all but one player knows the game well? If the collective experience can augment the slow effect that one new player has on the game then I think its good.


and you are right the problem was that i had 33 rounds in one game. Although it takes only about 2 minutes average to complete a round it still felt like too much towards the end. So i streamlined some design aspects as well as cut the rounds to 26. And while it played better and didn't feel as dragging as before it still took an hour and 10 minutes to complete a 6 player game. I had an idea to make a conditional win where a player needs to meet certain requirements to instantly end the game. But that wont work with any of my design because it shifts the focus and strategy into a completely different realm that I feel is much weaker than what the game has to offer right now.
 
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Carl Nyberg
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I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of people don't see much difference between a game lasting 45 min or a game lasting 1 hour.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Are you worried that the first game is longer than you think it should be, or longer than the playtesters want it to be?

In the first case, if you know it plays faster with experienced players, that's probably fine.

In the second case, it's probably not fine. First impressions are important. If a typical game group's first impression of the game is going to be that it drags on too long, it may not matter how fast it is with experienced players.
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Greg
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It tends not to be the case that there's an ideal length for a game, play time will vary a lot between different groups.

What you need to look out for is people wishing that the game was over before it is - that's an indication that you've got a problem. Fixing it will depend on the issue, but changing the start/end state, doing things to cut down on downtime and streamlining predictable sections are your main tools.
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