Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
41 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Seeking Play Testers

Subject: How much are you willing to pay to try out a game? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Moss Doerksen
Canada
flag msg tools
I have a game I have been working on for a few years and I think it is about time to start sharing it with a wider audience than just the people I can play with. It is perhaps beyond the mere play testing stage, but it could certainly use feedback. I would like to get a feel for what people are approximately willing to fork out or how many people would be interested to try a game if it costs $XX. I am thinking of releasing it in some sort of semi-print-and-playable format, but I think you will want to purchase at least some of the components, unless I underestimate people's willingness to produce the components for a game they have never played before.

I won't go into the details of what my game is at this point. Keeping it abstract may make the question more useful to other game designers too. For now, just assume that it is a game that interests you. It looks similar to games you enjoy, you have read the rules and it sounds solid, you have seen pictures and it looks nice. Oh, and it is not a tiny game like Sushi Go. More like Settlers or Power Grid.

Currently I am looking at a combination of components from printplaygames.com and some Lego pieces from brickowl.com. For the Lego pieces I can make a public whishlist so you can easily see what components you need and order them. I am hoping to be able to do something similar with printplaygames.com but I am waiting to hear back from them about that. Regardless, the best thing I can figure out for my game requires ordering from two different sites.

Right now it looks like these are the approximate costs for the necessary components, in USD:
Lego Pieces - $14 (includes shipping)
Resource cards or tokens - $7
Tiles - $16.60
Game board - $14
Bag for tiles - $2
Printed rules - $1.58

That adds up to $55, not counting shipping for the non-Lego things. But, if you substitute some or all of the Lego pieces with things you already have, print your own resource cards, print the game board on paper, find your own dang bag for the tiles and don't bother printing the rules, then you could go as low as maybe $20, not counting the costs of raw materials to print your own things. The one thing you probably don't want to do on your own is make the 80 double-sided hex tiles. You would probably want a box to store your game in, but it doesn't look cost effective to get an appropriate sized box printed on top and sides from Print & Play.

What do you think? Does that sound like something you could go for, in those price ranges? I know many published games can go for $55, but would you want to spend that on a game that nobody has played (besides me with many different people) and isn't full published quality?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Court Marley
United States
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Short answer, no. I don't pay to test out a game.

Slightly longer answer, I'm an avid print n player and playtester, and have received many files and a few free production-copy games for playtesting. I have no problem constructing the components you listed, and would do exactly as you suggest... scrounge up parts from other games that would work, and only assemble the necessary parts.

In my opinion, if you're looking for actual playtesters and feedback, you should be providing the game, or at least the files, for free. They're doing you a favor, not the other way around.

If you're just looking to get your game out there, and don't care if you ever hear back from anyone who's played it, then you're more than welcome to post it on a site like gamecrafter and whoever wants it can have it at whatever price you set. I have no idea what the market for that is like.

On the other hand, people are (shockingly!) willing to pay that kind of price (and much more) in a platform like Kickstarter. So, maybe you'd want to develop your game a little more and look into that route.
49 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
Canada
flag msg tools
mb
0.00$

My time is valuable; if I'm going to buy a game, I want to spend that money on something that I know I will enjoy.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
secoAce -
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
If only your play group has seen the game, then still needs to go through blind playtesting--that's by people who've never seen the game and will approach learning it and trying to play it like a brand new game.

You will get feedback from a wide range of perspectives, impressions, and play attempts you would have never thought of before or overlook because you and your play group are too close to the game.

You may think it's close to final, but what often happens with playtesters' feedback is you'll want to make changes and tweaks to the game. When that happens, especially if they are significant changes, you'll want your playtesters to then test the updated components. It makes little sense when things are still influx to create quality components.

I'm already paying my time to playtest your game and proofread your rules, printer ink and paper (if you provide printable components), effort in assessing what works and doesn't work and then write out feedback to you. That's work. I'm not going to pay money to work on your game. As a matter of fact, some publishers/designers even compensate playtesters for their time.

Why not provide PDF versions of the game so people can print out components? It will be a lot easier to revise them and then issue out the new files so playtesters can try out the changes. And PLEASE provide low-ink printer-friendly components.

Edit: corrected typo
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Derry Salewski
United States
Augusta
Maine
flag msg tools
badge
I'm only happy when it rains...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Could use feedback = playtesting stage.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
If the subject interests me then I might be willing to pay for printing things at home.

I will be willing to scrounge around the home for components to play. (I have a big box of Legos.

I am not willing to buy any components for a game that is not already playtested. I have playtested a couple of games over the years and the designer sent the needed components for free. It is the least the designer can do to obtain the usually FREE labor of the play testers. Playtesting a game effectively is not as fun as playing a game that is polished and complete.

Play testers are helping you out from the goodness of their heart. You want their goodwill.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
France
flag msg tools
The Orzhov welcome you. Please leave your belongings with the Obzedat. They are not yours anymore.
badge
Hi, I'm a european crested tit, and a very small punk rocker!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pay to playtest?
I expect to get payed. As a playtester I'm doing you a favour, spending time on a game that is not yet tuned, and investing resources into it as well.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Boardgame
United Kingdom
Penrith
Cumbria
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Kickstarter indicates that quite a lot of people are prepared to pay to playtest a game. I would recommend including miniatures and exclusives.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guest Starring...
Austria
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, it depends. How much are you willing to pay for solid feedback?

If you're offering $55 or more, I'd start to consider it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brendan Riley
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Nos operamur, te ludere
badge
"Life is more fun if you play games." - Roald Dahl
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
secoAce wrote:
If only your play group has seen the game, then still needs to go through blind playtesting--that's by people who've never seen the game and will approach learning it and trying to play it like a brand new game.

You will get feedback from a wide range of perspectives, impressions, and play attempts you would have never thought of before or overlook because you and your play group are too close to the game.


Can't echo this hard enough -- it's a humbling experience to sit silently and watch as people try to play your game, and you realize that despite the rules being on their 8th version and having been edited and tweaked and re-read over and over, you've not conveyed anything and your players are house-ruling or breaking the game by misinterpreting rules.

That said, my daughter has paid a modest $5 or $10 fee to attend a protospiel, where she spent all day playtesting for other people.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm another PnPer, so I'm perfectly capable of building my own board and tiles for next to nothing... presuming you've put a little consideration into how to lay out your files. I have a stock of various components - largely taken from second-hand games and so on - and a boardgame collection of my own to source bits from if need be to try something out.

From a PnP point of view, if I were playtesting a game I would expect the designer to:
* Provide the files for free
* Lay the files out for easy construction - fold lines between double-sided cards so I can cut them out, fold the two halves together and slip them into a card sleeve, hexagonal items laid out with equilateral triangles between each hex so long, straight cuts can be made to separate them, similar components all on the same pages and so on.
* Not use excessive areas of colour/black fill. The game should be predominantly white background and simple outlines except where necessary for game mechanics. It's fine to have particular spaces shaded because that has a specific game meaning; it's not fine for the board to be entirely black because the game is set in space. Ink and toner are expensive.
* Make an effort to explain what kind of components are needed, simple substitutes that would also work, etc. For example, if we're placing our tokens on a board every turn in full view, then it doesn't matter that green is playing with cubes and red is playing with cylinders. If we're drawing tokens from a bag to determine player order then it's critical that all the tokens are exactly the same size, shape and finish, and made from the same material. This needs to be comprehensively explained in the assembly instructions.
* Not use any esoteric or expensive components where possible.
* Not require anything of me (number of plays, detail of feedback) unless they're giving me something in return.


So, in the case of your game, for example:

Is it critical that the Lego pieces are Lego? Does it matter that they're very specific pieces? If you're making a construction game and need bits to stick together and get passed between players, and you're just using regular blocks, then it's probably a fine choice - most people can get hold of some simple Lego or Lego-analogue blocks pretty easily and cheaply. If you're requiring esoteric or expensive pieces, you should really be offering to provide them to your playtesters.

(Also, as I understand it sites like BrickOwl are multi-user marketplaces where the price of particular bricks fluctuates with the supply and the demand - so while it might cost $14 today to order the parts for your game, it won't necessarily cost $14 tomorrow.)

Is it critical that the tiles are drawn from a bag? Could they - say - instead be stacked face-down and drawn from a pile, a la Carcassonne?







In general, people doing playtesting for you are doing you a huge favour. Obviously if they give you no feedback because they didn't make the game, that's no help, but if you place any meaningful requirements on the playtester in exchange for the privilege of testing your unreleased board game before anyone else, you'll rapidly discover that - big names aside - most gamers don't consider it much of a privilege to help a designer do work. Speaking instead from an amateur designer's point of view, finding good playtesters is hard. For a lot of people, investing a few hours of their time is at least as expensive and meaningful as investing money on a board game prototype, so even if you find someone willing to build a copy, they still have to persuade some other number of people to try it with them in the knowledge that they may well not have as much fun as they would with a finished, published game that they already own.

If I were seriously testing a game with the intent of getting it properly published, I would provide PnP files as mentioned above, and also offer to send pre-made copies of the game out to people who can commit to either testing it some number of times or sending the kit back. I don't see a problem with asking for a commitment from a player who is receiving a fully-made prototype, and it's not unreasonable to ask for your $55 back if they never test the game after all. Don't expect the best written feedback in the world, ask people to video or at least record audio of the play if they can, don't assume that all feedback is correct (the player is right about how the player feels about your game, but not necessarily right about what needs to be done to 'fix' it) and be grateful and thankful for anything that you do get.
11 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark T
United States
Southern MD
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Short answer - No.
My gaming budget is pretty limited. For $55 I could buy an actual game that's been actually play tested and has actual components that I don't have to assemble.
As others have pointed out, if you're looking for feedback, you're still in the play testing phase of development and should not be asking play testers to spend the equivalent of a fully published game price to play test your game. Especially since that testing has a good chance of changing some of those components which will then have to be reproduced at additional cost to the testers.
I think you are expecting a bit much from your play testers.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Leo Zappa
United States
Aliquippa
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pay to playtest? Ah, no. Playtesting is a pain in the butt, if you are taking it seriously. You should pay me to playtest your game (in reality, all I'd need in payment is a free copy of the published game). There's no way on earth I'd pay someone to perform a valuable service for them!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Omar Kooheji
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm inclined to agree with the general consensus, if I'm play-testing your game I'll pay for the paper and ink that I use to print out the prototype.

I'll scrounge other components from other games or improvise where needed for anything else.

Your game is unproven, I'm doing you a favor by play-testing it unless you are a well known designer with a history of amazing games, I have no reason to pay you money to play an unfinished product when there are so many really polished games I could play instead.

Others have mentioned Kickstarter, people will plough money into a pretty game there, but YMMV.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matthew Proper-Lee
United States
Levittown
NY
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
From a more pragmatic view, $55 is already the MSRP for published games with no additional work needed and already fully tested (at least as far as the publisher was concerned) with full artwork and design done, many of those are also already highly regarded and people enthusiastically promote the games as well.

How do you compete with that with your current status of needing feedback and work done by the purchaser and no professionally printed box? Would you go for that anyway, despite there being several thousand new games produced each year in a more complete format for the same price or less? Your answers will likely give you an indicator how this would be received (even if you didn't see any of the replies above yet).

Edit to add: Kickstarter was mentioned above: You might not need a completed and tested game yet, but you absolutely will need professional looking pieces and make it appealing enough to make people think that they are getting a good deal, which in many cases consists of really good (but expensive) artwork or miniatures (also expensive but can be doable in bulk). Anything less likely will not fund if you have to charge $65+ shipping (to cover KS fees and the funding platform fees which I believe totals to about 20% of the collected funds).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the others have adequately answered the original question but there's a way of thinking about the question that may help to see why you received the answers that you did.

Generally speaking, 'cattle call' playtest requests yield poor success. Of the people that say they'll playtest a game for you, only a few actually will try it out, even if you send them the game. Let's be optimistic and say it's half. Of the ones who do playtest, not all will give you any feedback; again say it's half. Of those, not all will give you feedback that's very useful; sometimes it will be minimal or confusing or just a simple "we liked it". Again, say it's half. So you've already got, even optimistically, a 1-in-8 yield of substantive data from people who said they wanted to play the game and to whom you shipped the game. You couldn't have made things easier for them, and yet you still only got a 12.5% yield.

This yield goes down by a lot if you ask people to print the game themselves, and it will go down even more if people have to pay for specialty components.

The best solution is for you to put out the cattle call, see who's interested, identify the groups that sound most promising, and ship them the proto. Maybe ship them the same proto, one at a time, if you don't want to make a bunch of them. But you'll get zero hits if you require people to pay up front to playtest; no one wants to do that.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ess Why
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Other options:

Origins had a room that was just designers with prototype games. I'm guessing the other big conventions have something similar.

I was at a FLGS one time where there was a designer sitting at one of the tables with his prototype teaching his game and then asking for feedback
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Carlson
United States
Tennessee
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In some specific circumstances I have paid for prototype games before. In each case that I have, I've been very interested and invested in owning/playing the prototyped game regardless of the creator's ability to actually get the game published. Each time I've purchased or been sent a prototype, I get it in front of as many people as I can and happily send feedback to the game's creator. I do not enjoy putting together print and plays so when I purchase a prototype, just as when I purchase a game, I want it to be ready to play. All this to say, if you sell me on your idea and it seems to be one that I'd enjoy, you might have your first customer.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jenn B
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Does your area have a game design group you could join? They might be willing to blind play test your game though it might be expected that you play test theirs in return.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
esswhy wrote:
Other options:


I've also taken prototypes along to my local gaming group from time to time. It's worth making sure everyone understands before the game starts that you're looking to test your game, and it's also worth being very careful about the feedback you'll get because not only is most feedback a rather flat "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" or (possibly worse!) "It was OK, I guess", but also there's always the risk people will avoid pointing out particular problems because they don't want to hurt your feelings. It's not a substitute for proper blind testing, but it's definitely worth trying if you can as well as proper blind testing.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
maf man
United States
endeavor
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Moss wrote:
about time to start sharing it with a wider audience than just the people I can play with. It is perhaps beyond the mere play testing stage, but it could certainly use feedback.

just making sure you hear this opinion that I share with many of the responses so far. You are not out of playtesting, you've started. Blind playtesting is a great test for games. Something always comes up that was glossed over because you were a part of the other plays.

Have you considered how hard it would be for a some of the pnpers here to make? If testing needs to get done on it then quality doesn't matter all that much and making it by hard would cost me time vs money.

also, lego bricks? are you sure you actually need lego bricks? Yes, they are awesome and useful and I of course still have my 3 bins full but my guess is that they are an expensive choice for what you are trying to do.

Hope to see you post with more!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mafman6 wrote:

also, lego bricks? are you sure you actually need lego bricks?


It also occurs to me: if you genuinely do need Lego bricks then you're seriously limiting the number of publishers who could plausibly publish your game down to somewhere in the '1' region...! ;-)

I suppose if you need something that clips together you could probably have plastic parts that interlock made by most plastics manufacturers, but that will also seriously limit the viability of your game; plastics casting has very expensive setup costs compared to die-cut cardboard.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Etkin
United States
Gloversville
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
biddi biddi biddi
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Guys - Read the OP.

He's not asking for people to pay him to play his game... he's trying to figure out what a reasonable $$$ ceiling is that people are willing to invest in a Beta-release PNP.

-----------

Having been a similar boat before, I can only suggest that from my own experience, I've found that requiring scads of user-sourced components dramatically decreases interest in assembling/playing the game.

I've since learned to stop "dreaming big," as it were, and instead re-design or nu-design my stuff so it requires a much smaller investment of time/money.

For example... I put together this fun flicky/thinky game involving asteroids. Lots and lots of wooden disks... plus labels to put ON said disks. At the time, I was so blinded by my design, I wasn't thinking of who or how this game could be playtested. The solution? retooling the game to require far, FAR less parts.

As you build a rep for yourself, scale up your aspirations. People are more willing to come along for the ride if they know what you're capable of from past designs.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duo Maxwell
United States
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Fire_Forever wrote:
0.00$

My time is valuable; if I'm going to buy a game, I want to spend that money on something that I know I will enjoy.


I am willing to bet most folks on BGG have a backlog of unplayed/under-played games. And then we have to pay money to play a game that we may or may not like. No way José.

Now, I will admit that I payed $2.00 to secure a spot at a table to play Custom Heroes during GenCon, however, I read the reviews and watch reviews and had a high degree of certainty I would like it. However, I was not play testing a prototype.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
++++ ++++
Greece
flag msg tools
.. is here!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Moss wrote:
I would like to get a feel for what people are approximately willing to fork out or how many people would be interested to try a game if it costs $XX.

Nothing. No one.
A lot of people (me included) can be fooled and buy an incomplete, badly balanced game from places like kickstarter, but no one would if they knew any of their big flaws from the beginning. If you can't find people to playtest it for you (free of charge ofc!), just start a KS campaign yourself and see how it goes!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
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.