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Subject: Best practices for play testing rss

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Will Creel
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Hi all I am designing a board/card game and have gotten as far as I can with friends and family play testing. I am looking to show it to the community at large and would appreciate any information you all have regarding the need or not need for NDA’s, the best way you have seen to host and handle play testing online and any other information you may have regarding play testing.

The game it’s self consists of around 380 cards and a game board. It has you building a Mech through a minideck draft and then fighting it out in an arena.

I have gotten a lot of tips from locals in the gaming community but am always looking for more information.

Thanks for your time.
 
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LudiCreations
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Turku, Finland / Boston, MA, USA
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NDAs are silly in this hobby. Also, practically unenforceable.
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Brian W
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Minneaplis
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A NDA is not a standard practice for playtesting -- in point of fact, you probably want your playtesters to talk about your game!

I had a great turnout of volunteers just by posting here looking for playtesters. I do advise making a bunch of physical prototypes and having them ready to ship out before posting looking for playtesters.
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Greg
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Ditch the NDAs but do think a lot about best practice in playtesting. There is a lot written on the subject. At this point I'd love to pimp one of my own blog posts, but a lot of my playtesters read it so I've avoided the subject. Instead I'd recommend having a look around here, there are fifteen pages of links to writings about playtesting (of various quality). It's a much more complicated procedure than it seems.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
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no NDA's, usually. I do have an exception for that (and probably not the only exception) ... if you're asking people to playtest an expansion for a game that is played in a tournament format ... like M:tG. And I suspect it's more to control the marketing of the yet-unfinished expansion than trying to stop people from copying the game.

Some other "best practices":

-- Don't have playtesters to design the game.
..... This means that you should have playtested the game yourself and ironed out most of the obvious bugs. You should have most of the design already structured, rather than having the playtesters' feedback drive your design.

-- Meet with them face to face.
..... Even if it's just a video conference. Google+ or Facetime works well. You'll want to watch your playtester's faces and body language, you'll want to hear the excitement (or lack of it) in their voice. It would be even better if you can watch them play the game without them being distracted by your presence.

-- Thank them ... unless you are paying for them.
..... Playing your game, no matter how good and fun it may be, is not really a compensation for their service. The basic exchange is: they play, you get feedback. However, they also sacrificed their time in something they didn't need to do (unless you paid for it), and that sacrifice deserves an expression of gratitude.


 
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Will Creel
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Thank you for the info really wasn’t sure about the NDA. So I should supply them with a hard copy of the game and not just digital files. Good thought I was going to send them a PDF but that is a lot of card to print out.

Design wise I have the game where I want it. What I am looking for now is sanding off the ruff edges and minor card balancing like a +1-1 damage type of thing. I feel I can’t get that without a larger sample size. I will be starting a Kickstarter campaign later this year for it and feel it needs to get more eyes on it to handle the final tuning and promote it.
 
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Brian
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Nassau County
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380 cards is a lot to ask someone to print out. Even if they're just going to single side laser print and sleeve them with magic cards, that's still 43 sheets to cut and a lot of time sleeving.
 
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Will Creel
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So should I supply them with fully finished cards or paper ones to insert into sleeves?

I have finished my first draft rule book and have others looking it over when I get that ready I’ll be puting a post up for play testers.
 
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