Never Stop Playtesting
When people ask what the most important part of designing a game is, our answer is always playtesting.
What is playtesting?
For those who are unaware of what play- testing means, I can tell you that it is exactly how it sounds. The idea is to see how players interact with your game and how they interpret play. You will meet with so many different types of people with many different play styles, learning ability, experience, etc. By playtesting, you gain access to an immense amount of information about your game that you may have never seen before. This can be extremely useful not only to polish off already set game rules, but to even come up with new game play that you may decide is a better road to travel down.
How long should I playtest?
Heres the short answer, never stop.
We have been developing Sabotile for almost 2 years now. We are still playtesting even when we are preparing for manufacturing. You will always find something to improve, fix, or something you may realize is perfect already and you can bask in your incredible idea 😎👍🏼. By always playtesting, you allow for a very solid game ready for the market. Unless you’re the game “We Didn’t Playtest This” but hey, that’s a different story.
But my game is already perfect!
You may be right, but here’s the thing. When you create a game, it becomes your baby. You become so attached to it that you automatically think it is the best thing in the world. This can sometimes give you blinders to what could actually improve it and make it better. By continuously surrounding yourself with playtesting information and suggestions, not only will you begin to lose those blinders, but you will realize how you can make your game the best it can be. The board game community is filled with so many helpful and creative people. The best thing you can do, is allow yourself to be open to those new and creative ideas.
How do I playtest?
Well, we were very lucky to be involved in a community in Urbana-Champaign called Cudo Plays( http://cudoplays.com). If you have a community around you that is like this, JOIN IT. You will meet so many people and expand your community so quickly it will be mind blowing. (Not to over promise, but it was pretty awesome).
So let’s say you don’t have a community around you. Here is a list of some suggestions to get those playtests going!
- Ask your friends!
- Create Facebook events. Have a board game party or a make your own board game night. If you know more people who are looking to playtest their games, have a playtest party!
- Attend conventions. (Some have areas where you can bring your prototype and playtest with anyone who cares to join in.)
- Go to local board game stores. Many have areas to play board games and most of the time store owners love seeing new games. (But sometimes they don’t,use your best judgement. 👍🏼)
How do I keep track of all these playtests?
Here are some good ways to keep track of all the information you get through play testing.
- Take a lot of photos.
- Keep consistent notes.
- Record a video.
- Create survey sheets to pass out after the game has been played.
So go out there and start playtesting because the greatest games have yet to be made. Never get discouraged in something you believe in and always strive to make it the best it can be.
Thank you so much for reading.