Here are some general guidelines for playtesting at the group:
- Have a specific goal in mind for what you want to test. Feel free to tell players what you’re looking for from the start.
- Always use the minimum number of players you need for your test, even if that means that someone has to wait until another game opens up. Fewer players almost always means the game will be shorter. Sometimes you do need to test your game at full capacity, that is ok too.
- Don’t hesitate to end a game prematurely once you’ve obtained the feedback you need.
- If it helps you get a good test, feel free to adjust the state of the game, players will understand.
- If you’re working on multiple games, bring them all so we have more options based on the number of players and time available.
- If you want a certain player, or type of player to play your game, please say so. (You can even put it in the RSVP.) Since this is a tool for you, we need to make the most of it. No one should take this personally. Sometimes you just need to test with certain types of people.
- Respect the feedback of your playtesters. Genuinely listen to them and take notes!
- Stick around to play and critique other peoples’ games.
- If players are not being helpful, let them know and help them understand how to become an asset.
- Our playtest meetings are only for games that are in-progress. Please don’t bring finished games.
- Understand that a game may be unfinished, broken, and not fun. Realize that a designer may want to start over or change a rule mid-game.
- Prototypes are not always balanced. Point out imbalance issues to the designer, but don’t worry about it not being “fair.”
- Please try to keep the game moving and don’t spend too much time agonizing about your strategy. It doesn’t matter who wins, we’re here to test the games.
- Respect the needs of the designer. Sometimes their needs won’t necessarily align with how you like to play games, but do your best to accommodate.
- Give designers critical but constructive feedback. The harsher you are, the happier we will be. Share your thoughts on the game.
- Playtesting and critiquing prototypes is fun in its own right but it’s different than playing published games. If you’re only interested in finished games, there are plenty of other groups, but this one is not for you.
- If you have questions about the playtesting and/or design process, don’t hesitate to ask me or any of the other designers. We love to share.