My first playtest of my first game was last week, and boy-howdy, did I blow it!
I did exactly what they say not to do: I became very defensive and was compelled to rebut my tester’s critique with a rambling explanation of my own thought process. It didn’t last long, but the damage was done. My tester clammed up right after that, and I headed back to the drawing board feeling rather despondent.
Cut to tonight, when I got together with a friend for dinner and some games, and he unexpectedly asked if he could test it. “Of course!” I said, as I had just updated my Rules and made my Sell Sheet. I had made some pretty significant changes, and the whole opening bidding section didn’t work at all. My tester broke my game within the first 15 seconds.
I wanted to slink away and hide, but we were at my house so that would’ve been awkward. Instead, we made our way through the rest of the game and I managed to keep my mouth shut, mostly by focusing on writing down his comments (and especially his questions). I have some concrete things to work on now, and it was awesome (if nerve-wracking) to get some feedback from someone else.
Back to the drawing board for another iteration. Wish me luck!Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in Designer Diary
Thanks for sharing this story. I think this is a fantastic reminder for us game designers. We have to be able to kill our darlings and listen to what people are saying and critiquing about our games. You can call those play tests # 1 and #2 out of 100. Only about 98 to go! Hey man, you’re a few steps in front of me. Good work.
Absolutely. Thanks for the response.