A couple days ago, I did a design chat with Ryan. One of the things we discussed was how to organize playtests. The particular kinds of playtest opportunities available to you will inevitably shape the game you can make. A consistent group with a regular schedule will allow you to produce a different game than you could make with one-shots at conventions with strangers as your only playtest opportunities. (more…)
I’ve been mulling over the idea of playtests-as-studies. I’ve been thinking particularly about a recent conversation I had with the inimitable Avery Mcdaldno, wherein they suggested that, for a game you intend to Get Out Into the World, you have a limited budget (maybe, say, 4 to 40) of playtests. And so each one has to drive the game forward, but also, you will never get it just right or, dare I say it, perfect.
So, what do we do with that? How do you spend your playtests, allot your studies? What do you need to get filled in first, and what can wait to be done in the detail work, the finishing touches?
I dunno. But I’m curious to find out. I suspect strongly that a lot of the getting-better-at-making-games lies in this space.
Et in Arcadia Ego is our game of Regency-era magicians. It owes a lot to Susanna Clarke, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley. It has also been a fickle beast. We’ve been hacking at it, tweaking it, revising it, overhauling it, again and again for the past few months. It’s very much been a case of the tenth point of the Ten Wings.
But we’ve settled on something that seems to be at least in the right direction. Last night, we tried it out, and a few interesting points arose.