Playtest, Playtest, Playtest! Your game needs to be better…

Hey everyone, So for a while i’ve been thinking about the next topic for the second post to my blog. There are just soo many things i would like to share about in my game design experience, but instead of continuing with the story of how i made Cadence, i thought in this post i would love to discuss the most important and a lot of times underdone or even neglected thing in game design. Playtesting!

For those who don’t know, as the word suggests, playtesting is testing your games faults, glitches, strengths an weaknesses by playing it. This is an art, as important and skillful as actually getting the game idea. For Cadence, if it weren’t for playtesting, it wouldn’t have been half the game it is right now. Because a lot of the big points of interest that people find in it were added as it got developed.

Cadence Before:

IMG_20141125_155112IMG_20141125_144323

Cadence Today:

image6 (1)image1

For all those who thought, making a game is getting an idea, seeing if it works, making the components and the rulebook, get it out of your head right now. That won’t be a “design” that would be an idea. Game design is a lengthy and time consuming process most of which involves this key word. Playtesting. There are 2 types of playtesting, many of you might be knowing:

  1. Solo Playtesting
  2. Playtesting with other players
  3. Blind Playtesting

I will talk about the most feared but effective one in this post. You can surely check out the next post for details about the other 2 types.

Solo Playtesting: Do you have some unused papers? Books you may not use? Tear out some pages and craft some cards and components and write some basic essential stuff on them. If you draw well, that’s a bonus, sketch some minor details on the cards. Now, play it with yourself! Be all the players and see if the game works, what’s missing, is there anything clunky? Does it feel like you want it to feel? What can you make better there(remember, there’s always something)?

Not just at the beginning, you’ll need to solo playtest all throughout the process. Now especially if its a 2+ player game, you might not have the same experience the players will have. But you should still try to have fun. If you still don’t. Don’t lose hope. It happens to everyone. Ask yourself why you didn’t have fun. What was missing there? Playtesting solo is a very tiring process at times. But that’s how you know you’ve played it at least a whole lot of times. Here’s some of the common quotes that might give you some inspiration:

“A game is never fully perfect. Playtest until you’re sick and tired of playing you’re own game and then playtest some more!”

“Playtesting not only helps you remove all the flaws but helps you work more on the strengths of your game. A prototype can never be considered as anything close to what the final game will look like.”

“How can you expect people to play your game 1 time if you yourself haven’t played it 100 times first?”

So remember designers, its something i’ve learnt the hard way. My first game(before cadence) was sent back to the drawing board by me simply because didn’t change it enough from where i started. My second game(Cadence) is the game i want to be the first game i want to publish and im so exited about because it has changed so much. Don’t be afraid to improvise on your ideas.

See you in the next post. Happy designing!

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