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3rd Party vs. 1st Person playtest & Playtester Motivatio

Started by Bailey, May 05, 2002, 09:07:50 PM

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Bailey

Sayeth Wolfen:
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Without a doubt or hesitation, NO. Just like hearing about a game is no replacement or substitute for actually playing it yourself, playtesting is no different. However, 3rd party playtesting is a vital supplemental to playtesting it yourself. But, as someone pointed out in one of my MB threads, running the game yourself isn't the only way. Get one of your players familiar enough with the game to run it, so you can see it from both sides of the line. The broader your base of playtesters, the better off your final product will be, so long as you maintain focus, rather than trying to please everyone on every point.

But is the 1st person playtesting that good, or do you subconciously fill in holes in your design like I've heard many designers do.  For a long time, I've avoided any first person playtesting and stuck with "playing without notes."

For a while I forgot about playtesting at all since my 3rd party playtesters did jack for playtesting.  For my first draft of Men of Teak the feedback I got was limited to a list of typos in the playtest document, of five groups that came to me for a copy so they could playtest.  Now I'm playtesting Men Of Teak myself since I've resigned on getting quality playtest notes.

I've tried including questionaires in one of my revisions and the only response was a couple of the playtesters saying "it was pretty fun" but claiming they didn't have the time to fill out my questionaire after the game.
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Paganini

Quote from: BaileySayeth Wolfen:
I've tried including questionaires in one of my revisions and the only response was a couple of the playtesters saying "it was pretty fun" but claiming they didn't have the time to fill out my questionaire after the game.

I don't know how useful this is to your particular situation, but Ken Burnside of Adastra Games charges his playtesters a small fee. According to him, this really weeds out the playtest group, in that it prevents people from saying "oh yeah, send me a free beta copy" and then doing nothing with it. If someone pays money for a set of rules, they're more likely to actually play the rules.

IIRC, once a person has paid the up front fee, they go on his playtester list. Updates to the game are automaticaly sent out to the playtesters, *as long as they give him feedback.* If the stop giving him feedback, he stops sending them updates, unless they pay him the fee again. :)

It seems to be working really well for him.