writermonk
 member, 251 posts
 Freelance Writer
 Librarian
Mon 20 May 2019
at 19:35
Playtest Games
I am sure that in the long and storied history of rpol, the following situation has occurred at least once - someone has worked on a game, but wanting to get some feedback on it, they've run a sample of that game on rpol.

I'd like to talk about that, about experiences, what has worked, what hasn't, etc. As per the rules of this forum, don't link some game you're running or hype up a game you're potentially selling. I'm more interested in some anecdotal experience.

Like, how much of the world/worldbuilding/lore/actual system documents did you share/make available? It's easy to tag a game as solely belonging to a GM and using an Adult tag to hide it all behind some additional layers, but if you have to info dump your players, how did you do it?

If during the playtest you found that some things  didn't work, did you change things mid-game and how did that go over?

Etc, etc.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1561 posts
Mon 20 May 2019
at 22:42
Playtest Games
First, players rarely come to a playtest, and when they do, they rarely hang around very long.

I'd therefore suggest one of three strategies,

A) take one or two simple rules from your system and plug it into d20 to run a game testing out just that rule (i.e. run d20 with your own health system). Players are more likely to accept minor modifications than something entirely new. You'd have to do this for all the various rules of your system.

B) find a popular narrative concept that garners lots of interest without regard to system at all. Not particularly effective at this myself, though I don't have any APs or anything that folks would really want to play through.

C) run a whole bunch of games that fail quickly (actually this is common advice for creating anything), and just collate what little data you can glean from each before making a few changes and starting over.


And remember, people in general hate giving feedback. They might complain a lot, but specifically ask for feedback and they clam up. Just remember that complaining is general driven gy emotion rather than well thought out critique and therefore complaints can be misleading, though they do give a good place to start.

Your best chance at real critique by others is to release your system for examination in community chat rather than running a game with it.
horus
 member, 737 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Tue 21 May 2019
at 06:44
Playtest Games
I participated in a now-defunct game here on RPoL a while back that was a test of the Fate Core game creation rules.  The GM that ran that test was up-front about it (always a good thing), and had a lot of players with a high degree of interest in actually playing in a game they helped design, but the project foundered for one or another reason, and the GM wrapped it up, floated a proposal for a different Fate game, and moved on.

It happens.  It takes a rare breed of player to be up for a playtest, especially of a completely new system or milieu.  Many players want to play more than they want to test, and this is not a bad thing, but a large number of players of this sort is not what you want for a playtest group.

Definitely be honest about your intentions.  Communicate clearly what you are seeking to accomplish, and if you have design goals or milestones that won't compromise the play end of things, let your testers know.

I have some stuff I might eventually want to test here.  I'm sure if I asked, I'd have some players interested in playing.  Whether I'd see a lot of players interested in helping to test, well, you rolls the dice and you takes your chances.

Oh, be willing to accept what your playtesters tell you about their experiences in the game, especially about any criticisms or observations they may have.

I had one across-a-table playtest about a year ago that taught me a lot about game design.  I've been chewing on what I learned in that exercise for a while now, and think I have mapped a path forward that will greatly improve my finished product.

(A lot happened in that intervening year to tear me away from my group, or I would have tried to run a second test by now.  Perhaps, even though it was frustrating in some ways, this was a good thing.  I may have developed some patience I did not have previously.)