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Atlas Break

The Playtesting Process

By February 26, 2019April 27th, 2019No Comments

Now that the rules, cards, mechanics, have all been nicely laid and seem to work in my head…it’s time to smash it up!

My approach to playtesting begins with building out a very simple prototype with my team. We have an indispensable programmer who has developed a clean database for us to add to and to print our first stage prototypes from.

This prototype is very simple, made up of only text and small images. Simultaneously, the art team is bringing the art and frames together in what will be used for our second stage prototype and final print.

Playing Solo
The first part of playtesting is playing the game myself. As the person who built the mechanics, I am starting off with so many questions in mind. Are all mechanics making sense? Are they all necessary and useful? Are play styles I designed in actually practical and usable?

However, the first game often reveals issues very quickly that I may not have even considered, which is why getting to this stage is so important. These little revelations will inform how I adjust the game and how I alter rules and/or mechanics for my team’s internal testing.

Internal Testing
It’s so vital and helpful to get everyone on the team on board and playing the game. This will be my first opportunity to access real issues that players will run into whether that’s confusion regarding the rules, poor game pace, overpowered champions, etc. But I’ll also get to hear about the good stuff, too. Who everyone’s favorite champion is, what was liked, etc.

An important note here for all playtesting: People like to win. Be sure to clarify before playtesting sessions that winning is not the goal at this time. Exploring the mechanics and what can be improved is the primary mission.

External Testing
This is something I’m very excited about. Bringing groups of players together to play the game and get feedback. This is also tricky. Depending on player knowledge of your closeness to the project, players may not feel comfortable giving negative criticism because they want to be kind. I think the best information to be gathered here is probably by observing how games flow and listening to the questions that people have while playing, which will indicate hurdles in gameplay. Direct feedback could also be useful but perhaps not as much as careful observation.

That is a little bit about my process and I’m so looking forward to it! I’ll be printing this week in order to playtest and make as many necessary edits as possible before we go into our second stage prototype which is the one we’ll be using for external playtesting.

Thank you for reading our blog post! Let me know in the comments about where you find the most valuable input when playtesting!