You ignored your spouse and kids for an entire weekend so you could precisely measure out all the spaces on your player board in Photoshop or Gimp. You brainstormed new player powers for your game when you had some down time at work. You convinced your spouse to play your game on date night. You only ever watch TV if you also have to cut out some cards or tiles for your game.
You pulled apart your old Settlers, Puerto Rico, and Lords of Waterdeep games to take out all the bits and bobs and use them for your own game. You’ve spent more money at The Game Crafter than you’d care to admit. You buy printer ink by the barrel and card stock by the tree to print out your cards and boards. You’ve researched and bought the best paper cutter you could find on Amazon because cutting all the Event cards by hand just became too difficult.
You’re a game designer. You’ve designed a game and you think it’s really great. And your game is fun … right?
You’ve forced your spouse, your best friend, and your mom to play your amazing new game, even though they’d rather be watching the latest Netflix original series. They tell you it’s great. They had fun. “Good job!” they say. They tell you it’s so cool that you’ve actually made a game. They’re impressed with your creativity, your drive to actually make something.
So, it’s probably good, right?
But, what if no one else likes my game?
Your friends and family seem to like your game, but what do they really know anyway?
You need an unbiased opinion. You need to take your precious game design out to be played by real live gamers, people you don’t know — strangers! That is the point of making a game, right? You’re making something for other people to enjoy. At some point you have to send it out into the real world.
But, what if you ask people you don’t know to play your game and they don’t like it? What if they tell you it’s no good? What if it’s totally broken and you don’t know it? What if you’ve wasted all this time making this game and it’s just a pile of cardboard trash?
They might say bad things about your baby! You’d be crushed. All that time, all that money! You’re not sure you’d even be motivated to keep designing.
Could I ever actually get a publisher to look at my game?
You want people to love your game. You want them to laugh at the funny parts, strategize thoughtfully over the challenging ways to win. You want people to want to play again when they’re done. And, ultimately, you want this game to be published.
You can see it all shiny and new in that plastic shrink wrap … “My Game” … sitting proudly on the shelf the next time you walk into your friendly local game store for board game night. But, if people hate playing your game, then you know that dream could never come true.
Why would a publisher ever want to look at a game if playtesters say it’s not really that fun, it’s broken, it’s boring, has a lot of player down time, has no player interaction, has no interesting decisions, and they wouldn’t buy it? What if playtesters hate it? What if publishers won’t even talk to you? You’re just not sure you can take all that rejection, so it’s probably better just to never take your game out of the house, right? No need to put yourself through that kind of stress.
But, wouldn’t it be amazing to have made a game — your own game! — that people love?
A game that people play and rave about, they ask when it’s going to be on Kickstarter or when they can buy it, “shut up and take my money!” they say, a game you could confidently pitch to a publisher because you know people love it? You know that would be amazing … you just don’t think YOU can do it.
Great news: You can be confident in your game design
What if you could confidently take your game out into the wild to be playtested?
You arrive at your playtesting event with your prototype looking good. You know exactly how to set up your game so you can test the area you’ve been struggling with lately. You know how to teach your game simply and concisely in less than five minutes.
You know what questions you want to ask your playtesters after they’ve played and your feedback forms are printed out and ready to go. You are excited and looking forward to the critiques of your game because you know they will help you make your game publisher-ready.
You’re prepared to listen thoughtfully and not get defensive. You have your notebook and pen poised and ready to take all the feedback and make good use of it to improve your game and get it ready to pitch to publishers.
Your game is great — you have the data to prove it
What if you could confidently pitch your game to a publisher because you know your game is great? What if you could tell that publisher exactly how many people, how many strangers, have told you, “shut up and take my money!”?
You know this because you’ve playtested it with people — strangers, especially! — over and over. You’ve torn your game completely apart and then built it back up again, many times maybe. But, it’s made the game better. You’ve fixed all the issues. You have data from feedback forms that say playtesters consistently rate your game at a 5 (out of 5) on the fun score and more than 90 percent of players say they’d buy your game.
There’s no way it shouldn’t be published and you have the data and the confidence to back that up.
And maybe, just maybe, that publisher will agree with you. They see you’ve done the work. You’ve tested it, improved it, and tested it some more. They play it, and they like it. Maybe someday you could see “My Game” in shrink wrap on the shelf at your friendly local game store.
But, it’s never going to get to that point if you don’t first have the confidence to take your imperfect game design off your kitchen table and out to be playtested.
It’s true, asking strangers to play your game that you’ve spent so much time on can be terrifying … but it doesn’t have to be.
You and your game design can Be Playtest Ready
Learn to confidently take your game design out your front door and to a gamer’s table to be playtested. The Be Playtest Ready worksheet will guide you through each of the 13 steps to get you and your game design ready for your next playtest — with strangers!
- Start with finding a place to playtest your game and getting it on the calendar.
- Then, get your prototype ready and design your playtest to make sure you’re testing exactly the areas you know need it the most.
- Brainstorm questions to ask your playtesters and create forms to help you collect your data.
- Prepare to market your game at the event to make sure you have players to play.
- Practice teaching your game.
- Think about your playtesters’ body language and what that might mean.
- Prepare yourself mentally to be critiqued, to take the negative feedback, learn from it, and make the improvements to your game you know it needs.
- And then get out there!
Get ready to playtest your game one step at a time
Print out the worksheet, answer the questions, fill in the blanks, check off each step as you complete it, and get your game and yourself ready for playtesting.
The quick two-page Be Playtest Ready worksheet will help make sure you know everything to do so you are fully prepared and confident when you walk into that playtesting event with your game design. We’ve already thought through everything you need to prepare for a playtest so that you don’t have to. Just follow the list and you’ll be confidently playtesting your game with real live gamers in no time!
Be confident in yourself and your game design
Click the link below to buy our Be Playtest Ready worksheet today for $10. And then, when the full Be Playtest Ready Guide is available, you’ll get that for free!
The full guide will include:
- A chapter for each of the 13 steps to Be Playtest Ready
- More details, tips, and examples for completing each step
- An “advanced” game designer’s quick checklist, to use after you’ve already used the worksheet and guide for several playtests and just need reminders
Once the full Be Playtest Ready Guide is available, it will cost $20. But, if you buy the worksheet now, you’ll get the full package and any future updates for only $10. Buy the worksheet today and you’ll get the full guide at no extra charge, plus you can start using the worksheet right now to prep for your next playtest!
Think about how much money you’ve already spent on your game design … printing prototypes and buying components from The Game Crafter, using printer ink and paper, paying convention registration and travel costs! And then there’s your time. You’ve spent a lot of time working on this game. So, make sure you don’t waste your time at your next playtest.
Playtesting is where your game grows up. Let us help you get prepared and make sure you actually step out that door and get strangers to play your game.
With Be Playtest Ready, you’ll be confidently playtesting your game with real live people before you know it and well on your way to making your game into something you know you can pitch to a publisher.
(This is a PayPal link. Once I’ve received notification from PayPal, I will personally email you a PDF version of the Be Playtest Ready worksheet to the email address on your PayPal account. I will also add you to our mailing list and you will receive the full Be Playtest Ready Guide as soon as it is available.)