Is your next playtest scheduled?

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 3 Comments

When is your next playtest scheduled? Is it on the calendar? Is it firm? Nothing’s going to change it? You’re going to get your game ready and actually do the playtest, right? Have you ever had a playtest on your calendar, maybe at a local convention, an Unpub Mini or Protospiel event, or just a meetup with other game designers or your local board gaming group, but then when that date actually came around you didn’t really think your game was ready to be playtested, so you decided not to go, or maybe you went, but didn’t bring your game out? You figured it could wait until the next time, right? No big deal. But, what do you think you …

Fill in the blank: teaching your game to new players

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 0 Comments

You’ve signed up to playtest your game at an Unpub Mini or Protospiel event or local board game convention. Or, maybe you’re taking it to the First Exposure Playtest Hall at Gen Con. You have a limited time slot – maybe 60 or 90 minutes. You have players sit down to play your game. You start explaining the rules of the game and then 30 minutes later you realize your players still haven’t started playing yet. This is a problem. One of the hardest parts of running a playtest for your game is explaining the game in a way that is simple, easy to understand, and gets the basics across quickly. Your ultimate goal when you’re running a playtest is …

Learning lessons from running Unpub Mini SD

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 0 Comments

We hosted our fourth Unpub Mini San Diego playtesting event on Saturday, June 4, and I think it was our best one yet! We had a great turnout. We had 30 game designers registered (a couple ended up dropping out or not showing up, so we ended up having a few less than that) and we had a packed room of playtesters almost the whole day. We’ve learned a few things along the way, since we hosted our first Unpub Mini event in 2014 and I wrote the blog post, “How to host your own Unpub Mini event,” so we thought it might be good to write an updated post on the event. We changed things up a little bit …

What to ask on your playtesting feedback form

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 7 Comments

Collecting feedback about your game from playtesters is a critical part of the game design process. When you first start playtesting, you may just be playing through the game and trying to figure out what’s broken and how to fix it and make it better. But, at some point, you’ll probably realize that you need a way to collect more structured feedback from your playtesters. You need honest feedback, not just someone saying, “that was fun,” after the playtest. And you need a way to evaluate if your game is improving over time. You need a feedback form. But, how do you figure out what kinds of questions to ask and how much to include on your feedback form? I’ve …

How to host your own Unpub Mini event

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 8 Comments

This post was originally published on the League of Gamemakers blog on Feb. 25, 2015. Since this was posted, we have organized two more Unpub Mini San Diego events and we are currently planning another event for Saturday, June 4. Designer preregistration begins April 1. To sign up for email updates about the event, visit unpubminisd.com. Unpub Mini If I told you that I hosted an Unpub Mini event in San Diego last November for tabletop game designers to run playtests of their prototype games, you might think I’m part of a big game design studio, that I’ve done this before, or that we even have a published game. You’d be wrong on all counts, but we did it anyway! …

Five tips to make your first public playtest a success

Jessica Berlin Playtesting 6 Comments

You’ve made an amazing new board or card game. You came up with an awesome idea, put together a prototype, forced your spouse or close friends to play it with you, refined it as much as you could, and now you’re planning to take it out into the wild. Playtest, playtest, playtest, right? You know you have to playtest this game as much as possible so you can refine it and make sure it’s really great. So, you’ve scheduled your first public playtest. Maybe you’re taking it to a board game Meetup group, a local gaming convention, or an Unpub Mini event. But, wherever you’re going, people who don’t know you are going to be playing your game. What do …