Game Creation Guidelines/Testing

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Part of Board Game Design>Game Creation Guidelines

Playtesting[edit]

Playtesting means playing in order to make a game better. There are a few ways to do playtesting, but in order to test a game, you need to develop some form of prototype game first.

--Daddio 04:54, 14 July 2007 (UTC) The games can be tried out with friends and family, as long as they are willing to offer you honest critiques of the game, not just praise. During the earlier stages, pick out people who are open to spending some time getting to know the game and help you improve it.

This is a time to be ready to pencil in changes to your rules and make changes on the fly as you play. If you find that a rule is too complex, don't be afraid to change it mid-game.

Prototyping[edit]

--Daddio 04:54, 14 July 2007 (UTC) Prototyping is where you take your ideas and whatever rules you have developed and turn them into a rough mock up of a real board game that you can move along into play testing.

Making up a board can be accomplished by designing something on your computer and printing out pages. With some small skills and a graphics program, you could split a larger board up into numerous, letter-sized printables.

When you print smaller pieces of a board that you intend to assemble, I suggest overlapping the design on your pages so you can cut them out and have them fit together without a white seam where a game board ought to be. If you want to get fancy, you can laminate the board or spray mount it to a piece of cardboard.

The key thing to remember in prototyping is to move quickly, making things look good enough to use, but not set into a permanent state; if you spend too much time polishing up a prototype, you won't feel inclined to make rules changes that will scrap those fancy mockups.

Pieces could be borrowed from another game, like chess pawns where you envision detailed, die-cast figurines, or paper printouts that you fold and stand up like paper dolls.

If you have time, you can add some detail to your figures, custom dice, cards, etc. to help your play testers get into the game a little more. But remember: this is the time to get an idea out in physical space; not to develop a well-refined model. As you go through the development steps, you may continue refining the prototyping as well.

Solo Testing[edit]

Solo testing is the testing of a game by one player, even if the game is not necessarily for solitaire play.

Playing through your game by yourself will give you a chance to test the mechanics of your game. It is especially important in the early phases of development, as it will help you iron out some of the issues before you bring the prototype to friends or collegues.

There are various methods of solo testing. You can, for example, play the role of each player, or you can set up a means of simulating a players turn with dice or "if/else" tables.

Note, however, that you already have an understanding of how you think the game should work, which may not be the same as how the game is written. It is therefore imperitive that someone else tests your rules for clarity.

Blind Testing[edit]

Blind testing is used to eliminate the impact of bias on a test. This is usually done by having a third party, with no prior knowledge or experience of the game, play through and provide feedback on the game.