Getting ready for better play testing. Or beating head against the wall !!!
It’s easy to have play testers in your local group, people that you’ve known, people who will spare your feelings, they hope to get the basic idea concept done. But are they the paying customer, no most of the play testers get to the game for free they’re not really you’re paying customer and a lot of them want the game the way they want it for their own agendas or preferences. That’s why having multiple play testing groups with different agendas isn’t really a bad idea, but then you get a lot of different feedback from many different people going in even more different directions.
That’s what happened to me earlier this year i started to let other groups playtest the game, and then I started talking to the designer Matt and he suggested a lot of things ( O_o ) that ruffled some of the feathers of the play testers. The problem with play testers is that they feel they have the ear of the designer and they want to put in their own stuff into the game which might not be a bad thing but some things don’t fit, some things really don’t fit at all. And I felt that some of the points that Matt brought up made sense and when I brought these facts to the testers they got really upset with me because they wanted the game to stay the same. See they didn’t mind at all larger or heavier tiered ship turned it the same ratio as a smaller ships did.
The problem is large ships need time to wheel and turn, the rules allowed that they’ll instantly turn on a dime or the turning ratio of the smaller ship. Obviously this would ruffle some feathers with the play testers, they were used to turning on a dime with these humongous scales ships in game world play as they wanted, but the miniatures didn’t represent it. So Matt and I we talked, and i talked to a few other guys. And they made
suggestions which I went away and thought about and came up with a solution to basically double base the bigger ships, so now moving and turning takes more space and it isn’t as sharp as the smaller Corvettes and destroyer class ships in the game.
Such thinking was these scale of ships which are smaller in length and in size. Makes sense right? not to the play testers because it gave up their advantage.
And I know I’m not the first game designer in history whose run amok with their play testers and fought tooth and nail because they liked part of the game they didn’t want to change or see the necessity of change.
As we said earlier in the earlier blog, I wanted the game to be fair, balanced and to make sense. And of course the play testers argue that the game world isn’t real, the ships are not real it’s all fantasy and make-believe so doesn’t really matter.
Well It does and that’s why I took a step back from the current play testers as they were instrumental in the core development of the Alpha stage and now we’re getting ready for new groups of play testers to play the Beta game, test the rules and engage with feedback, and that is needed. Why, certainly not because of (it’s my ball you cannot play with it,) but because in a way I was becoming trapped as were my playtesters. The advantage of using friends and those you often game with is that they understand both what your upto and where you are trying to go, they can adapt to inconsistencies and have enough of a feel that they gloss over issues that need to be looked at. What Matt said was to open up a group for play testing and allow copies to be sent to groups who have not played the game, let them try the rules with fresh eyes and see what they say, suggest and see what falls down, the core game has been playtested by a core group, now it needs to be playtested by a broader one.
In many cases it’s too late to change the game completely it’s gone too far walking down a path, and there are few areas that can be changed like maybe ships are costing too much, some of the abilities are too little and a smarter point cost, last minute things to bring balance to the game. That type of play testing is okay obviously we want to make a fair game, if some things like costing are wrong then adjustments are what make the changes needed to be fair amongst all the players and with the different factions, that’s what’s it’s all about. I’m I willing to change the D20 probably, if it does not work, but it does roll fast you know the number you rolled, there’s no need adding adding up for five dice just to figure out if you hit the ship or not.
So why is playtesting needed in the first place, if I’m not willing to change the game concept than why playlist, I feel at this point I’m not willing to change the core concept of the rules that we have now and scrap it as it basically works, and to make a whole new set. I am willing to make adjustments which I think are fair or relevant. Playtesting at this stage of the game is to smooth out the edges, and the rough spots if it doesn’t read well in places, are the rules confusing or inconsistent, do some rules break when played in a particular way. It also asks questions like, is it fun, will you play it again, and getting back some of that feedback is nice. New playtesters are looking at this game with different eyes, backgrounds and preconceptions. True if this proves to be an utter failure with our play testing groups then I will go back to the drawing board again which I’ve no fear of doing.
As I spoke in an earlier blog that I have spent my younger days searching for the perfect system, I have no problem going back to finding what works for Sky Relics if that is needed. I can explain to to you many different things on why and how the game is played and why we come up with that and why is it different from any other game and blah blah blah but is the game fun to you, would you want to play again, will you tell your friends about it, that’s what’s important, that’s what makes a great game, and that’s what makes it exciting and where we’re trying to get to it. That in realisation as you get older is what makes a perfect game, one that players want to play.
So after the next run a play testing if we get the feedback that we don’t need we might have to do some soul-searching again to get to the point that will have the game that I have envisioned for myself and others to play, that I want to buy, that I wish that was on the market today because I want to play with my friends and family, but that others can buy into my dream and want the same thing.
So wish us luck with the new play testing groups, we’re getting ready to start doing the next batch with surveys and feedback, harris important people who we’ve trusted our product with; thank you very much and stay with us as we further drone on 😉 explaining the world of Targus and Sky Relics.
Thank you for reading.