Game testing

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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 10:56

PaulG wrote:
Kes wrote:Surely we wouldn't need to read the rule book because you'll be teaching us, right?
I guess it depends on whether the rulebook is part of the play testing (i.e. checking it's understandable without having to be taught by the game's designer)...

I apologize if this is a duplicate post.  I thought I had already replied to this yesterday, but my post does not seem to be showing up in the thread now.

I did intend to test the rulebook itself as part of the playtest.  The rulebook for this iteration of the game (version 2.2) is fully written, formatted, and printed.  Part of what I wanted to test was whether the rulebook itself was clear, complete, not overly wordy, appealingly formatted, logically ordered, etc.

To be honest, I wasn't even expecting to play when I turned up with the game.  My plan was to stand back and watch, taking notes and only getting involved if players were confused about a rule or had any questions.  However, if people would prefer that I participate and teach the game, I can do that.  At some point, the game will need some objective playtesting during which I remain completely hands-off, but that could happen later.

I can also get a Google docs link set up so people can read the rulebook ahead of time if that's what they want to do.  I am happy to let people read the basic backstory text as well, although most of the story text is meant to be discovered during play.

I am perfectly happy to follow the general consensus regarding these matters.  Please could people let me know if they would prefer that I play the game alongside them and teach it to them, or if they would rather fend for themselves with only minimal guidance from myself.  And also, let me know if you think it would be useful to be able to read the rulebook ahead of time and I will set something up.

Thanks.

-Andy

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Re: Game testing

Post  Jamie on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 11:50

Andy,

Would it perhaps make more sense to do objective play-testing (where you're not involved), on people who are completely new to the game?

Rather than you playing it with them first, then being an observer in a subsequent game, watching people who have some knowledge of the game, get to grips with the rulebook etc?

Dunno. Just trying to think what would be most valuable for you. Smile
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Re: Game testing

Post  Kes on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 12:02

There are lots of people that go to the club. I think we test it with you as a guide and then and some tweaks you can try on a different group using the rule book
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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 13:15

Jamie wrote:Andy,

Would it perhaps make more sense to do objective play-testing (where you're not involved), on people who are completely new to the game?

Rather than you playing it with them first, then being an observer in a subsequent game, watching people who have some knowledge of the game, get to grips with the rulebook etc?

Dunno. Just trying to think what would be most valuable for you. Smile

Indeed, this is precisely my intent.  If I do participate in this first bit of playtesting, playing and teaching, the eventual objective testing without my involvement would need to be conducted using an entirely different group of people.  That could mean Sheffield Board Games Clubbers who had not yet seen the game or an entirely different organization.  I can see advantages to a series of taught/guided games, so I am happy to conduct a number of initial rounds of testing in that way if people wish to do that.  However, I will eventually need to move on to players with no foreknowledge of the game.

Thanks.

-Andy
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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 13:30

steveygee wrote:In terms of the similarities between this and Betrayal, does the game have a series of different scenarios like that game, or is the difference in possible rules/mechanics in different games a product of the game mechanics themselves?

The scenario and story of The Path to Panic does not vary from game to game, but it is extremely unlikely that players will encounter all the story text within a single playthrough.  I wrote the story such that each time a player comes across a bit of it, she is only getting a fraction of the overarching story behind the game, with the intent that over multiple plays she can start to piece together what she knows and theorize what might have happened to lead up to the events of the game.  Of course, players could cheat and just flip to the appendices at the back of the rulebook where the individual story beats are listed for reference and read them all, but I would hope players would resist that urge; it would spoil the surprises! Smile

The variation within the game will purely be down to player choices - both tactical and ethical - and the game's inherent randomness (due to die rolls and card draws).  There are certain scenarios within the game which I expect to crop up infrequently, and although there are rules in place to govern such situations, the practicality of those mechanics can of course only be tested with an equal lack of frequency; thus the need for repeat testing.

I hope this answers your question.  Thanks for the interest!

-Andy
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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 15:45

Aneurin wrote:
Lizzy wrote:So are we doing this next Tuesday?

by next do you mean the 14th? We were Imperial assaulting then weren't we? To make up for missing March we were playing 10th and 14th I recall?


The 7th isn't ideal for me, but I could probably manage. If the 14th is not an option, what about the 21st?
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Re: Game testing

Post  Lizzy on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 15:50

Ignore Aneurin, he's talking rubbish! We're playing Imperial Assault on the 21st. We could do the 14th (assuming we're not going to IQ, Kes)?
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Re: Game testing

Post  Aneurin on Wed 01 Apr 2015, 19:00

I always talk rubbish - it's a skill I have. Happy to help play test but will bring some classics for the new folks - and maybe dominant species - karl??
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Re: Game testing

Post  Kes on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 10:28

Nah not gonna bother with IQ
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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 10:45

So shall we say the 14th for definite?  If so, where and what time shall I arrive?

I definitely think other games will be required.  The Path to Panic can be played by a maximum of 6 people, and I expected it to be only one of a few games on the go at the time anyway.

A couple questions:

Would people prefer if a group of players was confirmed ahead of time or would you rather we just hash it out on the night?

Should we have a vote as to whether people would like me to a) play alongside everyone on the day versus simply observing, and b) teach them the game versus letting players read the rulebook themselves?  I am happy with either option in regards to both of these matters.

Thanks again.

-Andy
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Re: Game testing

Post  Lizzy on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 11:21

Yes, let's make it the 14th. Come along to the Red House on Solly Street at 7pm. There'll be a thread closer to the time where people will decide what they want to play that day. I'll mention about this and see who else wants to join us at the time. We'll easily get enough people I'm sure.

As to whether you want to teach or see if we can figure it out from the rules, I'd say it's up to you. This is for your benefit, mostly, so it depends what you want to get out of it. I don't mind either way. There's a pool of 40ish different people who come to the club, so if you want to test it on fresh people a few times, I don't think that'd be a problem.
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Re: Game testing

Post  Andy S on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 13:34

Lizzy wrote:Yes, let's make it the 14th. Come along to the Red House on Solly Street at 7pm. There'll be a thread closer to the time where people will decide what they want to play that day. I'll mention about this and see who else wants to join us at the time. We'll easily get enough people I'm sure.

As to whether you want to teach or see if we can figure it out from the rules, I'd say it's up to you. This is for your benefit, mostly, so it depends what you want to get out of it. I don't mind either way. There's a pool of 40ish different people who come to the club, so if you want to test it on fresh people a few times, I don't think that'd be a problem.  

Thanks for the clarification, Lizzy. I'll keep an eye on the forums here (they seem pleasant, after all!) and contribute to April 14th's thread in the Club Meetings section once it has been created, closer to the day.

The (admittedly minimal) playtesting of the last year or so has always been done under my guidance as teacher and player. By now, I do feel that the core mechanics of the game are pretty solid; they just need testing to see where tweaking is necessary. With that in mind, I think I would prefer to merely observe people who are new to the game, taking notes and interjecting if necessary. However, if this proves impractical on the day, I can take a more involved role for the first few games before recruiting fresh faces for less hands-on playtesting at a later time.

I'll keep an eye on this thread and if people want to ask me anything else about the game prior to the 14th, please feel free, I am more than happy to answer any questions.

Thanks so much to everyone at Sheffield Board Gamers Club for making me feel so welcome. I am looking forward to introducing my game to new players, hopefully multiple times over the coming weeks or months.

-Andy
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Re: Game testing

Post  Lizzy on Thu 02 Apr 2015, 14:02

No worries, sounds like a plan to me. Looking forward to it!
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Re: Game testing

Post  karl_b on Sat 04 Apr 2015, 09:11

Andy, thanks for posting and welcome! I'm definitely up for play-testing on the 14th.
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