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"Are You a Playtester?" Topic


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743 hits since 6 May 2012
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian06 May 2012 11:25 a.m. PST

The new edition of Flames of War credits 12 playtest groups, and specifically thanks an additional 18 individual playtesters.

Have you ever playtested a miniature wargames ruleset which was later published?

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian06 May 2012 11:35 a.m. PST

Yes, several. I've playtested and done editing work on even more that have never seen the light of day. Kind of frustrating, that – wasted effort for everyone involved.

The Gray Ghost06 May 2012 11:44 a.m. PST

Twice

John Leahy Sponsoring Member of TMP06 May 2012 12:01 p.m. PST

Yes, a few.

Thanks,

John

xxxxxx06 May 2012 12:04 p.m. PST

Yes. 3 or 4.

Yesthatphil06 May 2012 12:05 p.m. PST

Regularly.

Sometimes the input is found constructive, sometimes it is ignored.

Playtesting usually doesn't earn you editorial rights! It might just get you a free copy of the published set (though not always) …

Personal logo RavenscraftCybernetics Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 12:27 p.m. PST

yeppers!

kreoseus206 May 2012 12:40 p.m. PST

Many.

GypsyComet06 May 2012 12:46 p.m. PST

Playtesting, pre-release rules reviews, general feedback. Less on miniatures games than for RPG products, but there has been some of that as well. Almost entirely "open" processes in my experience; the Super Secret Burn After Playing playtests are rarer than the industry wants you to think.

fairoaks024 Inactive Member06 May 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

yep, our gaming group has done 2 which actually made it to print,

regards

jim

Personal logo Grand Duke Natokina Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 12:54 p.m. PST

Never for published sets.

David Manley06 May 2012 12:56 p.m. PST

yes, several

Maddaz111 Sponsoring Member of TMP06 May 2012 1:01 p.m. PST

Yes. Yes and Yes.

Have done it for wargames rules, RPG scenarios, and Card and board games.

Its hard work looking at a card and thinking why or how is this broken, catching the problem, trying to convince the powers that be in USA what the problem is, playing again with an emergency alteration till four in the morning, sending in a report saying it still is not fixed, going to do the day job. Coming home 11 hours later to be told that my issues had been noted.

Several months later the final version of the cards were released to tie in with a "movie" schedule, with the previously identified card still included (unchanged) from the very first exceedingly broken design.

The people who knew that I had been involved in the testing were furious, how could I miss this.. etc it was ****** etc… and due to the NDA I could not say " I spotted it and knew it was broken but could not get them to listen"

The card ended up on the games banned list, but by doing that, another strategy automatically came to the fore…

Enjoyed it and would do it again!

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 1:13 p.m. PST

Many times for a number of companies and individuals for rules that are now published, for individuals whose gaming group wanted an outside look, but never intended to publish, and some that like with some of you ended up in the black hole of never seeing the light of day. Two of my playtest efforts are now in print by Foundry, as I was one of the original playtesters for Terry Gore on both his Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfare games when they were published by SAGA, and one of the original TRWNN playtesters as well.

Also a repeat Beta tester for a number of initial games and their subsequent updates

As I don't get to play in a group, and my sked often has me on the road for work, rules review and play testing is a good way to get my gaming fix while not actually being in full blown games.

Like Maddaz111, spotting problems and getting the author to fix them is another issue. I fully recognize there are creative differences on "You know, a better way to do that might be…" type issues and have no problem with the author deciding that their way is better. It does get frustrating when you identify annoyances that don't work, outright contradictions in the rules, or even flaws fatal to game play or game balance and getting blown off.

But, definitely enjoy it as I do providing reviews for games, my latest of which is referenced in the thread on Brink of Battle.

JJ

Dynaman878906 May 2012 1:14 p.m. PST

The upcoming Tentacle rules from TFL and did some proofreading on the latest IABSM.

Back in the nineties I did a bunch of playtests for Command magazine (boardgames).

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 1:37 p.m. PST

My wargames club at my school tested several boardgames for SPI in the late 70's and early 80's, and I have done a bit of testing for Andrea at Ganesha Games. And I have USED playtesters for PRIDE.

Doing it thoroughly enough to be helpful -- mainly RECORDING what happens, and then of course also critiquing rules for clarity and enjoyment, etc., is really pretty demanding, and good playtesters deserve a lot of credit and thanks.

Dynaman878906 May 2012 1:51 p.m. PST

To add to JJ's comment, working for months on a game with hundreds of back and forth emails with the designer and publisher, with designer getting mad at publisher over monetary issues (and I am getting paid nothing mind you). List of changes sent to publisher never made it to final product, then to see the designer complain on a mailing list that the game had not been properly playtested…

That one sticks in my craw to this day.

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian06 May 2012 2:09 p.m. PST

Almost entirely "open" processes in my experience; the Super Secret Burn After Playing playtests are rarer than the industry wants you to think.

Working for WotC is a major exception to that IME. They're deadly serious about their NDAs, far more so than any of the other publishers (and wanna-be companies) that I've worked with.

All in all, I think I prefer the more relaxed approach.

platypus01au06 May 2012 2:11 p.m. PST

Yes, several.

Cheers,
JohnG

Broadsword Inactive Member06 May 2012 2:13 p.m. PST

Yes, both miniature wargames and RPGs.

Al | ravenfeastsmeadhall.blogspot.com

Personal logo J Womack 94 Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 2:24 p.m. PST

Yup.

Personal logo McWong73 Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 3:25 p.m. PST

Yes. It's at times close to real work.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 3:27 p.m. PST

I have in the past – not sure I really want to do too much of it anymore, but I'm working periodically on a light set of rules so I guess you could say I playtest those.

evbates06 May 2012 5:02 p.m. PST

Yes, twice.

Personal logo CeruLucifus Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 5:02 p.m. PST

Alas no. I think I'd be good at it but the era when my life had that much free bandwidth is past.

Maddaz111 Sponsoring Member of TMP06 May 2012 5:13 p.m. PST

I would comment that "It was harder than real work".

And the money was not good (no pay)

And it was very geeky (and not in a good geeky way)

But it was fun!

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 5:14 p.m. PST

Yup, playtested several rules sets for Game Dasigners Workshop years ago, also playtested some RPGs, most notable Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for which my group was picked to film one of our session so the TV execs could see what an RPG was all about.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 6:21 p.m. PST

Tom,

Did you get to meet any of the cast?

JJ

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 6:22 p.m. PST

Yes, TSATF, among others.

Chief Lackey Rich Supporting Member of TMP Fezian06 May 2012 6:45 p.m. PST

Yup, playtested several rules sets for Game Dasigners Workshop years ago, also playtested some RPGs, most notable Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for which my group was picked to film one of our session so the TV execs could see what an RPG was all about.

Oh yeah? Eden Studios and our local game store are owned by the same guy – you deal with George much on that project, or was Alex the playtest coordinator for that one?

Personal logo wrgmr1 Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 7:14 p.m. PST

Yes, three different sets now.

brass1 Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 7:48 p.m. PST

Most of my playtest experience was back in the Jurassic period with boardgames, of which Avalon Hill's "War and Peace" was probably the only memorable one. I did help playtest one set of miniatures rules, the publisher of which was sued by GW over the use of the term "space marine".

LT

21eRegt06 May 2012 8:00 p.m. PST

Yes, a few.

Personal logo McWong73 Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2012 8:43 p.m. PST

Maddaz111, glad to hear that from another playtester. I've only been a formal playtester for one publisher, and I was at first pleasantly surprised at how thorough they wanted everyone to be, it spoke well of the final product. Problem is that you are often required to play at least two games a week, if not more. That's quite a time commitment, especially when you're testing the next edition of the core rules. And at the end we get some blisters and an A5 copy of the rulebook!

It's still a pleasure to contribute in this way, but as I said, sometimes its like real work (but it's not real pay!)

Battle Phlox06 May 2012 9:49 p.m. PST

Yes, for two different companies.

It can be a second job sometimes. Sometimes going over the rules (and over and over) and fine tuning theme can be a real strain. If you only game once a week it really cuts into playing time.

Still, I think every seriuos gamer should give it a go to see how much work actually goes into some of them.

Personal logo Martin Rapier Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 5:05 a.m. PST

Yes, some. I have even been credited on some. I have however learned to take designers requests for constructive criticism with a pinch of salt. Ymmv of course.

Personal logo Lentulus Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 8:38 a.m. PST

Miniatures no, board and computer games yes.

MajorB07 May 2012 8:44 a.m. PST

Yes, several.

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 12:00 p.m. PST

Terrement, no, darn it. We just filmed our session and then mailed the tape to Eden so they could send it on to the big wigs.

Rich Bliss07 May 2012 12:07 p.m. PST

Yes, Board, Miniature, and roll playing

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 1:47 p.m. PST

Tom,

Bummer, that. Always thought Buffy was "interesting looking" though not a babe. Other neat characters there as well. Always liked David Boreanaz, who I now follow on 'Bones' (and Emily Deschanel IS a babe).

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 2:01 p.m. PST

Interestingly, I playtested the exact same two games as Brass1! I have no interest in Sci-fi, which made testing the space marine game (note: lower case, no copyright issue here) particularly challenging but also enjoyable as a change from my usual.

Andoreth07 May 2012 2:43 p.m. PST

Yes, a couple. I play tested the "Rules with No Name" for which a number of us got our names on the credits. I've also been involved in a couple of Peter Pig games.

Toshach Sponsoring Member of TMP07 May 2012 9:01 p.m. PST

I was a playtester and a scenario designer for the old Talonsoft computer games.

Oddball08 May 2012 5:34 a.m. PST

Yes. One has sold very well, the other did not sell so well (due to how the product was marketed in my view).

Personal logo richarDISNEY of the RDGC Supporting Member of TMP08 May 2012 8:48 a.m. PST

Yes.
Alot.
My name pops up in a bunch of stuff. RPGs, Minis, cards…
beer

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP08 May 2012 12:43 p.m. PST

Been a playtester on and off since 1972 still involved in play testing.

Kealios01 Nov 2012 9:54 p.m. PST

1 published but not widely circulated RPG, 1 published tabletop game, and many, many more rules that I only edited, or failed to have anything come of them.

I'd playtest all day long and edit as I went if I could. Its good fun and highly rewarding, at least for my own personal self.

Willtij14 Nov 2012 12:29 a.m. PST

Playtest off and on for years now. Currently playtesting for D&D Next (5e).

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2012 2:09 p.m. PST

Done it on and off 40 years. Currently working on the "Napoleonic Command 2.0" rules.

Obviously not invited for Flames of Warhammer.

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