PDA

View Full Version : Anyone want to playtest some things?


Googleshng
09-05-2011, 05:35 PM
So here's the deal. Back when I made my one big fancy game there (http://www.world-domination-llc.com/games/mvm/gva.shtml), I had a lot of friends with way too much time, and for some reason was pretty regularly getting invited out to gaming cons with all my expenses covered. This made it really easy for me to do extensive playtesting on stuff, get great feedback, all that, and make sure the game was awesome enough to publish.

That setup no longer exists. At all. No con invites, all my local friends are so insanely busy I hardly ever see'em. That crazy online testing environment a cousin of mine was making to help with this sort of thing was making some real progress a couple years ago, but was abandoned in a totally non-functional state.

I am currently sitting on 3 games I personally thing are pretty much Good To Go design wise, and two of'em are card games, which are sufficiently cheap and hassle free that it wouldn't be insurmountably difficult to get art commissioned and maybe even get'em to print by the end of the year, except really, not one person has actually tried to play any of these besides myself.

So! Ideally, what I need is some trustworthy, bored people, into tabletop type stuff, willing to sit around in IRC or something, while I paste card text at them, they use crude notes to keep track of their own hands and points and such, and generally we figure out if these things are worth me going to the effort of hiring artists and paying to have printed up, and try to sell through my sucky, really need to find a new server for it website.

I suppose I'd also need to dig up some generic NDA forms, not that I consider anyone here untrustworthy, just that, well, I have a lawyer nagging me about these things lately.

So yeah, anyone maybe up for that sort of thing?

The third game incidentally is some crazy 2-12 player deal that can actually be pretty painlessly run through maptool or something and runs pretty freaking quick, if some huge wad of people want to mess with that some time.

Stiv
09-05-2011, 08:00 PM
Hahhaha no. But:

Mail me a physical set of something and I'll bring it to my local boardgame store's free-play tabletop days though. Just buy some sheets of paper, write card text on them, and draw guidelines for cutting them so they'll fit into standard playing card sleeves. Anyone with a deck of cards (and sleeves) can cut the sheets and get a good, shufflable deck this way. This will also force you to evaluate how text is written onto the cards.

Serephine
09-05-2011, 10:28 PM
That does sound like kind of a horrible way to go about things. However, I do qualify as extremely bored and have friends who do tabletop, so I propose this: Set up some PDF or PNG files that have all the information set up and ready to print, email them out, and let people go to town on their own. That way people can hammer at the rules like they would in an independent session and then come back with feedback and questions.

Violentvixen
09-05-2011, 11:48 PM
Yeah, I'm intrigued but honestly confused by what you proposed in the original post. Something physical to play with would be ideal.

Googleshng
09-06-2011, 12:17 AM
Well I SUPPOSE I can take a halfway sane approach to this sort of thing and actually throw some ugly as sin mock-up cards together, possibly even in printable form. May even have done so already. I'll have to check on that at some point.

benjibot
09-06-2011, 06:19 AM
I understand where you're coming from in your original idea but I think the printed proxy idea sounds more feasible. I've got a group I could count on to run a few test games with printed cards. I don't really see why they need art at all. If anything, you could throw some clip art on them just like the old Magic tests.

Stiv
09-06-2011, 11:38 AM
Yeah, don't put art on the cards, unless it's important for the game. Just format the text so that there's placeholder space for where art will eventually go to make sure that the actual card descriptions fit. Nobody cares about art when they're playtesting unless it's integral to the game.

Lucas
09-06-2011, 06:32 PM
Man, lookit you guys, with your fancy regular game groups that are willing to play anything and game stores that aren't run by guys who won't let you play anything they can't sell.

I think I'm probably the only person in thread for whom the IRC idea is actually the best option =(

Red Hedgehog
09-06-2011, 07:59 PM
I will also throw in to playtest stuff in real life if you give me PDFs to print.

It just sounds so much better than IRC.

Googleshng
09-07-2011, 12:10 AM
I understand where you're coming from in your original idea but I think the printed proxy idea sounds more feasible. I've got a group I could count on to run a few test games with printed cards. I don't really see why they need art at all. If anything, you could throw some clip art on them just like the old Magic tests.

Yeah, it's not so much a question of presentation as security is the thing. Plus the fact that I, personally, haven't actually played the one game here since I last gave the rules a serious overhaul. Basically, to break things down here...

Still Unnamed Card Thing: This actually has (in my opinion) a super awesome solitaire mode and some pretty text-heavy cards so... yeah, I have no excuse not to throw together some kind of PDF'o'cards for people to print and test with. So I guess I'l work on doing that.

Red Shirt: Also a card game, for like 2-8 players, everyone draws from the same few decks of cards, very basic information on the cards, no information is ever hidden from the other players, I haven't played it under the current rules. Here, I'd rather work out some online play test deal, at least initially, both because it's a lot easier to establish that someone reading this isn't going to go and steal my precious ideas than that a bunch of your random friends messing with this crude game some anonymous weirdo on the internet they've never talked to are that trustworthy, and because, frankly, I still need to do some first-hand testing of it, and it's a huge logistical problem as-is.

Collision: Not really something you can print out. Gameplay is pretty much 12 people simultaneously drawing lines on a big grid, with some cards on the side for tracking crazy timing stuff. My actual physical con demo prototype was a royal pain to put together (to a degree where testing is honestly less a barrier to publishing it than working out how to mass produce it) but... seriously, grab a bunch of people, hop on maptool, probably able to knock a game out in like 10 minutes.

Lucas
09-07-2011, 01:23 AM
Do you have, or know and trust someone who has, the know-how to make a Vassal module for your card games that you could pass around for playtesting? That way you could test it online but in a somewhat more convenient way than copy/pasting in IRC.

Googleshng
09-07-2011, 04:04 AM
Do you have, or know and trust someone who has, the know-how to make a Vassal module for your card games that you could pass around for playtesting? That way you could test it online but in a somewhat more convenient way than copy/pasting in IRC.

Yeah... that's not really a strong suit of VASSAL. It would actually take less time for me to figure out how to program, from scratch, something to just handle a bunch of cards and pieces and chat components and such than it would to create a single VASSAL module for any of this. Really, I need to just knuckle down and actually do that one of these days.

In the meantime though, it turns out I ALREADY made little PDF-y sheets of cards for these games suitable for printing and testing. (Like, 2 years ago actually... why the hell have I just been sitting on these?) So... yeah. If anyone's willing to print out this here NDA (http://www.kekkai.org/google/WDL-NDA.pdf), sign it, scan it, mail it to me (mailto:jakealley@gmail.com), I can zip all these up with some rules and notes tomorrow and you can start messing with one or both of these card game things.

I suppose I could also just give a similar treatment to the rules for Collision here and handle that in similar fashion. I still say the best way to go with that one though is getting a bunch of people together on maptool or something.

pence
09-07-2011, 09:50 AM
I haven't got any experience running or participating in a playtest, but I'm going to quote someone who does, because it seems like a good way to get coherent, actionable data from several disparate playtest groups:

http://ryanmacklin.com/2011/05/smartphones-for-playtests/

If your playtest has a questionnaire with it (and it should), go around and record everyone in the group answering each question. Youíll get cross-talk thatíll generate more thoughts than if you just went home and wrote it up based on recollection of the post-game conversation.

And if your playtest doesnít come with a questionnaire, allow me to riff of the Zeppelin Armada one for some basic things to ask:


Date you played:
Names of all players (as they would like to be credited):
How long did the game(s) run?
How did the game end?
Did you try out the alternate rules/victory conditions? How did that go, compared to the regular rules/conditions?
Did any eliminated players wind up sitting around for a un-fun length of time? About how long was that?
Was there lots of table-talk during play, a moderate amount of table-talk during play, or little to no table-talk during play? Why do you think that was?
Which parts of the game were the most fun? Why?
Which parts of the game were the least fun? Why?
Were any particular rules or cards confusing? Which ones? What was confusing?
What else should we know?

Red Hedgehog
09-07-2011, 11:17 AM
Pence posted it far more formally than I would have, but I was going to make sure you had a questionnaire / discussion questions for anyone playtesting.

Googleshng
09-08-2011, 03:25 AM
Yeah, I'm including a little "so here's what I mainly want to know" thing with these, but it's not quite a formal questionnaire. With the relatively limited number of people I'm going to fling this at, I don't need one to keep things organized, and I find you get better prioritization of people's thoughts on this sort of thing when they're not methodically running down a list.

Anyway though, I got all this stuff all prettied up, so you know, anyone feeling sufficiently adventurous...

print out this here NDA (http://www.kekkai.org/google/WDL-NDA.pdf), sign it, scan it, mail it to me (mailto:jakealley@gmail.com).

Serephine
09-09-2011, 03:41 AM
So like, given that there's a lawyer and NDAs and actual legal kerfuffle, would we potentially need to get the rest of the group to collectively sign the NDA, or just the person you're mailing the stuff to? Also I think your NDA PDF WTF BBQ didn't get formatted correctly, because even after downloading it vs viewing in Chrome, opening it in Reader, and zooming out its still chopping off the last half inch of the right side of the document.

Googleshng
09-09-2011, 04:51 AM
So like, given that there's a lawyer and NDAs and actual legal kerfuffle, would we potentially need to get the rest of the group to collectively sign the NDA, or just the person you're mailing the stuff to?

Well, the lawyer and actual legal kerfuffle are actually involved in a totally unrelated thing, he's just in the habit of nagging me to seriously keep any future games I should happen to release all properly legally hermetically sealed to ward off future drama is all.

But yeah, the basic logistics are yeah, kinda need to get something in writing from anyone who's going to look at these before they actually go to print that you're not going to go blabbing about it or stealing it.

Of course, hypothetically speaking, someone could sign an NDA, get sent play testy stuff, have a bunch of people play test it all in violation of agreement style, and if nothing got stolen, cool, I'm not a lawsuit for lawsuit's sake type, but if you turned out to be a bad judge of character and it was leaked out by some friend of yours, that'd officially be totally on you.

This is why I would really prefer to just save a bunch of headaches, get a bunch of people I at least sorta-know into some kind of IRC-ish deal, and test the one that doesn't have a totally awesome solitaire mode that way. Also why I generally hate all things involving legalities/formalities/paperwork.

Also I think your NDA PDF WTF BBQ didn't get formatted correctly, because even after downloading it vs viewing in Chrome, opening it in Reader, and zooming out its still chopping off the last half inch of the right side of the document.

Huh! That's weird. I'll have to work out what happened there after doing this whole sleep thing!

Guild
09-11-2011, 02:00 PM
I'm willing to do some free layouting in InDesign for your cards. All I want is bragging rights (name on the box in small print somewhere :D). I'll sign whatever! Not knowing the flavor is going to make the mock very generalized:

Phase 1 Mock-up:

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/5143/mock1xfactorvers2.jpg

Googleshng
09-11-2011, 05:02 PM
Thanks, but I think I'm pretty well set on formatting. Or will be once I fling this thing at my primary artist anyway. This is actually pretty close to the general format I tend towards with these things too.

And oh hey! I totally forgot post something here now that I've fixed the weird formatting issue on this NDA (http://www.kekkai.org/google/WDL-NDA.pdf). It has now been thusly fixed. Same url. Just grab it, sign it, scan it, mail it (mailto:jakealley@gmail.com) still.

Guild
09-11-2011, 09:57 PM
Your arrogance will be your downfall, Googleshng!

/me whirls cape and EXITS stage RIGHT, fangs hiding behind forearm

Also good luck with the projects!

Googleshng
09-22-2011, 12:27 AM
So uh... bump? Haven't gotten one single e-mail from any of youse guys on this, nor any of my real life type friends for that matter come to think of it. Does the concept of playing a couple totally fun card terrify people or something?

Serephine
09-22-2011, 01:02 AM
My biggest hangup is actually logistics. I'd have to print out the forms (done), take them to my friend's place, get em signed, then come back and scan them in since they don't have a scanner (how I don't know), and then NEXT time I'm there we'd get to play around with everything. Since I don't have my own car at the moment and they live so far away its just not lined itself up yet.

Googleshng
09-22-2011, 03:55 AM
My biggest hangup is actually logistics. I'd have to print out the forms (done), take them to my friend's place, get em signed, then come back and scan them in since they don't have a scanner (how I don't know), and then NEXT time I'm there we'd get to play around with everything. Since I don't have my own car at the moment and they live so far away its just not lined itself up yet.

Totally reasonable point that, for Red Shirt anyway. On the other hand:

Still Unnamed Card Thing: This actually has (in my opinion) a super awesome solitaire mode

That makes it possible to omit a few steps in the process.

Lucas
09-22-2011, 10:34 AM
Oh yeah, I actually have access to a scanner these days that I could use to return paperwork.

In other news, that is an adorably tiny spot for me to write my name on the NDA.

Googleshng
09-22-2011, 02:52 PM
Oh yeah, I killed the double spacing when I was fixing the other weird cut-off issue didn't I. Whoops.

Lucas
09-22-2011, 07:48 PM
so, you just want these scans as jpgs or what? Easiest way for me to do it would be two separate image files, one for each page.

Googleshng
09-22-2011, 10:44 PM
so, you just want these scans as jpgs or what? Easiest way for me to do it would be two separate image files, one for each page.

Yeah, as long as it's something approaching legible I'm good.

Serephine
09-23-2011, 01:25 AM
God if I could quit remembering this thread at 3:30 in the fucking morning like I always do instead of a useful time I'd have something sent to you already. Send me a PM or something before you go to bed (cause it seems like you have a weird sleep schedule).

Lucas
09-23-2011, 11:53 AM
Yeah, as long as it's something approaching legible I'm good.

Well, it's as legible as your own handwriting, at least. Anyway, uploading giant jpgs to the gmail server now, they should be on their way to you in a couple of minutes.

Serephine
09-23-2011, 12:06 PM
Playing the get this infernal scanner software to play nice with my machine game right now, but I AM doing it, man.

EDIT: There we go, two jpegs should be sitting in your mail box.

Googleshng
09-23-2011, 04:58 PM
Awesome. Awesome to the max.

So yeah, annoying paperwork dealt with, hopefully fun but ugly as @#$% card games thrown at your heads.

Serephine
09-28-2011, 05:56 PM
Hey, I got everything just fine and its on my machine, sorry I haven't made any headway into understand stuff, ever since Friday things have been in various states of 'oh for fuck's sake' so my feedback would consist of 'this stupid confusing shit is dumb'. =p I just wanted to say its not forgotten about!

Googleshng
09-28-2011, 06:48 PM
Well if that were true, that'd be a pretty important thing to inform me of! But yeah, everyone I've roped into testing has been too busy for it, other than Lucas giving crazy solo play card game a shot.

Googleshng
10-05-2011, 08:15 PM
Been a while since anyone's mentioned anything about these so... bump.

Lucas
10-05-2011, 08:30 PM
I've got the deck sitting right next to my monitor every day, I've just had other things on my mind.