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TOPIC: Confession: I'm a bad playtester

Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 13:47 #266104

Shellhead wrote:
Because the Twin Cities metro area is a hotbed of aspiring game designers, I have also playtested numerous prototypes designed by other people.And I would like to think that I have done a decent job playtesting in the past, but now I am letting a friend down. He is a former Jyhad player, and is working on a science-fiction conquest CCG. The rules are a little on the heavy side, a four-player game takes about two hours, and there is a whole deck design aspect that is difficult for me because I don't enjoy deck design.

Because of the complexity and the deck design aspect, this game needs a lot of playtesting. But I didn't enjoy the two games that I have played so far, and I really don't want to play it again. The game is mechanically sound, but the elusive fun factor is missing and the card combos seem obvious and not clever. But I can't bring myself to say that, especially since the other playtesters seemed to like it. And even they can't keep up with his relentless weekly playtest game schedule, which is why he is trying to get me back into the playtesting.

This game designer has been emailing me nearly weekly, asking me to re-join the playtesting group that meets every Wednesday night. His intention is to continue weekly playtesting until next January, when he will launch his Kickstarter campaign. Normally, I am very good about communicating directly with people, but so far I only responded once by saying that this is a busy time of year for me. That was two months ago, so he is probably looking forward to me not being so busy.

We're not close friends. I like him, but we fell out of touch six years ago as our Jyhad group drifted apart. I would be happy to invite him over for boardgames, and even try to recruit him next time I am running an rpg. But here are all the reasons why I don't want to playtest his game anymore:

1. My normal weekday schedule involves waking up at 5:45 AM. leaving for work at 7:00 AM, and getting home from work at 6:30 PM.
2. My girlfriend has been coping with a chronic medical condition for about a year now, and that leaves me doing all the housework.
3. I already do all the yardwork, so I will be busier from May through October.
4. I have some home projects that I will be starting soon, and those will take up some of my weekends in the coming months.
5. His game is mechanically sound, but isn't fun.
6. I don't enjoy deck design, and that is the focus of the playtesting now that the game rules are solid.
7. Playtesting is an unpaid job, and I consider a year of playtesting to be an an extreme demand on my free time.
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 14:07 #266107

Play testing is for suckers! Don’t do it!
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 15:32 #266111

Shellhead wrote:
Shellhead wrote:
Because the Twin Cities metro area is a hotbed of aspiring game designers, I have also playtested numerous prototypes designed by other people.And I would like to think that I have done a decent job playtesting in the past, but now I am letting a friend down. He is a former Jyhad player, and is working on a science-fiction conquest CCG. The rules are a little on the heavy side, a four-player game takes about two hours, and there is a whole deck design aspect that is difficult for me because I don't enjoy deck design.

Because of the complexity and the deck design aspect, this game needs a lot of playtesting. But I didn't enjoy the two games that I have played so far, and I really don't want to play it again. The game is mechanically sound, but the elusive fun factor is missing and the card combos seem obvious and not clever. But I can't bring myself to say that, especially since the other playtesters seemed to like it. And even they can't keep up with his relentless weekly playtest game schedule, which is why he is trying to get me back into the playtesting.

This game designer has been emailing me nearly weekly, asking me to re-join the playtesting group that meets every Wednesday night. His intention is to continue weekly playtesting until next January, when he will launch his Kickstarter campaign. Normally, I am very good about communicating directly with people, but so far I only responded once by saying that this is a busy time of year for me. That was two months ago, so he is probably looking forward to me not being so busy.

We're not close friends. I like him, but we fell out of touch six years ago as our Jyhad group drifted apart. I would be happy to invite him over for boardgames, and even try to recruit him next time I am running an rpg. But here are all the reasons why I don't want to playtest his game anymore:

1. My normal weekday schedule involves waking up at 5:45 AM. leaving for work at 7:00 AM, and getting home from work at 6:30 PM.
2. My girlfriend has been coping with a chronic medical condition for about a year now, and that leaves me doing all the housework.
3. I already do all the yardwork, so I will be busier from May through October.
4. I have some home projects that I will be starting soon, and those will take up some of my weekends in the coming months.
5. His game is mechanically sound, but isn't fun.
6. I don't enjoy deck design, and that is the focus of the playtesting now that the game rules are solid.
7. Playtesting is an unpaid job, and I consider a year of playtesting to be an an extreme demand on my free time.

I'd just copy and paste that in an email to him and be done with it. Noting in there is nasty and if they take offense, that's their problem. Also, if they find offense in that then they shouldn't design games because their tender sensibilities just can't handle constructive criticism.
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 15:43 #266113

Thanks for thinking of me but I just don’t have the time these days. Too many conflicting priorities and on top of that, I don’t even enjoy deck design. Sorry but good luck with your game! Mechanics seem good!
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"We must let go of the life we had planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 16:07 #266114

Michael Barnes wrote:
Play testing is for Kickstarter backers! Don’t do it!
Fixed that for you.
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 16:18 #266117

cdennett wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
Play testing is for Kickstarter backers! Don’t do it!
Fixed that for you.
I now have to wipe some coffee from my keyboard. Nice one!
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 21 Mar 2018 16:49 #266120

Exactly. If you are not getting stretch goals for your efforts you are being ripped off!
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 22 Mar 2018 07:29 #266179

cdennett wrote:
Michael Barnes wrote:
Play testing is for Kickstarter backers! Don’t do it!
Fixed that for you.

I'm going to start calling that site Kicksucker.
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Confession: I'm a bad playtester 22 Mar 2018 08:50 #266187

I think honesty is the best approach with playtesting. I go thru phases where I do a fair bit, then back off for awhile. If you don't want to play it for non gaming related reasons - real life, etc just leave it at that. Tell the designer you are dropping out - don't just disappear. That is a dick move.

But if there is something about the actual game that you feel is preventing you from wanting to play it that others may agree with you on, you should tell the designer in case he's progressing down a dead end path . Don't be a dick about it, but clearly elucidate why.

I get that playtesting might not be appealing to some - I am pretty picky about what I decide to test, picking stuff that I know I am interested in. Granted, by the time the game comes out I may be burnt out for awhile. But I still find it rewarding to see a game get published that I had significant input on.
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