“Who the hell do I go to first with this?”
One of the primary concerns for a burgeoning designer (trust me, it’s a HUGE concern) is finding where to first drop a playtest. On top of that, when do you drop it?
I’ve been working on Throne Royale for some time now, and I’m confident in the base design. However, I know it is coming up on time to drop it into the wild and see what breaks. And something always breaks.
There are two factors to consider that leap to mind immediately, though I’m sure there are several I’m not aware of yet. Factor one is whether or not you want control over the playtest for the initial phase. It’s much easier to get friends and family to try something twice, and if you have a limited range of play testers (for example, living in a city with less local gaming stores than somewhere like, say, Seattle), you might not want to bomb a game store full of players unfamiliar to play testing alpha designs.
However, friends and family love you (or at least have to see you on Thanksgiving) so they may have a bit too much of an inclination to excuse or overlook errors that are glaring. That mechanic that you’re in love with and anyone else can tell is hot garbage? There may be nothing worse than having your bias reinforced before your flaws are introduced to the wild.
Where do you go for a solid first playtest? And on top of that, where do you go when you’ve run out of testers in your area? As a new face to design, where can I go to find testers outside my immediate geographical circle?