Game Design Hour

Game Design Hour: How to Get Useful Playtest Feedback

Playtesting your game is thrilling. You’ve finally gotten your baby game in front of other players, you’re seeing what works and doesn’t work. And then the session comes to a close. You say, “Okay, do you have any feedback?” and stare at your playtesters, waiting for them to fall over each other to give you a wealth of … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: How to Run a Play Test

This is part of a multi-post series about the practicalities of designing a game. Today I’m going to look at the practical actions you need to take while actually running a playtest. First, choose a classic scenario. Avoid the temptation to test an unusual setting for your system, like a James Bond action scenario using … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: How Polished Should My Play Test Materials Be?

So you’re writing a tabletop RPG, and you’re going to run a playtest with a couple of friends. What do your playtest materials need to look like? I’ve already covered the three phases of prototyping, so let’s look at those recommendations and dig deeper. At this point, I replace the low-quality materials with something better, but … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: How to Schedule a Play Test

Let me introduce you to Sonja. Sonja wrote a cool little tabletop RPG. She wants to playtest it, running it with a few people to get a feel for the game, but her attempts to scheduled a game have so far met with failure. She came up with a two-pronged, systematic approach. First, she identified … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: How to Find Play Testers

This is part of a series of blog posts where I confront issues relating to tabletop RPG game design. First off, you may be asking: Do I need play testers? Can’t I play my game with a few friends, then just post it online? Of course, yes, you can just publish it. And if you’ve got a … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: What You Need for a First Draft

This is an ongoing series of posts where I look at tabletop RPG design pretty darned exhaustively. Let’s say you’ve got an idea for an RPG, and you’ve written down some notes and rules. Let’s further say that you want to release this to the public. Before you do, you’ll want to show it to at … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: Helpful Sites for the Designer

This post covers public websites with features useful for the game designer during design. In other words, this isn’t about publishing your game (that’s another post). Often, you’ll need to share game materials with other players, or you want to work on your rules from multiple places. Some folks forget the utility of Google Drive. You can create … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: The Three Phases of Prototyping

This post continues a series of blog posts in which I provide recommendations about tabletop game design. This won’t necessarily teach you how to design a game, but it will help you along as you build it. In this post, I’m going to talk about the prototyping. The Crappy First Prototype When I get an idea … Continue reading »

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Game Design Hour: The 4 most useful RPG design things I know

Do you want to design a tabletop game? I’ve designed a couple of indie tabletop RPG games and a couple of indie board games. I’m in the middle of developing one of those board games, so I’m going through the process I’ve cobbled together over the years. This is part of a series of blog posts … Continue reading »

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Why you should playtest

I’ve run across a surprising number of people who will design a tabletop RPG, then publish it without doing any playtesting. I’ll admit it: I was one of them. To be clear, I’m not talking about folks who throw together a simple RPG, then publish it on their blog as an early draft for feedback. … Continue reading »

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