Master Mines

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Playtest Report

I’ve playtested NGHB four times now and it has been educational.  The first playtest was a total bomb.  The second time worked well.  So I thought that things were getting close to a solid state.  Then after a large playtest on Sunday we decided some things needed some tweaking.

It’s not a complete revision, but it’s not a small change either.  It is definitely something that will cause me to need to re-playtest everything that has been playtested so far.  Fortunately, it’s not a major revisions and my players don’t seem to mind tweaking their characters after every session.

The one thing I have somewhat cognizant of is that Neoborn has really changed.  On first draft, it was highly narrative with lots of story bits scattered throughout.  The game has evolved to be far more tactical than I had anticipated when I wrote the game.  Though even that is probably not true.  I think that I wrote a game without realizing it and we’re slowly chipping out and finding the core.

Ultimately, I have created a game that my players seem to like (okay, the players helped with a lot of their suggestions) and it’s something I enjoy running.  So that’s good.  I don’t have any regets on any of the changes, except maybe I didn’t think of them first… 🙂

I just find it odd that whereas once I was lamenting creating rules for tactical combat, now I am finding myself deeply involved in a very tactical game.  However, I am finding that I am keeping it in a comfortable space (some narrative elements and it’s fast enough) so that it’s still mine. 

So here’s my question to you MMers.  Please talk to me of how your playtesters affected your games.  I want reassurances that when your group got ahold of the game, some pretty big changes were wrought on the rules.  Game design has certainly destroyed my illusions of my own infallability and I’d like to hear other stories of changes that your players have made.

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April 16, 2008 - Posted by | Mecha

8 Comments »

  1. Chris,

    The first version of my game (which I think you can see on my data roundup page was extremely different and the first session I ran of the game sucked very, very badly.

    It’s really important that you don’t look at this as a failing, though. What you’re doing is responsible and smart. Finding broken shit in your game is a success.

    Comment by robertbohl | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Playtesting is supposed to destroy your illusions of infallibility. That’s because they’re illusions.

    As far as my experience goes, I believe the current draft of Penny has one of two of the same sentences as the original. I’ve rewritten the entire document as a result of playtest feedback.

    Comment by ptevis | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. > Playtesting is supposed to destroy your illusions of infallibility. That’s because they’re illusions.

    I BEG YOUR PARDON??? 🙂

    I know you’re right. I guess I have been surprised by the scope of the changes. I think part of the problem was that my last game was a D20 supplement and the playtest produced minimal changes, though, that was due in no small part to the fact I had a much more mature starting point.

    As this is my first serious endeavor in creating my own system, I am finding that I can forge ahead right up until I get to this point and think “Hrmm…this isn’t where I thought I’d be…” and that’s when I start to wonder. So I appreciate everyone’s insight.

    Comment by commondialog | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. Speaking from my experience working on Ars Magica supplements, I can say that this is a different type of playtesting, largely because of the different amounts of actual design involved.

    Comment by ptevis | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  5. Rich, what was this d20 project?

    Comment by robertbohl | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  6. Paul,

    I think that’s pretty spot on. With the D20 supplement, I was making sure the prestige classes were not out of whack and that the core mechanic I introduced produced the proper results.

    Rob, I’ll answer for Rich. 🙂 The game I wrote was a Social Combat, mass oration, and courtship set of rules for D20 Modern. Daniel is going to publish it when I get off my rear and make the requested changes.

    Comment by commondialog | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  7. D’oh. Chris. I’m sorry :(.

    Comment by robertbohl | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  8. S’okay. Happens all the time. 🙂

    Comment by commondialog | April 17, 2008 | Reply


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