Playtest your stuff!

I ran my first playtest of a new ttrpg last night. I only started working on this game a couple weeks ago. It’s nowhere near ready… and that means it’s a great time to playtest!

Instead of twiddling with the thing for a year, I’m getting a chance to try out my mechanics, test the theme on some friends, and get a good idea of what’s missing.

So, last things first, what’s missing is a lot. And that’s ok. You can’t really know everything that’s missing until you give it a run through. Your playtesters will understand and you can fill stuff out as you go. Even just planning for a playtest will shake out a bunch of stuff you need to do. Like I realized I hadn’t actually figured out how combat skills worked, so I had to throw something in around that.

One nice effect of playtesting super early is that it helps prevents you from building mechanics you don’t actually need. If something never comes up in playtests… don’t make rules for it! Of course, that also means that you have to make sure your playtests cover all the aspects of the game you want players to interact with, but that’s a good idea anyway.

For me, there’s vast quantities of this game that don’t exist, but that’s fine. I was able to run a couple people through a very short adventure and get an idea of how it ran and if people thought it would be fun.

And good news! The playtest went well. My friends had fun with the game, and offered a ton of interesting and useful feedback.

So there you go… playtest your crap. Let someone else’s eyes and brain focus on your game for a couple hours and I bet you’ll get a ton of interesting ideas and feedback.

Yes, playing early is both fun, and a best practice. Definitely something I am going to do for future game!

I got this ongoing game where my hacked/cannibalised rules are constantly in slight transformation. I avoid making it confusing for the players (and myself) by printing a summary of the ‘current’ rules (they fit in 2 pages) on the both side of the DM screen. Works very well.