Pulp Gamer – Out of Character 92 – Opportunity

The latest PG-OoC is out.  It’s a feedback show so they’re going over emails and other feedback.  Here’s the low down.

They start off responding to an email from Wayne talking about playtesting.  This is a very good topic that would make a show of itself (hint, hint).  Don mentions that an upcoming GAMA panel release on publishing your game will have some information on playtesting.  They discuss two types or forms of playtesting.  The first is black box testing.  This usually means that the designer is not present for the playtest.  The testers are taking the game on as if they just bought it, fresh out of the box.  In most cases they are asked to take notes on what works and what doesn’t, did the game accomplish its and their goals, their play experience, those sorts of things.  This information is captured somehow and fed back to the designer.  The other type of playtesting is ‘eyes on’ testing.  It’s just that.  The designer is right there taking his own notes on what is happening as well as getting feedback from the testers.  I think both of these are essential for a successful game.  The merits of each are obvious.  Often playtesters will feel the need to soften their feedback when the designer is present or known.  Black box is often anonymous or once removed thus alleviating the testers from protecting the feelings of the designer.  And honest feedback is the best and most valuable kind.  Eyes on testing allows the designer to see where the game is broken for himself.  He is able to see things about the game that the testers may not.  They mentioned using a form for the testers to fill out so that the designer can address specific areas that may be problematic.  And that playtesters should take notes on a game.  There has been some good discussion over on Story Games and The Forge on this topic.  Cruise over there and check them out.    The biggest revelation that I have gotten from all the discussions and the playtesting that I have done (Fiasco by Jason Morningstar) is that playtesting is hard and not always fun.  To take an almost complete or in process game and give honest feedback can be difficult.  And, as I said, the games are usually not finished and in a rough form.  So the experience may not be full of awesome.  All in all, playtesting is a must to design a successful game.  I thought this section of the show was valuable and will use the information I got out of it when I begin playtesting my games (soon I hope).

There was a long discussion about the new regulations about disclosing if you received something in return for a review.  Or something like that.  Check the show for the details or go over to the FCC site to find out more.  Anyway, if you receive something for writing a review, you have to disclose that.  So in the spirit of full disclosure, I received digital copies of Accent Your Character for reviewing Pulp Gamer on iTunes and got some dice from Myriad Games for the same.

Jason talked about Arthur Lives! some more.  The game sounds really interesting.  It’s basically Camelot 3000 the rpg.  Check out Camelot 3000 here.  Jason talked some about the RinCon game that didn’t happen but says he will run this game soon.  Can’t wait for the AP or wrapup on that one.

Next they covered a lot of my feedback in The TomG Spot.  I even got an echo!  Sweet.  They plug this blog.  Thanks! And talk about stuff that I said in email.  Most of that is in previous posts so check them out.

They talked about ‘Don-isms’.  Seems Don has the mutant ability to make up new words to fit any situation.  This is known as Wordsmithery or Vocabulization.  And is completely faketicous.  My son made that one up.

They talk about Ed Wetterman’s Innana’s Kiss game.  Middle East roleplaying that is deadly.

Responses to various comments:

I do take advice e.g. this blog.

I like being at the end of the feedback show.

Ron and I did meet at MACE.  We got to hang out and we played some Savage Worlds together.  See previous MACE post.  Ron is very cool as is Veronica.  I hope I get to hang out with them again.

Cons for Pros – mentioned Jess’s book again.  You should check out her blog too.

A frog doesn’t bump its rear when it lands.

And let’s not forget – Hive.

That’s it.

Go Forth and Game.

tomg