How to Build a Game #21 A Different Way to Playtest

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not sure if this is common among designers, but it is a technique I use to make our games so here goes….

Since getting together to playtest our games can be a challenge, I like to run thought experiments as playtests for our games. I use them as a way to test the min/max strategies players like to use to break games. I will give one “player” a powerful position in the game and I will think about the ways other players can either bring them down from the position or build themselves up to match their position. Another procedure I will think my way through is strategy and how to implement those strategies. I like using this method to find out if the game can reasonably build different paths to victory, or not even victory, can a player try a different strategy and gather the required cards/resources/allies to complete their strategy.

While there is no way to test for all the different ways players find to “stress” the game, using some thought experiment is a good way to quickly run though various scenarios when you are working on the game yourself.

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

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