How to Build a Game #31 Guerrilla Playtesting

What can you do when you want to play test your game with some people who have never seen your game, guerrilla play test at the open play tables.

Note: Note your typical post today. This is more a story of what we did at our first convention.

When we went to our first convention this year(2014), we decided to take our two testable games with some simple signage and set up at an open gaming table. By what I could see from my chair, there were a half dozen other people with similar set ups. While finding interested parties started slowly (we were there early in the day), once lunch had passed it seemed like the crowd of gamers who were in the demo and vendor area came down to open gaming. We had people at our table for the rest of the 6 hours we were at the convention. Now, we did not have a crowds lining up to play our games, but the excitement of having people sitting at our table playing our games for 6 solid hours was a profound inspiration to keep going with our designs.

What I would like designers to take away from this post is the idea that there is an option to find some new and motivated gamers to test your games. We are lucky to have a convention nearby we can attend that includes an open gaming area. Judging by the numbers of people who were set up doing something similar to us, I was surprised there were not more people taking up tables. If you don’t have a convention close to you, I think you can file this under “Thanks Chris, not a very helpful post.”

Another tip for you: Take a friend who knows your game who is willing to hang out with you for the day. Either take a game you own or purchase a game from a vendor before you set up in open gaming. Set up the game you have brought with you and the game you want to play test and be ready to jump over to your play testing game when someone walks by and shows interest in your game.

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

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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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