So You Want to be a Playtester? #5 Could You Teach This Game?

I try to write these as general as possible, but I am going to be a little more specific today.

One of the questions I ask all my playtesters at the end of a play is, “could you teach this game to a friend right now?” Outside of the “standard” mechanical and thematic questions, this is by far the most important question I ask. I don’t have the expectation that everyone will be able to teach their friends this game, but I can tell how well the game was absorbed by the testers and how comfortable they are with the game. The most standard answer is along the lines of, “sure, if I had a quick reference sheet.” As a designer, I can take the variety of answers and adjust the way I explain the game and I can ask very specific follow up questions.

What does this mean for you? You should be thinking about this as a piece of feedback because regardless of the complexity/theme/length of the game, this kind of feedback applies to all games. You can tell the designer you feel good about explaining this area here or that mechanic there, but not so much the amount of accounting you need to keep track of. The designer will be able to make changes to the game that makes the game better for the next people to play it, and that is what we are there to do, make the games better.

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