Hey, I was wondering. I want to try playtesting over the summer. Does anyone know of any playtesting groups in California, or maybe a company that sends their games to you to test.
I don't really have much experience with formal playtesting, but my advice would be to contact the game company you're interested in and see if they have a playtester list you can get on. Often forums for specific games may list opportunities for playtesting, too.
I know this advice is pretty sparse on actual details, but each game company handles playtesting in a different manner and sometimes the playtesting requirements are different for different titles even within the same company.
Anyone else with more experience playtesting? Chime in, please! Hope this helps (a little).
When I was play testing Elementalis I just posted on the BGG forums to see who would be interested in doing so.
I ended up mailing prototypes out and setting up forums for my play testers.
Don't know how many other designers do this, but I'll be sure to post again when another design hits the play testing phase.
For wargames, there are three playtesting techniques used. First, build prototypes of the game and send to groups that will get lots of plays in with good feedback. I know that the Columbus Area Boardgame Society does lots of wargame testing. Second, take prototypes to conventions and invite players to sit down and try it out. Listening to The Dice Tower podcast over the last few episodes it appears a lot of playtesting was done at the Gathering of Friends. Third, build a cyberboard set and email it to players and organize PBM games. I know GMT does a lot of testing this way. I did a little work on Pax Romana this way. GMT has a quasi-Euro in developement now called "Leaping Lemmings".
SPI used to do most of their playtesting Saturdays at their offices. I was going to NJ on business for a while and would return home on Saturday nights in order to get some testing done. Tested "Spies!" and "Russian Civil War" for them.
Look at the manufacturer's forums on ConsimWorld if you are interested in playtesting.
For Euros, I'd expect that they are a little closer to the vest with their playtesting because of the $$ involved. Euros seem to sell 5-10x as many copies as wargames for even middling successes.
Excellent info. Thanks!
I actually picked Leapin' Lemmings as my pick for News & Notes in Episode 31. Looks like it could be really fun and introduce a whole new set of customers to GMT since it is a departure (thematically) from the regular offerings.