Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Another Game

Another kinda-stealth-release game, I wrote a 200-word game, Escape Pod One Launching, last week. I woke up with the idea on Wednesday morning, jotted down some words, and threw them around. On Wednesday afternoon, instead of my quasi-weekly game, I got together with a friend and playtested it at a local game store. After a few iterations of playing and tweaking the concepts, I made a dozen notes and went home.

In the morning, I revised it and submitted it to Paul Beakley’s 200 Word Challenge, almost exactly 24 hours after I woke up with the concept.

This leads me to an inescapable thought, something I’ve long believed, and which I wish I could implement more regularly. There’s a huge need to playtest new games, both my own and others. My current weekly game is faltering due to lack of player commitment and disinterest (on the part of one player) in playing games that aren’t an ongoing campaign.

I’d love to get a weekly playtest group together– a group specifically for playing a different game every week, with no expectation of a campaign or an ongoing thing. I think that’s hard, though– from the player’s point of view, there’s little to engage with the character, and lack of system familiarity means they’re unsure about what they can or cannot do. From the GM’s point of view, it’s a constantly changing format and form.

I know of a tech company that has a weekly document/product testing phase, using test participants from outside the company, every week. Is there any reason this couldn’t be done in a smaller scale product development cycle?

We have a biweekly meetup group here in Vegas that does playtesting, but it’s only for board and card games. When I’ve asked if anyone is interested in playtesting an RPG, the consensus has been a total lack of interest in a longer-format game like that.

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