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Member Since 22 Aug 2010
Offline Last Active Sep 26 2011 06:13 PM

#4775690 Board Game Prototyping / Initial Playtesting

Posted by on 17 February 2011 - 09:55 PM

I have stumbled upon an interesting and helpful method for VERY early game design testing. After reading through the Art of Game Design, I began putting together an idea for a very small, simple game using some of the approaches Jesse discusses in the book. One of the approaches he discussed is creating a board game first and doing play testing before even touching any code or further development. I was very hesitant to try this, as my game was going to be a first person "shooter" style game (kinda).

I didn't think this would translate well to a board game. However, my group created a quick prototype and began having people play test it. I was amazed to discover that after a couple iterations of testing, we were able to identify some very key design issues and work them out as well as observe various strategies players might use in the actual "video" game. It showed us what parts of the design had potential to be really fun and what parts still needed work. It also demonstrated how players might use/abuse the mechanics of the game in way we never imagined! Finally, it helped us identify what aspects of the game are going to need to be focused on to create balanced game play.

I was just curious, does anyone else use methods like this during there design phase? Are there any early prototyping techniques you can recommend for a novice game designer? I am also always looking to read some more great books on game design, so any recommendations you might have would also be greatly appreciated!