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Thursday 30 March 2017

RPGPundit's Playtest-Running Tips

Well now, having just finished the first draft of my upcoming Medieval-Authentic OSR RPG, "Lion & Dragon", my mind has wandered to thoughts of playtesting.  I'm lucky in that this is not my first rodeo, and that I have a selection-pool of literally hundreds of people wanting to play my games here where I live.  Not everyone is that lucky.

So anyways, if you are able to get together a playtest-group for the game you're trying to design, here's my main advice for you:

1) You should make it very clear to your players that you are engaging in a Playtest.  That you need them to point stuff out to you, and that they should understand it might not work like a regular RPG campaign; possibly including the rules changing as you go along.

2) Have at least one mechanics-nerd in your group (a guy who likes to figure out rules, how they work, and how they can go wrong).

3) Have at least one guy who tends to be a powergamer, and/or a rules-lawyer; people that will try to find loopholes in the rules you never intended for their to be, to abuse the system. This gives you a kind of 'devil's advocate' that you can try to proof a bit against.

4) Mainly, TAKE CRITICISM. Your first instinct might be to try to defend your current rules. If people tell you they're broken, or that they suck, and can either explain why or show you how by fucking up the game, you need to accept that and work through it.
Your job is not to try to defend your 'baby' here, or justify your choices. If you aren't willing to improve stuff, there's no point doing a playtest.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + C&D's Chestnut


  1. I would add "play test with both experienced and newbie gamers, as their input and perspective will often differ".

  2. Good advice.

    Unfortunately, I've seen large, professional publishing houses failing to do #4 and simply ignoring criticism DESPITE having a public playtest, leading to a shoddy product.