Jun 7, 2010

The Blind Leading the Designer

It's about time for me to end development on Municipality and move on to other designs while I shop it around to publishers.

For this game, I'm going to do something I've never done before: a remote blind playtest.

A blind playtest is where the designer does not explain the game to the testers. Instead, the testers are given the prototype and a copy of the rulebook and they have to figure it out for themselves.

Although I have done blind playtests before, I have always been on hand to observe. This has had the advantage of being able to see in real time which sections of the rulebook were the least comprehensible, it has also resulted in my jumping in to prevent the players from using an incorrect interpretation during gameplay.

It has also meant that the blind test was conducted by people who knew me. This might have affected their parsing of my rules language.

This time, I want to see what happens when a group of people whom I have never met playtest Municipality outside of my presence.

So, if you are willing to organize a playtest and report back on it, please let me know by e-mailing gdw@gamedesignerwannabe.com.


  1. I've done this with a few folks - very good for spotting rules problems when it works, but difficult to set up, and people are flaky - I've gotten a great response from a couple of folks, but I've sent out three prototypes to strangers and heard nothing or nearly nothing. That gets expensive and disheartening.

    Print and play would be better, but then you're asking the people to do some work assembling the components.

  2. Dave, I am a little worried about non-responses.

    I considered print & play, but I'm already asking someone to do me a favor; also asking them to construct the game might take it too far.

    You say you've succeeded with this a couple of times. Would you mind asking them if they would want to have a go at my prototype?

  3. My best response has been from Lars Rose (salish99 at BGG). He came back with very useful feedback.