Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On The Benefits Of Drunk Playtesting

There's a quote in Stephen King's On Writing, when King reluctantly takes on a newspaper job reporting on sports:

"I told Mr Gould I didn't know much about sports. Gould said, 'These are games people understand when they're watching them drunk at bars. You'll learn if you try.'"
That reminds me of this quote from Peter Molyneux:

"The first rule of game design is that you mustn't produce games that are too complex for people to play."

On Saturday night, I ran a playtest of Bad Family for a few friends. It happened at midnight and they had had quite a lot to drink. It was a super-informative playtest.

I kinda recommend drunk playtesting if you're designing a game that's low-complexity and low-strategy. It seems to work best when the players are drunk but you aren't.

Here are some things I noticed when teaching drunk people a game:
  • You have keep your instructions clear and short
  • You have to give them something specific and simple to do, frequently
  • They will immediately tell you if they're confused about something 
  • If the game isn't consistently and frequently delivering fun, you'll see it
  • They are really honest about the problems they see, but they don't try to give you solutions


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