Please give me a moment to set the table.
Finding a way to get your game design to work properly can be really complicated. People are really complicated.
When you get feedback about your game, you sometimes need to ask yourself if your game has a design problem or a player problem.
Now….before the angry mobs bring pitchforks and run me over, I am not saying the people are wrong. What I am saying is, they might be the wrong playtesters.
That might sound like I am telling you to keep playtesting until you find enough people to say a broken game is good and you are done. What I am saying is that people come into games with their own biases about the games they like and dislike. This will affect your game and there are times when you need to recognize this and ask yourself if the problem is with the game or the people testing the game?
If you receive feedback saying a part of your game is broken and all the testing you did on your own says it isn’t, don’t throw out the mechanic just because 10 people in a row said it doesn’t work. Sit down with your game and think about your own conclusions. Share the feedback you have from testers with other designers and see what they say. It is possible that the mechanic needs to be changed, but there are times when your game is fine.
The reason the game can be ok and the playtesters are still right is because people bring their own point of view to a game. Playtesters have their own ways of looking at a particular part of a game. They have their own history and their own reasons for what makes them want to sit down to a game and play. One of the jobs a designer has is to know this and take this into account. Your game might be fine, you just need to know why it is ok and continue testing.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.