Week 10: Playtests 8-10

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Three playtests in three days! This past week I tested the game with my target audience: good friends. SO MUCH FUN! There’s nothing like laughing hard uncontrollably.

I also tested new equipment for documenting gameplay (new camera, mics, extra light for nighttime, and a gimbal). Taking cues from Kickstarter game campaigns, I realize that it will be more effective to show the game and not just talk about it. Not only did I learn considerations for how to do that better, but I also realized important aspects of the game through my camera lens that I had not yet noticed.

Here’s what I observed from the playing the game with my friends and filming them play:

  • First of all, this game jumps to a whole new level with good friends because you have a sense of when they are speaking out of character or telling a flat-out lie. And when you catch them it’s even more hilarious.

  • With the physical cards, gestures are a big part of the gameplay, such as the dropping of words on the table and the flipping over of one to prove a point.

  • The end of the game is a regular highlight because each player reveals their snuck words and recounts the moments and contexts in which they were used—thus retelling a story of the conversation.

  • In all three cases, groups played an hour of straight, only to be cut off by previously-scheduled commitments.

  • While players took advantage of choosing their new question cards throughout each round, sometimes it wasn’t necessary. Everyone kept on a roll, often jumping off on tangents from the original topic question.

  • Playing to a target of four cards to win felt too short, so they often sent the goals higher themselves.

  • One group made up an entire new way to play the game in which you start with 4-5 words in your hand, and the first to get rid of all wins.

I’m so glad I practiced video documentation. Here are the topic points for me to remember for the future:

  • Get the main mechanics: the initial taking of cards, the reading of the topic question, guessing right & guessing wrong, the word reveal at the end.

  • Lighting is key, of course. For the two afternoon sessions, I scouted ahead and found bars with corner tables and tons of natural light. But my new camera performed quite well in the

  • Smooth shooting: use a gimbal or tripod if I can.

  • Audio, especially in a louder venue, such as a bar, is tricky. My new camera has a pretty good mic, but lavalier mics capture individual voices better.

  • Field of view: I need to make sure you can see the cards go down on the table and how folks have arranged their cards in their space.

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