Little Blog Adventure

A gaming "sketchblog"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2nd Playtesting Session Thoughts

2nd playtest was during Wednesday's tutorial. Supposed to let another group play the game to observe their play session, but sadly that didn't work out as the only other unpaired group in class hadn't quite finished their design yet (tho it did look like it'd make for quite a fun, competitive game once they do finish it). So we played it amongst ourselves again. As usual, Weiwei has put a very, very comprehensive review of the playtesting session. Complete with photos. And a diagram. Oh my.

Well, I'll just post some brief thoughts then:

The physical size of the game-board and pieces, oddly enough, affects how fun the game is. Our first board was small enough to be placed on a Starbucks table, with enough space left for drinks too. Our second board was so large we had to spread it out on the floor to play. We had a lot more fun on the 2nd session. Now why was that, then? I think it's because the first, overly-small, board just felt too cramped whereas the larger one FEELS good to play on. You don't feel constrained by it, and the large pieces feel satisfying to move around. I do believe that we could make the board a lot smaller than it currently is and still retain this feeling of spatial freedom- but I surmise that there's a lower limit as to how small we can make the board and still keep it fun.

This is interesting. I used to play chess with my friends on the bus home from secondary school (yes, we were geeks)- we'd use one of those tiny boards with magnetic playing pieces. That was really fun. So a small board size isn't overly constraining for some games. But clearly, our game isn't chess. We don't have as many pieces and we've got a Dungeons & Dragons-style (albeit simplified) combat system. Our pieces have more visual elements on them which don't scale well to small sizes- namely, the fact that units can face different directions. It's hard to put discernable arrows on tiny magnetic pieces. I wonder if there might be psychological factors involved, too? Hmmm...


At 10:46 PM, Blogger alex said...

Perhaps there's something inherently dramatic about the size of the board, that makes it engaging?


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