(I only say “Alpha” because I was present for it, and that’s how I categorize them).
I just got done playtesting Parsec, with me present, for only the third time. This isn’t a game that needs a lot of playtesting – I’m not doing anything revolutionary with the system, I’m just using existing tools in a few ways I’ve never seen before, and using them in usual ways that I think are better than I’ve seem some of them used before. There’s also a lot of it that is just “Yeah, its a rules-lite science fiction game”.
The playtest was designed to test the ship-to-ship combat system, and frankly, it went really well. The system came through about 90% unscathed – and in talking it out with the players afterward, I think I found all of the problems and also found fixes for them. I’ll want to test those a little, but I really feel like it succeeded in multiple areas.
We had two walk-ins to the game who had no idea what they were sitting down for, and they both learned the system in about…maybe ten minutes. It is really simple, which is exactly what it should be. This is being handed pre-gen characters (I’m confident about character creation already, so didn’t need to test that again) and having no backround whatsoever with the system (thought both were experienced gamers).
I also had two other game-designers from the area, one who created an Eberron version of Spirit of the Century and the other who is designing a game and is apparently talking to Palladium. The important thing is – they both seemed to be having fun, and they both quickly figured out exactly what they had to do.
I was very nervous (only my wife could tell) and it had some slow spots (of course) but it was fun and it worked. The wheels didn’t fall off and nothing shorted out. It just sputtered a bit – basically, the system needs a tune-up, and I feel confident about what I have to do going forward.
So that’s really good.
My God I might actually finish this thing (it’s been a year of work in earnest).
One kid, one of the walk-ins, told me that he would keep an eye out for the game, and said flat out that when it comes out, he’s buying it. And that’s a walk-in. Just one kid? Yeah, I know. But when a playtester who walked in off the street says “I will buy this game”, that’s a fucking score in my book.
I feel really good about it. It helps balance out the infinite weight of the work I know I still have to do.